2016 Canada's Outstanding Principals Biographies

Dawn Addison
Morning Star Middle School,
Peel District School Board,
Mississauga, Ontario

Dawn is an experienced educator with a demonstrated passion for equity, and an extensive background in special education and improving outcomes for all learners. At Morning Star Middle School, she has overseen the appointment of three centrally-assigned instructional coaches tasked with providing additional leadership and support in order to close academic gaps. With this targeted professional learning, EQAO results for students have continued to increase. For six years, Morning Star has piloted gender-specific core classes in mathematics, science and literacy, yielding measurable gains in boys’ literacy results, and girls’ attitudes to mathematics and science. Under her leadership, community partnerships have been nurtured to support students in programs such as Lego Robotics, Science clubs and Instrumental Music. An advocate of digital integration in the classroom, Dawn has WiFi hubs installed in her school and has championed the development of a Regional Arts and Technology Program, offering the latest in digital software and printing. Her innovative approach to increasing skills and knowledge for teachers to close gaps and engage students are celebrated by her staff and peers.

Rocchina Antunes
St. Jean de Brebeuf Catholic High School,
York Catholic District School Board,
Woodbridge, Ontario

Rocchina is committed to positive change and building community. She emphasizes the development of trusting relationships and focused improvement for St. Jean de Brebeuf High School. Rocchina is driven to provide opportunities for all students to succeed creating a school environment that is respectful and welcoming, and a curriculum that is culturally responsive. She introduced changes in the core special education area, developing community partnerships to support Pathways to Student Success, and enhancing digital technology and literacy. Rocchina and her faculty leverage student data to target learning and work collaboratively on refining teaching and learning practices. She promotes professional learning emphasizing the impact of collective expertise on student learning. She skillfully uses social media to ensure the school’s mission, ‘Educate the Mind and Nurture the Soul’, is realized. Rocchina is very visible, accessible, responsive, and her staff refer to her as their fearless leader.

Cindy Barker
Stephenville Elementary School,
Newfoundland and Labrador English School District,
Stephenville, Newfoundland and Labrador

Cindy is a ‘learning leader’. She promotes teacher growth, believing in focused teacher development. Staff participate in a variety of professional learning activities, emphasizing literacy, mathematics, and now the emphasis has broadened to include all aspects of STEM. She ensures teachers have the resources that highlight evidence-based and effective practices. Cindy believes in “growing student leaders”, recognizing their accomplishments in assemblies, announcements, and newsletters. Under her leadership, staff monitor ongoing student progress using a variety of data sets, meeting bi-weekly to develop and track the impact of their interventions and providing supports to increase students’ leadership capacity. She has made Character Development a big part of Stephenville’s positive behaviour support program. Under Cindy’s leadership, best practices are shared, teachers work collaboratively on nurturing the whole child – academic as well as social-emotional. Stephenville ES is a place of learning and caring, thanks to Cindy’s inspirational leadership.

Jan Bazaluk
St. Ann School,
Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board,
Thunder Bay, Ontario

Jan’s passion, energy and academic optimism are devoted to implementing transformative change at St. Ann School. Jan has initiated multiple opportunities for enrichment. Through enhanced relations with the community, Jan and staff fundraise so that students have greater access to technology, culturally responsive programming, Arts programming, and excursions. Nutrition programs ensure that students are not hungry, when they learn. With Jan at the helm, teachers work together on diagnostic assessments with enhanced resources, use guided practice and their commitment to change demonstrates remarkable success. There are many supportive programs for in school and after school tutoring, peer tutoring, and a 20-minute ‘Catch Up Club’ within the school day. Provincial results on reading in grade three rose from 29% to 85%, and the writing and math results are equally impressive. Jan meets all with a smile, passion, and a vision of excellence for all at St. Ann.

Sheena Braun
Ryerson Elementary School,
Pembina Trails School Division,
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Sheena is a dedicated educator and administrator with expertise in delivering evidence-based initiatives aimed at raising academic bars and closing gaps. She has led her staff to focus on common goals such as increasing digital literacy, using data and implementing brain-based learning strategies to increase Ryerson’s students’ literacy and numeracy skills. Sheena has implemented Universal Design for Learning (UDL) for differentiated instruction and assessment. Ryerson offers an extended summer learning program including nutrition to scaffold and support learning opportunities for her students requiring additional supports. All these programs emphasize ‘best practices’, critical literacies, and engagement. For Sheena and her staff, ‘students come first’ and she encourages staff to build strong community partnerships to nurture student success.

Vito Colella
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Catholic Elementary School,
Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board,
Hamilton, Ontario

Vito has excelled in a variety of increasingly demanding leadership roles, which include mentoring, teaching the principal qualification courses, and serving on multiple community not-for-profit boards. He has published and presented on issues such as gender-specific interventions, mental health, digital literacy and technology as levers for improvement. These reflect Vito’s passion for learning and his dedication to students and staff at Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Catholic Elementary School. Data driven change and greater parent engagement are priorities and under Vito’s leadership, staff, student and volunteer commitment has increased. Where once 3-4 staff, student and volunteer committees was the norm, now there are 12-15 active school committees involved with school life. His leadership team established a Principal Advisory Group to build the capacity and involvement of student leaders. In 2014, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta was one of 11 Ontario schools selected for The Premier’s Award for Safe, Accepting and Inclusive Schools. Vito has inspired staff, students and parents, giving them confidence and joy for learning.

Paula Danyluk-MacDonald
Caldwell Road Elementary School,
Halifax Regional School Board,
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

Paula’s colleagues praise her instructional leadership support and the impact it has on staff and students at Caldwell Road Elementary School. Her priority in creating a warm, caring, and welcoming environment at school is reflected in a student survey where 97% of students feel there is a caring adult that they can turn to. Paula’s aim is to have all students become “functional and independent adults who are fully participating members of society”. In 2008-2009, 61% of teachers reported trying alternative teaching methods with students and in 2014, differentiated instruction increased to 91% of teachers. Paula uses student data to challenge teachers to think differently about achievement data and monitoring progress. She is innovative, using her expertise in the Arts to weave music through dinner theatre to help students feel valued. Paula builds relationships, promotes ownership of Caldwell Road’s shared vision, and supports teachers’ learning so that students learn. Her supporters applaud Paula for leadership that goes above and beyond to allow students to grow and shine.

David de Wit
Rick Hansen Secondary School,
Abbotsford School District Number 34,
Abbotsford, British Columbia

Throughout his career, David has maintained a focus on ‘person first, student second’. He instinctively understands the necessity of providing supports that allowed students to learn. David and his team transformed the culture at his previous school by creating ongoing responsive supports including technical/vocational learning, providing differentiated education and personalized care and training. David is a change agent and empowers staff to explore and expand their collective expertise to impact achievement. He is currently involved in a similar transformation at Rick Hansen Secondary School. Based on the changing demands and needs for high school education, Rick Hansen has been transformed into a ‘STEM school and Business Academy’. Students are provided with real-world problems to develop critical thinking, collaboration, and communication skills. Rick Hansen’s own legacy has spurred David and staff to emphasize personal leadership, difference making, and equity and inclusion at their school. Under David’s leadership, dedication and commitment, two schools have been transformed to learning centres that invite curiosity, and knowledge construction.

Kevin DeForge
St. Dominic Fine Arts School,
Calgary Catholic School District,
Calgary, Alberta

With expertise in the effective integration of technology to improve teaching and learning, Kevin serves as lead on district initiatives involving technology and learning, championing inquiry and innovative practices. He advocates for greater inclusion of student voice and choice with innovative initiatives such as the addition of a ‘Wonder Wall’, where students write down what they wonder about and a ‘Twitter Bucket Filler Wall’, where in 140 characters or less “students share a message about how someone made them feel better about themselves”. Kevin’s successes are reflected in the consistently high satisfaction ratings on the ‘Tell Them from Me” student attitudinal surveys. Under Kevin’s leadership, the school re-envisioned the Learning Commons space to include a Maker Space and transformed the Computer Lab into a Wonder Lab. Similar initiatives are continuing at St. Dominic under his leadership, like the ‘Reverse Lunch’, where students play first and then eat, resulting in more peaceful playgrounds. Kevin works with staff to build professional capacities to improve outcomes for all students.

Rex Ferguson-Baird
Brooklands School,
St. James-Assiniboia School Division,
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Rex has created a culture of learning leveraging his expertise to support Brooklands School as part of Manitoba’s provincial Community Schools Partnership Initiative.
Rex leads his team to relentlessly focus on reading and writing achievement data to track, identify problems, and measure impact of interventions on students’ learning. A reading comprehension data board serves as a visual reminder that teachers working intentionally and coherently together can make differences. Under his leadership, teachers collectively build students’ academic readiness and social-emotional skills while mediating students’ issues of anxiety, conflicts and stress. Rex also leads divisional and provincial programs on Social Justice, Sustainability and Violence Threat/Risk. Not surprisingly, he was featured in Leadership Winnipeg: A Profile of Community Leaders. He is a leader who makes real differences for students.

Denise Francis
St. James Elementary School,
Newfoundland and Labrador English School District,
Port aux Basques, Newfoundland and Labrador

Denise is a transformative leader with extensive experience as a high school and elementary school administrator. Denise placed a strong emphasis on tracking student achievement using a variety of data and encouraged teachers to systemically use targeted effective practices and interventions to build students’ capacity to learn. Currently, over 80% of students in grade 3 score at level 3 in Creative Writing and Persuasive Writing. There are similar improvements in students’ results for grade 6. She has spearheaded the development and use of a Math Assessment Framework, and has encouraged the sharing of best practices among colleagues. Denise provides the time, support and resources required for staff to grow professionally and her impact on changing culture and practices, while improving outcomes, is evident in all aspects of student life at St. James Elementary.

Sarah Frost
Cliffwood Public School,
Toronto District School Board,
Toronto, Ontario

Sarah’s leadership style is founded on the understanding that learning happens in diverse ways in response to interests, abilities and also culture and context. She has transformed Cliffwood Public School into a more collaborative space employing a multitude of innovative initiatives to expand learning and engage students ranging from rap, drumming, singing, dancing, breakdancing, art, music, French café, Eco programs, song-making, guitar, piano, violin and Mandarin clubs. A pilot with Lego offering STEM programming is also in the planning stages. These expanded opportunities have allowed disengaged students to reengage, become motivated, and build their academic success. Sarah supports arts-based programming, as an approach to allow students to express creativity, curiosity, and become excited about attending school. Sarah cares about each student and has worked with teachers and parents to build bridges. Her dedicated endeavors to create community leading to student engagement and academic progress are evident in all aspects of life at Cliffwood.

Alison Gaymes San Vicente
Lanor Junior Middle School,
Toronto District School Board,
Toronto, Ontario

Alison has high expectations and works tirelessly to build relationships and trust to allow deep change to happen. For her, good instructional practices are “the bones of the school”. She is current with research, uses a variety of data sets with staff, is intentionally visible in classes and offers productive feedback to help staff improve learning outcomes for all students. Alison has a growth mindset about her students’ capabilities and uses her work serving on Families of Schools (FOS) and system committees to increase opportunities and possibilities for students. Alison used her work on the Sifting, Sorting and Selecting steering committee to explore the causes and impacts of streaming. As instructional leader, she began a collaborative inquiry at her school, to action the committee’s findings. She has created a student wellness room to ‘blow off steam’, circuit train and participate in Yoga activities. Alison pioneered TDSB’s Young Women on the Move, a mentorship project for girls in grades 3-12. Through her enthusiasm, vision and hard work, Lanor Junior Middle School has become a welcoming, supportive, learning environment offering new possibilities and opportunities for students and staff.

Patrick Hamilton
Centre Dufferin District High School,
Upper Grand District School Board,
Shelburne, Ontario

Patrick is a committed, strong advocate for learning and collaboration. He sits on district and regional committees but remains at heart, the instructional leader who champions best practices and puts the needs of his students and teachers first. His support for coordinated and aligned planning around Enduring Understandings and Essential Questions made substantive changes to teaching/learning practices at Centre Dufferin District High School. Patrick supported teachers working on the Digital Historian Project, a vertically integrated History/Math program that received an EDU Experiential Learning grant and a Government of Canada History Award in 2015. His belief that his school must respond to the different needs and talents of students and teachers has yielded many successes including an award winning robotics program, successful boys’ hockey teams, and strong programming. Not surprisingly, given the deep change at CDDHS, EQAO results have increased. His staff and students honour Patrick’s dedication and vision for a genuinely outstanding school community.

Deana Helton
Bishop McNally High School,
Calgary Catholic School District,
Calgary, Alberta

Deana is a passionate leader with a focus on building and sustaining positive cultures, and supporting students at-risk. Deana is seeking to improve high school completion rates by involving Bishop McNally High School in the Alberta High School Redesign Project. This has allowed the school to offer five periods each day thereby exposing students to a greater number of credits to assist them in graduating from high school. She is a visible, connected administrator promoting best practices and collaborative learning cultures. She has implemented new initiatives in literacy practices for English Language Learners and created opportunities for students to seek out extra support. Education assistants are now made available in the central Learning Commons, and students are invited to visit on their spare period, before and after school, and at lunch to receive one-on-one support they may need to improve their overall understanding of course material. Teachers share how they differentiate, and “diversify instruction and assessment” so that outcomes for students improve. She has inspired her students to reach their full potential, showing them possibilities, while ensuring the supports are there to realize their goals.

Marc Hurtubise
École élémentaire publique Rose des Vents,
Conseil des écoles publiques de l'Est de l'Ontario,
Cornwall, Ontario

Marc’s inspirational leadership and dedication to improving student outcomes has accrued tangible results. Enrollment is up as are EQAO results. The school received the Dr. Bette M. Stephenson Achievement Award given by EQAO, recognizing the effective use of EQAO data to enhance and support the progress of students. The school was renovated and expanded and a special community room was built for innovative programming. Marc has championed outreach programs, including a partnership with the Powell School of Dance to create Ballerina Dreams, a program for students with physical disabilities and special needs. Marc’s “commitments extend to the provincial level” and he represents administrators from Eastern Ontario on several professional organizations. His colleagues honour Marc for his attentiveness, his creativity, his leadership, his initiative, his commitment, and above all his tireless efforts to make the students the priority focus of his work.

Arlene Knights-Svarich
Elizabeth Simcoe Junior Public School,
Toronto District School Board,
Toronto, Ontario

There has been a profound culture change at Simcoe Junior Public School since Arlene became the principal. Arlene has skillfully worked on building respectful and trusting relationships with staff and parents to create a harmonious and positive environment. The school council grew from eight members to over 25 parent/community volunteers participating regularly and contributing to improving the learning experience for students. Under Arlene’s leadership, with stakeholders working together, there has been library renewal, the acquisition of more musical instruments, and technology upgrades. She emphasizes academic excellence promoting critical thinking and problem solving embedded in student learning. There are more targeting interventions and coherent, evidence-informed practices occurring which are increasing student outcomes. Arlene has spearheaded anti-bullying initiatives and promoted primary and junior community circles, creating an environment that is a model for schools where parents, teachers, community, administration and students work together to provide an enriched learning environment.

Patrick Laskey
Bayside Middle School,
Anglophone South School District,
Saint John, New Brunswick

Patrick is dedicated to creating conditions for student success ranging from Apprenticeship programming and suicide prevention initiatives, to ‘a fidget toolkit’, which provides teachers with a variety of tools for students when they become distracted and need to fidget. Patrick is always looking for opportunities for enrichment. He promotes inclusive and inviting learning environments using a Positive Behaviour Intervention Strategy called STOMP. It encourages students to develop behaviours and attitudes that reflect: Success, Team Player, Own It, Motivated and Prepared. Patrick ensures there are celebrations of student success so students feel recognized and part of a caring learning community. The administrative team uses ‘e-walkthroughs’ to provide a system for feedback, when completing classroom observations. Student results at Bayside have increased. Patrick is a firm believer that all challenges can be met head on and can be solution based.

Duncan LeBlanc
Maplewood High School,
Toronto District School Board,
Toronto, Ontario

Duncan has an impactful career as a caring, supportive, and inclusive secondary school administrator. At Maplewood High School, he has championed meaningful integration opportunities for students with special needs across a range of experiential classes. He is adamant that all students can learn. The school has adopted the Wechsler assessment for students with mild intellectual disabilities and the Brigance for students with more severe developmental challenges. Benchmark assessments allow teachers a longer and more detailed continuum to try interventions, target, and reinforce skills/knowledge for students. These changes in scaffolding practice using micro-steps have resulted in measureable changes in learning for students with severe challenges. Duncan has encouraged teachers’ learning committees to weave equity into their agendas and has empowered staff to work collaboratively in planning the transitioning of students approaching graduation. Duncan’s transparent, systematic, and equitable approach involves all staff. He is a visionary leader who inspires and fosters teamwork at every turn.

Kimberly Leonard
Mary Queen of Peace School,
Newfoundland and Labrador English School District,
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador

Kimberly is an innovator and collaborator focused on a progressive agenda for change. She has formed partnerships among stakeholders to provide a balance between academics and other opportunities to grow the ‘whole child’. There has been an increase in student recognition and celebrations, school-wide events, and offerings in physical activities. Kim is introducing 21st century learning at Mary Queen of Peace School, including a focus on increasing technological skills and digital literacy. She encourages analysis of a variety of data sets, including attitudinal surveys, to determine next steps for the School Development Plan, which has included Literacy Blocks, school-wide reading initiatives and a more focused use of assessments in literacy. The positive results are evidence of the impact of these changes. On provincial assessments student results have been impressive and students score above the provincial standards. Kim continues to move the change agenda forward to implement innovative programming to benefit all students.

Christine Leung
Mother Teresa Catholic School,
Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board,
Bradford, Ontario

Christine’s peers speak of her gift of compassion and strength, which has allowed her to nurture students, staff and parents in times of deep personal challenges and crisis. She is a strong supporter of a variety of programs to respond to student’s needs such as the Reading Recovery programming which helps students acquire skills that they may not be able to acquire in a classroom setting and a rich offering of extra-curricular activities to keep students engaged. Junior classrooms have iPads to promote the development of digital literacy. Christine encourages students to engage in outreach projects with their community and connect on social justice issues. To support staff, Christine promotes professional learning to keep current with evidence-informed practices, and to make sure they have the skills and resources they need to help their students succeed. She models the board’s mission, creating at Mother Teresa, “an inclusive Catholic learning community dedicated to excellence”.

Courteney Lizotte
Range Lake North School,
Yellowknife Education District Number 1,
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

Courteney’s expertise in building and sustaining student leadership and providing differentiated and responsive programming have allowed her to be a mentor to students and staff at Range Lake North School. She maintains a relentless focus on building academic skills and knowledge especially in literacy and mathematics. She is an advocate for programming that develops student achievement such as the BOK-physical literacy program allowing for 20 minutes of focused physical activity in the morning, and the Dene Kade program, which involves Elders working with students on authentic storytelling, beading, Dene language acquisition and support for the Dene’s underlying values. Courteney and her community advocate for the Arts and Athletics to highlight students’ skills and creativity. She has encouraged the integration of a Positive Behaviour Intervention and Support model enabling a positive school climate. Courteney and her teachers present, engage, and share their experiences beyond the walls of the school. Under her leadership, a spirit of community, compassion, respect and responsibility is pervasive throughout Range Lake North School.

Bríd Mc Donald
St. Patrick's High School,
Ottawa Catholic School Board,
Ottawa, Ontario

Bríd’s experiences working with diverse communities have honed her skills in building trusting communities and in being culturally respectful and responsive. She uses a growth mindset approach to ensure appropriate resources, professional learning and supports are available to make student achievement happen. Technology is embedded in classrooms with Smartboards, iPads, Chromebooks as enablers to learning. Bríd and her staff use student data from a variety of assessments including the provincial EQAO results to target under-performance and provide necessary strategies and interventions for growth. She encourages teachers to “take the learning deeper” and empowers staff to find sustainable solutions. With her support, staff created a dynamic School Innovation Plan for Student Achievement and Well-Being. The school hosts two Specialist High Skills Majors programs and Bríd is building partnerships to expand in the field of Health. Her leadership is reflected in her firm belief that a school should be judged on how well it prepares the most vulnerable students.

Bruce McKay
Chute Lake Elementary School,
Central Okanagan School District No. 23,
Kelowna, British Columbia

Bruce has worked in diverse school districts, maintaining a relentless commitment to building positive and collaborative school cultures of learning. Bruce leads his team in building a dynamic, inclusive culture of thinking within a 21st century learning context. He maintains that “questions are the fuel of thinking, and thinking the engine of learning”. Under his leadership, Chute Lake piloted the district’s first elementary International Baccalaureate (IB) program. The academic results from Chute Lake reflect students performing at or above the district’s results. To make deep change happen, Bruce encouraged staff to build their professional capacity in terms of learning, thinking, using assessments, data, and questions to move the school’s vision to reality. He has published instructional resources, presented locally, and provincially. He is an innovative leader making a difference.

Rose McQuay
École Notre Dame High School,
Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools,
Red Deer, Alberta

Rose is an innovative and a life-long learner keeping current with evidence-based practices. Her cutting-edge work with staff on differentiation is being implemented across the district’s seventeen schools. At a previous school, Rose championed a pilot of full day, every day kindergarten for identified students who would benefit from the extended instructional exposure. By February of that year, 84% of the students had met their year-end requirements. Now at Notre Dame, Rose is leading staff in implementing Response to Intervention in their morning blocks and flex-Friday sessions giving students a choice of over 50 sessions to select from for programming needs and interests. Working with the Red Deer College Deans, Rose is piloting a dual credit program in Health Care, and enabling students to complete their Automotive Apprenticeship while completing their high school diploma. She is speaking across the province championing these innovations in programming. Rose remains a positive leadership force in transforming learning so that all students benefit.

Christine Meaden
Education Centre,
Calgary Board of Education,
Calgary, Alberta

Christine has gained a reputation possessing a deep understanding of implementing evidence-based initiatives to move the learning agenda forward in schools. During her tenure at Robert Thirsk High she encouraged the use of data analysis to monitor progress. Visibility, in terms of achieving outcomes and competencies, were increased, so that students took more ownership for mastering learning. As a result, students are engaged and achievement results have increased. She is passionate about developing enabling learning environments and led the implementation of the provincial High School Redesign Project at Robert Thirsk. This involves teachers collaboratively using the Teaching Effectiveness Framework to develop challenging and inspirational learning tasks. Under her leadership, her staff developed partnership projects with businesses making learning relevant and problem-based. Christine is credited for seeing possibilities in her staff and mentoring them to build their leadership capacities.

Michelle Newlands
King's Road Public School,
Halton District School Board,
Burlington, Ontario

Michelle is a strategic leader who believes that practices and resources need to be aligned and refined within an environment of academic optimism and a positive mindset. She has explored ways to increase student self-efficacy and parent engagement and has championed the exploration of relevant and authentic social justice issues. She has encouraged community partnerships to take learning beyond the school’s walls and subjects such as math and science are now linked to outdoor learning. Community partners come in and read with students. Under her watch literacy pervades King’s Road Public School. Technology has been enhanced in classrooms and tasks have become richer, taking students deeper into the curriculum. King’s Road has become a “true learning school” with students now more willing to take on challenges and show their skills. Michelle continues to make a profound impact, expanding life learning opportunities for students and setting them on the road to success.

Isabelle Obeid
Portland Estates Elementary School,
Halifax Regional School Board,
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

Isabelle strives to ensure supportive and inclusive relationships for all students, especially those with special needs. Her beliefs and values have impacted teachers, students and their families at Portland Estates Elementary School. She makes herself accessible and provides ongoing feedback to her teachers about goal setting, differentiating and targeted teaching/learning interventions and strategies. Isabelle has deeply altered culture at Portland Estates, especially within Student Services and empowering student voice. In response to student requests, Isabelle explored obstacles to issues arising during lunch, and with student input, she has lessened noise, created structures, purchased board games and empowered student leadership. She exudes academic optimism and sees possibilities and opportunities, where others may see challenges. Isabelle says, “You have to believe every student can achieve, you do it with your heart and your heart will drive you to get things done”.

Marie-France Paquette
École élémentaire catholique Marius-Barbeau,
Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est,
Ottawa, Ontario

Marie-France is an energetic change agent at École élémentaire catholique Marius-Barbeau introducing numerous initiatives to increase student achievement. She created a Student Success Centre at the school and established homework clinics in Numeracy and Literacy that ran after school and on Saturdays to reinforce needed skills and knowledge. Teachers work with students using Open-ended Problem Solving, honing students’ ability to reason and think critically. Using the Positive Behaviourial Interventions and Supports model, Marie-France introduced Friends for Life to teach students to strengthen resiliency and reduce stress. Another innovative program involves seniors invited in to read with students in an intergenerational supportive environment through Grand-parents Écoute. Under her leadership, student results on the provincial EQAO have dramatically increased and Marius-Barbeau became Ontario’s first francophone eco-school to receive a gold medal for sustainable development.

Dawn Paylor
Lakeview Elementary School,
Northwest School Division,
Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan

Dawn is a committed educator deeply involved in promoting positive behaviours and increasing student outcomes in literacy. She willingly shares her knowledge in balancing social and academic interventions. Under her leadership, the Response to Intervention program has been successfully implemented at Lakeview Elementary School, promoting differentiation and personalization for a variety of learners while reinforcing positive classroom behaviours. Dawn was recognized by her peers and called upon to assist in the writing of a provincial literacy document aimed at school-based administrators. She models the leadership and behaviours she expects and is intentionally present and visible to support teachers in their explorations in learning communities. Dawn promotes trusting, caring relationships while maintaining high expectations for all learners.

Marylene Perron
Parkdale Elementary School,
English Montreal School Board,
Saint-Laurent, Québec

Marylene believes that schools must maximize every student’s learning. She has instituted a Balanced Literacy approach with uninterrupted blocks for guided and shared practice and Parkdale Elementary School has seen literacy rates doubled. Grade 6 student success rates on the end of cycle assessments increased from 68% to 81%. Teaching and learning strategies at Parkdale Elementary School consistently employ evidence-based practices and Marylene has placed an emphasis on building, reinforcing, and monitoring collaborative relationships with staff, which has re-energized them. Under her leadership, there is more embedded technology, tutoring, and consultant support. A renewed transition to high school was developed to scaffold success and build confidence in Parkdale’s students. Marylene’s academic optimism towards her students has made lasting impacts on their future learning and success.

Christine Roy
St. John the Baptist - King Edward School,
Anglophone South School District,
Saint John, New Brunswick

Christine is an inspiring leader. Early in her tenure, her school dealt with a community tragedy and Christine initiated strategies to re-build and support students, families and staff. She adopted a model of collaborative problem solving for trauma sensitive schools. Teachers received coaching and training to deal with differentiation tactics, tiered and targeted interventions, and behavioural and mental health issues. A Program Room was established for students requiring more frequent breaks, sensory inputs, and chunking and reinforcing of positive social skills. Under her leadership, assemblies celebrate student actions and explore monthly themes dealing with positive experiences and behaviours. There are direct supports for students, including a fixed literacy block with guided practice, highly subsidized lunches, after-school tutoring, and ongoing targeted engagement of families. The collective impact of these interventions and practices is making a difference, evident in the corresponding increase in literacy scores. Christine reminds everyone, “kids are the reason we’re here, and it is all about them”.

Md. Abdus Salam
Inuujaq School,
Qikiqtani School Operations,
Arctic Bay, Nunavut

Abdus’ broad range of experiences and perspectives has assisted him in honing his leadership and collaboration skills. He is working diligently to establish a culture of learning at Inuujaq School, partnering with the community to engage Elders and other Inuit leaders to develop culturally responsive curriculum and programming. Some recent initiatives include: Balanced Literacy with formalized literacy blocks K-9, targeted resource withdrawal for struggling readers, spring camps for on-the-land experiences honouring Inuit heritage, nutrition programs, Science Fairs, Attendance Awards, school clubs and forums designed to engage students. There are monthly parent-teacher meetings and breakfast events to which parents and community members are invited. Abdus has increased the acquisition of technology to support digital literacy and student data tracking has led to improved student outcomes.

Manuela Sequeira 
St. Clare Catholic Elementary School,
Toronto Catholic District School Board,
Toronto, Ontario

Manuela is a stand-out leader whose strength lies in her ability to mobilize her team to improve student achievement. She has had a profound impact on schools throughout her career, including transforming her previous school into a high-performing provincial success story. She brought the same qualities of passion and commitment to St. Clare Catholic Elementary School and seeks to improve outcomes for all students. At St. Mary of the Angels Catholic School, Manuela gathered student data, created data walls, and student progress was tracked and analyzed. Resources were acquired including technology to support the school’s learning directions. In all of her schools she has sought to have teacher learning intentional, focused, purposeful and evidence-informed, directed to improving student outcomes. Manuela is committed to make teaching and learning in her school the top priority.

Ryan Sikkes
Vanier Catholic Secondary School,
Yukon Department of Education,
Whitehorse, Yukon

Ryan’s supporters describe him as a ‘master teacher’. He mentors and supports both teachers and students, building a culture of ‘success for all’, at Vanier Catholic Secondary School. Ryan interviews prospective students and parents to give them a better understanding of the unique programming at Vanier. Under his leadership, staff work out a chunked orientation program to ease student transitions, and while cognizant of the challenges facing their students, teachers employ scaffolded and targeted strategies for success. Ryan strives to ensure curriculum is culturally relevant and there are now more educational assistants, and peer tutors available at Vanier to assist in the teaching/learning process. Ryan supports innovative practices. The humanities are “taught as a linear unit” and science and mathematics are deliberately linked. For students, “no one is left out and no one overlooked”. For Ryan, his aim is success for each and every student attending Vanier Catholic Secondary School.

Cathy Standring
Ray Lawson Public School,
Peel District School Board,
Brampton, Ontario

Cathy has leadership expertise in the primary, junior and intermediate divisions, including the establishment of two new schools and these experiences combined with Cathy’s enthusiasm and commitment to excellence shaped her “as a leader of leaders”. Ray Lawson Public School is socio-economically diverse, multicultural, multiracial and multilingual. Cathy has built an inclusive community where equity matters. All school members have opportunities to be involved in varying levels of leadership. Students can be Lawson Lieutenant Governors, Ambassadors, Green Team Leaders, and Council members, “finding the leader within”. Cathy builds trusting respectful relationships with staff, students, parents and the broader community. She has aligned evidence-based initiatives to move student learning forward and nurtures a “culture of shared responsibility” and collective commitments. Cathy presents new members of the Ray Lawson community with a carabineer, similar to what mountain climbers use to “lock-on” to success. Cathy builds capacity of staff and students. Being an instructional leadership champion is embedded in everything she does.

Tim Taylor
Dr. Isman Elementary School,
Prairie Valley School Division No. 208,
Wolseley, Saskatchewan

Tim is a hands-on leader who encourages a culture of mutual learning and respect among staff so that they can effectively learn with their students. Tim established professional learning committees to allow teachers the time to drill down on skills, concepts, and effective practices for student learning. He and his staff use student data to determine the priorities in their Learning Improvement Plan and innovative instructional groupings were created to facilitate and maximize learning. Tim schedules himself to work with teachers in math classes supporting a range of learners, which has contributed to increased achievement in mathematics and reading across the grades. The school offers a wide variety of clubs, teams and extra-curricular activities that promote collaboration and well-being. In a recent survey, 92% of students reported feeling safe in school, which was up from a previous 79%. Tim understands the importance for all students to be supported not only intellectually but also physically and emotionally.

France Thibault
Glebe Collegiate Institute,
Ottawa Carleton District School Board,
Ottawa, Ontario

France has a wealth of expertise from positions at a variety of Ottawa schools as well as international experience. Her dedication to improving learning opportunities for students led to her founding of School-for-All, which trains volunteers and teachers in Kenya, Tanzania, and Mali. France is the consummate instructional leader, blending data and evidence-based practices. Teacher evaluations are more about professional learning and collaboration, than appraisals. The achievement of students at Glebe Collegiate Institute is at the forefront of everything that happens at the school. Over 90% of students are successful on the grade 10 provincial OSSLT. Progress for each student is tracked, monitored and there are ongoing interventions put in place for supports. Student success for all is France’s mantra reflected in the increase in the results of both the students in applied and academic programming. France motivates, inspires and generates trust among staff and students, leading to student success.

Kevin Whitrow
Colonel Gray Senior High School,
English Language School Board,
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

Kevin consistently empowers others to excel. He works collaboratively with staff on building their skills and knowledge, creating a trusting and safe environment for innovation. Kevin promotes community partnerships to create additional opportunities for students. He initiated a police program in conjunction with the Charlottetown Police making the school safer and building positive police/student relationships. With police support, there are new programs dealing with issues of internet safety, citizenship, and online bullying. Understanding that attendance is a factor in continued student success and engagement, Kevin introduced a new attendance and tracking program that provides another data set in addition to electronic marks. These are used to target interventions for at-risk learners required to improve their academic and social/emotional outcomes. The program is now being implemented across PEI. Kevin is an instructional leader with a keen understanding of teaching methods. He ensures that staff are on the cutting edge of the landscape of learning.

David Yaciuk
Agnes Taylor Public School,
Peel District School Board,
Brampton, Ontario

David brings a wide variety of diverse experiences to Agnes Taylor Public School. He champions greater integration of technology and digital literacy, and is focused on building citizenship and positive behaviours through reinforcing the school’s code of conduct. David is an advocate for citizenship and safe and secure schools and under his leadership, Agnes Taylor Public School was recognized for one of the Premier’s Accepting and Safe Schools award in 2014. He designed a timetable that enabled literacy blocks and common grade level planning times. There are more cross-curricular opportunities and student data is gathered from a variety of sources and used to target interventions. As a result, provincial EQAO results have increased. David’s vision, passion and unrelenting focus on improving teaching and learning have led to discernable differences and increased achievement at Agnes Taylor Public School.