:: Superintendent's Notebook - May 2012
One of the best things about my job is meeting the quiet heroes who shape our District's identity, character and ambitions. At a recent event, I had the pleasure to help honour 20 provincial semi-finalists for the Excellence in Teaching awards, as well as four outstanding individuals for our Excellence in Leadership awards. There's no doubt about it: this group deserved their time in the spotlight.
That evening, I heard incredible stories of what happens when people strive to connect with others. As our semi-finalists and leadership honourees came up to the stage to receive their awards, the audience listened to excerpts from their nomination papers. The words of parents, students and colleagues demonstrated how greatly they respected and admired our recipients.
One parent expressed her gratitude for a semi-finalist who helped her son completely change the way he thought about himself. For the longest time, he felt he wasn't very bright and couldn't learn. Through her unique teaching approach and caring attitude, this teacher turned that negative opinion around, and now he's a stronger reader and writer - a more confident kid who believes in himself and enjoys going to school. Still other educators are leading social causes that allow students to learn about their own capacity to rebuild, and even more profoundly, save lives in developing countries. And every day, youth are experiencing breakthroughs and nurturing their passion for different subjects because of the enthusiasm and creativity their teachers bring to their lesson plans.
The praise for our Excellence in Leadership award recipients was equally as impressive. Regarded as tenacious, energetic and collaborative, this group included a principal, head custodian, curriculum co-ordinator and department head. They were honoured for their ability to think outside the box, build positive, welcoming environments in their schools and offices, and rally colleagues to support and successfully complete projects considered to be too difficult or even impossible to undertake.
As Superintendent, when I hear about staff who tell our students, "I won't let you fail," and who are known by their colleagues for being "visionary, tireless, passionate and inspiring," I'm convinced our District is a place where employees and learners see themselves not in terms of their limitations, but rather, their potential for greatness.