The New Year is always an exciting time at The Learning Partnership. We are looking forward to another year of programs, striving to make each one better than the last time. As it happens the first program of the calendar is one that yours truly works on. Canada’s Outstanding Principals. Each year, The Learning Partnership recognizes 40 principals from across Canada for their stellar contributions to education.
Let me give you a little background to better appreciate the scenario. As many readers might know, education in Canada is a provincial responsibility. There’s no federal ministry or authority of any kind. Therefore it’s not often that educators from around the country get a chance to interact and share ideas. Importantly, opportunities for principal recognition at a national level don’t really exist, except for The Learning Partnership’s Canada’s Outstanding Principals program.
That’s what makes our program unique and important. Firstly it is a Canada-wide accolade for outstanding achievement for principals and then the awardees spend a week together in one of the leading business schools in the land, learning about leadership in education. The principals also huddle together discussing their own experiences and hard earned first-hand knowledge.
Canada’s Outstanding Principals’ Executive Leadership program is held at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. The days are packed with a wide range of informative courses ranging from the implications of global economics for Canadian schools to the finer points of leadership as gleaned from Shakespeare’s Henry V, as well as leaders in business, education and communities. And if the course work looks daunting, there is still time to celebrate these truly remarkable principals at the glittering awards gala. There might not be any paparazzi but we do roll out the red carpet for these stars of Canadian education. The executive program and the gala make a good story that I’ll save for another day.
As a former principal I can tell you this is a truly wonderful opportunity for principals. Over the last 10 years the program has recognized 350 principals from coast to coast to coast. The contenders for the 2015 list are indeed worthy successors. They come from all provinces and territories. The task for the selection committee is not an easy one. Yours truly is working hard, and enjoying every minute of it, to get everything ready to ensure the committee members have all the material to judge the contenders on equal merit and make informed decisions. That’s still a few weeks away, meanwhile at The Learning Partnership, we are sparing no effort to ensure the 2015 Canada’s Outstanding Principals program is a memorable one.
Jon Powell is a retired principal. After working 40 years in Canada’s largest school board, he now takes singular pride in his leadership role in the Canada’s Outstanding Principals program.