York principals are exceptional educators

A Thornhill principal, recognized a champion of students with special needs, is one of Canada’s outstanding principals.

The Learning Partnership, a national charity dedicated to enhancing publicly-funded education in Canada, says Krysten Cameron, of German Mills Public School in Thornhill, “models a growth mindset and champions inclusion for students with special needs.” Through Canada’s Outstanding Principals program, now in its 14th year, the organization recognizes the vital contributions of principals in publicly-funded schools.

Recognizing the importance of an inviting learning environment, Cameron acquired flexible seating options, including standing tables, exercise balls and wobble seats. Digital technologies are also used to extend learning beyond the classroom.

Among the 40 principals recognized this year is another York Region District School Board (YRDSB) educator, Donna Ford of Roselawn Public School in Richmond Hill. Ford was lauded for exploring ways to acknowledge and reduce anxiety and mental health issues for students. Together, with her team, a mental health protocol was developed through the Mentor and Advocate for Student Health and Well-being (MASH) team.

The 40 principals, nominated by parents, colleagues and community members, were chosen by a national selection committee. They are celebrated for demonstrating innovation, leadership and for employing creativity in finding solutions and opportunities within their school communities. They were honoured at an annual gala, held on Feb. 27, in Toronto.

“They are the catalyst for connecting students, educators, families and the community together and we recognize their indispensable contributions to helping Canada continue as global leaders in education,” said Ron Canuel, president and CEO of The Learning Partnership.

Award recipients were invited to attend a five-day executive leadership training program at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. They will also participate in The World of Work: Equity and Inclusion, where they have the opportunity to learn from leaders in business, health and education.

“Congratulations to Donna and Krysten on receiving this honour,” said Louise Sirisko, YRDSB director of education. “(They) are representative of the many principals across our board who work every day to support student achievement and success.”

The local board is the third largest school district in Ontario with more than 124,000 students in 177 elementary schools and 33 secondary schools.

Pictured are Krysten Cameron, on the left, and Donna Ford.

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