Amina Timol might just be one of the country’s best principals.
The head of Dublin Heights Elementary and Middle School has been honoured by The Learning Partnership, a group dedicated to improving education, as one of Canada’s top principals.
The group’s president and CEO, Veronica Lacey, said she typically doesn’t know the winning principals but that Timol is one she can vouch for.
“I have known Amina for many, many years so I can speak personally about an individual who has, without exaggeration, dedicated her life to the education of children,” Lacey said. “She profoundly believes that through education every child will have an equal opportunity to follow their destiny, to have greater opportunities to be successful personally and professionally.”
As a child, Timol grew up in South Africa before moving to Canada to pursue a career in teaching. She said the very first job interview of her life was with the North York School Board. Although it was winter Timol said she did not yet own any winter clothing. Wearing her best summer outfit, Timol was offered a teaching position at the end of the interview and instantly accepted.
Teaching is a profession that tends to receive a fair amount of attention and recognition, says Lacey. The same cannot be said for being a principal.
“Typically, we don’t recognize the importance of principals and the role that they play in determining the quality of education that children receive in their schools,” she said. “What we know, from an extensive body of research, is that you cannot have a great school without a great principal.”
Timol headed six schools before moving to Dublin Heights, where she has spent the last four years.
“In every one of those schools she has done the same thing,” Lacey said. “She has worked with the parents and the teachers and focused her attention on children who are not achieving.”
Dublin Heights caters to a variety of children including academically gifted students and those who are hearing impaired or have limited mobility. Timol said she considers having a variety of programs advantageous rather than a challenging as they can lead students to become more accepting of others.
“I don’t see challenge as a negative word,” she said. “I just see the word challenge as a catalyst for action.”
With each school year a new group of students will arrive bringing with them a new set of challenges. But for Timol, it also brings rewards.
“My absolute favourite part is when I walk through the school and the kids greet me with energy and enthusiasm,” she said. “That is that day-to-day connection of being a principal.”
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