It didn’t take long for Ricky Goldenberg to make her mark as principal of Marc Garneau Collegiate.
After only two short years at the helm of the Flemingdon-area high school, Goldenberg was recently named one of Canada’s outstanding principals for her efforts in creating a healthier, more active school environment.
Nominated by the school community, including colleagues, parents and students, Goldenberg is one of only 32 principals across the country to receive the Outstanding Principals award from The Learning Partnership, an organization that recognizes the work of principals in publicly funded schools.
It’s likely Goldenberg’s devotion to her students that led to the national recognition.
“I want every student to succeed,” Goldenberg said. “I want every student to feel pride with what they are doing.”
In order to do that, Goldenberg first had to tackle hunger in the classroom.
When many students told Goldenberg they weren’t finding the time or money for food in the morning, Goldenberg helped facilitate a student-led breakfast program at the school.
The program, which also includes a snack provision on alternate weekdays, is a hit with students and staff alike.
Under Goldenberg’s leadership, staff have also taken aim at the rate of students skipping class.
“My admin works very hard to be in the halls at the beginning of every period to get students moving to class,” she said. “This reduces the skipping problem.”
Encouraged by her students’ ideas, Goldenberg has also helped facilitate more extracurricular involvement in the school, including entrepreneurship programs where students get out in the work force to gain experience in the community.
The school now boasts over 70 clubs and groups.
Goldenberg said she is humbled by her students’ work.
“If they have an idea they take that idea and run with it,” she said.
And the changing school environment has had a positive effect on students, it would seem.
“You actually feel like coming to school,” said grade 12 student Nyasha Mpofu.
Like a proud mother, Goldenberg credits the students with working hard to improve their school experience.
It’ll pay off for them later, she said.
“You will be hearing from some of these students within five years or so.”
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