Good schools have good principals.
Earl Haig Secondary School has Beverley Ohashi.
An educator for 34 years and a principal at the Willowdale area high school for eight, Ohashi recently received recognition for her work from the Canada’s Outstanding Principals award, from the Learning Partnership, a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to strong public education systems in Canada.
Nominated by a group of parents, school board officials and teachers, Ohashi says she received the nomination letter at the end of December but didn’t think much of it at the time.
She was nominated for her ability to interact with at-risk students in a way that builds trust and helps them take ownership for their learning with dignity.
It is Ohashi’s first education award. She said it is an honour and a privilege to receive it, and stands firmly in the belief that it is reflective of all teachers and individuals who support her.
She said it is rewarding “to see the success of our students and staff that work so hard each day.”
The award was given to 32 principals across Canada this year that have made a significant difference in the lives of their students and school community.
“Principals set the tone for the school and this program was developed to recognize these outstanding leaders in education,” said Jon Powell, manager of the Canada’s Outstanding Principals program.
Earl Haig is comprised of 2,200 students, 130 staff members, with more than 90 clubs and councils and 35 sports teams.
“It’s a school that’s large, but they don’t get lost because they find a way to connect with smaller groups and feel like they are part of it,” says Ohashi.
With the outstanding academic records and vast variety of extracurricular activities, Earl Haig stands as one of the top high schools in Canada. In 2004 it was selected by Maclean’s magazine as the top school in Canada for its clubs and councils. About 95 percent of graduates are accepted into post-secondary education.
Earl Haig is also home to the Claude Watson Arts Program, which has specialized programs in drama, dance, visual arts, music, and film. Ohashi is a key player in the development of the screen arts program, helping students pursue a career in film and television.
As a prize, Ohashi has been invited to attend a five-day executive leadership management course at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, and will be inducted into the National Academy of Principals. A gala celebration dinner is being planned and a half-page ad will run in the Globe and Mail to recognize the achievements of the 2010 award winners.
—Hera Chan is a student at Earl Haig SS
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