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Associated Alumni

Three alumni recognized as Canada’s outstanding principals

Inside every great school is a great principal.

Wayne Annis (MEd’00), Matthew Bedard (MEd’05) and Nancy Matthews (BEd’95) are among the most 'outstanding' in the country. Last month the three UNB alumni received the Learning Partnerships 2017 Outstanding Principals award. The distinction is awarded to principals who demonstrate innovation, entrepreneurial spirit, and who have done something 'truly remarkable' in public education.

Wayne Annis

Wayne Annis"A true community of learners does not happen by accident. It starts by discovering the academic and social needs of each student, then collaboratively putting those supports in place."

Wayne Annis is principal at Keswick Valley Memorial School in Burtts Corner, NB. He is a passionate advocate of inclusionary practices, purposeful engagement and increased learning opportunities for all students. Students participate as active citizens in a variety of community volunteer roles, including volunteer firefighters and recreational coaches, to build self-confidence, resilience and self-regulation.

Collaborating with the Keswick River Society, Annis facilitated a school-wide innovation in education initiative with an eco-focus entitled Project Create. Annis uses a purposeful team approach with staff, while applying student achievement data to make informed decisions to establish goals, inform their improvement plan, and monitor students’ progress.

Early learning is a high priority at his school. Annis helped facilitate a community partnership with Child-Parent LINKS, which provides free access to interactive learning experiences for students. Annis also held information workshops for parents to build their capacity to support the learning and developmental needs of their children.

Matthew Bedard

Matthew Bedard"The biggest part of my role is relationship building and setting the dynamic with students and parents. Each one has to be successful. We need a common sight."

Matthew Bedard is principal at Seawood Elementary School in Saint John, NB. He brings a holistic approach to education, enhancing the academic and social needs of all students. He works hard to maintain trusting relationships with students, parents and staff, using the skills he gained as a certified regional and national coach, as well as expertise in threat and trauma assessment, suicide intervention, emergency first aid, and human rights training.

Bedard sees the potential and possibilities in all students and staff, and has instituted a number of school-wide initiatives to build collective capacity. This includes the mind up curriculum to build self-regulation and social/emotional well-being, arts programs and multi-age grouping to enrich curriculum outcomes. Seawood Elementary has evolved as a high-achieving school, with improved academic outcomes that are consistently higher than the district and province.

Nancy Matthews

Nancy Matthews"One accomplishment as principal that I am most proud of is creating an environment for effective teaching and learning through building a professional learning environment through teams."

Nancy Matthews is principal at Riverview Middle School in Riverview, NB. She has been recognized provincially for her outstanding educational leadership and is a published author on topics such as change management and data-driven decision making. Matthews coaches, mentors and models life-long learning. She created a student voice leadership group and developed, with staff, a Harry Potter week, where the adults, in costume, used Harry Potter as a vehicle to explore literacy, creativity and thinking.

Matthews also introduced healthy nutrition and champions the integration of technology. Due to Matthews’ leadership, more than 87 per cent of teachers feel supported, an increase from 22 per cent in 2007, and more than 87 per cent feel they have a voice in decision making at the school. Student achievement has also increased on district and provincial assessments.

Now celebrating its 14th year, The Learning Partnership’s Canada’s Outstanding Principals program recognizes the unique and vital contribution of principals in publicly funded schools. The 40 principals, nominated by parents, colleagues, and community members, and chosen by a national selection committee, are being celebrated for demonstrating innovation, leadership and for employing creativity in finding solutions and opportunities within their school communities. They were awarded for their accomplishments at the annual Canada’s Outstanding Principals gala on Feb. 28, in Toronto.

The winners also benefit from an exclusive five-day executive leadership training program at one of Canada’s top business schools, the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. The program will introduce them to leadership and management practices presented by business, government and education leaders as well as Rotman faculty. Principals also participate in The World of Work: Wellbeing and Resilience, a professional learning day hosted by CIBC, where they have the opportunity to learn about today’s workforce from leaders in business, health and education.

The 2017 winners will join the prestigious ranks of the National Academy of Canada’s Outstanding Principals, which now boasts over 400 members. The National Academy offers principals ongoing networking, mentoring and professional development opportunities so they can enhance their leadership skills.

“We are delighted to be celebrating these exceptional principals for their contributions to their schools and communities,” says Rod Thompson, director of executive leadership programs at The Learning Partnership. “Their dedication to building and leading teams of great teachers plays a vital role in positively impacting student achievement and success and we are elated to recognize these dynamic leaders in the Canadian public education system.”

Back to Alumni News Direct - March 2017