Global Site Navigation (use tab and down arrow)

Associated Alumni

Two alumni are Learning Partnerships 2016 Outstanding Principals

Deana Helton (BEd’84, DAUS’90) and Patrick Laskey (BA’87, MEd’01) are among 40 principals  recognized for their innovation and entrepreneurial spirit, and who have done something 'truly remarkable' in public education. The two have been named Learning Partnerships 2016 Outstanding Principals.

“I was initially in shock," says Helton, who works at Bishop McNally High school in Calgary, AB. "The thought of being recognized as one of a very select few principals for this prestigious award is just outstanding. I am very excited to join my colleagues in Toronto to discuss leadership, teaching and learning, and I’m looking forward to the five-day leadership-training seminar.”

The Learning Partnership recognized Helton as a 'passionate leader' who supports at-risk students in her school and inspires her students to reach their full potential.

“UNB and the faculty of education helped to form my foundational pedagogical beliefs that, after 31 years, still have me excited about education,” says Helton. “I have very fond memories of my time at UNB, including socials at Lady Dunn, being the athletic therapist for the field hockey team with coach Joyce Slipp, who I still consider as a very influential person in my career, and walking up the hill with bagpipes at Convocation."

Laskey, who works at Bayside Middle School in Saint John, NB, was awarded for his dedication to creating conditions for student success, ranging from suicide prevention initiatives to a ‘fidget toolkit’, which gives teachers the tools to help students when they become distracted.

“To be named one of the Learning Partnership's Outstanding Principals in Canada is a huge honour,” says Laskey. “A simple change in our approach to discipline has paid huge dividends. The focus has changed from wasting valuable instructional time disciplining the negative behavior of a small minority to rewarding the overwhelming majority of students who conduct themselves in a positive manner.”

Laskey says he’s most looking forward to attending the Executive Leadership Program in Toronto, offered through the Learning Partnership.

“It’s the opportunity to learn from and network with educational leaders from across Canada," he says. "I'm most interested to hear the successes that others are experiencing. Likewise, I would like to learn how colleagues deal with the systemic challenges that are present.”

As a student, Laskey studied at both UNB Saint John and UNB Fredericton.

“Both campuses had a profound impact on me professionally and personally," he says. "By going to UNB Saint John, I was able to remain in my hometown and receive a quality education. My professors knew me by name due to the smaller campus environment.

“I was able to attend UNB in Fredericton to pursue a MEd," he says. "I got to know my classmates very well and still communicate with many of them today. The MEd program presented a relevant curriculum, which prepared me for my role as a school administrator.”

Laskey's connection to UNB doesn't end with his degrees. His wife Leigh-Ann and son Patrick are both alumni and his other sons, Michael (BSc’15) and Tim, are enrolled in the master's of engineering and bachelor of business administration programs, respectively.

Helton and Laskey, along with the other 38 award winners, become members of the National Academy of Principals.

Back to Alumni News Direct - March 2016