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Principal honoured
Carolyn Carroll to be named one of Canada's outstanding principals

Paul Bickford
Northern News Services
Monday, February 13, 2017

Carolyn Carroll has been chosen one of Canada's outstanding principals for 2017.

Carroll, who is principal of both Harry Camsell School and Princess Alexandra School, said she was surprised by the honour from The Learning Partnership, a national organization.

"It was an unexpected honour. I have to acknowledge, though, that it's not just me," she said, explaining she shares the honour with her staff, students, the Hay River District Education Authority, parents and the community.

"Nobody gets to have an unexpected honour like that all by themselves," she said. "It comes with a lot of hard work and a lot of support from others."

Carroll admitted to being a little bit overwhelmed by the award.

Each year, The Learning Partnership recognizes 40 exceptional principals from every province and territory.

The 2017 winners will join the ranks of the National Academy of Canada's Outstanding Principals, which now boasts more than 400 members.

Carroll has been principal for four years at Harry Camsell School, which contains kindergarten to Grade 3, and Princess Alexandra School, which has Grades 4 to 7.

She was nominated for the award because of her innovative practices and effective leadership.

Carroll will travel to Toronto for a gala dinner and awards ceremony on Feb. 28.

The award includes a week-long executive leadership training program at the University of Toronto's prestigious Rotman School of Management.

Carroll, a 30-year educator in the NWT, has implemented new programs, such as intensive French, and facilitated change that has resulted in significant shifts in the culture of her two schools, and in the way instruction is provided and assessment is used to inform decision-making.

She instituted a system for collecting student data and placing it all in an easy-to-read class record.

"I am immensely proud of Ms. Carroll, who is highly deserving of this national honour," stated Dr. Curtis Brown, superintendent of the South Slave Divisional Education Council, in a Jan. 31 news release.

Brown said Carroll combines the skills of an effective manager with those of an exemplary leader, who provides vision, inspiration and effective guidance for change and improvement.

Carroll said she focuses on student achievement and improvement.

"We really work with the kids and we use their assessments for decision-making and improvement," she explained. "We analyze our data. We start where the kids are, and take them where they need to be. And I'm happy to say that our assessments show that they are on par in literacy and numeracy with students across the country."

Carroll has been an educator in Hay River for almost 20 years.

"I guess to make a long story short, in my career I've taught everything from k to Grade 8, and I've done some teaching with Aurora College," she said. "I taught an early childhood education program at Aurora College."

The Newfoundland native began her NWT teaching career in Wekweeti before moving on to Whati and then Behchoko before arriving in Hay River with her husband, Gerard Carroll, who is a teacher at Diamond Jenness Secondary School.

Carolyn Carroll said she started a career in education because she loves working with children.

"I love the challenge of ensuring that every child is the best they can be and all careers are open to them," she said, noting she works hard to motivate students and to ensure they attend school.

Carroll is not sure if being principal of two schools was a factor in her receiving the national award.

"It's a little unusual in the fact that I'm principal in two different buildings," she said. "However, when I look at it in terms of being a principal of a K-7 school, it's not unusual at all."

She spends mornings in one school and afternoons in the other.

Carroll is the fourth principal from the education council to be named among Canada's outstanding principals, joining Al Karasiuk of Paul William Kaeser High School in Fort Smith and Mo Odeen and Dan Summers, two former principals of Fort Resolution's Deninu School.

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