Rarely do occasions like this come along, but we are delighted to announce that Mrs. Margaret McCullough has recently been awarded one of the extremely prestigious Prime Minister’s Awards for Teaching Excellence. Only 35 of these awards were presented nationally this year, such is the high level of quality and selection criteria.
Details of the award and the selection criteria can be found here:http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/pmate-ppmee.nsf/eng/wz02133.html
Some context needs to be added to this message so we can all understand how much of a highlight such a recognition is. As referenced above, only 35 awards were given out nationally; there are 41,000 teachers in BC alone, so the small number of awards demonstrates how the recipients are at the very pinnacle of our profession.
It is also noteworthy that the overall process requires a good number of highly detailed and personalized recommendations from a broad base of constituents. For Margaret this included glowing endorsements from her students, from a good number of current parents, from her colleagues, from the Middle School Principal, from alum and from respected ‘pillars’ of our society. Everyone who wrote a recommendation was delighted to do so.
The process is long, detailed and difficult by intention and design—not something for the faint-hearted to enter into! Likewise, many nominations do not receive a final award and the nomination committee is focused on their objectivity and in ensuring that the very high standards espoused in the Prime Minister’s Award are kept at the forefront of their considerations.
On a personal level I am delighted for Margaret. I see this as a justly fitting recognition for the many ways and means she has engaged so many students in their scientific, creative, enquiry-based approaches to science both in and out of the classroom over the years. She has given many students a sense of voice and identity and has always made them feel that they can make a difference. We all know these are easy things to say, but they are incredibly hard things to actually ‘do’.
Margaret has done just that and I am delighted to say that we will be recognizing this wonderful award in a range of different ways, starting with the actual formal presentation of her award later this year. We would have asked Stephen Harper himself to help us out here, but Margaret has told me that she would prefer a politician a little closer to home and so we will be inviting Murray Rankin in as part of the proceedings.
This is a great achievement and I, and all of us, should be justly proud of Margaret and for all that she has done for GNS.
by Jake Burnett, Middle School Principal