Outstanding achievement for principal


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This article was published 01/02/2016 (2503 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

If you get sent to the office at Brooklands School, you’ll have some pretty good company.

Brooklands principal Rex Ferguson-Baird was recently named one of Canada’s Outstanding Principals by The Learning Partnership, a national charitable organization committed to enhancing publicly funded education. This is the 12th year for the Canada’s Outstanding Principals program.  

Ferguson-Baird and 39 other principals will be awarded for their exemplary educational leadership at a gala on Feb. 23 in Toronto.

Supplied photo Brooklands School principal Rex Ferguson-Baird was recently named one of Canada’s Outsanding Principals by The Learning Partnership.

Ferguson-Baird, who is in his eighth year at Brooklands, is quick to credit the strength of the school’s staff and St. James-Assiniboia School Division for the honour. As a principal, he said he’s particularly strong at spotting the needs of his students.

“I’m pretty strong at looking at census data, collecting information from the community, and responding to their needs in different and creative ways,” he said.

Examples of that include Brooklands School’s daily free breakfast program, a daily kindergarten phys-ed program and the Grow Your Own Library program.

“We put a brand-new book in the hand of every kindergarten and Grade 1 student every month. We do that because we know from our EDI (early development instrument) data that many of our students aren’t exposed to books and good literature before they come to school.

“I was able to find a community member who made a donation to our school to supply books and then our literacy teacher hands them out. I go to the classroom, I read the book with the kids and then every kid gets a copy to keep in their own library at home.”

Ferguson-Baird said he’s also quite good at securing partnerships in the community to help meet the needs of his students.

“We have a partnership with the Salvation Army where they run a program here called Red Cap, an anger management program,” he said. “We partner with the Winnipeg Jets True North Foundation. We partner with the University of Winnipeg women’s basketball team. Coach (Tanya) McKay comes here and runs an after-school program on Tuesdays. The Mobile Mini Soccer Program comes in the spring and sets up at our school.”

In addition to the gala, the 40 outstanding principals will attend a five-day leadership program at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.

Ferguson-Baird said he’s excited to meet and learn from his colleagues. His own approach to leading an inner-city school will certainly be beneficial to his fellow outstanding principals.  

“When I look at newcomer families or indigenous families or families that are living in poverty, I don’t necessarily think of them as groups. They’re just people,” he said.

“Whoever comes to our school, that’s who we’re going to work with. We’re going to meet you where you’re at. We’re going to do anything we can to create educational opportunities for your kids.”

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