France Thibault wins 
Outstanding Principal Award

Sutton & Matesta March 2016 France Thibault photo

France Thibault, principal of Glebe Collegiate Institute, has been awarded Canada’s Outstanding Principal Award for 2016.
credit: Courtesy of GCI

By Bethany Sutton and Carol Malatesta

France Thibault, principal of Glebe Collegiate Institute, has been awarded Canada’s Outstanding Principal Award for 2016. The award recognizes outstanding contributions of principals in Canada’s publicly funded schools. Thibault was honoured along with 39 other principals from every Canadian province and territory at a gala event on February 23, 2016, at the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel in Toronto. Winners of the award, sponsored by The Learning Partnership, benefit from an exclusive five-day executive leadership-training program at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.

Canada’s Outstanding Principal Award goes to principals “who demonstrate innovation and entrepreneurial spirit, and who have done something truly remarkable in public education.” The fact that Thibault won is no surprise to the staff, students and parents at Glebe who are inspired daily by her innovative, creative and progressive leadership. Under Thibault, Glebe has continued to improve its track record of leadership in academic excellence, which has been recognized provincially, nationally, and even internationally.

The submission for the Outstanding Principal Award, led by Matt Armstrong, vice principal at Glebe CI, highlights Thibault’s strengths in several key areas: professional learning and experience; personal growth; partnerships with families and communities; and leadership in innovation, student achievement and instruction. According to Armstrong, Thibault is “without peer when it comes to knowledge of the curriculum and instructional practice,” and continually researches new and innovative practices in teaching. Thibault is a leader among

educational leaders in Ottawa and sits on the Ottawa Carleton District School Board’s French as a Second Language Working Group, participates in cross-curricular lesson studies in mathematics and history, and is a strong advocate of student voice and accountable talk in the classroom. Her focus on creating a holistic learning environment for both students and staff while always putting student needs at the forefront has had a direct and measurable impact on student achievement. An example is the considerable improvement in the school’s literacy scores from 84 – 86 per cent to 90 – 92 per cent of students achieving the provincial benchmark.

Thibault is also recognized for her ability to connect and create meaningful partnerships with the wider school community. Thibault established the Glebe Fit program in partnership with GNAG that delivers fitness classes to Glebe students and staff under grants from the Ministry of Education. Thibault forged a partnership at the Terry Fox Run last September with two other Ottawa high schools to march to Parliament Hill where she spoke passionately to the thousands in attendance about the importance of stewardship and civic mindedness in the 21st century. The walk, which encouraged families to participate with students, raised a record breaking $19,000 for cancer research. And the school is now starting to focus on partnerships with the non-profit sector under Thibault’s direction.

Thibault’s career in education is rich with accomplishments, both in Canada and abroad, too many to list in one article. Staff, students and parents are thrilled to have such a terrific leader at the helm of one of Ottawa’s best schools.

Congratulations to France from all of us.

Bethany Sutton and Carol Malatesta are co-chairs of the Glebe School Council, Glebe Collegiate Institute.

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