Erin Johnston says she is a "bit shell-shocked" to be one of 40 chosen by The Learning Partnership as Canada's Outstanding Principals for 2017.

"It's an unbelievable honour," said Johnston, principal at Prince Street Elementary in Charlottetown.

"I really was a bit shell-shocked when I first heard. I certainly don't walk around looking for any sort of recognition other than kids learning and families growing. I'm humbled."

Now in its 13th year, The Learning Partnership, is a national charity that promotes educational leadership. Principals are nominated by colleagues, parents, and community members. A national selection committee chooses the top 40.

Vice principal Kelly Gillis put Johnson's name forward for consideration. She said it was an easy decision.

'Kids love to come to school'

"You couldn't find someone who cares more about kids," she explained.

"Someone who cares more about about student achievement and really helping students be the best they can be. She helps to motivate everyone in the building to do that, and all with a sense of humour, a smile."

The Learning Partnership credits Johnston's enthusiasm, dedication and experience across all levels of teaching to allow her to affect change.

Kelly Gillis and Erin Johnston

Vice principal Kelly Gillis nominated Johnston for the prestigious award.

"Erin is always looking to the next step to see how we can make the school better," said Gillis.

'Connections are how we afford kids the opportunities to learn.' - Erin Johnston

"How we can learn more as a staff, so that ultimately we can help our students learn more. Kids love coming to school.  They love learning from her. We all strive to work as hard as we can, because we see it everyday."

"It's what makes the school, building relationships with kids and with parents," added Johnston.

"Connections are how we afford kids the opportunities to learn, and if we don't have connections with kids and they don't believe we care about them, then we're not going to get anywhere."

The 2017 winners will be honoured at a gala Feb. 28 in Toronto and will also take part in a week-long executive leadership training program at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management.