Top of the world, top of the class: N.W.T., Nunavut educators among Canada's outstanding principals

Two principals from Nunavut and the N.W.T. were recognised for their outstanding work in their schools.

'I can't believe we get paid to do what we do. It's incredible,' says principal Rebecca Hainnu

Clyde River's Rebecca Hainnu, left, and Fort Resolution's Kate Powell are among Canada's most outstanding principals for 2018. (Submitted)

Principals from Clyde River, Nunavut, and Fort Resolution, N.W.T., were named among Canada's most outstanding principals of the year.

They are two of 40 outstanding principals from across the country selected in the annual list by the Learning Partnership — a national charitable organization dedicated to supporting publicly funded education in Canada.

The honour is awarded to principals who demonstrated outstanding leadership and creativity in finding solutions and opportunities in their school communities. 

Rebecca Hainnu, principal of Quluaq School in Clyde River, says she gives all the credit to the people she works with — the teachers, administrators, cleaning, cooking and maintenance staff and students.

"I'm very humbled by this gesture," said Hainnu. "I can't believe we get paid to do what we do. It's incredible."

The graduating class of Quluaq School celebrated a record number of students last year.

It's partly thanks to Hainnu's personal approach. She said when she first started working in her office, she wrote a list of all the students in the community who could be in school, but were currently not attending.

There were 138 students on her list.

"To date, 109 students have come back ... and I'm still pursuing the remainder," said Hainnu.

The school has also implemented literacy programs for parents to participate in, as well as peer academic classes. Hainnu also noted students are now bringing back livers and hearts of animals they hunt on the land for biology class.

'A genuine surprise,' says Fort Resolution principal

Kate Powell, principal of Deninu School in Fort Resolution, also says it's a great honour.

"It was a genuine surprise," said Powell. "It's an award for me, but I feel like I'm representing a lot of people's work here."

Powell says she's supporting revitalizing cultural activities among her students as well as the Chipewyan language teacher that creates her own program for students every day. Powell has also helped introduce northern distance learning to the school — which allows access to more courses via video conferencing.

"Winning this award will push me into further learning," said Powell.

The principals will attend an award gala at the end of February in Toronto.

With files from Michelle Pucci, Qavavao Peter, Wanda McLeod