Rita Dickson, principal of Louise Dean School, has been named as one of Canada's Outstanding Principals by the Learning Partnership.
Now celebrating its 13th year, The Learning Partnership’s Canada’s Outstanding Principals program recognizes the unique and vital contribution of principals in publicly funded schools. The 40 principals, nominated by parents, colleagues, and community members, and chosen by a national selection committee, are being celebrated for demonstrating innovation, leadership and for employing creativity in finding solutions and opportunities within their school communities. They will be awarded for their accomplishments at the annual Canada’s Outstanding Principals gala on February 28th, 2017, at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel.
Rita Dickson is a visionary leader at Louise Dean School for expectant and parenting teens. Rita has created a secure, safe, welcoming learning environment for her students to work towards a high school diploma or certificate, while affording them flexible scheduling for maternity leaves, counselling or lifestyle challenges. Rita and the school’s multidisciplinary staff include teachers, social workers and psychologists who interact as teacher mentors and trusted adults throughout each student’s high school journey. Collaboration is strong with community and health partners, corporations and government. Rita instituted more flexible and personalized programs in careers, technology, childcare, parenting, legal and Indigenous education, as well as credit recovery courses. Targeted assemblies are driven by students’ input and needs. Learner Bursaries for financial assistance are offered and partnerships are established with post-secondary institutions for more effective transitions. Louise Dean School is a success with credit accumulation and graduation rates increasing.
"Rita was selected to provide leadership to Louise Dean due to its extreme complexity, political sensitivity, and need for transformation," said David Stevenson, chief superintendent of schools. "It is a challenging, high-stakes setting. Rita not only needs to address the education and lifestyles of students but the safety and security of 200 infants/toddlers. To meet the transformational challenge and impact student achievement, Rita has had to strengthen existing partnerships, forge new ones and navigate corporate and government worlds that she has connected to the school."
The complete list of winners from across Canada and the national press release on the Learning Partnership website.