Press Releases


MONTREAL, JANUARY 31, 2018-  Joseph Vitantonio, the Principal of Lester B. Pearson High School in Montreal North,  is one of  40 exceptional educators from across the country to be recognized as Canada’s Outstanding Principals of 2018.

Now celebrating its 14th year, The Learning Partnership’s Canada’s Outstanding Principals program recognizes the unique and vital contributions 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 27, 2018, at The Carlu in Toronto, Ontario.

The winners also benefit from an exclusive five-day executive leadership training program at one of Canada’s top business schools, the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. The program will introduce them to leadership and management practices presented by business, government and education leaders as well as Rotman faculty. Principals also participate in The World of Work: Equity and Inclusion, a professional learning day hosted by CIBC, where they have the opportunity to learn about today’s workforce from leaders in business, health and education.

The 2018 winners will join the prestigious ranks of the National Academy of Canada’s Outstanding Principals, which now boasts more than 400 members. The National Academy offers principals ongoing networking, mentoring and professional development opportunities so they can enhance their leadership skills.

“Principals are vital leaders in Canada’s education system. They ensure our schools are open and operating effectively. They work closely with teachers to inspire our students every day. They contribute to creating positive learning environments for children to thrive both in and outside of the classroom,” says Ron Canuel, President & CEO of The Learning Partnership. “They are the catalyst for connecting students, educators, families and the community together and we recognize their indispensable contributions to helping Canada continue as global leaders in education.”

In the Canada’s Outstanding Principals program, principals are nominated by their colleagues, school staff and community members. Nominations are evaluated and final winners are selected on a representation-by-population basis by a national selection committee made up of a distinguished group of Canadian education, community and private sector leaders. Candidates are chosen using the following criteria: leadership and student achievement; leadership and innovation; instructional leadership; professional learning teams; partnerships with families and communities; personal growth initiatives; and corresponding letters of support.  Canada’s Outstanding Principals is made possible through the generous support of its major program partners, CIBC and Deloitte Canada, as well as several provinces and territories across the country.  

About Joseph Vitantonio

Mr. Vitantonio became a mathematics and science teacher in 2005. He graduated from McGill University in Elementary Education with distinction. As a student teacher he was the recipient of the J. M. Gwynne Award for Excellence in Student Teaching. He also studied at McGill in Animal Science, graduating with a Bachelor's Degree in Science.

In 2010, Mr. Vitantonio became the vice principal at John F. Kennedy High School in St. Michel. At the same time he graduated from McGill with his Master's in Educational Leadership. At the end of his first year as the vice principal, together with his principal, he was faced with the grueling challenge of relocating an entire school overnight because asbestos was found in the school's ventilation room.

In January 2014, Mr. Vitantonio was promoted to Principal. The school success rates improved dramatically thanks to the creation of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Student Support Centre. He introduced exit passes for students with anxiety and an alternative to detention program and also helped launch the Aim High Program for students entering Grade 7 with severe learning difficulties.

On July 1, 2016 Mr. Vitantonio was promoted to principal at Lester B. Pearson High School. He quickly began getting involved in making improvements to the school, including repainting student entrances and a gender-neutral universal washroom was created. His school continues to be a member of the Green Corridor project of Montreal North. The school is an environmentally greener space by planting trees and plants, along with a student-centered sports field and a large wall mural. Mr. Vitantonio initiated a student Bee Project alongside one of his science teachers, whereby students learn about bees and harvest their own honey from school hives.

About the Learning Partnership

The Learning Partnership is a national charity dedicated to enhancing publicly funded education to prepare students in Canada for a globally connected world by building partnerships between government, education and business. We do this through innovative student programs, executive leadership for educators, knowledge mobilization and policy, tribute celebrations of excellence, and collaborations across Canada. Since 1993, more than 6.9 million students have participated in The Learning Partnership’s programs. For more information, visit the learning

Michael J. Cohen
Communications and Marketing Specialist
English Montreal School Board
Tel: (514) 483-7200 ext. 7243
Fax: (514) 483-7213