Press Releases


MONTREAL, JANUARY 9, 2008    Thirty-three exceptional leaders in education from across the country have been chosen as Canada’s Outstanding Principals for 2008.  Only two Quebecers made the list: the English Montreal School Board’s (EMSB) Ivana Colatriano of Willingdon Elementary School in N.D.G. and James Aitken from the Lester B. Pearson School Board’s MacDonald High School in Ste. Anne de Bellevue.

An initiative of The Learning Partnership, a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to championing a strong public education system in Canada, Canada’s Outstanding Principals program honours the extraordinary contributions of dynamic education leaders in publicly funded schools. Principals, who have made a measurable difference in the lives of their students and their own local communities and help ensure that Canada’s young people continue to receive a quality education, have been selected from across the country for the prestigious honour.  

“I must admit that when I heard the news I was absolutely thrilled,” says Ms. Colatriano.  “I could not stop smiling. To be acknowledged by your peers is a great honour, but I was deeply touched by the overwhelming positive reaction from teachers, parents and students. What I do, I do for them and without their continued participation and support we would not move forward. I am grateful to the Learning Partnership and the Canadian Association of Principals for having honoured my work and my career in such a magnanimous way. I am still smiling.”

Ms. Colatriano has been the principal of Willingdon since January 2006.  Prior to that  she was the principal at General Vanier Elementary School in St. Léonard for three years and vice-principal at Honoré-Mercier Elementary School, also in St. Léonard, for three as well. She taught and served as a vice-principal at nearby Pierre de Coubertin Elementary School and worked as an English language arts consultant for the former Jerome Le Royer School Board.  

In  1974 Ms. Colatriano  participated in the Franco-Québec teacher exchange program and taught in Laon, France.  “Members of the French Education Ministry sent a delegation to Quebec, we were interviewed in our respective school boards and I was one of the teachers selected to work in France for one year where I taught  Grade 4,” she said.

Two years later, in 1976, 2,000 teachers from across Canada applied to work for the  Canadian Armed Forces in Europe. Ms. Colatriano was one of  90  selected and she taught in Lahr, Germany  for three years.

 “Canada’s public education system is a crucial part of the ultimate quality of our country’s fabric.  In helping to prepare young people to one day assume their place as leaders, more than ever, it is important that we continue to recognize the efforts of the educational leaders, the principals who are shaping today’s youth for a better Canada tomorrow,” says Veronica Lacey, The Learning Partnership’s President and CEO.  “It is truly a privilege to be able to recognize a group of principals whose talents and accomplishments are as diverse as the students they teach and the communities they serve.”

Now in its fourth year, Canada’s Outstanding Principals program was developed as an endeavour between The Learning Partnership and the Canadian Association of Principals, in collaboration with the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.  Since being launched, 90 exceptional leaders from across the country have been selected as Canada’s Outstanding Principals and this year 33 principals will join their colleagues in the National Academy of Canada’s Outstanding Principal .

From February 24 to 28, the 33 winning principals will participate in a five-day Executive Leadership Training Program at the prestigious University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management where they will have the opportunity to dialogue and reflect on leadership issues with other renowned leaders from the educational, social, cultural and business communities.   The Awards Gala will be held on Tuesday February 26, 2008 at the Delta Chelsea Hotel in Toronto. 


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