October 21, 2022 Message to Members

Greetings colleagues,

I had the unique opportunity at this week’s Coffee Connections to hear about some of the wonderfully diverse professional educational experiences our colleagues are embarking on for this week’s Pro-D Day. Of course, many will be joining myself and our staff at the Connecting Leaders Conference – the flagship event of the BCPVPA. More than 340 people have signed-up for the in-person experience in Victoria, while another 70+ are joining with their colleagues at Hub sites around the province. Keeping current with educational research, knowledge, practices, and leadership skills is how we, as professionals, help to make our schools great places to learn. Maybe you could apply some of your newly-acquired knowledge in your school next week!

On October 13, in a ceremony at Government House in Victoria, I had the honour and privilege to represent our 2,600+ members at the 2022 Premier’s Awards for Excellence in Education, now in its fourth year. Premier John Horgan presented awards which recognized teachers, support staff, Principals, and Vice-Principals from all over BC for excellence in their work. 

To quote Premier Horgan: “Every day, you go above and beyond to put students first. The Premier’s Awards are our chance to thank teachers, staff, and educational leaders who bring out the best in BC students and represent the best of our province.”

Minister of Education and Child Care, Jennifer Whiteside, added: “Through the Premier’s Awards, we can share inspirational stories about the many professionals in our K-12 schools who mentor and make a difference in the lives of students. Whether it’s an outstanding new teacher, an administrator leading a school, a custodian or outreach worker who provides extra support, or teachers and staff passionate about Indigenous education, social justice and equity, it's an honour to bring the finalists together to celebrate their dedication to their students and school communities.”

Such a celebration of public education was truly an electrifying evening. I simply had to share my exuberance with the Board of Directors when I returned to Vancouver early the next morning.

Congratulations to these educators:

Community Engagement:

  • Sandra Richardson – Vice-Principal, Penticton Secondary, SD 67 (Okanagan-Skaha) - Winner 

District Leadership:

  • Ivano Cecchini – Executive Director of Facilities Planning, SD43 (Coquitlam) – Winner
  • Larry Mattin – Director of Instruction, SD79 (Cowichan Valley) - Finalist

Indigenous Education: 

  • Birdy Markert – District Principal of Indigenous Education, SD 54 (Bulkley Valley) - Winner
  • Gordon Powell – District Principal of Aboriginal Learning, SD36 (Surrey) - Finalist

Outstanding Team Collaboration:

  • Tricia Yurkowski – Vice-Principal, Westcot Elementary, SD 45 (West Vancouver) – Winner
  • Corinne McWhinney – District Technology Innovation Co-ordinator, SD22 (Vernon) - Finalist
  • Josh Vance – Vice-Principal, Kalamalka Secondary, SD22 (Vernon) - Finalist

School Leadership:

  • Rick Chan – Principal, Eastview Elementary, SD44 (North Vancouver) - Finalist
  • Lisa Jamieson – Principal, Janice Churchill Elementary SD36 (Surrey) - Finalist
  • Ian Levings – Principal, Eugene Reimer Middle SD34 (Abbotsford) - Winner

Social Equity and Diversity:

  • Beth Applewhite – District Principal of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion SD41 (Burnaby) - Finalist

In keeping with the spirit of this week’s theme of professional learning, each winner receives a $3,000 personal bursary for professional learning, and a $2,000 contribution to their school community for professional learning. Finalists receive a $1,000 personal bursary for professional learning, and a $1,000 contribution to their school community for professional learning. 

It is also worthwhile to note that not just nominees were invited to the event; the individuals who prepared and submitted each nomination were also invited to the ceremony. If you know an individual that is doing exemplary work in or for your school community, you might wish to nominate them next year.

To conclude, Lieutenant Governer Janet Austin said it best: “BC has extraordinary teachers, administrators and support staff…Their enthusiasm for supporting and mentoring students builds on their commitment to ensure learners of all ages achieve success in school and in life. I believe deeply in the importance of high quality and accessible education as a foundation to a prosperous society and is critical to enhancing the well-being of all citizens.” 

I hope you have a wonderful weekend (and take a moment to celebrate the return of rain to our parched province!)




The BC Principals' & Vice-Principals' Association is a voluntary professional association representing school leaders employed as Principals and Vice-Principals in BC's public education system. We provide our members with the professional services and supports they need to provide exemplary leadership in public education.

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