St. Thomas More’s Denise Gotell has been named one of Canada’s Outstanding Principals for 2017. Denise is among 40 exceptional educators, from every province and territory in Canada, who is being celebrated by The Learning Partnership (TLP) for demonstrating innovation, having an entrepreneurial spirit, and for employing creativity in finding solutions and opportunities. Denise will now become a member of the National Academy of Canada’s Outstanding principals, which offers principals ongoing networking, mentoring and professional development opportunities in order to continually enhance their leadership skills.
Denise’s advocacy for special education and equity, and the belief that all students can learn, thrive and achieve, has led her to champion assistive technology. Denise is an innovator, promotes student voice and choice, and explores avenues, including social media, for collaboration and engagement. Denise mentors and coaches other leaders, builds community, keeps current with research, and is a positive agent for change. Denise’s style of leadership creates a culture of trust where staff feel empowered, further supporting the school-wide effort to change the world, to “Dream Large and Be Awesome.”
Denise has a unique ability to engage the minds and hearts of the school community as they embark on new initiatives. Denise once wrote the word “yet…” on the walls throughout the school to pique the interest of staff and students, as they searched for its meaning. The entire community became engaged in the notion that if you add the word “yet” to any phrase, the brain switches from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. In the Fall of 2015, the OCSB was selected from among 35 boards across Canada to be recognized by the Canadian Education Association (CEA) for its exemplary and visionary practices in transforming its classrooms into 21st century environment that meet the needs of all learners. Denise’s school served as a leader in implementing this vision.
“Denise Gotell’s leadership has brought her school to the forefront when it comes to innovative learning and helping students build global competencies. Denise ensures students are engaged in inclusive and welcoming community and establishes a culture of high expectations for all members of her school community.” Denise Andre, OCSB Director of Education
“We are delighted to be celebrating these exceptional principals for their contributions to their schools and communities. Their dedication to building and leading teams of great teachers plays a vital role in positively impacting student achievement and success and we are elated to recognize these dynamic leaders in the Canadian public education system.” Rod Thompson, Director of Executive Leadership Programs of The Learning Partnership
Denise began her career in education as a teacher in Nova Scotia 20 years ago. She joined the Ottawa Catholic School Board 18 years ago and has held a variety of leadership roles. She has acted as Principal for the past seven years. The entire Ottawa Catholic School Board community is proud to support Denise and this prestigious accomplishment.
For more information, visit The Learning Partnership’s website.
Kelly McKibbin is the Board Website Coordinator with the Ottawa Catholic School Board’s Communications Department, and manages all aspects of the Board’s district website. Kelly holds a Bachelor of Arts, Major in Communications, from the University of Ottawa, and is the recipient of a United Way Ottawa Community Builder Award.