OTTAWA: An Isle Madame native gained national acclaim for her role as an educator.
Denise Gotell, originally from Arichat, was recently named one of Canada’s Outstanding Principals for her work at St. Thomas More School in Ottawa.
She was one of 40 Canadian educators to receive such an honour this year through the Learning Partnership, a Canadian charity dedicated to public education.
After graduating from Dalhousie University, Gotell spent six years teaching in Halifax before moving to Ottawa in 1999. She taught physical education, math, and special education, and was an itinerate resource teacher before becoming a principal.
“It’s my seventh year as principal and I was a vice-principal for two years,” she said.
Gotell was nominated by executives in her school board with support from Gotell’s colleagues. She said being named as one of Canada’s Outstanding Principals was quite a thrill.
“I was honoured and touched that I would even be considered for such a prestigious award and it’s pretty awesome that I was actually named one of the winners,” she said.
“There is recognition for my school. We get to go to Toronto for a five day leadership academy at the University of Toronto.”
Gotell said it’s hard to wrap her head around being picked as one of 40 honorees amongst the thousands of principals in Canada. She also said it’s a privilege to be an educator.
“I was honoured to be featured in a local paper and I thought about my time at [Isle Madame District High] and how there was cool stuff going on back then,” she said.
“I can remember there was outstanding athletics, there was an amazing drama department and the arts. I had teachers in my hometown who inspired me and they made a difference. I went to pursue my field and I’m hoping that I’m providing the same inspiration to others.”