Coquitlam district principal wins major award

Paul McNaughton, principal at Coquitlam Alternative Basic Education (CABE) school, has been named one of Canada
Paul McNaughton, principal at Coquitlam Alternative Basic Education (CABE) school, has been named one of Canada's Outstanding principals by the Learning Partnership.

A School District 43 principal has been named one of Canada's Outstanding Principals by an organization that fosters education leadership in the public education system.

On Thursday, CABE principal Paul McNaughton got the news from the Learning Partnership and the first thing he thought was that somebody was trying to sell him something.

Then the news sank in and the veteran educator was flattered and honoured that his staff at Coquitlam Alternative Basic Education school (CABE) in Coquitlam had nominated him.'

"Any leader, when you get recognized for the work that you do, that's the biggest honor you can get," McNaughton said.

Leah Pells, a CABE counsellor, said McNaughton deserved the award because he is an amazing "boss and mentor."

"He gives all of his staff such autonomy with our students as at CABE we try to find more ways to engage with our kids because the mainstream (school) has not worked," Pells said in an email.

McNaughton has been principal at CABE since 2008 and has seen the number of graduates increase from 32 to 88 last year. The school only enrolls about 200 students, who come and go during the year, depending on their education needs. "We try to do things differently," explained McNaughton, who said the school fosters relationships, encourages students to learn at their own pace and offers flexible scheduling.

He is also appreciative of his "fabulous" staff and the board of education which supports the school, noting that "alternative education is not cheap."

For winning the Learning Partnership award, McNaughton will be treated to a gala dinner in February and five days of leadership training at the Rotman School for Management, He will then become a member of a National Academy of Principals.


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