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Board VP and Russell HS Recognized by Harmony Movement
Board VP and Russell HS Recognized by Harmony Movement
Posted on 11/09/2015

Upper Canada District School Board Vice Principal Lori Taylor and Russell High School Honoured
by Harmony Movement

By Mark Calder

(Brockville) – A dedicated vice principal and a high school with the Upper Canada District School Board have been honoured by Harmony Movement for advancing the cause of equity and inclusion.

Lori Taylor, a vice principal of program, was recognized at a gala in Toronto Thursday night as this year’s winner of the Mary A. Samuel Harmony Leadership in Education Award. The award pays tribute to an educator in an administrative, or research and academic role, who has made significant contributions in advancing equitable and inclusive education during his/her career. It is named after late human rights advocate Mary A Samuel.

Russell High School (RHS) was honoured at the same ceremony with the 2015 Harmony School of the Year Award. The award is presented annually to an elementary or secondary school that has completed the Social Changemaker Leadership Program (SCLP)* within the past school year, in recognition of their exemplary achievements in going above and beyond the training to promote diversity, equity and inclusivity in both their schools and their communities.

Taylor described the experience as “humbling,” stressing she shares credit for the honour with Superintendent Susan Edwards and the UCDSB Equity and Inclusion Network for their support of her work.

“It helps send a message to our students and communities that we are a board that values equity and inclusion and a board working to create spaces where all students belong,” said Taylor of the award’s impact.

The vice principal has been a champion for diversity within the UCDSB, first acting as a co-founder of the Queer Ally Alliance (QAA) Club at Thousand Islands Secondary School while a teacher there. She is a driving force behind the board’s annual Equity and Inclusion Forum. She was also one of the organizers behind the #SEEMYVOICE Twitter feed, which provides information on a range of diversity issues to board staff, students and the public.

The Harmony School of the Year Award was accepted by former RHS Principal Shelly Corlyon and members of the school’s PRIDE Alliance.

“It was an amazing experience,” said Lisa Elminowski, a teacher advisor to the school’s PRIDE Alliance who attended the event. “It was something that cannot even be explained – just how special it was for us to get this recognition and be ranked among some of the most incredible activists in the province.”

“Honestly, it’s really great because it shows people that even a smaller school can make a big difference,” added Nichole Peters, a Grade 11 student at RHS. “It shows that with the right amount of effort, we have the power to make change.”

The honour recognizes PRIDE Alliance members for putting knowledge gained from the Social Changemaker Leadership Program (SCLP) to good use through:

  • Delivering a workshop at the Upper Canada District School Board’s Equity and Inclusion Forum on how Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) clubs can be effective in small high schools.
  • Helping to institute the school’s PAW-sitive Paw program, which recognized students for actions such as using appropriate and inclusive language.
  • Use of the #SEEMYVOICE Twitter hashtag to spread awareness about equity issues.
  • Hosting the GSA Empowerment Day at RHS which allowed students to discuss how GSA clubs could enhance the school environment.

For more information, please call:

Lisa Elminowski
Russell High School
(613) 445-2659

*Formerly the Harmony Diversity Leadership Certificate Program (DLCP), or the Equity Leadership Training Program (ELTP)


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