Courtenay principal, students rub off on each other

ÉCOLE PUNTLEDGE PARK Elementary principal Kevin Reimer has been named one of Canada
ÉCOLE PUNTLEDGE PARK Elementary principal Kevin Reimer has been named one of Canada's Outstanding Principals. The kindergarten class surrounding him certainly seem to think he's outstanding, too.
— image credit: Renee Andor

Kevin Reimer loves what he does, and it shows.

As the École Puntledge Park Elementary principal walks into a kindergarten class at the school, the kids start grinning and break out in excited choruses of 'Hello, Mr. Reimer!' They've all decorated pieces of paper reading Mr. Reimer — Reimer's face lights up when he sees them and he thanks the young students by name.

Anyone in the room could see he genuinely loves his job, and students and staff appreciate him and his efforts.

Now, The Learning Partnership (TLP), a national charitable organization striving for a strong public education system across the country, noticed Reimer loves his job — and is very good at it.

He's been named one Canada's Outstanding Principals for 2013, one of just 51 administrators in the country to receive this honour, and one of only three from BC.

"It's very flattering," Reimer said Wednesday morning, adding he was nominated by Geoff Manning, the principal of Arden Elementary, who then rounded up numerous letters of support for Reimer. "To be honest with you, that was really the most touching thing for me. The end result was very flattering as well, but it was just really nice to be recognized by your peers, and staff members that I work with, and parents as well."

Reimer will head off to Toronto later this month to receive his award at an awards presentation and gala, but the part he's most excited about is the opportunity to participate in an executive leadership training program at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management.

The nearly 50 principals receiving the award will discuss management issues with other leaders from the educational and business sectors from Feb. 24 to 28.

"There's lots of amazing things going on in our district but I'm always curious to see what things are happening in other districts and other provinces — so the opportunity to sort of get together with 50 other administrators across the country and really share what's going on in their schools and districts," he says. "I'm really looking forward to bringing those perspectives back to our school district."

Reimer's history of coaching and encouraging students to do their best, and his commitment to building staff expertise were noted by the TLP.

Reimer has been in the Valley for 14 years. He's been principal at Puntledge for the past three years and before that he was at Arden Elementary for three years.

He was integral in developing The Arden Way, something he says is similar to I Can — which is being implemented at Puntledge and other elementary schools in the Valley and is designed to inspire and empower students to set goals for themselves and help others.

He's president of local Principals' and Vice-Principals' Association, and he's done a significant amount of work in the district to develop personalized learning at the elementary level.

Reimer is the first person to be nominated for the award from the Comox Valley School District, but he says he won't be the last.

"There's so many really good administrators in our district, so I'll be the first one, I'll let them know how it goes, and I'll look forward to nominating other people because I think there's lots of really deserving people in our district," says Reimer, adding the award doesn't just recognize what he does, because educators work closely together at individual schools and as a district.

"People in this business don't operate in a vacuum, and I'm flattered by the recognition as well, but it says a lot about our teachers and it says a lot about our school district."

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