A Hay River school principal has received the Polar Medal from the Office of the Governor General.

Carolyn Carroll, principal of the town’s Harry Camsell School and Princess Alexandra School, becomes the fifth Northwest Territories resident to receive the award since it was created, as the Northern Medal, in 2005.

The award recognizes her 30 years as an educator in the territory. Her school board said she had “led a culture change in her schools” by which teachers make better use of data to help their students.

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The South Slave Divisional Education Council said Carroll’s system “has been invaluable in helping teachers identify students’ strengths and stretches, and targeted instruction and interventions. This approach has led to higher numbers of students exceeding Canadian norms in math and literacy achievement tests.”

“Receiving the call that I had been selected as a Polar Medal recipient was an unexpected honour,” said Carroll in a news release on Wednesday.

“My success would not be possible without the many enthusiastic and dedicated students, parents, co-workers, and education leaders I have been privileged to work alongside over the past few decades.”

Carroll was named one of Canada’s 40 outstanding principals by education non-profit The Learning Partnership in 2017.

Superintendent Dr Curtis Brown said he was “so very proud” of her, adding: “She is an exemplary leader and visionary: effective, responsive, courageous, and inspiring.”

Excellence in Education

The Office of the Governor General says the Polar Medal “recognizes persons who render extraordinary services in the polar regions and in Canada’s North.”

Ten people were awarded the Polar Medal’s predecessor, the Northern Medal. Past Northern Medal recipients from the NWT include Nellie Cournoyea, Bertha Allen, Georges Erasmus, and Stephen Kakfwi.

Separately on Wednesday, South Slave educators Erin MacDonald and Ashley Beck, along with volunteer Jill Morse, received Excellence in Education awards.

Beck, from the Chief Sunrise Education Centre, received a Program Staff Award for “her creative programming and incredible ability to support and inspire students to love school and learning.” The education council said she was recognized for “her model self-regulation classroom and strategies, and for her ability to seamlessly incorporate lessons on social responsibility and culture into all that she does.”

Morse received a Partner in Education Award as “an active and avid volunteer” in three Hay River schools.

McDonald became the inaugural recipient of the Jill Taylor Above and Beyond Award. Described as “a passionate and principled teacher,” McDonald was praised for organizing “several extremely valuable and appreciated on-the-land trips,” including the award winning Sweetgrass Station trip into the Wood Buffalo National Park.