Collaboration and teamwork are the hallmarks of a Red Deer school principal who has been named one of the top 40 in the country.
Cathy Gukert, principal at Ecole Mountview School, received the honour from a national organization.
Vice-principal Cam Pizzey, one of five people who nominated Gukert for the award, says she seeks input and is always looking to make improvements.
Everyone feels they have a say and that really makes a difference, Pizzey said.
Gukert says people work with her, not for her. She said she gets energy from the people she works with.
“I am a leader, not a boss,” said Gukert, who believes in maintaining good working relationships.
She has also helped show the way for others, with three of her previous vice-principals going on to become principals themselves.
Although she has been an administrator for 18 years, Gukert enjoys stepping back into the classroom. She has spent 37 years in education.
A favourite part of her day is teaching a French class at the school.
She still enjoys the whirlwind of duties facing a principal.
“I love the buzz,” she said.
Over the years of being a principal, she said she has learned to have thicker skin and to separate herself from the work a bit more.
Gukert has two grown children; a 30-year-old son who is an electrician and a 27-year-old daughter who is a teacher.
As part of being named one of the Top 40 Principals in Canada by The Learning Partnership, Gukert was flown to Toronto.
The Learning Partnership is a national organization that supports, promotes and advances public education in Canada.
Gukert and the other 39 principals selected were honoured at a dinner and received a week of training at Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.
One aspect of the training that stuck with her was the 21st century competencies that focus on creating students who are engaged thinkers and ethical citizens.
Gukert said what she learned in Toronto has given her a renewed vision.
Although honoured to be named a top principal, Gukert said the real honour was learning that five of her past and present colleagues had nominated her for the award.