A former Surrey school principal is among nine inaugural winners of the Premier’s Awards for Excellence in Education.
Angelo Morelli, who worked at École K.B. Woodward Elementary for seven years, was given the School and District Leadership Award during a ceremony at Government House in Victoria on Friday (Oct. 5).
“The day was quite spectacular,” Morelli told the Now-Leader on Tuesday. “It was really quite something, because it was a really clear and strong statement for the support of education of behalf of the NDP,” he added.
The ceremony was attended by Premier John Horgan, education minister Rob Fleming and Lt. Gov. Janet Austin.
Morelli, a Fleetwood-area resident, was among 188 nominees and 27 finalists for the nine awards.
Winners were given a commemorative artwork, a $3,000 personal bursary for professional learning and a $2,000 contribution to their school community for professional learning.
Morelli said the $2,000 should be directed in a decision by current staff and administration at K.B. Woodward.
“There’s a lot of areas in school that it could go toward,” he said. “The other is a personal decision, and I haven’t determined that yet.”
Morelli said he enjoyed “every single bit” of his time at K.B. Woodward, despite “all the challenges” at the school.
“I hope I transformed the school and children, but the experience also transformed myself, and none of it would have been possible without a united group of teachers,” he said. “There’s a great deal of hidden talent in this inner-city school.”
Morelli hasn’t retired from educating just yet, as he’s headed for China this fall to teach Grade 11 math and English literature in the coastal city of Yantai, in a contract with B.C. Certified Offshore Schools.
Friday’s award ceremony in Victoria was held on World Teachers’ Day.
Morelli’s name was among 188 put forward during the award nomination period, from April 23 to June 30. Following a review by adjudication and judges panels comprised of current and former B.C. education professionals, 27 finalists were announced Aug. 30.
“The awards honour the efforts of those who go above and beyond to make life better for students in British Columbia,” said a B.C. government news release.
“The teachers, administrators and support staff being honoured here today are truly exemplary,” Horgan stated. “I’m grateful for their commitment to making life better for students in British Columbia both in the classroom and their communities. Great educators give our students the opportunity and tools to succeed, today and into the future.”