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Evergreen Superintendent Cuthbert receives MCIC's Global Citizenship Award

Michel Forest
The MCIC's Outreach Coordinator, Zach Gross (on the left), presents Evergreen School Division Superintendent Paul Cuthbert with the Global Citizenship Award for educators.

The MCIC's Outreach Coordinator, Zach Gross (on the left), presents Evergreen School Division Superintendent Paul Cuthbert with the Global Citizenship Award for educators.

This year, the Manitoba Council for International Cooperation (MCIC) launched the Global Citizenship Award for Educators to recognize Manitoba teachers and administrators, nominated by their peers and students, who are leaders in promoting and supporting active global citizenship.

Paul Cuthbert, Superintendent of the Interlake's Evergreen School Division, is one of this year's recipients.

Mr Cuthbert helped develop curricula focused on science, sustainability and citizenship; saw Evergreen recognized as Manitoba's first Fair Trade school division; spearheaded participation of students on the Evergreen School Division Board and the very active Division Student Council and supports teacher collaboration on Sustainability, Citizenship, Engagement and Inclusion.

Janice Hamilton, executive director of the MCIC, said that Cuthbert was chosen on the basis of his very strong leadership in the Evergreen School Division, and that as a leader he could also be said to be a visionary.

"There were basically five criteria on which we based our choice of this year's recipients: globally-oriented activities (linking the local community to broader, more global issues), leadership (leading but also enabling others to to do the same, including staff and students), initiative (conceiving various initiatives and building support for them), supporting the efforts of others (and developing the capacity in others to initiate as well) and finally impact (creating long-term change, impacting attitudes, behaviors and perceptions)," she said.

"For example, he was instrumental in the implementation of a fair trade policy in the division (after having been approached by students), in supporting it, and encouraging others to make it happen. That initiative was key among the reasons why we selected him," she added.

Originally from Winnipeg, Paul Cuthbert has lived in the Interlake for the past 31 years, first in Riverton where he taught at RCI for 10 years, and then in Gimli as coordinator of curriculum and ICT studies in the division before becoming its superintendent in 2003. In the interim, he also worked as a consultant for the department of education (distance learning) as well as teaching part-time at the University of Manitoba.

"We aim to include the students in the decision-making process," said Cuthbert. "We believe their voice should be heard, and that it is important to engage them early on in the democratic process," he added.

"For example, after the MCIC's Zach Gross initiated a Youth Community Partnership Program in Gimli five or six years ago, the students chose to get involved. It was actually them who came to us with a presentation to our board, asking us to become a fair trade school division. After we did do so, the R.M. of Gimli announced that it too would be a fair trade community."

Cuthbert also added that the division is the only education board in the province that has student representation on it. This is an example of the division's philosophy on engaging the students in a broader learning process, and to contribute to one of the priorities of the division, which is education for sustainability. The goal here is to create a more promising future using such initiatives as social justice and contributions to citizenship.

"We are working hard to prepare our students towards becoming contributing citizens. Though small, I would say that the Evergreen School Division's accomplishments in this regard are comparable to any other school district in the entire country," concluded Cuthbert.

The Manitoba Council for International Cooperation (MCIC) is a coalition of over 40 organizations involved in international development. An independent non-profit organization, MCIC is responsible for distributing Government of Manitoba funds designated for international development and emergency relief and rehabilitation and works within Manitoba to build understanding and engagement on international issues.

- with files from the MCIC

michel.forest@sunmedia.ca