Principal and music teacher | Ian Baillie Primary School | Miramichi, N.B. | 29 years in the classroom
In a small school in a small town, educators sometimes wear many hats, and Beth McCarthy has more headgear than most. The principal of Ian Baillie Primary School, she also serves as a music teacher, reading coach, social chair, detention supervisor and assembly coordinator, to name just a few. But amidst the busyness, McCarthy keeps her eyes fixed on big goals. She has published five children's books — which focus on issues like bullying and seek to promote positive values such as inclusion and embracing diversity — that will be placed in every public school library in New Brunswick, and last year spearheaded a successful campaign to build a running track on school grounds (which serves a dual purpose by having math games, shapes and other mathematical helpers painted on it).
Students, parents and staff credit McCarthy with making Ian Baillie a special place, in many different ways: by promoting healthy eating and physical activity, boosting school spirit, buoying faculty morale, elevating test scores, lowering detentions, counselling parents, being an exemplary role model to the community and providing supplies and snowsuits to kids whose families couldn't afford them.
"It is important to make a connection with every student, whether it be to talk about their favourite hockey team or what they did on the weekend."
Proudest teaching moment
"Getting the job as principal of Ian Baillie Primary School. I couldn't imagine anyone being luckier than me! I inherited such great staff and students!"
Your choice of guest speaker if all options were available
Biggest lesson learned from her students
"Be a good listener and never jump to conclusions. Everyone has a story."