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'Our future lies in the ability of educators to implement meaningful belonging for all,' says Sheena Braun, right, one of Canada's outstanding principals for 2016.

Education alumna making her mark amongst Canada’s principals

April 28, 2016 — 

Sheena Braun has achieved top marks in the field of education. The U of M alumna was named one of the country’s top 40 principals earlier this year by the Learning Partnership.

The LP celebrates 40 principals annually for their commitment to public schools, their innovation and their entrepreneurial spirit.

Braun, who is currently principal of Ryerson School in Winnipeg, was recognized for her work and dedication in areas including Universal Design for Learning, an educational concept aimed at creating educational programs that are accessible to all students, no matter what their abilities or diverse backgrounds.

“The stories of students and families have inspired me to action that involves equity to access, materials, hope and belief. This describes Universal Design and our future lies in the ability of educators to implement meaningful belonging for all,” says Braun.

She was also lauded for her commitment to increasing digital literacy, using data and “implementing brain-based learning strategies to increase Ryerson students’ literacy and numeracy skills.”

“For Sheena and her staff, ‘students come first’ and she encourages staff to build strong community partnerships to nurture student success,” said the award writeup.

“I was really honoured. You don’t think you do anything different than anyone else,” she told the Sou’Wester newspaper after winning the award.

Braun received a pre-master’s in special education from U of M in 1987 and a master’s in inclusive special education in 2011. She had previously received a B.Ed. from the University of Winnipeg in 1982.

She has been in the field of education ever since, and has taught in early and middle years grades in various schools and divisions across the province, including Falcon Lake, Oak Bluff, Stonewall, General Vanier, Shamrock and Ryerson. She has been a French teacher, resource teacher and now an administrator for 18 years.

Braun continues to give back to U of M as well. She is a sessional instructor in the Faculty of Education, teaching a post-graduate course in inclusive education.

For her, education has been a calling and a passion.

“I went into education because I was passionate about learning but I continued post-graduate studies and found myself in leadership positions because I was fortunate to have individuals who saw potential in me that I never saw in myself.”

She said mentors are important for anyone thinking of becoming a teacher or administrator.

“They posed questions that challenged my thinking, developed my beliefs and examine my practices.  Those mentors were the most important part of my personal and professional growth. I am who I am because of them!”

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