Humanitarian and Educator Awarded for Their Contributions to Public Education

TORONTO, Nov. 12 /CNW/ - Tonight at a ceremony at the Toronto Sheraton Centre Hotel, the Ontario Principals' Council (OPC) will honour two individuals for their ongoing support and dedication to public education in Ontario.

The OPC Outstanding Contribution to Education Award will be bestowed upon Stephen Lewis. Throughout his career as a politician, broadcaster and diplomat, Lewis has always advocated for the plight of the less fortunate in our society. He heads the Stephen Lewis Foundation, a charitable organization that supports community-based organizations working to eradicate HIV/AIDS in Africa. The Foundation provides care to women who are ill and struggling to survive; assists orphans and AIDS-affected children; works with grandmothers who single-handedly care for their orphan grandchildren; and sustains associations of people living with HIV and AIDS.

Throughout his life, Stephen Lewis has been a passionate, dedicated, committed humanitarian. Many Ontario schools have raised funds for his projects in Africa and have learned about the HIV/AIDS epidemic due to his work. He is an excellent role model for educators, students and citizens everywhere.

The Honorary Life Membership is awarded to those who have provided exemplary service by advancing or upholding the purpose of the OPC. It is being awarded to Laura Hodgins, OPC President in 2008-09.

Laura has been a teacher and principal for the past 23 years. She has been involved with the OPC for over 10 years at the local and provincial levels and has been instrumental in helping to develop and deliver professional development opportunities for school leaders around the province. In her role as Provincial President, Laura advocated the government for effective instruction practices for educators, the right supports for all students and measures to help improve student achievement, particularly in the area of special education.

Laura was recently promoted and is now a Supervisory Officer with the Waterloo Region District School Board.

"Educators, parents and students throughout Ontario have benefited from the outstanding leadership that these two individuals have provided," said Doug Morrell, President of the Ontario Principals' Council. "We are honoured to grant these awards tonight, and I thank Stephen and Laura for their contribution to public education."

The Ontario Principals' Council is the voluntary professional association representing 5,000 principals and vice-principals in Ontario's public elementary and secondary schools. Established in 1998, OPC advocates on behalf of public education and provides professional supports to its Members. In 2011, the OPC will host the 10th World Convention of the International Confederation of Principals in Toronto.

SOURCE Ontario Principals' Council

For further information: For further information: Peggy Sweeney, (416) 322-6600 (office), (416) 573-2261 (cell)

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