Langley Principal runs school while setting up new elementary school – Langley Advance Times

Phillis Giovani really wanted to be a hockey player growing up.

But it wasn’t much of an option for girls when she was a kid.

Tutoring in high school gave him a taste of his future.

“When I was in Grade 11, I volunteered to tutor Grade 8 students in math and English,” Giovani said. “I loved the difference I made for a few of them. It was then that I decided to become a teacher.

So now she spends her working days helping local children achieve their dreams, currently as Principal of Donna Gabriel Robins Elementary School (DGR).

Knowing that she touches people’s lives is what keeps her in what is a difficult profession.

“Being a director is very hard work, but the rewards more than make up for the long, busy and sometimes stressful days. I enjoy helping others develop their strengths, problem-solving skills, and love of learning. I too am learning something new every day.

It is this passion for learning at any age that has earned him an appointment as a Local Education Hero. After reviewing the nomination, we agreed that it was something special in local education.

“I am extremely touched and honored to have been chosen,” she said.

Grade 2 RDG teachers Tracy Dionne and Rhonda Mills have named her:

“She takes up challenges and turns them into positive learning opportunities for everyone involved. Each year, she devotes her time to creating an end-of-year slideshow for our school, ensuring that each of the over 520 students is in the slideshow. She checks in in the morning and walks around saying hello to everyone in the building.

After the initial surprise of his selection, Giovani promised a “recovery”. And at the DGE, it takes the form of “hugs”, she laughed.

She is committed to both children and adults in the building.

“When I was a student, principals weren’t often ‘visible’. For me, getting out of my office to make contact with those in my building has always been one of my top priorities, ”said Giovani. “It’s one of the best ways to build meaningful relationships with adults and children and to see teaching and learning in action. When people see you taking the time to talk to them, ask them how they are doing or if they need anything, they know you care. The connection with my staff and my students brings me the most joy in my work as a director.

Deputy Superintendent Mal Gill has known her for many years.

“She has been a strong advocate for the students in her care in each of the buildings where she worked,” said Gill. “She, personally, will go above and beyond to ensure that students learn. She works extremely well with all her staff to build a team approach in her schools … Faced with difficult situations, such as a condo fire last year or the COVID-19 pandemic, she has always demonstrated of great leadership, of a sense of calm and compassion for our families and the community.

During his university studies, Giovani worked at the BC Cancer Agency. After graduating from UBC, she began working at Douglas Park Community School in 1988. After 14 years, she moved on to Willoughby Elementary School while earning her Masters. In 2007 she was appointed Deputy Principal of Langley Meadows Elementary School and in 2010 she became Principal of Fort Langley Elementary School. He then ran Willoughby Elementary from 2015 before leading Langley’s newer public school.

“She ran our school (Willoughby) when setting up the new school (Donna Gabriel) last year and did so with a positive attitude,” said Mills and Dionne in their appointment. “Over the summer she turned her house into a warehouse for all of our new school supplies and planned to start the year while checking into the new building and meeting with the contractors, the maintenance and other commercial occupations.

Giovani is modest, giving his team credit.

“I am very grateful for the tremendous help I had in organizing Donna Gabriel Robins Elementary School for the opening. It really took a village to prepare the school to welcome our students, ”she said.

As for the future, she intends to make sure the school is on a solid footing, and then she can focus on continuing her learning.

“I have a few years left before I retire,” she said. I want to build a strong, inclusive, kind and welcoming culture at Donna Gabriel Robins. I want it to be a place where adults and children feel they belong and strive to do their best every day. After I retire, I plan to spend a few months in Samos, Greece, the birthplace of my parents and husband, every year and enjoy a slower pace. I am also interested in learning cabinet making and carpentry skills with my husband.

EducationLangley School District

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