Medicine Hat News

Catholic principal receives award in education excellence


The Medicine Hat Catholic school division is honouring the principal of St. Michael’s School as its recipient for the 2024 Excellence in Catholic Education Award.

Shannon English has been teaching for 34 years, spending the last 10 years of her career as an educator in administration roles including school counsellor, vice-principal of St. Mary’s School and principal of St. Michael’s.

“It’s absolutely amazing and humbling,” says English. “Because we have such an incredible group of people that I work with at Medicine Hat Catholic. So it’s just amazing to be a part of that and to be recognized for your work that you do.”

English says she began teaching more than 30 years ago because she loves kids and is committed to fostering their well-being.

“It’s definitely about a love for the kids, and I love to see them learn,” says English. “I love to see them grow, both that academic growth as well as that spiritual growth.

“I love to be able to share that with them and I really think that working with kids actually keeps me young, too.”

‘Servant Leadership’ is how English describes her role as principal of St. Michael’s School. She told the News she values providing service to her co-workers, students and their families.

“I’ve had a motto. I would never ask anyone to do anything I wouldn’t do,” says English. “I believe in service, that while I’m there to serve my staff, I’m there to serve my kids and my families.”

English has also been an active member of the Holy Family Parish since she was 12 and is a music ministry leader both in the parish and the school division.

Throughout her career, English has served as choir director multiple times and also enjoys playing the piano.

“My mom always said God gave me the gift of voice to sing,” says English. “So I have to give it back to him in his church, and again that sort of returning the gifts we’ve been given.”

The award celebrates exemplary contributions to Catholic education and looks to English’s leadership as an example for staff and students alike.

“Shannon is an excellent servant leader and authentic witness to a lived Catholic faith,” said Heather Irvine, religious education co-ordinator. “Shannon’s faith is apparent in all she does, from leading music ministry in our division and at Holy Family Parish and in how she treats staff and students as children of God.

“Medicine Hat Catholic Board of Education has been blessed to have Shannon as part of our school division family for 34 years.”

The Excellence in Catholic Education Award was established by the province’s

Council of Catholic School Superintendents and is presented to one recipient of each division every year.

English will be honoured at the division’s upcoming board meeting in April and plans to retire at the end of the current school year.





Alberta Newspaper Group