The woman leading the Burnaby school district’s anti-racism work has been nominated for a provincial award.
Beth Applewhite, district principal of equity, diversity and inclusion at School District 41, is one of 34 education professionals from around B.C. named as finalists in this year’s Premier’s Awards for Excellence in Education.
Launched in 2018, the awards honour public, independent and First Nations school teachers, principals, vice-principals, school and district leaders, and support staff who go above and beyond to make life better for kindergarten to Grade 12 students in B.C.
This year’s awards drew 113 nominations.
Applewhite, a former Coquitlam school vice-principal and anti-racism educator, was hired by the Burnaby school district in August 2020, after the school board passed a motion in June 2020 directing staff to develop an anti-racism action plan after consulting with community members.
Applewhite’s position in the district was a brand new one and one of the first of its kind in the province.
“Burnaby’s explicit commitment to fighting systemic racism, bias and discrimination while honouring the voices of BIPOC folks, students, families, staff and community groups, is not only inspiring, but also empowering,” she told the board at a meeting shortly after she was hired.
Ten Premier’s Awards for Excellence in Education winners will be announced at a ceremony at Government House in Victoria on Oct. 14.
Each winner will receive a $3,000 personal bursary for professional learning, a $2,000 contribution to their school for professional learning, and a commemorative trophy.
Runners-up will each receive a $1,000 personal bursary for professional learning and a $1,000 contribution to their school for professional learning.