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A Leader Among Leaders

Leo Baeck head of school wins prestigious award, nominated by peers

The Board of Directors, along with the Leo Baeck community, is proud to recognize Eric Petersiel as a recipient of the 2022 Canadian Accredited Independent Schools (CAIS) Art of Leadership Award. This honour is awarded to experienced CAIS Heads who have been nominated by their colleagues. Heads must meet several criteria to be nominated, including mentoring others and having influence beyond their school and province.

“Eric exhibits leadership well beyond the Leo Baeck community,” said Dr. Amy Platt, Head of School at the Paul Penna Downtown Jewish Day School. “He is a leader among leaders in the Jewish school system and the CAIS community.” Dr. Platt is a colleague in the CAIS community who, along with Claire Sumerlus, Head of School at Robbins Hebrew Academy, jointly nominated Eric Petersiel for the award. 

One example of his leadership is his advocacy for how schools should discuss the oppression of all marginalized groups. Noting that recognition of the long history of Jewish oppression is often overlooked in education, he shared his expertise with the CAIS community to integrate Anti-Semitism and Holocaust education into their teaching for both Jewish and non-Jewish students. 

He is a mentor to other heads of school and believes that when Jewish day schools are supported with best practices in pedagogy, management, and governance, the educational offering for the entire Jewish community improves.

“Eric is a natural leader with an admirable executive skill set, and it is so nice to see this recognition by other heads of independent schools who are also committed to educational excellence and continuous school improvement,” said Mitchell Glickman, President of the Board of Directors of The Leo Baeck Day School. “Most recently, we have benefited from Eric’s guiding hand during the pandemic, where he successfully balanced the learning needs and safety of our students, staff, and the community. We are lucky to have him, as are the Jewish and CAIS communities.”

The Leo Baeck Day School would also like to congratulate the two other winners, Jason Rogers, Head of School at Rundle College in Calgary, and Shawn O’Donnell, Head of School at The Sacred Heart School in Montreal. The award ceremony took place on July 5, 2022.

Canadian Accredited Independent Schools (CAIS) was established in 1981 as a national network for member schools supporting collaborative initiatives in leadership, education, management and governance. Today CAIS includes over 90 schools, all of which commit to undergoing a reflective and collaborative school improvement process, meeting national standards, and participating in research and professional learning.

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