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Congratulations are in order for founding Principal Randall Fielding, who on October 9 was named 2007 International Planner of the Year by CEFPI. the top international organization for school planning.

After receiving his award, Randy was also given great feedback on his acceptance speech, which is copied here:

“Thank you all for serving as my mentors. I love CEFPI, because you have shared hundreds of great ideas with me and allowed me to share them with others in 23 countries around the world. I’m going to continue to need your group genius with the projects ahead. Ten days ago I spent the week in Saskatchewan, in a school district that has been described by the Canadian press as the worst neighborhood in Canada. In a primarily First Nations community, the graduation rate is under 5%. The neighborhood is characterized by boarded up houses, empty needles, and child prostitutes.

We began a community engagement process with student workshops, sharing different kinds of music, and learning about students’ hopes and fears. After three days of workshops with kids, health care providers, the school board, police department, community elders, and social services, a student named Jesse said to me, “Will you come back to us?” It was a poignant moment. We realized that Jesse was speaking for a whole community of children that had been abandoned. The next day, I received an urgent communication from one of the school leaders: “We have to bring you back! We’ve built up their hopes, and it’s time to deliver.”

I promise you that I will be back, and that I will continue to leverage all of your great ideas at CEFPI to transform Jesse’s neighborhood into a center for life long learning, where each student can realize their own dreams.”

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