Principals of Music Award

Principals of Music Awards – Winners (2014-2015)

The Coalition for Music Education announces the three recipients of the Principals of Music Award. This year’s winners are Sheldon Hoyt (Barnwell, AB), Lorraine Harnum (Dildo, NL ) and Debbie Linkewich (Markham, ON).

The Principals of Music Awards are presented annually by the Coalition for Music Education in honour of Mr. George Bishop, one of the founders and the first Executive Director of the Coalition.  The awards acknowledge the important role that administrators play in ensuring that music programs thrive. In addition to national recognition, each Principal will receive a cash award of $1,500 to be applied to their school music program. The Principals of Music Awards are supported by contributions from the music industry in Canada.


Western Region

Sheldon Hoyt, Principal, Barnwell School,

Horizon School Division, Barnwell, AB

Mr. Sheldon Hoyt has been the principal of Barnwell School for more than ten years.  Barnwell School is a small Elementary/Middle School in rural Alberta, consisting of Grades Pre-School to 9, with a population of under 200 students.  Barnwell being a small community, Mr. Hoyt is also involved in community meetings and groups.  Although Mr. Hoyt doesn’t have formal musical training, he is often heard singing “oldies but goodies” and contemporary pop in the hallway.  He has made sure that monthly assemblies include at least one educational musical performance – reinforcing such curriculum concepts as the rotation of the planets, the Periodic Table, French language learning and protecting the environment.  Mr. Hoyt supports the band program and has personally delivered or picked up instruments in need of repair.  Indeed, Principal Hoyt has given up some of his own classroom space to store the music library and for use as a practice room.  Under his tenure, Barnwell School has taken part in 8 Music Mondays with the Junior High Band accompanying the Elementary School’s singing of the Music Monday Anthem.  He has also extended invitations to community members and alumni to take part making it a true community celebration.  Barnwell School Alumni have credited their school music experience with success in their own musical and professional endeavours as adults.


Eastern Region

Lorraine Harnum, Principal, Woodland Elementary,

Newfoundland & Labrador Eastern School District, Dildo, NL

Mrs. Lorraine Harnum has been Principal at Woodland Elementary for eight years.  Woodland Elementary is a school that serves approximately 200 students from several rural communities in Newfoundland – Blaketown, Broad Cove, New Harbour, Old Shop and South Dildo.  The school includes grades K-6 and offers a variety of extracurricular activities to their students – not the least of which is a thriving music program.  During that time she has supported the music teacher’s desires to sustain and build the music program.  The program has grown from 40 students to 80 this current year.  The school’s musical events are highlighted in the “Music Notes” section of the newsletter, which was Mrs. Harnum’s suggestion as a way to inform parents about musical activities.  Mrs. Harnum is also a music student – she has purchased a tin whistle and often visits music classes to learn alongside students.   Mrs. Harnum ensures that there are three music concerts, in addition to the seasonal Christmas concerts, throughout the year.  Not only do these concerts give the students opportunities to showcase their hard work, talent and give them a goal to work toward – all of the money from the concerts is used to support the music program.  These concerts have become so popular that members of the community who have no direct connection with the school are now regular attendees.


Central Region

Debbie Linkewich, Principal Pierre Elliott Trudeau High School,

York Region District School Board, Markham, Ontario

Ms Debbie Linkewich is the Principal of Pierre Elliott Trudeau High School in Markham, ON.  The school has approximately 1800 students from grades 9 – 12.  Ms Linkewich has been the Principal since 2011.  During that time, Ms Linkewich has undertaken many initiatives to support the music program.  She promotes music events to parents and students through a weekly bulletin.  She encouraged and assisted in starting up a new midi lab, complete with i-mac computers, midi controllers and audio boxes.  She has also supported the teachers’ efforts in promoting their String Pals program at local elementary school, which partners more experienced musicians with beginner students. In her hiring decisions, Ms Linkevich has not only hired four music teachers for their experience and expertise, she has also hired teachers in other departments who possess music as their second teachable in order to support the music department’s internal growth. And to show the important and integral nature of the music program to the school, Ms Linkewich requests musical performances from the music students at several school-wide events throughout the academic year, ensuring that the music students and musical events are prominent in the school’s community.