Joan Carr

Joan Carr

July 25, 2016

Joan Carr, superintendent of Edmonton Catholic Schools for the past 10 years, has been recognized as Canada's leading school superintendent.

The Canadian Association of School System Administrators presented Carr with its award of excellence at its Winnipeg conference July 7.

The award recognizes the Canadian superintendent of the year.

"I was very humbled to have received the award and in my mind is not for me; it's for all the people who work for Edmonton Catholic Schools," Carr said in a recent interview. "I see this as an honour that has been bestowed upon the district."

Carr has been with the district for 41 years and was appointed superintendent in 2006. As such, she is responsible for 3,600 employees and 41,000 students in 89 Catholic schools.

She is described as passionate about providing students with a broad spectrum of programming to choose from in order to reach their fullest potential.

"This has established the character of our jurisdiction as one which provides for personalized programming to engage student gifts, talents, and passions through high quality educational experiences," says the award nomination form.

She was described as a leader in educational planning who has worked to establish "a menu of programs" in the school district that include several sports academies, advanced academic programs, international languages and culture, and career skills.

The superintendent was also praised for initiating programs for children and families who are new to Canada.

She was also credited with cultivating partnerships with industry and unions to support trades education.

An example of her vision is the establishment of a facility at Archbishop O'Leary High School to teach plumbing, the first of its kind east of Ontario.


This facility, scheduled to open in the fall, brought together partners such as the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Union Local 488 and the Alberta Pipefitters College to build and establish the program.

Carr has also initiated partnerships with organizations such as the Edmonton Public Library, which has led to more than 16,000 free public library cards, and the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, which provides free music education to inner city students.

Her commitment to providing unparalleled supports and services to First Nations, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) students has led the district to offer a variety of culturally relevant programs to Aboriginal students.

Her love of students has led the district in celebrating student gifts and achievement in a variety of domains.

Each year the superintendent's awards of excellence honour students in each of the district's junior and senior high schools who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, perseverance in the face of adversity and community building.

Carr also established the God is Love Award, which celebrates students who boldly and courageously share their faith with others and invite them into deeper relationship with Jesus.


"Our mission is to provide as many opportunities as we can to ensure that students can experience success in their own way and ultimately become young adults who will make great contributions to society," the superintendent said.

"We want to be able to provide everything we can to make sure that our children feel loved and welcome."

Carr describes herself as person who sees light in everything.


"I see hope in everything, and I really believe that we are here to do God's work; we are here to do God's will.

"I feel that I've been called to this life of service, and I can never rest until I feel that I'm doing the absolute best that I can do."

The secret to her success is simple. "I absolutely love what I do. I love the people I work with.

"I love having the opportunity of continually moving the district forward, looking for new opportunities for our students and ensuring that our staff has professional development and professional learning opportunities."