Evelyn Giannopoulos is the kind of principal you would want your elementary kids to have. Smart, dedicated, professional, she has headed Country Hills Public School for the past six years and lives in Kitchener, a suburb of Waterloo, Ontario. She was nominated for Waterloo’s “40 Under 40” prize recently and was featured in The Record. We at www.greekamericangirl.com are honoring her as this month’s Hellenic Woman of Heritage, to mark the dovetailing of Hellenic Heritage month and Women’s History month. She typifies the small-town hero, the person of integrity and professionalism that gives to her community, her profession, and her family. She is the type of woman stays true to her culture and her values, a true role model for young and someone you would love to have a heart-to-heart with. She, like so many women like her, keep the world moving but perhaps do not get the “press coverage” they deserve for their accomplishments.
Evelyn has a Masters degree in Educational Supervision and has gained the tricky qualification to act as a Supervisor Officer, the license that permits her to conduct her role as principal. One of her assets, she relates, is the ability to bring groups of people together for collaboration to accomplish a common goal. Since Evelyn’s assumption as leader of Country Hills Elementary, she has been able to include all students in the learning process. “My job is to transform a building into a learning and caring school community,” she continues, “I would like to be remembered for always taking the side of the child and for having a deep love for, and devotion to, our most vulnerable students.”
Evelyn has more than one leadership position. Besides her busy job as a principal, she is a volunteer for the Waterloo Region District School Board Traumatic Response Team and chairs the Mentorship Program for newly appointed principals and vice principals.
However, her Hellenism shows its bold colors in the active leadership roles she has taken on for her Church, the Greek Orthodox Community of Saints Peter and Paul. She volunteers on the board of directors for the church. She also works year-round on the organizing committee for the annual Kitchener-Waterloo Greek food festival, a huge event that hordes 7,000 thousand and then some for authentic galaktobouriko, pastischgio, and souvlaki.
She keeps true to her roots. She is a first-generation Greek, nee Arvanitis, whose parents were both born in Greece and immigrated to Canada in the 1960’s. “I’ve married a Greek man we pride ourselves in raising our children with a love of all things Greek and a sincere appreciation of our culture, religion, history and heritage,” she states.
As she states in The Record, “It is incumbent upon my generation, and the generations to come, to keep our culture and traditions alive.” The mother of two also remarks, “My hope is for my children to develop the same pride I have in being Greek-Canadian and the tenacity to preserve our culture for years to come.”
Evelyn and all the wonderful Hellenic women of the world, we honor and applaud you.