Peace Wapiti Public School Division (PWSD) congratulates Lesley Doell, Executive Director of the French Language Resource Centre in Grande Prairie, on her recent appointment as a Chevalier dans l’Order des Palmes académiques de la Republique francaise (Knight in the Order of Academic Palms of the French Republic).
Ms. Doell received a medallion and was named a Knight in the Order during a ceremony at the French Embassy in Ottawa earlier this month. The award was officially announced by the Ambassador of France to Canada on July 14, 2014, Bastille Day.
In her role as Executive Director of the French Language Resource Centre (FLRC), Ms. Doell oversees the enhancement of French education for seven school divisions, including PWSD, and six partner organizations.
The Ordre des Palmes académiques (Order of Academic Palms), France’s oldest non-military decoration, consists of three grades – Commandeur (Commander), Officier (Officer), and Chevalier (Knight) – and recognizes distinguished academics and those who contribute to culture and education. It was originally founded by Emperor Napoléon to honour eminent members of the University of Paris. In 1866, the award was opened up foreigners who have made a contribution to French national education and culture.
At the ceremony in Ottawa, Ms. Doell was applauded for ten years of service in the roles of current president, past vice-president and board member with the Association canadienne des professeurs d’immersion (ACPI), and for promoting the Diplôme d'études en langue française (DELF) – an examination to test and certify French language fluency in beginner and intermediate learners.
In addition to the award, Ms. Doell also recently celebrated the culmination of her efforts to secure a partnership project with the Nancy-Metz region of France, a connection she initiated in 2008. Last month, Ms. Doell traveled to the region to sign a Memorandum of Understanding, securing a number of projects aimed at recognizing the importance of global education and intercultural development. Under the agreement, three Peace-region teachers will job shadow with teachers in France, while bringing their home classrooms together with students in Nancy, France by way of virtual Google+ classrooms. At the end of March, PWSD’s Fiona Logan, a teacher at Eaglesham School, along with two teachers from other school divisions, will spend two weeks in Nancy, France learning and sharing best practices in second language pedagogy while improving their French language skills. Partner teachers will be welcomed to Canada for two weeks during the upcoming school year, and there will be future opportunities for student exchanges.
When she learned she had been selected for the French Order, Ms. Doell said, “I was extremely honored and humbled to be recognized by France with such a high distinction for simply doing what I love, what inspires me and what I am passionate about. Needless to say, the success of the FLRC, the DELF exam across Canada, and our new partnership with France is the result of teamwork and the many great people who have offered me their support and encouragement throughout the past nine years.”
To learn more about l’Order des Palmes académiques, visit http://www.frenchacademicpalms.org/information.html.
Photo: Lesley Doell, Executive Director of Grande Prairie’s French Language Resource Centre, was appointed as a Chevalier dans l’Order des Palmes académiques de la Republique francaise (Knight in the Order of Academic Palms of the French Republic) during a ceremony at the French Embassy in Ottawa on March 7, 2015. Ms. Doell is pictured with Alexandre Vulic, Minister-Counsellor of Canada’s French Embassy. Photo courtesy of the French Embassy in Canada.