Dr. Garry McKinnon was former Superintendent of Golden Hills School Division from 1982-2003. His dedication and leadership not only to the Golden Hills School Division but also equally to Project H.O.P.E. was foundational. In the early days of Project H.O.P.E’s development, Associate Superintendent Dr. Kandace Jordan along with dedicated parents Leanne Hilton and Sheila Konschuh together approached Dr. McKinnon about the vision of this unique opportunity in schools for children. Immediately on board, Garry worked passionately on many levels to remove barriers so that the implementation of this specialized program could take place. Thanks to the resolve and determination of the founders Leanne, Sheila and Kandace, with Garry’s support, Project H.O.P.E began and has successfully served hundreds of children for over 25 years.
The Project H.O.P.E. board always appreciated the support and leadership of Dr. McKinnon and wanted to recognize and honor his wisdom and character. With this in mind, the Board created the Dr. Garry McKinnon Champion of Children Award to recognize dedicated community members for their commitment and determination in supporting children and youth with exceptionalities. The characteristics of recipients resemble the qualities and leadership of Dr. Garry McKinnon including patience, determination, humility and thoughtfulness. Above all, recipients are chosen for their tireless commitment to improving the lives of children and youth and their unwavering child-centered approach. This relentless pursuit is the embodiment of the Dr. Garry McKinnon Champion of Children Award. It is an honor for the board to be in the position to carry on the legacy of Dr. McKinnon’s leadership and recognize outstanding members of our community.