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Overview

The Excellence in Teaching Awards were initiated in 1989 by the Minister of Education to:

  • Recognize outstanding Alberta teachers
  • Honour creative, innovative, and effective teaching
  • Focus public attention on the teaching profession
  • Involve Albertans in celebrating teaching excellence

Alberta Education presents the Excellence in Teaching Awards with the support of the Alberta School Boards Association, the Alberta School Councils' Association, the Alberta Teachers' Association, the Association of Alberta Deans of Education, and the College of Alberta School Superintendents.

Update

Over the past year, representatives from education stakeholder organizations have worked with Alberta Education to help develop a new recognition program that provides a memorable, meaningful and inclusive means of honouring excellence in education. While the new program is being developed, the Excellence in Teaching Awards program is on hold.

Since 1989, the Excellence in Teaching Awards has provided students, parents, colleagues and community members with the opportunity to nominate outstanding teachers and principals for recognition. More than 10,000 nominations have been submitted and more than 500 educators have received awards since the program started.

Times have changed since the awards were first established. Albertans' understanding of promising and emerging professional practices has grown and developed; our depth of understanding of assessment practices, inter-disciplinary studies and differentiated instruction has also grown; and the use of technology in learning is only beginning to be understood.

Alberta Education will continue to work with stakeholder representatives to design the specifics of the new program, which will be announced once this important work is finalized.

Award recipients

  • 2016

    We are honoured to recognize our 2016 Excellence in Teaching Awards semi-finalists and recipients for their accomplishments and for being a credit to the profession.

    Alberta's education system depends on dedicated teachers and principals to guide students toward their futures and bring communities together. This year's finalists demonstrate exceptional creativity, dedication and innovation.

    Since 1989, more than 500 teachers and principals have received the Excellence in Teaching Awards. Each year, the list of award-winning educators grow. We are proud to share their stories and the impact they have in our communities and classrooms.

    Finalists

    Mavis Averill

    Boyle Street Education Centre
    Boyle Street Education Centre

    Mavis Averill, M.Ed. has worked at Boyle Street Education Centre (BSEC) as a teacher and Vice Principal since its inception in 1996. BSEC, an inner city charter school in Edmonton, is designed to meet the educational needs of high risk youth.

    In her time at BSCE, Mavis has primarily taught English and worked as coordinator of the student services team. She collaborates with students, teachers and counsellors in designing learning and support programs for high risk youth. Mavis has also impacted school programming, having spearheaded bringing improvisational drama to the school with the help of Edmonton's improv organization, Rapid Fire Theatre. She looks forward to the future where she will take on a new role at BSCE, that of principal.

    Prior to her career at BSCE, Mavis worked extensively with First Nations adults, designing and implementing a First Nations adult program.

    Mavis has self-published a book based on the research area of her Master's thesis which focuses on how trauma impacts learning for students who have experienced extreme trauma (SWEET).

    Allan Baile

    Aspen heights Elementary School
    Red Deer Public School District No. 194

    Allan is a grade four teacher at Aspen Heights Elementary School in Red Deer. His goal is to relate school to Real World experiences. By providing relevant and meaningful experiences for all students at Aspen Heights through their MicroSociety Program, Allan truly believes that students can and will make the world a better place.

    As the MicroSociety Coordinator, Allan has provided the opportunity for students and staff to "Dream Big". He believes that through MicroSociety, Aspen View students are able to explore and enhance their true potential. Through his philosophy that anything is possible if you have the passion, desire and motivation, Allan encourages students to develop new and innovative ideas both in his classroom and in MicroSociety.

    Allan has been actively involved in extra-curricular activities throughout his career. He has coached high school basketball, volleyball, track and field and community lacrosse, as well as organized many clubs and teams both at Aspen Heights and in the community.

    Nicole Bezugley

    Prince of Wales School
    Calgary School District No. 19

    Nicole Bezugley is the Principal of Prince of Wales School, a Kindergarten to Grade 6 school serving the learning and social-emotional needs of 385 students.

    Nicole is a true instructional leader who believes student learning is the heart of education. All potential decisions and actions are filtered through the lens of student engagement and student learning. She has fostered and sustained an inclusive school environment where diversity is celebrated, students are encouraged to take risks in learning and each student is equally valued as a contributing member of the school community.

    Nicole thinks outside of the box and leads her staff to be innovative and responsive to all learners. She has built a collaborative environment where teachers learn from one another. Nicole leads by example and is a role model for staff, students and parents.

    Nicole is a dedicated educator who is strongly connected to her learning community. She is open and willing to mentor others and is always ready to lend a hand. Most of all, she always puts students first!

    Kristen Blanchette

    École Georges P. Vanier School
    High Prairie School DIvision No. 48

    Growing up in northern Alberta to teacher parents, Kristen Blanchette believes in the importance of being inspirational in the lives of students, and in creating excellent schools. Kristen's field of passion is science; she teaches senior biology, chemistry, and junior high science in both French and English at École Georges P. Vanier School. Through strong relationships, engagement, high expectations and encouragement, Kristen inspires even the most reluctant students to be brilliant, young scientists.

    Kristen's dedication to education extends beyond her teaching assignment as she uses her talents to fill many roles. Divisionally, she provides professional development on Google Classroom, develops biological field studies, organizes science fairs at local and district levels, serves as a divisional literacy coach, leads the science professional learning community and delivers diploma prep courses to all students in the division. An avid athlete, Kristen coaches senior volleyball, junior basketball and curling, organizes regional bonspiels and is also Vanier's athletic director.

    Lissa Bonnell Davies

    Keheewin School
    Edmonton School District No. 7

    In Lissa's role as Curriculum Coordinator and Teacher Librarian, she is able to share her passion for best practices in literacy instruction. This builds a love of reading among students and builds capacity for using technology for teaching and learning with students, staff and others in her district. She loves to introduce others to books that they will love, or that are perfect for teaching.

    Lissa attended a session on Makerspaces and was hooked on the concept of students as makers, tinkerers, collaborators, critical thinkers and creators. She has brought this passion to her school and district, continuing to learn and share projects and ideas with students and staff.

    Lissa loves sharing with others, whether it is a new technology, book, lesson idea or teaching strategy; and presents at teachers' conventions throughout Alberta. Lissa is president of the Alberta School Learning Commons Council (ASLC), and has been building a group of library staff who write and post reviews on current books on the ASLC Litpicks website.

    Enali Bouchard

    Lake Bonavista School
    Calgary School District No. 19

    Enali Bouchard started her career in North Bay Ontario after graduating from Nipissing University. After gaining experience in different educational settings in both Canada and the United States, an opportunity thankfully brought her to Alberta. It was here that she was introduced to the Montessori philosophy that was gaining momentum as an alternative public school program. Finding that it fit with her personal teaching philosophy of differentiation, multi-age classrooms, peace education and an appreciation for the natural world, Enali dove head first into her role as Montessori educator. She has been with Montessori ever since, teaching across grades, eventually embracing the role of learning leader and nurturing a passion for the Montessori philosophy in her fellow peers.

    Enali is a natural leader who supports professional development opportunities as a whole school, within her grade group and as a mentor. Relationships are important to Enali as she regularly establishes powerful, impactful and lasting relationships with students, families and colleagues.

    Stacy Brouwer

    Provost Public School
    Buffalo Trail Public Schools Regional Division No. 28

    Stacy teaches in the small town of Provost where she resides with her husband, Dirk, and two children, Darian and McKenna.

    Presently, she teaches English Language Arts to students from Grades 4 through 6, and feels blessed to be teaching one of her greatest passions in education. Stacy focuses on creating a balanced literacy program, while guiding students to develop strategies to become lifelong readers and writers.

    She has created a collaborative, student-centred classroom where students use technology to demonstrate personal understanding and are empowered to master their skills, pursue passions and partake in effective discussions.

    Stacy is honoured and humbled to be a recipient of this award, and to have the opportunity to work with such supportive and talented people.

    Outside of school, she enjoys long distance running, paddle boarding, cooking and spending time with her family.

    Angela Dezall

    Olds Junior Senior High School
    Chinook's Edge School Division No. 73

    Angie has enjoyed her 20-year teaching career at Olds High School. She has held several teaching roles over the years, but quickly found her greatest influence on student success through teaching mathematics.

    She believes strong student-teacher relationships are a necessary component to support student learning and students appreciate the time she takes to work independently with them outside of the classroom. Angie creates a strong rapport with students, allowing students to feel confident in subjects that offer a variety of challenges.

    Angie makes connections with students on many levels. In the classroom, her lessons are interactive and humorous. Students enjoy the energy and enthusiasm. Outside of the classroom, she is a proud supporter of student extracurricular activities and can be found cheering on school teams, enjoying arts performances, as well as organizing student conferences and tournaments.

    It is through Angie's experience and passion for education and her personalized approach to learning, that she continues to contribute to the ongoing development of excellence in learning.

    Rania Eshak

    Archbishop MacDonald High School
    Edmonton Catholic Separate School District No. 7

    Rania is an experienced educator whose mission is to prepare her students for life beyond graduation. She is a passionate French Immersion and International Baccalaureate teacher, as well as a leader who shares her knowledge and expertise with her colleagues.

    As a strong advocate for student-centred approaches to second language instruction, Rania provides opportunities for students to personalize their learning and, at the same time, fosters a real sense of community in her classes. She supports school events to contribute to an overall school climate of warmth and welcome.

    Rania is a lifelong learner and risk taker. This year, she took the lead in developing project-based learning units and she worked closely with the Centre for Global education in order to bring the real world into her classroom. Rania created the first ever French-speaking video conference in North America and has been selected to lead the same project for her school district.

    Cody William Huseby

    Father Henri Voisin School
    Red Deer Catholic Regional Division No. 39

    Cody believes in the importance of authentic learning and making it meaningful to students. Within the project-based learning framework, students in Cody's class work together to plan ten day vacations to other countries, build construction companies, apply for business loans and run awareness campaigns about the dangers of sound-related hearing loss.

    Cody's students are excited to come to school to see what new ideas he has in store for them. In a classroom environment where the energy and engagement levels are always high, students are encouraged to be creative, while collaborating and communicating with each other.

    Cody shares his knowledge of authentic learning within his division. He has facilitated and co-facilitated various professional development sessions and has had numerous teachers come in to observe his projects in action.

    Cody's love of teaching is evident in everything he does. Whether it is dressing up in a crazy costume for spirit days or joking around with his students, Cody is always willing to go that extra mile to build meaningful relationships with students.

    Miriam Ang Irons

    École Secondaire Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School
    Red Deer Public School District No. 104

    Miriam Irons was born in the Philippines and moved to Calgary when she was 10 years old with her parents and four siblings. Adjustment to life in Canada was quick. Freedom from uniforms and attending school with boys, let alone in the same class, was a real eye-opener!

    Upon graduation from high school, Miriam went to the University of Toronto, then travelled to China as a foreign student and taught English in Japan. Following her time teaching in Japan, Miriam returned home to Alberta. After obtaining an after-degree in Education, she began her teaching career with Red Deer Public School District.

    Miriam now calls Red Deer home and has been thrilled to teach Japanese, foods and computer media. Besides teaching for Red Deer Public, Miriam spent another two years teaching in Japan with the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program.

    In 2012, Miriam completed her Master of Education degree at the University of Calgary.

    Patrick Johner

    Parkallen School
    Edmonton School District No. 7

    For many people, there is a "teacher" that stands out, one that finds additional energy, has a special burst of inspiration, and provides a great opportunity for students. In the world of Parkallen School, that person is Patrick Johner.

    Patrick believes that all students can achieve success. He works to ensure every learner under his care is given opportunities to experience success that is meaningful and engaging. He creates learning environments that ensure students are focused not just on achieving good grades but also tapping into their capacity to be compassionate, conscientious and socially responsible.

    "Unequivocally, Patrick Johner is the most dynamic and inspiring 'Teacher'; he is a mentor, a friend, and the most intensely positive role model our children could possibly have during these formative learning years. It's my belief that Patrick is a true leader. What he brings to the classroom extends deep into our family. His intense passion for students and their personal development cannot be taught. He is unique, special, and treasured by all of those he touches!" – Daryl Procinsky- Parent Nominator

    Amber Lansing

    St. Francis of Assisi Middle School
    Red Deer Catholic Regional Division No. 39

    Amber graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Education and a Physical Education degree. She began her teaching career in the Red Deer Catholic School Division and made it her home.

    Amber has taught Grades 2 to 9 and is currently teaching Grade 6 Language Arts and Social Studies. She also is a Literacy, Inclusion, Faith and Technology (LIFT) team member at St. Francis of Assisi Middle School in Red Deer. In this role, Amber collaborates with other teachers in the school to co-teach and support them in meeting the needs of all students.

    Amber has a gift for building rapport with students. Some of the ways she does this is through providing enrichment sessions with the school's Drop Everything and Learn (DEAL) program, setting up sessions to challenge gifted learners and offering additional help to students struggling with concepts.

    Away from teaching, she has a wonderful husband, Curtis, also a teacher, and two beautiful children. Jace is five years old and Aubrey is three years old. She enjoys spending time with her family, watching her kids participate in sports and music, traveling, playing ball and reading.

    Mark Mercer

    Queen Elizabeth High School
    Edmonton School District No. 7

    Mark Mercer teaches Computer Science, Robotics and Computer Pathways at Queen Elizabeth High School in Edmonton. He teaches a diverse range of students, including Advanced Placement, Knowledge & Employability and English Language Learners.

    Mark teaches digital literacy through flipped classroom methods, Project-based learning and peer-to-peer mentoring as students come to understand their freedom and efficacy. He believes this type of facilitated critical thinking results in projects that enhance students' technology skills in computer science, robotics and coding.

    Challenging and empowering students through their extra-curricular activities, Mark prepares students for skills competitions, academic contests and industry-level certification, and facilitates students' contributions to their wider community. Finally, in the spirit of collaboration, Mark has co-coordinated, hosted and presented at a Kindergarten to Grade 12 Summer Institute and a Greater Edmonton Teachers' Convention Association Institute for Kindergarten to Grade 12 Computer Science.

    Rhonda Nixon

    H.E. Beriault Catholic High School
    Edmonton Catholic Separate School District No. 7

    Rhonda Nixon has been an educator for 17 years as an elementary, secondary and post-secondary teacher, consultant, district manager, and school principal. In 2012, she earned a Ph.D. from the University of Alberta in Language and Literacy Education and received the Canadian Association of Teacher Education Dissertation Award for her thesis. This year, she received the Catholic Education Leadership Award for her work as a principal.

    Rhonda dedicates herself to caring for the most vulnerable in her community. She began a student leadership team, "The Breakfast Club" that educates students on how to eat healthy while also preparing food for them weekly. In addition to this, Rhonda developed a blended learning environment in her school that offers students an alternative location to learn, supported by extra teacher support and a mental health team, including a psychologist. Rhonda also teaches English and works with teams of teachers to ensure that all students have excellent literacy instruction.

    Cindy Palmer

    Crossing Park School
    Calgary School District No. 19

    Cindy Palmer is an Assistant Principal at Crossing Park School in Calgary. She believes relationships with her students and colleagues are key to her work. Cindy creates exciting learning environments that contribute to real- world application of the curriculum, and takes the time to connect with all students on a personal level. This connection with students has allowed her to create an environment in which students thrive, and their learning positively impacted.

    Cindy's commitment to quality teaching practice and the needs of her students is evidenced every day. She makes herself available to colleagues, answering questions and offering guidance about implementing new, innovative ideas that push teaching forward. Cindy also takes the time get to know her students, and works to understand their social, emotional and familial factors that impact their learning.

    As a leader and a mentor to many of her colleagues and students, Cindy inspires and instils a passion within them to be the best that they can be.

    Dawn Rothwell

    Paul Kane High School
    St. Albert Public School District No. 5565

    Dawn Rothwell has been a teacher with St. Albert Public Schools since 2001. Dawn started teaching at Bellerose Composite High School where she taught Mathematics and Physical Education, as well as worked with the High Performance Sports Academy, Bellerose Bike-a-thon for Cancer Research and Student Leadership program.

    In 2006, Dawn moved to Doha, Qatar as member of a Canadian teacher team which started up the Qatar Canadian School. During her time there, she enjoyed working with students from around the world and travelling the Middle East.

    Currently, at Paul Kane High School, Dawn serves as the Mathematics Department Head and is dedicated to supporting the learning needs of her students by finding innovative ways to engage students through the use of technology and through the creation of a new program called Math PLUS. Next year, Dawn looks forward to re-joining the staff at Bellerose Composite High School as an Assistant Principal.

    Robert Slade

    Colonel Irvine School
    Calgary School District No. 19

    Born in Gander, Newfoundland in 1967 Robert graduated from Memorial University in 1993 and began his teaching career in his hometown. After several, contracts he moved to Calgary in 1996, where he met his wife and now is the proud father of two wonderful boys.

    After being hired by the Calgary Board of Education, Robert taught social studies at Central Memorial High School and at Colonel Irvine School. During his time at Colonel Irvine, Robert had the opportunity to teach in different subject areas and the good fortune to interact with students in different ways. He is presently the Learning Leader for Social Studies, Grade 5 and the Traditional Learning Center.

    For the past three years, Robert has been teaching Grade 5 as a generalist as well as outdoor education and robotics. He also enjoys coaching volleyball and other sports as needed.

    Maureen Tigner-Morison

    Victoria School of the Arts
    Edmonton School District No. 7

    Maureen is a dance educator, a Kindergarten to Grade 12 Arts Curriculum Coordinator and former Dance Department Head at Victoria School of the Arts in Edmonton.

    She serves as choreographer for school productions and supports staff with their arts planning. Maureen creates experiences where students connect with professional artists and collaborate with other students to foster life- goals and a growth mindset through dance education.

    Among her many achievements as a teacher, Maureen has written dance curriculum for Edmonton Public Schools (EPSB) and the International Baccalaureate (IB) Organization and has led teacher workshops for IB, the Fine Arts Council, Canadian Society for Education Through Art, and EPSB. She also initiated the EPSB Dance Teacher's Network to create a student district dance award.

    Maureen received her dance teaching certificate from the British Theatre Dance Association and her B.Ed. from the University of Alberta. She is an Alberta Dance Alliance and Grant MacEwan Theatre Arts board member.

    Theresa Wells-Taylor

    Woodbridge Farms Elementary School
    Elk Island Public Schools Regional Division No. 14

    Theresa has a Bachelor of Education from the University of Alberta and a Master of Education from Flinders University. In her 15 years as an educator, Theresa has held numerous positions including Program Unit Funding itinerant teacher, Assistant Principal of a junior/senior high school, and is currently teaching Grade 1.

    Her personal slogan is, "Learning is larger than within the walls of a single classroom." She believes in making connections with community resources, parents, experts, authors and social media to enhance her teaching. This allows her to connect her students to the real world to foster learning.

    Theresa uses her passion for children's literature to integrate literacy into all aspects of the curriculum. Her enthusiasm for books captures students' interests and engages them daily in stimulating lessons.

    Theresa is co-founder and moderator for #cdnedchat, a weekly online Twitter chat for educators. Her hope is that each student leaves her classroom with a desire to learn.

    Semi-finalists

    Calgary

    Nicole Bezugley
    Enali Bouchard
    Karen Cleveland
    Cindy Palmer
    Robert Slade

    Donnelly

    Kristen Blanchette

    Edmonton

    Javier Alfonso
    Mavis Averill
    Lissa Bonnell Davies
    Lori Bosworth
    Ian Doktor
    Rania Eshak
    Stacia Gordey
    Patrick Johner
    Mark Mercer
    Rhonda Nixon
    Maureen Tigner-Morison

    Fort Saskatchewan

    Chantel Werner

    Olds

    Angela Dezall

    Provost

    Stacy Brouwer

    Red Deer

    Allan Baile
    Colin Christensen
    Cody Huseby
    Miriam Irons
    Amber Lansing
    Rachel Peters

    Sherwood Park

    Bonnie Edgecombe
    Theresa Wells-Taylor
    Steve Woodard

    St. Albert

    Dawn Rothwell

  • 2015

    We are honoured to recognize our 2015 Excellence in Teaching Awards semi-finalists and recipients for their accomplishments and for being a credit to the profession.

    Alberta has one of the best education systems in the world, and we owe much of that success to our dedicated teachers and principals.

    Since 1989, more than 500 educators have received Excellence in Teaching Awards. Each year we are proud to see that list grow, and even more proud to see the positive impact that these award-winning educators have in our communities, schools and classrooms.

    Award recipients

    Michelle Bence

    Westmount Charter School
    Westmount Charter School Society

    Michelle is a Grade two educator at Westmount Charter whose mission is to provide qualitatively differentiated programming for gifted learners.

    Science comes alive in Michelle's classroom, capturing her students' natural curiosity and sense of wonder through innovative and imaginative programming. Whether entomologists creating human ants, artists composing water cycle raps or rescue pilots designing arctic survival suits, she challenges her learners to ask critical questions and explore the world of science.

    Michelle's other passion is literacy. She shepherds a joint research study with the University of Calgary investigating best practices in writing instruction. Sharing her research findings with teachers, boards, at conferences, hosting writing workshops; fulfils her vision of improving the way literacy is delivered. Over the past year, she has shared her expertise and knowledge to help with the development and assessment of the Grade 3 Student Learning Assessments.

    Michelle is a passionate teacher and consummate professional who recognizes that excellence is a journey not a destination!

    Auriana Burns

    Belgravia School
    Edmonton School District No. 7

    Auriana is the Principal at Belgravia School, a Kindergarten to Grade 6, Ever Active School which fosters the physical and emotional wellness of approximately 150 students.

    Auriana has prioritized creating authentic relationships as a foundation for her leadership. She cultivates relationships by listening well, building a deep understanding of her staffs' strengths, and engaging them in meaningful conversations to ensure quality learning happens daily for all children. Auriana values diversity and ensures all students feel welcomed and respected.

    Auriana believes educational decisions need to be grounded in what is best for every child. She frequently seeks student, staff and parent input to understand the needs of her school community, and then works with all stakeholders to create their preferred future.

    Students, parents and staff appreciate having Auriana as their school principal. Auriana is a supportive, knowledgeable and action-oriented leader. She is an outstanding role model who makes Belgravia School feel like it is truly a second home.

    Jodi Emsley

    Win Ferguson Community School
    Elk Island Public Schools Regional Division No. 14

    Jodi teaches students between the ages of two and five who have mild to severe delays in one or more developmental areas. She provides a language rich environment through children's literature and is passionate about incorporating many kinds of play; such as sensory or dramatic, resulting in her students having a variety of experiences.

    She differentiates classroom management and student goals to facilitate growth for the whole child. She bridges the gap between the home and the medical fields to support families in ensuring their children reach their full potential. Jodi values the opportunity to collaborate with a diverse set of professionals to find the best strategies and tools for the students.

    Jodi is dedicated to both her students and the school community, trained in Steven Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective Kids and is a member of the school's Lighthouse Team. She supports staff professional growth in encouraging student leadership and believes that all students can be leaders!

    Iris Frankiw

    George P. Nicholson School
    Edmonton School District No. 7

    From the moment you are welcomed into Iris' classroom, you witness the magic unfold as she 'collects her kids' for a year-long journey of discovery in the rich, stimulating learning environment she creates for them. Iris sees the whole student, from where they are now to what they will become; she accompanies them on this journey by building trusting relationships, based on love and respect. Partnering with parents, Iris crafts a lasting legacy of positive results, as each child attains their potential and beyond.

    Iris is a champion for improving writing skills across all grade levels. She shares her expertise with colleagues within the district, and inspires reluctant writers to become proud authors. Iris is open-minded and self-reflective; through professional development based on solid educational fundamentals, she strives to improve her practice and mentor colleagues.

    Iris is highly respected by students, parents, and colleagues who witness her unfaltering professionalism and diplomacy, teaching expertise, and life-long love of learning.

    Kelly Harding

    Centre High Campus
    Edmonton School District No. 7

    Kelly is a graduate of the University of Alberta, double major in English literature and music. Currently, she is preparing to defend her Doctoral thesis on the potential of teaching residency programs to better prepare pre-service teachers for increasingly diverse classrooms.

    She has taught students in Grade 7 to the university level in both Alberta and in British Columbia. Kelly has been an assistant principal at Centre High Campus, a fourth and fifth year high school, with Edmonton Public Schools since 2011.

    Kelly's passion in education is to assist both students and teachers pursuits of experiences that enable them to engage in opportunities that will inform their next steps-either in further education or the world of work. Kelly has served as a mentor for pre-service and working teachers to support their growth as professionals. She is a proud mom of two school aged children and has become an expert at translating Grade 9 science from French to English!

    Kamal Johal

    F. E. Osborne School
    Calgary Board of Education

    Kamal Johal teaches math, science, and Career and Technology Foundations at F.E. Osborne School.

    She coaches a variety of sports, facilitates the Calgary Science Fair Club and creates the yearbook. Kamal is also involved with planning professional development opportunities in her school district.

    Kamal believes in being fair, firm, and fun. She also believes her role as an educator is to treat all her students with kindness and respect. Care and concern for others, regardless of whether we are in school or out in the community, are values that she emphasizes as well.

    Her passion and commitment stem from her Grade 12 math teacher, who mentored her and made a difference in her life. Kamal was able to achieve her goals when she never thought it was possible. She wants to continue making a difference in the lives of young people, as that great teacher once did for her.

    Stephanie Jones

    Piitoayis Family School
    Calgary Board of Education

    Stephanie's passion in both teaching and learning has continually been focused on early literacy. Her purpose is to find a way to help all students develop skills to become confident and joyful readers: creating a deep foundation for students to become life-long readers, and learners.

    Through research and practice she has worked to advance her understanding of the developmental process of reading. Alongside colleagues, Stephanie has taken these understandings and developed strategies to implement best practices with teachers in ways that are unique to the setting, and to the individual students.

    She believes that inspiring engaged readers beyond the classroom is essential and has worked to build relationships in the community by partnering with programs such as Calgary Reads. Stephanie believes that involving parents, families and the community is vital in supporting students in their literacy education.

    Nancy Krar

    Father Lacombe High School
    Calgary Roman Catholic Separate School District No. 1

    Nancy's current teacher assignment is Head of English at Father Lacombe School in Calgary. With 18 years of teaching experience, Nancy values global mindedness and experiential learning.

    Nancy is an advocate for student choice. She helped create a weekly flex period, allowing students to attend personalized workshops.

    Within the classroom, Nancy's teaching philosophy involves honouring student stories and voices. Recognizing that students can and need to tell their stories in a multitude of forms, Nancy facilitated the creation of abstract self-portraits, digital stories, and TED talks in her English classes.

    Nancy spearheaded the creation of the school's spoken word team and collaborated to create the Provincial Poetry Slam Competition. At the Calgary and Edmonton Teachers' Conventions, she presented ways to engage students through performance poetry.

    Partnering with the Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology, Nancy worked with students to create dance and spoken word pieces for water stewardship.

    Dave Madole

    St. Edmund Elementary/Junior High School
    Edmonton Catholic Separate School District No. 7

    Educator and writer, motivator and traveller, Dave Madole is not afraid to tackle new challenges. For 16 years, he has been a teacher, mostly in Edmonton Catholic Schools at St. Edmund School.

    Over that time, Dave's lessons have evolved from lectures and note taking to collaborative, multi-media assessments that push the boundaries of learning for both student and teacher. Using a virtual classroom, he provides content accessible to students even if they are away on holidays.

    Dave walks the talk as an English language arts teacher, sharing the challenges and achievements involved in writing a novel. He has just self-published Keep, the first novel in The Dissident Trilogy, and students are his biggest fans. They have championed Keep on Instagram, Facebook and beyond.

    Through humour and high expectations, technical innovation and leading by example, Dave's enthusiasm has truly turned learning language arts into an adventure for all involved.

    Tahani Mikhaiel

    École Marie Poburan
    Greater St. Albert Roman Catholic Separate School District No. 734

    Tahani Mikhaiel's top five Gallup Poll signature strengths are relator, adaptability, input, learner and positivity. These five strengths are evident in her classroom and are great contributors to her success as a teacher.

    When students start off the year saying, "I prayed that I would get Mme Mikhaiel as my teacher ...and I did!"...this is such an indication of how loved she is by her students, parents and staff.

    There is laughter and joy in her classroom. There is hard work and high standards in her classroom. Her reflective practice allows her to individualize for the academic, social and emotional needs of her students. Learning is expediential in her class due to her differentiated approach and her passion for literacy is the heart of her students' success.

    She is especially a proponent for second language learning and is always looking for new ways to bring life to the French language for her students and community.

    Haley Mikula

    Westmount Junior High School
    Edmonton School District No. 7

    Haley Mikula works at Westmount Junior High School in Edmonton, Alberta where she teaches English language arts, guitar, and leadership. Her spirit of leadership and innovation impact not only the students in her classes, but throughout her school and community.

    Through a peer mentoring program that Haley has developed, Westmount students partner with students from a nearby elementary and teach their peers about goal setting, relationship building, and other life skills. The program enhances resiliency and engagement for both mentees and mentors.

    One of Haley's joys as an English teacher is to integrate film studies into the curriculum. Her students regularly undertake concepts that are taught in Grade 11 and 12 film studies courses, pushing the boundaries of what others think her students are capable of learning. Haley's teaching is fearless never afraid of big words and big ideas; she makes them "learnable" for her kids.

    Kerri Neitsch

    Lillian Osborne High School
    Edmonton School District No. 7

    Kerri currently teaches at Lillian Osborne High School. Throughout her career, she has taught elementary, junior and senior high with Edmonton Public Schools and in the Physical Education Department at the University of Alberta. She has also had the rare opportunity to open George P. Nicholson and Lillian Osborne High School, two Edmonton Public Schools.

    Highlights of Kerri's career include Assistant Choreographer for the 2001 World Track and Field Opening and Closing Ceremonies, the 2002 Grey Cup Half Time Show in Edmonton and the 2005 World Masters Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

    She has coached cheerleading, choreographed musicals for a variety of high schools, and was commissioned by Alberta Education to create a High School Completion Flashmob at Edmonton Center.

    Kerri believes that building warm, trusting relationships with students' increases attendance and high school completion rates. She is truly honoured to be a 2015 Excellence in Teaching Finalist.

    Scott Onuczko

    Spruce Grove Composite High School
    Parkland School Division No. 70

    Scott teaches a student centred, project based communication technology program at Spruce Grove Composite High School. He has created a very flexible learning environment for students where they can explore their interests and passions through creativity and critical thinking.

    Students choose from a wide variety of different courses that are available to them and once they choose the course they want to work in, the students design their own projects based off of their personal interests. In addition to designing their own projects his students regularly do work for real world clients, including many other schools, local community groups, the University of Alberta and both local and international projects.

    Outside of the classroom, Scott is involved in the Alberta Teachers Association as a School Representative and an Annual Representative Delegate. He has also served on the Economic Policy Committee and is currently the Chair of the Negotiating Sub Committee.

    Scott Reiling

    Vauxhall Junior and Senior High School
    Horizon School Division No. 67

    Scott builds meaningful connections with all students through his enthusiasm for biology. Having taught biology 20 and 30 for 16 years, he strives to ensure that all students reach their full potential. It is important for Scott to share his passion for biology and encourage students to pursue a career in the sciences.

    Scott connects with students on many levels. Having been a vice principal for 13 years, he is viewed as a constant in the lives of many students both past and present. He values the relationships he has established and students know his door is always open if help is needed.

    In addition to his passion for biology, Scott uses athletics to show that dedication and hard work are key components to success. Scott serves as the vice president of the Vauxhall Academy of Baseball and has built a competitive girls volleyball program in Southern Alberta.

    Myra Rybotycki

    Spruce Grove Composite High School
    Parkland School Division No. 70

    As a department head and a lead implementer of Spruce Grove Composite High School's Flexibility Project, Myra created multilevel programming for her art courses which emphasize a continuum of learning, rather than maintaining grade differences.

    In this context, the diversity is not a challenge to be overcome, but an asset and resource which promote quality learning. Her teaching practice focuses on a flexible approach to personalized instruction, supported by access to learning technologies.

    After years as a Student Leadership Advisor, Myra initiated the first Gay-Straight Alliance for the students of Parkland School Division.

    Her extra and co-curricular involvement has been extensive and have included the creation of a working Student Union Café to raise funds for philanthropic projects and provide job training for hard-to-place work experience students.

    Myra has led numerous co-curricular trips for students on four different continents and is committed to developing leaders, innovators and global citizens.

    Thomas Stahlke

    M.E. LaZerte High School
    Edmonton School District No. 7

    Thomas is the Department Head of science at M. E. LaZerte High School in Edmonton. Throughout his nearly two decades with Edmonton Public Schools, he has taught a diversity of science, chemistry and physics classes as well as International Baccalaureate Chemistry.

    Past experiences ranging from architectural technology to aviation, have provided many useful and meaningful connections to physics that he shares with his students. Connections like these are evident in his lessons and helps students plan for their future, by building their interest in many science-related careers.

    With a passion for technology, Thomas serves on the Technology Committee and utilizes a variety of applications to reach the 21st century learner in effective and engaging ways. Student learning is supported by a class website with calendars, notes, videos, practice assessments and learning links.

    As part of his ongoing professional growth and teaching practice, Thomas models openness to change and an inquiry approach to learning.

    Catherine Sveinson

    West Park Elementary School
    Red Deer Public School District No. 104

    Cathy teaches Grade 1. She takes on a leadership role within the school. She shares her knowledge and experience while also being open to learning new practices.

    Cathy is particularly supportive of the new teachers with the school. Without being asked, she always makes time to support and guide her new colleagues to help ensure that they become successful in their new roles. She shares her passion and expertise in the area of teaching young learners.

    Cathy is an expert on Grade 1 curriculum and instruction. She served many years as a member of the district Social Studies Curriculum Team and on the district Early Literacy Team.

    Cathy connects with each of her students and works with them to develop confidence, discover their strengths and celebrate their differences. She recognizes the potential in each and every student and works with other staff and the families of each student making sure that they reach their full potential.

    Cameron Tully

    Lillian Osborne High School
    Edmonton School District No. 7

    Cameron Tully has taught all levels of high school English language arts, creative writing, and film studies. By modelling how to tell stories, and more importantly how to listen to them, Cam has connected with students in a variety of capacities. He created an at-risk program at Ross Sheppard High School where he worked as a curriculum coordinator, and founded the student Gay-Straight Alliance in 200–one of the first of its kind in the province.

    Cam continues to work with students both inside and outside the classroom. He is a teacher mentor for the Big Brothers Big Sisters teen mentoring program, the English Language Learner Lunch Club, and the Pancake Club.

    As the English department head at Lillian Osborne High School, Cam facilitates a team of empathic, master teachers who continually remind him of the importance of public education. He is humbled and honoured to receive this nomination.

    Joe Vanderhelm

    École J.H. Picard
    Edmonton Catholic Separate School District No. 7

    Joe teaches a variety of science and theatre courses. He has served as director and/or technical director of four Edmonton Journal Cappie Award nominated productions.

    Joe directed the Théâtre PicArts original production of Chris Craddock's The Making of Something Awesome at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He has co-coached the improv team, which has earned the right to represent Alberta at the National Finals of the Canadian Improv Games.

    Alongside Rapid Fire Theatre, Joe produces the WildFire Teen Improv Festival, a three week festival for students from all across Alberta and co-founded the Northern Alberta Improv League. Joe loves the fact that students now have the opportunity to not only perform, but to create, cooperate, learn and have fun together.

    A professional improviser himself, he believes in the power of improvisation, especially for students. Improv is built on the pillars of positivity, listening and collaboration and it is upon these same pillars that Joe has placed his teaching philosophy.

    Jason Zackowski

    École Secondaire Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School
    Red Deer Public School District No. 104

    Jason Zackowski was born in Fairview, Alberta, and grew up thinking he was destined to smite dragons but settled for a life with his parents and three siblings in the quiet hamlet of Elnora, Alberta.

    The sciences drew his attention early and became his lifelong passion. After completing a Bachelor of Science, he moved on to education and found that the teaching profession was his true "destiny." From blowing up watermelons, setting himself on fire, to creating witty memes for his students to enjoy; he is able to balance learning with entertainment.

    He has coached basketball, volleyball, and other sports where his teams achieved excellent results. Currently, Jason teaches chemistry at École Secondaire Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School in Red Deer.

    Jason's passions include martial arts, black sash in Kung Fu, fitness, nerd culture, x-county skiing, and cosplaying as Starlord. He and his wife Kris have two children, Duncan and Adam.

    Semi-finalists

    Calgary

    Michelle Bence
    Melita Bishop
    Laura Crosby
    Carrie Edwards
    Kamal Johal
    Stephanie Jones
    Nancy Krar

    Cardston

    Austin Nunn

    Edmonton

    Auriana Burns
    Crystal DeJong
    Jackie Flynn
    Iris Frankiw
    Kelly Harding
    Dave Madole
    Haley Mikula
    Kerri Neitsch
    Jack Neufeld
    Gaylene Soifer
    Thomas Stahlke
    Cameron Tully
    Joe Vanderhelm

    Fort Saskatchewan

    Jodi Emsley

    Lethbridge

    Rob Jetten

    Red Deer

    Catherine Sveinson
    Jason Zackowski

    Spruce Grove

    Scott Onuczko
    Myra Rybotycki

    St. Albert

    Tahani Mikhaiel

    Sylvan Lake

    Ken Meraw

    Vauxhall

    Scott Reiling

  • 2014

    We are honoured to recognize our 2014 Excellence in Teaching Awards semi-finalists and recipients for their accomplishments and for being a credit to the profession.

    Their work is building Alberta – preparing the next generation of successful Albertans for the future.

    Since the program began in 1989, more than 500 teachers and principals have received Excellence in Teaching Awards. Each year, the program shares tremendous stories of these individuals inspiring students to reach their full potential. They have earned recognition from their students, colleagues and community, as well as the Government of Alberta.

    Award recipients

    Lisa Armstrong

    Dr. J. K. Mulloy School
    Calgary School District

    Lisa teaches music to students from Kindergarten to Grade 4. By all accounts, Lisa is a teacher who helps students develop a love of music, be able to see the music in the world around them and experience that music and rhythm in their bodies and lives.

    Students are encouraged to try different levels of complexity while playing instruments, search YouTube for variations of songs, research information on composers and even create their own song variations with partners and small groups.

    Lisa also mentors her teacher colleagues and presents workshops for the Calgary, Lethbridge and Palliser Teachers' Conventions.

    Since its inception in 2004, Lisa has been a driving force behind the Music Professional Learning Community within the Calgary Board. A performance showcasing hundreds of students from all socio-economic, ethnic and ability levels has now become an annual event staged at the Jack Singer Hall.

    Students, colleagues and the public have found a rich resource of collaboration and leadership in Lisa Armstrong.

    Lloyd Bloomfield

    Harry Ainlay High School
    Edmonton School District

    Lloyd is the Department Head of Career and Technology Studies (CTS) as well as an integral part of the Design Studies program at Harry Ainlay High School.

    Lloyd's experience as a journeyman carpenter and his own drafting expertise support his students' pursuit of design skills in graphic arts and architecture. His recent introduction of 3D printing has even awakened the entrepreneurial spirit in some of his students.

    Outside class, Lloyd is an advocate for robotics and the Harry Ainlay Robotics Team regularly places highly in local and regional competitions.

    While working tirelessly within the school, Lloyd is also deeply committed to programs that involve students outside the building as well as the ongoing professional development of teachers in the Edmonton district and beyond.

    Outside the school Lloyd is involved in the placement of University of Alberta education students involved in CTS studies and has served as Program Chair for the Greater Edmonton Teachers' Convention Association.

    Tania Brown

    G. W. Skene School
    Calgary School District

    Tania's current teaching assignment involves the Bridges Program at G. W. Skene School. The school serves a complex, multicultural community. Tania, a Learning Leader for the school, believes that all students are capable of great accomplishments, no matter how challenging their home lives and family socio-economic status may be.

    Tania has achieved success supporting children with serious psychological disorders and experiencing school failure. Her combination of high expectations and personalized programming encourages many students to re-join inclusive classroom settings. As Learning Leader, Tania furthers the strategic objectives of the school through her thoughtful relationships with staff, families and students.

    Tania helped to select the Circle of Courage as a guiding philosophy for the school. She intuitively understood that an approach integrated into daily work rather than as an "add on" program was needed.

    Tania now leads professional development on the Circle of Courage as well as organizing student events to introduce the philosophy to the school's community of learners.

    Terry Colp

    M. E. LaZerte School
    Edmonton School District

    Terry Colp has abundant teaching and life experiences that have made him a remarkable teacher. He has taught all levels of English in junior and senior high from behaviour assistance classes to International Baccalaureate curriculum.

    His life experience in community theatre as an artistic director, playwright, screenwriter and producer for the Fringe and Folk Music Festivals give him personal and professional resources from which to design creative and innovative learning challenges for his students.

    Terry has extensive experience creating and leading professional development for GETCA and the ATA Language Arts Council. As English Department Head and a member of the A Team (Assessment Team) Terry has had a significant impact on teaching and learning at the M.E. Lazerte School. At the heart of all these strategies is a desire to engage students in their learning.

    When Terry feels he needs improvement in his own approach to teaching he changes virtually everything he is currently teaching and how he is teaching it. In doing so, he models risk and reward in education.

    Mariko Eto

    Louis St. Laurent School
    Edmonton Catholic Separate School District

    Mariko Eto's outstanding efforts over 25 years of teaching include pioneering several learning initiatives that saw more mainstream services and supports come to ESL learners within the district, the growth of a robust robotics program within her school and a level of advocacy for student leadership that has empowered more student choice and voice within her community of learners.

    As well as being an exceptional proponent of specialty councils and ongoing professional development, Mariko is a true champion for deepening capacity in her math department.

    Mariko believes in developing well-rounded citizens. She has worked with the Student Council to undertake many social justice activities including bullying and racism. Each year a core group of young people adept at making a difference in the community raise thousands of dollars for causes such as the Make a Wish Foundation, cancer research and the Stollery Children's Hospital.

    Mariko's career reminds us that it is the daily interactions with learners, peers and parents, little actions and kind words that take root, grow and blossom to bear great fruit.

    Janet Fast

    L.Y. Cairns Junior-Senior High School
    Edmonton School District

    Janet works with students with mild cognitive disabilities. She meets and exceeds both parental and student expectations of achievement through a diverse repertoire of teaching skills. Janet has an uncanny ability to establish connections with students in a way that motivates them to reach goals.

    An essential aspect of her success is the personal contact she maintains with parents and students at home via weekly updates and shared links.

    Realizing the importance of explicit instruction for her students in the decision-making process Janet developed a two-stage program: Thinking Before Acting and Walk the Talk.

    The first stage develops a six-step decision-making process that is applied in the second stage to real life relationship and consumer situations. This system also allows other school staff to use a common vocabulary in decision-making situations students may encounter in other classes.

    This work led to Janet becoming the school's Literacy Coach as her knowledge and ability to guide staff through in-class demonstrations and consultation is legendary.

    Catherine Fox

    Sunrise School
    Grassland Regional Division

    Catherine is the principal of Sunrise School, a multi-division, alternate school in Brooks. Approximately 35 junior high and senior high students attend the Supported Learning Program. Students typically come to Sunrise through a referral process.

    Catherine and her staff - three teachers, an administrative assistant, and support staff – ensure that food is available in the morning and at lunchtime and for healthy snacks as required. Each student chooses a specific staff member as a responsible adult to listen or advise them.

    Catherine removes barriers for her students and helps them achieve success. This alternative school has high expectations of its learners. Last year Sunrise had the largest graduating class (10) in its history.

    Within this supportive learning environment, more students are realizing their own potential and gaining the motivation and confidence to go on to post-secondary studies. And they all express deep gratitude for the principal who supported them.

    Coreen Hudec

    Lillian Osborne High School
    Edmonton School District

    Coreen is a highly skilled teacher of Mathematics. She is also the leader of the High School Flexibility Project and has implemented new assessments to check student understanding.

    Students use their cell phones to access the Socrative Student Response Website, join her virtual classroom and answer an exit question. In class, students hold up individual whiteboards with their responses. Both approaches provide immediate feedback.

    Coreen also provides anyone who needs math help in the school or District with a copy of her computer drive: sharing lessons, projects, quizzes and exams.

    Coreen leads by example volunteering in local and international communities. She works with YESS (Youth Empowerment and Support Services), canvasses for the Heart and Stroke Foundation and has volunteered in Peru.

    Her example inspires her students to get actively involved in local movements and volunteer in autism intervention programs, Art in the Park, and Helping Hampers.

    Through her endless giving and encouraging others to do the same, Coreen stimulates an educational and environmental effect that changes lives.

    Elise Lee

    École Agnes Davidson School
    Lethbridge School District

    Elise teaches Grade 1 and 2 French Immersion and served as the Learning Support Teacher in her school. She has developed three schoolwide programs to promote speaking French.

    Elise created a French Help website to provide additional resources for students and parents and has developed numerous resources for teachers.

    A member of many school and district committees including Technology, Professional Development and One School One Book, Elise has served on local and provincial Alberta Teachers' Association French Councils.

    Having taught different grades in the mainstream program, Francophone and French Immersion Programs, Elise has an excellent understanding of the curriculum and diversity of student needs. Working with Alberta Education, she has evaluated resources in French Language Arts, Social Studies, Music and Fine Arts and created bridging documents in CTS.

    Her favourite educational mantra is "Kids don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." Elise is an excellent teacher who daily demonstrates how much she knows and how much she cares.

    Arlene Lipkewich

    A. Blair McPherson School
    Edmonton School District

    In her role as Teacher Librarian, Arlene is the keystone of her school's vision of an Innovative, Inquiring Community.

    To service a large student population of English language learners, Arlene has planned and hosted a series of family field trips around the Mighty Love of Reading theme.

    These evenings allow families to experience local libraries and bookstores. Transportation is provided where required and students and families are excited to see and meet with their teachers outside of the regular school setting. Arlene has worked to ensure that 98% of the students have their own library cards.

    Arlene's in-school reading program You Decide has motivated students from Grades 1 – 6 to read five books especially selected for their grade level. The program finishes with a huge, school-wide celebration in the gym where students can vote for their favourite book.

    This excellent teacher's enthusiasm is contagious. Arlene's dedication to education allows her to not only better herself, her students and their families, but also to inspire others to reach their full potential.

    Ginette Marcoux

    McKernan School
    Edmonton School District

    Ginette is responsible for the only Late French Immersion Program in the Edmonton district. Her passion for the French language combines with commitment and dedication to her Grade 7 students and has them performing at the levels of six-year French Immersion students at the end of their first year of study.

    This success comes from Ginette's effective adaptation of Maxwell's Accelerative Integrated Method (AIM) for use with adolescent students studying a second language. The approach uses gestures, stories, music and dramatic techniques to enhance learning. Ginette also makes use of her own adapted materials to modify existing textbooks for new French speakers.

    Ginette's involvement with Alberta Education and Edmonton Public Schools has helped to design a framework for teaching Late French Immersion.

    She shares her expertise on the use of the Smartboard in the context of teaching second languages with colleagues around the province.

    Ginette's boundless energy, her love of teenagers, and her proven ability make her an outstanding teacher.

    Heather McKay

    Andrew Sibbald School
    Calgary School District

    Heather, an innovative teacher passionate about literature, challenges her kindergarten students to "see, think and wonder." She developed a "Wonder Project" using blogs and Twitter to connect her kindergarten students and their individual "wonders" to the larger community.

    Heather's students received answers to their questions from around the world. This successful outreach resulted in an invitation for Heather and team partners to attend the Cultivating the Scientist Within Every Child Conference in Toronto.

    Heather's enthusiasm for science extends to other students in the school and generated a lunchtime STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) club as well as creating daily dialogue in an online Professional Learning Network among 34 schools worldwide.

    Heather creates a stimulating learning environment by connecting with students, uncovering their interests and allowing them to create and maintain ownership of their learning.

    As one parent wrote, "When faced with a closed door, she finds a window."

    Tracy Melnyk

    John Paul II Catholic High School
    Elk Island Catholic Separate Regional Division

    Tracy holds a Master's Degree in Secondary Education with a specialization in English. In her thesis, Tracy examined how the Diploma Exam affects students. Accordingly, she ensures that her students are exceptionally well prepared for this milestone.

    Tracy was instrumental in bringing the Advanced Placement Program into the school and, as an AP teacher, she constantly implements new strategies to engage students in literature and challenge their writing skills.

    She has taken a lead role within the staff to examine the High School Flexibility Model.

    Her remarkably productive classrooms are a result of her innate ability to build relationships with every student. Tracy constantly revises tools and assignments to more effectively meet student needs. One such source of support: her own webpage MellytheTeach.

    In addition to her regular classroom course load Tracy serves as the liaison among the Alberta Distance Learning Centre and the students taking ADLC courses, the team-teachers, school administration and parents of over 350 students involved.

    Brenda Mykytiuk

    H. A. Kostash School
    Aspen View Public School Division

    Brenda Mykytiuk is an outstanding kindergarten teacher at Smoky Lake's H. A. Kostash School and an Early Childhood Specialist. Her class is full of 21st Century learners working on iPads, listening to CDs, interacting with the Smartboards, and working with math manipulatives.

    Brenda's influence on learners extends beyond the classroom. She works with a team of teachers researching best practices in math instruction and sharing those practices with other kindergarten teachers. She formed and chairs the Early Childhood Development Coalition, a county-wide organization that promotes the well-being of children from birth to school age.

    Brenda also works with an Apple Schools initiative to bring healthy lifestyle choices to all students at the school. She is a long-term member of the Smoky Lake Community and School Association and the Teacher Representative for the H. A. Kostash Parent Council.

    Brenda is focused and motivated and her dedication to her school and her students is evident in everything she does.

    Tia Myrick

    École J. H. Picard
    Edmonton Catholic Separate School District

    Tia teaches English Language Arts, dance and musical theatre in addition to serving as Department Head of English. Gifted with a renovated space for a dance program, Tia designed and implemented the dance programs for both junior and senior high school students.

    Her motivational techniques with students are extraordinary. She takes boys and girls who have never had any dance experience and treats them like they are part of a competitive dance studio where her high expectations garner great results. Evidence of her hard work is abundant in the award-winning musical theatre events produced at the school.

    Tia also co-founded the school's Glee programs and this blossoming of performing arts activities benefits hundreds of students physically, socially and emotionally.

    Her positive energy, dramatic skills and sense of humour bring laughter and enjoyment to a classroom where everyone feels safe, respected and valued.

    The resurgence of the Fine Arts Academy at the school is a tribute to this gifted communicator, wonderful collaborator and passionate leader.

    Joanne Olsen

    Youngstown School
    Edmonton School District

    Joanne Olsen is an integral member of Youngstown School's inclusive learning community. She is a masterful classroom teacher as well as an Intervention Teacher and Literacy Coach. She has broadened the community's understanding of literacy by a series of innovative and creative approaches to supporting students, staff and families.

    Joanne also attends ongoing professional learning for her role as Literacy Coach. In her second year of Edmonton Public School's Leadership Development Framework, she encourages her teaching colleagues to connect with resources.

    Joanne's innovative use of technology involves creating an online 'Literacy Board' and coaching staff on its use. This approach has been transformational for Youngstown School. Joanne has brought about "whole school" collaboration in timely, targeted intervention for all students reading below grade level. She also employs her knowledge of current and emerging information and communication technology to engage students.

    Joanne organizes and facilitates intramurals for kindergarten to Grade 3 students and works closely with staff to manage the Grades 4 – 6 intramurals to ensure there is schoolwide participation.

    Gregory Rankin

    George McDougall High School
    Rocky View School Division

    Greg Rankin teaches full-time, coaches football and serves as the Learning Coach at his school. He is also deeply involved in project-based learning and cross-curricular work and is fiercely focused on making education more meaningful and engaging for students.

    A key innovative program is "Building Futures". The project is a partnership between a local builder and other professional organizations in the residential homebuilding industry. It has attracted a lot of attention from other high schools in the division as well as other school jurisdictions.

    Grade 10 students learn their entire curriculum while building a house. All core courses and several option courses are taught through this process and it provides the students with hands-on work in a real life situation.

    Participation in the program has demonstrated student improvement in both academic and behavioral issues. Formerly struggling students are far exceeding expectations their teachers and parents had set for them. Sometimes the best way to think outside the box may be to build a new box!

    Steven Russell

    James Mowat Elementary School
    Elk Island Public Schools Regional Division

    Steven uses the Project-Based Learning model (PBL) of instruction in his Grade 5 classroom. He and another teacher created an engaging project on Canadian history and its links to contemporary Canadian issues.

    Parents feel that Steven's dedication to identify students' strengths and areas for growth, exceeds their expectations. His motivation, patience and support have his students stepping out of his classroom with self-confidence, self-assurance and a newly found love of math.

    The classroom itself is a busy hive of activity. Students collaborate in groups or work on their own conducting experiments or figuring out the latest assignment. Students appreciate him because he cares about their education, and also about them personally.

    Steven, the school's Technology Specialist, has been pioneering technological techniques and strategies and hosting many of the district professional development sessions in the use of new media in education.

    Steven's media savvy works behind the scenes of almost every special event at the school. It can be editing student movies for assemblies or organizing events such as the Christmas concert.

    Brenda Scaddan

    Queen Elizabeth High School
    Edmonton School District

    Brenda is the 'go to' person on staff for innovations in teaching. Her extensive pedagogical knowledge, dedication to students and collaborative spirit make her an incredible resource for teaching and learning at Queen Elizabeth School and its 21 catchment schools.

    Brenda was an early adopter and leader in differentiated instruction as a means of generating student interest in Social Studies. Research and practice in Universal Design for Learning processes and the use of technology to increase engagement brought her new insights on grouping students to reduce barriers to learning.

    In addition to her teaching responsibilities Brenda's encouragement of student participation in video conferencing and engaging her students in dialogues on world issues helps create global citizens.

    She is a key member of the school's anti-bullying program, Lead Teacher in the Community Helpers program, part of the Comprehensive School Health team and Teacher Sponsor for the Citadel Club.

    Brenda Scadden is an inspiration to her community of learners inside and outside of the classroom.

    Reagan Weeks

    Elm Street School
    Medicine Hat School District

    Reagan has a strong background in Adaptive Schools and Cognitive Coaching; and as District leader, initiated a Destination Imagination Program.

    In this program students compete in short and long term critical thinking skill challenges. This blossomed into a regional event and some of the students actually attended the World Competition in Knoxville, Tennessee.

    Reagan builds partnerships for her school with Medicine Hat College, Medalta Pottery Historic Site and many other community organizations to support the work she does for her students.

    Reagan's "Bring Back the Music" program was developed with Medicine Hat College's Conservatory of Music and Dance. The program ensures music touches children who would not otherwise have these opportunities. As part of a five-year plan, 24 students in Grades 4 – 6 receive two hours of instruction each week.

    Most recently Reagan has helped families recover from the Alberta floods of 2013. She has organized fundraisers to raise funds, food and supplies for the families impacted. The leader of Elm Street School is also a leader in the community.

    Semi-finalists

    Airdrie

    Jarett Hooper
    Derek Keenan
    Greg Rankin

    Ardrossan

    Jamie Childs

    Brooks

    Catherine Fox

    Calgary

    Karina Alborg
    Christine Andie
    Lisa Armstrong
    Tania Brown
    Anna Buccini
    Kenneth Chee
    Sarah Chung
    Rod Davidson
    Claudine Dessens
    Nicole Duma-Lorincz
    Victoria Fernandez
    Darryl Fidler
    Aubrey Fletcher
    Vanessa Fraser
    Stephen Hart
    Tara Hobart
    Max Jelinski
    Mary Laviolette
    Marie-Christine Lavoie
    Robert MacDonald
    Heather McKay
    L. Marc Norlin
    Stephanie Rip
    Laura Robertson
    Robb Sherman
    Kevin Willms
    Catherine Wood-Burke
    Kristy Zimmerman

    Canmore

    Shannon Amey

    Cardston

    Kendall Hardy

    Clairmont

    Erin MacLellan

    Cochrane

    Kara Vincent

    Drumheller

    Jeff Messom

    Edmonton

    Patricia Baker
    Lloyd Bloomfield
    Laura Bodnarek
    Paul Borchert
    Angela Bosscha
    John Chase
    Leanne Cheung
    Angela Cochrane
    Terry Colp
    Danielle Couillard
    Shannon Eremenko
    Mariko Eto
    Janet Fast
    Melanie Fisher
    Amanda Forster
    Denice Gubersky
    Angela Gunn
    Ahmed Haymour
    Leanne Hesterman
    Bill Howe
    Coreen Hudec
    Anna Janzen
    Paulette Jodoin-Williams
    Marla Korcek
    Caroline Lakusta
    Patricia Lim
    Arlene Lipkewich
    Patti Lorentz
    Ginette Marcoux
    Angie McKenna
    Rachel Miller
    Tia Myrick
    Joanne Olsen
    Lyndsy Panizzon
    Amy Peter
    Ruth Powell
    Ken Pyra
    Mary-Anne E. Ranieri
    Fernando Runco
    Brenda Scaddan
    Karen Spencer
    Burke Sperling
    Leroy Stang
    Maureen Stoneham
    Joe Teshima
    Nicole Thomlinson
    Alina Tirlea Engstrom
    Marnie White
    Brad Whittingham
    Terry Wiebe
    Mark B. Woodward

    Fort McMurray

    Carmen Bacon
    Monique Boily
    Summer Duchesneau

    Fort Saskatchewan

    Lesley Holt
    Nancy Luyckfassel
    Tracy Melnyk
    Steven Russell

    Gibbons

    Patricia Coxen

    Grande Prairie

    Johanne Kemp
    Christie Watson

    Grassy Lake

    Rebecca Nelson-Fitzpatrick

    High Prairie

    Dan Gillmor

    High River

    Paul Dunphy

    Kikino

    Laurie Thompson

    Lethbridge

    Matthew Bekkering
    Elise S H Lee

    Medicine Hat

    Michelle Miller
    Reagan Weeks

    Olds

    Bradley R. Clapp

    Red Deer

    Corinne Brown
    Scott Cline
    Brian Johnson
    Bryce Pearson
    Lisa Robertson
    Richard Zimmerman

    St. Albert

    Jason Dabbagh
    Michael C. Ng
    Sally R. Rudakoff
    Paul Shamchuk
    Monique Waters

    Sherwood Park

    Shauna Hicks
    Cherum Orr
    Jill Woodman

    Smoky Lake

    Brenda Mae Mykytiuk

    Stony Plain

    Simon Ropert

    Strathmore

    Gary Reagan

    Sylvan Lake

    Mandy Cuellar
    Angela Sola
    Jeremy Ziebart

    Vauxhall

    Tammy Reiling

    Vilna

    Paul Jespersen

    Westlock

    Colleen Toews

    Whitecourt

    Anne Martens