A Kamloops teacher is among 10 educators in B.C. to win a 2019 Premier's Award for Excellence in Education.
Jordan Smith, teacher/program co-ordinator at the Twin Rivers Education Centre and Four Directions secondary, won the Indigenous Education Award.
According to the Premier's Award for Excellence in Education committee:
“Smith works hard to connect students with Indigenous culture and history and to create an environment of safety and belonging. Each year, she identifies a thematic focus that connects experiential learning, art, community involvement and field trips to an elective course that all students are enrolled in. In keeping with the theme, students engage in a variety of hands-on learning opportunities, such as traditional fishing, gathering with local Elders and working with Indigenous artists. This year, she secured a Vancouver Foundation grant to pilot a program designed to integrate Indigenous ways of knowing alongside western curriculum by involving family, Elders and knowledge keepers.”
Premier John Horgan said All British Columbians benefit from the outstanding efforts of teachers, administrators and support workers.
"Through their commitment to student success, making schools safe and welcoming places for all, innovative learning approaches and strong leadership, the teachers honoured are an example of how education professionals can make a lasting impact on peoples' lives,” Horgan said.
The Premier's Awards for Excellence in Education were launched in 2018 as a means of honouring the outstanding achievements of public, independent and First Nations school-system teachers, principals, vice-principals, administrators and support staff in the K-12 school system.
This year's 10 winners, who were chosen from 140 nominations received between January and April and narrowed down to 30 finalists, were announced at a ceremony on Friday at Government House in Victoria, with Horgan, Education Minister Rob Fleming and Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin in attendance. The annual awards ceremony is held at the same time as World Teachers' Day, with this year's being marked internationally on Oct. 5.
Winners of this year's awards received a commemorative work of art by Claire Jorgensen, a 17-year-old student at Reynolds secondary in Saanich. They also received a $3,000 personal bursary for professional learning and a $2,000 contribution to their school community for professional learning.
Three other Kamloops-Thompson school district educators were finalists in the Premier's Awards for Excellence in Education Awards, which crown a winner and honour two finalists.
Ivy Chelsea from Chase secondary and Haldane elementary was a finalist in the Indigenous Education category, Carol DeFehr of Juniper Ridge elementary was a finalist in the School Leadership category and Denise Underwood of McGowan Park elementary was a finalist in the Technology and Innovation category.