British Columbia's Teachers Honoured for Excellence

In early March, 20 of British Columbia's educators were recognized for their outstanding contributions to education when they received the first-ever Premier's Awards for Teaching Excellence.

"The Premier's Awards for Teaching Excellence helps to highlight some of the outstanding efforts teachers are making to create the best possible outcomes for their students," says Education Minister Shirley Bond.

The BC Ministry of Education received more than 150 nominations in a wide range of award categories, including aboriginal learning, community engagement, and lifetime achievement.

Rosamund Latvala, a teacher at school district 84's Ray Watkins Elementary and Gold River Secondary schools was recognized in the Aboriginal Learning category.  Rosamund's achievements are starting an elementary school First Nations language program; mentoring Aboriginal education assistants; creating a free hot lunch program; finding an on-reserve daycare and preschool; and currently she is developing an adult education program with North Island College.

One of three winners in the Community Engagement category, Chris Seppelt, teaches at Archbishop Carney Regional Secondary School in Port Coquitlam.  Chris encourages students to volunteer at a soup kitchen in Vancouver's downtown eastside, and he invites speakers to the school to raise student awareness of social justice issues.  He has also supported students in their fundraising efforts for AIDS orphans in Africa, victims of the genocide in Darfur and homeless youth in Vancouver.

In the Lifetime Achievement category, Courtney school district's Dean Dogherty of Georges P. Vanier Secondary School was recognized for his long-standing commitment to hands-on learning, field trips and the use of technology to support students with special needs in the classroom.

The 20 award winners attended a special ceremony at Government House, and each received $1,500 for ongoing professional development.

Winning educators work in elementary, middle and secondary schools in communities large and small. What they share is a commitment to making a difference in the lives of students – and helping students understand the positive impact they can have on others.