Four Central Albertan educators win Excellence in Teaching Awards

Four Central Albertan teachers have been recognized with 2009 Provincial Excellence in Teaching Awards.

Four Central Albertan teachers have been recognized with 2009 Provincial Excellence in Teaching Awards.

Karen Vanderwater, Grant Gosse, Thomas Christensen and Lois Spate are among 23 educators who will receive awards May 30 at the Westin Hotel in Edmonton.

The award recipients were chosen from 365 eligible nominees after a committee of representatives looked through letters of support from a colleague, principal, superintendent or member of the public. The awards allow recipients to access up to $4,000 for professional development and are given out each year to honour teachers and principals for their creative and inspiring work.

Karen Vanderwater is both the principal and school librarian at Annie L. Gaetz Elementary School in the Red Deer Public School District. She is the designated special education liaison and looks out for the needs of the school’s special education students.

Vanderwater knows each child in the school and finds a way to teach each one. She encourages a daily music appreciation activity and a school-wide drop everything and read time. Vanderwater shares her skills as a sessional lecturer in the University of Alberta Collaborative B.Ed. Program at Red Deer College.

Grant Gosse serves as the resource room co-ordinator and the Challenge Program leader at St. Patrick’s Community School in the Red Deer Catholic Regional School Division. He is known for his infectious laughter and kindness. Gosse seeks progress, not perfection with students, who are often surprised by all that they can accomplish. Through positive reinforcement he encourages and celebrates even the smallest achievements in the students he helps.

Gosse regularly meets with kindergarten to Grade 9 staff to help them with new curriculum, resources and teaching strategies as the learning coach at the school. He acts as relief principal, technology co-ordinator, report card co-ordinator and ATA representative.

Thomas Christensen is the principal and a master social studies teacher at Olds Junior-Senior High School in the Chinook’s Edge School Division. He has facilitated one of five pilot project’s around the province called Youth Empowerment and established a mentoring program that pairs high school and junior high students. He has also helped with the management of the Community Learning Campus on the Olds College Campus site, where Olds High School will eventually open.

Lois Spate is a Grade 1 teacher and an assistant principal at Ponoka Elementary School in the Wolf Creek School Division. Parents describe her as a gentle and energetic teacher and her colleagues say she has admirable leadership qualities, excellent curricular knowledge and a caring teaching style.

Spate has recently been chosen as one of 12 provincial regional assessment advisors for the Alberta Assessment Consortium, which is a not-for-profit organization, which develops a range of assessment materials to enhance student learning and supports teachers with professional development.

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