Aspen Heights Elementary School first-year teacher Tosha Sim is Red Deer Public Schools nominee for the Edwin Parr Teacher Award. (Photo contributed)

Aspen Heights Elementary teacher nominated for award

Red Deer Public Schools nominates first-year teacher Tosha Sim for Edwin Parr Teacher Award

Inspired by her own teachers, Tosha Sim always knew she wanted to follow in their footsteps.

The dedication of the first-year teacher at Aspen Heights Elementary led to her being named Red Deer Public’s nominee for the Edwin Parr Teacher Award.

Each year, the Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA) honours six outstanding first-year teachers. School boards may nominate any first-year kindergarten to Grade 12 teacher who has taught in an Alberta school jurisdiction in the ASBA.

Rob Moltzahn, Red Deer Public Schools associate superintendent of human resources, said Sim was chosen as this year’s nominee because she is a reflective and creative teacher whose students are enthusiastically engaged in the classroom.

“Red Deer Public has fantastic teachers from our first years to our veterans, allowing students to benefit from this wealth and depth of knowledge,” he said.

“Tosha is clearly passionate about teaching. Her interaction and connection with students was remarkable to see. Tosha took care of the needs of all students in her class without missing a beat.”

For Sim, the nomination was a surprise.

“The special part was that my principal, Bill Kwasny, said in his whole career that he’s never nominated a first-year teacher before. It was really cool,” she said.

Sim held a lifelong dream of becoming a teacher, and remembers dressing up as a teacher for Career Days in elementary school.

“I truly love everything about being a teacher. There isn’t a day where I don’t want to get up and come to work,” said Sim, who currently teaches a Grade 4/5 combined class.

“It’s incredible to be part of each of my students’ lives at this time in their life and help mould them into the beautiful people they will be. It’s amazing. I can’t imagine not teaching.

“I can name off every single teacher in my life, and there are some that have been so special,” she said. “Being taught by phenomenal teachers has given me a solid platform as I begin my career and I’m very grateful for that.”

Last July, Sim taught at Reading College, a program of the Foundation for Red Deer Public Schools, which helps Grade 2 students who are struggling readers become readers of potential. It was an experience she will never forget, and will always be grateful for.

“I will sing Reading College’s praises for my whole life,” she said. “It was an incredible experience.”

Aspen Heights Elementary principal Bill Kwasny said Sim “built a classroom that is caring, inclusive and safe. Her students know that she cares deeply for them and she respects and values their differences.

“Her students have celebrated her nomination and feel pride that they are responsible, in part, for her success. Tosha’s passion for teaching is apparent for the time you first step foot in her classroom. It is a pleasure having the opportunity to work with Tosha.”

Award recipients are recognized at the ASBA Fall General Meeting.