South Slave educators recognized for excellence

August 27, 2019

Hay River, NT – The South Slave Divisional Education Council (SSDEC) announced the 2019 winners of the Excellence in Education Award at its annual Fall Inservice.

The Program Staff Award winner is Ms. Laura Boucher (Fort Resolution). Ms. Boucher is a long-time Northern Indigenous educator who has regularly been identified as a role model to both students and staff. Through her efforts to Indigenize education in Deninu School as a classroom teacher and now as a Program Support Teacher and Assistant Principal, Ms. Boucher created the Deninu Drummers and Deninu Dancers groups, which are well-respected in their home of Fort Resolution and in other communities where the groups have traveled to entertain and educate. Described by colleagues as a “quiet warrior,” Ms. Boucher is a strong liaison between the school and community. She is known for helping other teachers in Deninu School Indigenize their lesson plans and frequently facilitates Elder visits to the school.

The Partner in Education Award is presented to Mr. Steve Beck (Hay River). Mr. Beck has long supported Hay River and Kat’lodeeche First Nation schools and is well-respected for his on-the-land camps and his support of the DARE program. Whether he is lending an ear to a troubled youth or running annual camps to pass on traditional knowledge, Mr. Beck is a frequent collaborator with local schools and provides great insights into the land. As a member of the RCMP, Mr. Beck has also been instrumental in creating bridges between local members of the national police force and local youth. He is a strong Metis leader who contributes positively to education, to the betterment of the lives of all youth and to making his community a better place to live.

The Jill Taylor Above and Beyond Award recipient is Ms. Shirley Hehn.(Fort Smith). For nearly three decades, Ms. Hehn has gone above and beyond the regular call of duty by giving freely of her time to coach a variety of sports, engaging in fundraising activities, organizing trips and ensuring students in South Slave schools have the opportunity to learn through travel and sport. She is committed to improving the lives of South Slave students by contributing to their personal development and helping to improve their self-esteem. She was critical to the formation of free swims at the Fort Smith Recreation Centre, which provide students with increased after-school programming. She is respected by her peers for her excellent physical education program at JBT School, as well as for her countless volunteer hours.

The purpose of the Excellence in Education Awards is to publicly recognize the sustained commitments and outstanding contributions made by staff, parents and community members in helping to create the best possible futures for South Slave students. The Excellence in Education Awards are awarded annually to recipients nominated by their peers and selected from the following three categories:

  • Program Staff – includes teachers, administrators, consultants and education assistants that service South Slave schools.

  • Partners in Education – includes support staff (eg. secretaries and custodians), parents, students, volunteers and other community members, groups, or organizations that work in support of student learning.

Jill Taylor Above and Beyond Award – can be a staff member, parent, student, or partner who has gone above and beyond in volunteering to make positive, impactful contributions that benefit the wellbeing of South Slave children or youth.

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