Local teachers Alan Gee and Brendan Robertson, who go above and beyond to creatively inspire their students’ learning experiences, have received Premier’s Awards for Excellence in Education at an award ceremony in Victoria.
Gee and Robertson were presented with their awards Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, at the second annual Premier’s Awards for Excellence in Education ceremony held at Government House.
This year’s 10 winners, who were chosen from 140 nominations received between January and April 2019 and narrowed down to 30 finalists, were announced at the ceremony. Premier John Horgan, Rob Fleming, Minister of Education, and Lt. Gov. Janet Austin attended. The annual awards ceremony is held at the same time as World Teachers’ Day. This year’s is being marked internationally on Oct. 5.
The awards were launched last year to honour the outstanding achievements of public, independent and First Nations school teachers, principals, vice-principals, administrators and support staff in the K-12 school system.
“All British Columbians benefit from the outstanding efforts of teachers, administrators and support workers,” said Premier John Horgan. “The education professionals honoured through the Premier’s Awards for Excellence in Education are exemplary in their commitment to student success, making schools safe and welcoming places for all, innovative learning approaches and strong leadership, and having made lasting impacts on peoples’ lives.”
Gee, a teacher at Clarence Fulton Secondary school, was awarded in the category of Community Engagement. In his 32 years as a teacher, Gee has worked hard to support his students to cultivate both classroom and community connections. Passionate about experiential learning, he has created educational opportunities for his students at both local and global levels. He regularly invites community members into his classroom to share their unique perspectives, including a Holocaust survivor, a refugee and a hypnotherapist. He has created a global education course highlighting civic and global issues and a Japanese language program, as well as organized a canoe project in partnership with the local First Nation. In all his work, Gee challenges his students to be independent thinkers.
Robertson, a teacher at École Beairsto Elementary school, was awarded in the category of Technology and Innovation. A tinkerer at heart, Robertson is a natural fit in his district leadership role as technology innovation co-ordinator, as well as a Grade 4 teacher. He is committed to integrating emerging digital technology tools into the classroom to enhance learning and engagement for all students. For example, he has taken students on virtual field trips to a refugee camp in Jordan and to the Museum of Modern Art, has students use augmented reality, has incorporated drones into physics and math classes, and has regularly used coding and robotics. His use of technology in the French immersion setting has given primarily English-speaking parents a unique perspective into the French-language learning that their children do daily. He was also pivotal in early pilot work experimenting with multiple platforms of electronic assessment.
“British Columbian education professionals go to great lengths to engage their students to ensure they not only learn important lessons tied to the learning at hand, but that will serve them well as they graduate and enter the next exciting phase of their lives,” said Fleming. “These teachers, administrators and support staff members deserve to not only be recognized for all that they do, but also to be celebrated for the lasting legacy they’re leaving in the K-12 education system through their efforts to make life better for all those involved in their school communities.”
Simi Sara, host of CKNW’s The Simi Sara Show, served as emcee of the event, which featured musical entertainment by members of the Esquimalt High Senior Jazz Band.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to recognize the incredible work that these extraordinary teachers, administrators and support staff do for our students and education system,” said Austin. “The creativity, enthusiasm and care demonstrated by these education professionals contributes to building a bright future for British Columbia.”
Winners of this year’s Premier’s Awards for Excellence in Education received a commemorative work of art by Claire Jorgensen, a 17-year-old Reynolds Secondary student (SD 61, Greater Victoria). They also received a $3,000 personal bursary for professional learning and a $2,000 contribution to their school community for professional learning.
To view a video of Gee, visit: https://youtu.be/rUZCVUsVIAM
To view a video of Robertson, visit: https://youtu.be/Jxsv7gKHx6s
To read the full news release with all 10 winners, visit: http://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2019PREM0111-001913
For more information on the Premier’s Awards for Excellence in Education and to view videos of all 30 finalists, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/excellenceineducation