Local teacher Jordan Smith, who goes above and beyond to creatively inspire her students’ learning experiences, has received a Premier’s Award for Excellence in Education at an award ceremony in Victoria.
Smith was presented with her award 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.”
Smith, awarded in the category of Indigenous Education, is a teacher and program co-ordinator at Twin Rivers Education Centre and an Aboriginal school of choice, Four Directions Secondary school. Smith works hard to connect students with Indigenous culture and history, and to create an environment of safety and belonging. Each year, she identifies a thematic focus that connects experiential learning, art, community involvement and field trips to an elective course that all students are enrolled in. In keeping with the theme, students engage in a variety of hands-on learning opportunities, such as traditional fishing, gathering with local Elders and working with Indigenous artists. This year, she secured a Vancouver Foundation grant to pilot a program designed to integrate Indigenous ways of knowing alongside western curriculum by involving family, Elders and knowledge keepers.
“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 Smith, visit: https://youtu.be/nuqiVimrooo
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