The awards were given out to a total of 11 teachers with the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board (CCRSB) by the board and the Nova Scotia Teacher’s Union (NSTU) for their unwavering commitment to student success.
Each year, the NSTU and CCRSB come together to recognize those teachers within the school board who truly exemplify excellence in teaching. Supporting letters must accompany each nomination, whether from school administration, a colleague or a member of the local community.
This is the 15th year for the awards program.
The 2013 Excellence in Teaching Awards recipients from Colchester County schools are:
Elizabeth Clark, Cobequid Educational Centre
“She is like a good friend.” That’s how one of Elizabeth Clark’s Learning Centre students refers to her. But it doesn’t stop there. She is also described as caring, approachable, unwavering, talented and inspiring; those words coming from students and her peers. Simply put, she is dedicated to seeing her students succeed. A valued member of the Learning Centre team at Cobequid Educational Centre, Clark is known throughout the school for her unique ability to connect with students. Seeing individuals, not statistics, is her true gift. As a teacher in the Learning Centre she sees the struggles some students have trying to negotiate the complex social world of Nova Scotia’s largest high school. To help address these struggles, Clark started the Social Club. The club meets every day at lunch hour offering a place for students who are socially isolated or awkward to come and experience the camaraderie of a social group. The students each lunch together, play board games and cards and – unbeknownst to them – develop their social skills in a safe and welcoming space.
James Flynn, North Colchester High School
James Flynn is dedicated to seeing his students succeed. As the physics, advanced math, pre-calculus and calculus teacher at North Colchester High, Flynn’s day does not end with the 3 p.m. bell, but often extends into the evenings and weekends as he helps students prepare for exams. You can also find students in his classroom at lunchtime, getting extra help or just hanging out. Often graduates stop by the school and sit-in on Flynn’s classes. They remember his teaching style with great fondness and often say how well prepared they were for their university courses; far better than their university classmates. His willingness to help extends to his colleagues as well. He has been integral in helping other staff members to understand and use PowerBook and GradeBook, and promotes the integration of technology in classrooms. Through the Learning Centre he assists students in lower grades with mathematics, offering the same kindness and patience that has seen so many graduates succeed. Flynn is a dedicated teacher, coach, supportive colleague and, as a colleague puts it, a “genuinely nice guy.”
Brian Hayden, Truro Junior High School
For Brian Hayden, school spirit, a positive outlook and student achievement are the keys to success. As the physical education teacher at Truro Junior High School, Hayden is famous for his ability to positively motivate his students. His wall of fame offers students the chance to be recognized for their self-motivation and his unwavering belief that all students should be given the same opportunity to participate, and succeed, is a constant source of inspiration at the school. When it comes to school spirit, Hayden is unparalleled. From sleeping on the roof, to wearing pink boas and tutus, to shaving his head, he will do whatever it takes to keep students and staff motivated toward their goals. He created Truro Junior’s new PRIDE program and feedback from students, staff, parents and guardians has been unwaveringly positive. His leadership abilities and ability to inspire played a key role as Truro Junior completed the accreditation process and his positive presence at staff meetings helps to keep everyone focused. The Grade 6 teachers at Truro Junior describe Hayden best: “fair, firm, friendly, fun, fantastic!”
Bill Kaulbach, Cobequid Educational Centre
Bill Kaulbach is an educator who leads by example. As principal of Cobequid Educational Centre – the largest high school in Nova Scotia – the ability to lead, inspire, mediate and connect isn’t nice to have. It is a must have. Kaulbach’s presence at CEC is undeniable. Whether it’s in the office, counseling students and collaborating with staff, attending sporting events or opening Youth Parliament sessions, he is always there. He is always visible, reachable and interacting in a positive way. A large part of his success as a principal comes from his ability to empower his staff. Whether helping staff to forge and reinforce connections through departmental breakfasts, or through supporting professional learning communities, his focus is on positive growth. One of Kaulbach’s greatest strengths is his ability to create an environment within the school that is focused on doing what is best for students. He is inspiring, efficient, creative and innovative. He is a leader in all things.
Greg Reid, Bible Hill Junior High School
Greg Reid “…is the teacher I would have liked to have had as a junior high school student and his is the kind of teacher that I would like to someday say I’ve become.” That’s how Reid’s colleagues describe him. He can reach and inspire not just the gifted student, but the student who struggles to find his own path. His classroom is a safe, receptive space where students are encouraged to learn in the way that works for them without fear of embarrassment. At any one time in Reid’s room, there may be several different activities taking place, but all with the same learning goal. He also has the respect of his own peers. His ability to put emphasis on the just the right angle often clarifies an idea or a concept for a staff member. He is also considered the “go-to” person as a mentor for new teachers entering the profession. Reid is a compassionate, giving, engaging, hard-working educator and the staff and students at Bible Hill Junior High call themselves lucky to count him as one of their own.