Sherrill Lindsay of Pictou Academy, Stephen Hartlen of New Glasgow Academy and Christine Williams of Trenton Middle School were among 10 teachers recognized for their commitment to student success.
“Tonight’s recipients are unfailingly dedicated to the craft of teaching,” said Trudy Thompson, CCRSB board chairperson. “Innovative classroom practice; the ability to make students care and retain subject matter; participation in extracurricular activities and fundraising events; and acting as a mentor for colleagues and fully participating in Professional Learning Communities. Those are just some of the reasons tonight’s recipients were nominated and are being honoured with an Excellence in Teaching Award.”
Each year, the NSTU and CCRSB come together to recognize those teachers within the school board who exemplify excellence in teaching. Each recipient’s nomination must be supported by letters from school administration, a colleague and a member of the local community. This is the 17th year for the awards program.
Sherrill Lindsay, Pictou Academy
In Lindsay’s classroom at Pictou Academy, critical thinking is nurtured and expected. She demands a level of rigour from her students that is carefully orchestrated to develop a sense of independence and ownership. She clearly lays out the learning target and provides students a clear path how to get there. How the students travel that path is their choice, and Lindsay is there supporting them for the whole journey. Her expectations are not limitations for students, but the gateway to true understanding. No one gets left behind in Lindsay’s classroom. Over her career she has developed in-depth strategies and approaches to differentiate her instruction, making her classroom truly inclusive. Lindsay’s calm, understanding approach positively affects the staff and students of Pictou Academy every day. She is well known for encouraging others to find the positive, to turn a potentially negative situation into a positive learning opportunity. And she likes to sing! Many mornings “O Canada” becomes a sing-along in Lindsay’s class; other classes find themselves singing along too.
Stephen Hartlen, New Glasgow Academy
Hartlen is an educator who goes above and beyond to help his students achieve their utmost potential. Early mornings, during lunch and after-school, he provides every opportunity he can to allow students to develop and become the best they can be. As a Grade 6 to 8 music teacher and instrumental music teacher at New Glasgow Academy, Hartlen’s gentle nature, respect and expectations provide his students a safe place to try, fail and succeed. He is skilled at adjusting curriculum to meet the needs of individual students and never gives up. When a student is struggling, Hartlen is by their side, developing alternate strategies to help them succeed. Hartlen is a life-long learner. He recently completed his Masters in Music Education and takes that knowledge into the classroom. This year Hartlen spearheaded a new band program for Grade 6 students. Establishing the program was a huge undertaking but the positive effects on students are already apparent.
Christine Williams, Trenton Middle School
As a program support teacher at Trenton Middle School, Williams works daily with students who face a variety of challenges, as well as the school’s classroom teachers. Recognized for her master level of understanding of the tenets of program support, Williams forges connections between students, families, parents, teachers and outside agencies that enhances students’ ability to learn. Williams always puts the needs of her students first. When she faces an obstacle, she does not give up. She goes around and builds a solution. Her students and their families know that Williams will not give up and it inspires them not to give up as well. Her efforts to streamline the communications process between teachers, parents and outside professionals has allowed for better tracking and the identification of common areas of concern. It also ensures consistency in the implementation of accommodations for individual students and more positive, productive communications with parents.