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Finalists named for 2019 Premier’s Awards for Excellence in Education

July 3, 2019

VICTORIA – Thirty education professionals from throughout the province have been named as finalists in this year’s Premier’s Awards for Excellence in Education.

“When we open the doors of opportunity for young people, we give them the chance to succeed and our whole province benefits,” said Premier John Horgan. “This year’s finalists have gone to incredible lengths to help B.C. students inside and outside the classroom. I commend these hard-working education professionals for their leadership, innovation and determination.”

Launched in 2018, the annual Premier’s Awards for Excellence in Education are an opportunity to recognize the contributions of public, independent and First Nations school system teachers, principals, vice-principals, school and district leaders, and support staff who go above and beyond to make life better for K-12 students in B.C. This year, 10 awards will be given, with six honouring teachers, two recognizing school and district leaders, and two honouring support staff members.

The nomination period ran from Jan. 7 to April 30, 2019, and 140 nominations were received.

“These awards give us an opportunity to hear amazing stories of the innovation and dedication being shown by our province’s finest educators,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “Their efforts make schools inclusive, thought-provoking and enjoyable places where B.C. students can thrive.”

2019 Premier’s Awards for Excellence in Education finalists include:

Community Engagement Award

  • Alan Gee, teacher, Clarence Fulton Secondary school, SD 22 (Vernon)
  • Casey Litton, teacher, Nechako Valley Secondary school, SD 91 (Nechako Lakes)
  • Sheila Monroe, teacher, Okanagan Landing Elementary school, SD 22 (Vernon)

Extracurricular Leadership Award

  • Sabha Ghani, teacher, Burnaby South Secondary school, SD 41 (Burnaby)
  • Paul Lilly, teacher, École Chief Dan George Middle school, SD 34 (Abbotsford)
  • Scott Stefanek, teacher, École Brantford Elementary school, SD 41 (Burnaby)

Indigenous Education Award

  • Maria Bruneau, teacher, École Dr. Charles Best Secondary school, SD 43 (Coquitlam)
  • Ivy (Qeqeltsin) Chelsea, Indigenous language and culture teacher, Chase Secondary school/Haldane Elementary school, SD 73 (Kamloops/Thompson)
  • Jordan Smith, teacher/program co-ordinator, Twin Rivers Education Centre, SD 73 (Kamloops/Thompson)

Outstanding New Teacher Award

  • Grace Broadfoot, teacher, J.V. Humphries Elementary and Secondary school, SD 8 (Kootenay Lake)
  • Robert French, teacher, South Central Interior Distance Education school, SD 58 (Nicola-Similkameen)
  • Prabhjot Grewal, teacher, North Delta Secondary school, SD 37 (Delta)

Social Equity and Diversity Award

  • Bryan Gidinski, teacher, Chaffey-Burke Elementary school, SD 41 (Burnaby)
  • Chad Jobe, co-ordinator/teacher, Vast Centre/Learning Alternatives, SD 68 (Nanaimo-Ladysmith)
  • Antony Wilson, Upper School head of global engagement and service learning, Mulgrave School (International School of Vancouver), West Vancouver

Technology and Innovation Award

  • Brendan Robertson, teacher, École Beairsto Elementary school, SD 22 (Vernon)
  • Tammy Tomm, grades 6 and 7 teacher, Columbia Park Elementary school, SD 19 (Revelstoke)
  • Denise Underwood, teacher, McGowan Park Elementary school, SD 73 (Kamloops/Thompson)

School Leadership Award

  • Carol DeFehr, principal, Juniper Ridge Elementary school, SD 73 (Kamloops/Thompson)
  • Brett Hancock, district principal, learning alternatives, SD 68 (Nanaimo-Ladysmith)
  • Troy White, principal, École Kelowna Secondary school, SD 23 (Central Okanagan)

District Leadership Award

  • Lisa McCullough, superintendent, SD 48 (Sea to Sky)
  • Jordan Kleckner, district principal, learning technology, SD 23 (Central Okanagan)
  • Colleen Minnabarriet, principal, Desert Sands Community school, SD 74 (Gold Trail)

Outstanding Support — School Community

  • Jodi Guy, Indigenous youth care worker, École Phoenix Middle school, SD 72 (Campbell River)
  • Dorothy Jones, Indigenous education worker, A.L. Fortune Secondary school, SD 83 (North Okanagan-Shuswap)
  • Wendel Williams, safe school specialist, École Alpha Secondary school, SD 41 (Burnaby)

Outstanding Support — Teaching Assistant

  • Elaine Bayles, educational assistant, Glanford Middle school, SD 61 (Greater Victoria)
  • Sandra Breslin, educational assistant, Prince Charles Elementary school, SD 34 (Abbotsford)
  • Marie Kielpinski, educational assistant, Mount Boucherie Secondary school, SD 23 (Central Okanagan)

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at Government House in Victoria on Oct. 4, 2019, the day before World Teachers’ Day.

Winners will receive a $3,000 personal bursary for professional learning, a $2,000 contribution to their school community for professional learning and a commemorative work of art. Runners-up will receive a certificate of recognition signed by the Premier and Minister of Education.

Learn More:

For more information on the 2019 Premier’s Awards for Excellence in Education, go to:

For a backgrounder with biographies of the 2019 Premier’s Awards for Excellence in Education finalists, visit:’s%20Awards_for_Excellence_in_Education_2019_nominees%20announced%20-%20LINK.pdf

For a French translation of the news release and backgrounder:


Jen Holmwood
Deputy Communications Director,
Press Secretary
Office of the Premier
250 818-4881

Ministry of Education
Government Communications and Public Engagement
250 356-5963

Connect with the Province of B.C. at:


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