Palliser announces Edwin Parr nominee

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Dakota Bradley, a first-year teacher at John Davidson School in Coaldale, is Palliser Regional Schools’ nominee for the Edwin Parr Teacher Award.

Palliser Regional Schools is proud to announce Dakota Bradley as its nominee for the Edwin Parr Teacher Award as the division’s top, first-year teacher.

Bradley teaches Grade 7-8 social studies, all options for Grade 9-10 students and is spearheading the new high school programming at John Davidson School, a kindergarten to Grade 12 school in Coaldale serving Low German-speaking Mennonite (LGM) students.

Principal Crystal McGregor notes that Bradley jumped into unchartered waters this year in regards to the fledgling high school program. He’s also taught “everything under the sun” to a wide variety of age groups and has done all that while facing the challenge of teaching English language learners and newcomers to Canada.

She nominated Bradley for the award because of his commitment to the students. It was evident early on that he was the right person for a challenging job.

“He has the enthusiasm, the energy, the drive and most of all the unwavering belief that these kids can graduate high school and they will be successful in doing so,” says McGregor, who is in her first year at John Davidson School herself.

Edwin Parr nominees from each school jurisdiction will gather at a banquet May 15, where the Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA) Zone 6 winner will be announced. The award was established in 1964 to honour Edwin Parr, a longtime school trustee from the Athabasca area and former president of the Alberta School Trustees’ Association, now known as the ASBA.

Bradley, a Lethbridge native and graduate from the local university, says he was humbled and honoured that McGregor believed in him enough to first hire him, and then nominate him for the award. He also thanked his parents, Kim and Keith, for ensuring education was always his number one priority.

“I’d like to thank the staff at John Davidson School, who’ve been incredibly open and incredibly supportive; inviting me and navigating me through this community that I would be otherwise pretty lost in,” Bradley says, making sure not to forget one more group in his praise. “And my students, they’ve made it a fantastic first year and I couldn’t be more happy with how this is going.”

Whatever subject he is teaching, Bradley tries to focus on creating a love of learning in his students.

“Eventually they leave school and if they have that personal passion for wanting to know more, than that’s really the goal – for them to keep on learning,” he says.

It is essential for first-year teachers to seek out help when they don’t have all the answers and McGregor says Bradley showed no hesitation in asking the advice of their LGM liaison regarding cultural sensitivities, and more experienced teachers in the area of curriculum.

Not only has he been successful in forming relationships with other staff, but also his students and their parents, she says. Bradley has a “natural affinity” with people and reaches out to his students on a personal level so they want to work hard for him.

“They know he’s here for them,” adds McGregor.

Although it’s been an amazing first year for him, Bradley knows he has a long ways to go to master his craft. He’s always looking at ways to improve, especially in making learning engaging for his students.

“…I think I would make many of the same decisions if I could do the year again, but everything would be better. That is what I am looking forward to next year, making every single lesson better and improving my practice as I carry on,” says Bradley.