Wetaskiwin — Sacred Heart School teacher Natalie Bear is the Outstanding Aboriginal Educator of the Year for Alberta.
The award from the First Nations, Métis & Inuit Education Council (FNMIEC) of the Alberta Teachers' Association honours aboriginal educators who advocate or demonstrate authentic inclusion of Aboriginal voice and presence in an educational setting. Bear was honoured at the FNMIEC Conference Nov. 17.
“Natalie is an exemplary example of passion and commitment for advancing Aboriginal education,” said Dr. Troy Davies, STAR Catholic Superintendent. “Natalie has been instrumental in STAR Catholic in recent professional development and ongoing activities focused on FNMI culture, and improving outcomes for FNMI students. On behalf of the entire Division, we are proud of her leadership and relationship building and sincerely congratulate her on this wonderful distinction.”
Bear played a key role in STAR Catholic’s division-wide Learning Day in September that saw 61 sessions and 30 speakers on First Nations’ culture, history and learning. She also serves as Sacred Heart School’s Indigenous mentor and educator for cultural awareness. She organized Sacred Heart’s first Orange Shirt Day that included a residential school survivor and elder as its guest speaker, and helped infuse Aboriginal culture and understanding to the school’s inaugural Faith Fair. Bear also co-ordinates student groups that lead others through the Blanket Exercise – an interactive teaching tool that traces aboriginal history in Canada.
“Natalie works diligently with our partners in Maskwacis, she is always exploring new ways to bring Aboriginal cultural awareness and learning to our students and staff. We are blessed to have Natalie, and her talents as part of Sacred Heart School and serving our community,” said Verna Sand, Sacred Heart School Principal.
Bear is now eligible for the national Canadian Teachers’ Federation Outstanding Aboriginal Educator of the Year Award.
Based in central Alberta, Saint Thomas Aquinas Roman (STAR) Catholic School Division represents 12 schools that serve the communities of Beaumont, Drayton Valley, Lacombe, Leduc, Ponoka, and Wetaskiwin. The STAR Catholic Schools team of teachers and support staff are committed to giving more than 4,000 students across our division every opportunity to achieve their potential in a caring, safe and Christ-centred environment.
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STAR Catholic Schools