Vanier’s Miller nominated for award

Justin Miller

Richard Froese
South Peace News

A teacher at Georges P. Vanier School in Donnelly has been nominated for a top provincial award for a first-year teacher.

Justin Miller was announced as the nominee for High Prairie School Division in a news release May 6.

The Edwin Parr Award is presented to a first-year teacher who goes above and beyond in the duties normally expected of a teacher.

Mille teaches Music and Science.

“Justin is a talented teacher,” Vanier principal Pam Heckbert says.

“He creates an open and respectful environment with ease, plans thoughtfully and knows his material.”

She says Miller exceeds expectations of criteria of the Teacher Qualifications Service [TQS].

The TQS is the agency in Alberta responsible to evaluate a teacher’s years of education for salary purposes.

“Justin is impressive to observe,” says Heckbert, a former Music teacher at Vanier.

However, that is not what sets him apart.

“He thinks about solving problems in a creative way,” she says.

“When students struggle, he gets to the core of the issue quickly and gives insightful solutions that are both compassionate and practical.

“He thinks deeply about the future of music in rural schools and has passion for the longevity of music and band programs in public education settings.”

Miller created opportunities to perform on technology and the local radio station.

He expanded the program to include bucket drumming, boomwhack- ers, strings, and other percussive instrument ensembles, and delivered the gift of music education to as many students from as many diverse backgrounds as possible.

Miller also has high marks from Asst. Supt. Treva Emter.

“Justin’s demeanour is always calm, firm, patient, and warm,” Emter says.

“He is the rock of the classroom, consistent and even-tempered.”

His expectations are clear, and his environment is always calm and in control.

“He has worked hard to create a culture of respect and dignity,” Emter says.

Miller always encourages leadership by allowing students to be the conductors.

“He gives his students a voice in his classroom,” Emter says.

Miller is very organized and well-planned but is able to divert from the lesson with ease, if necessary, she says.

“He has very natural instincts in the classroom and is a very intuitive teacher,” Emter says.

He employs several universal supports, and he works hard to develop a relationship with his students.

Miller always groups students effectively so students feel safe and can take a risk.

“He wants every student to be successful in his classroom,” Emter says.

Other teachers nominated were Nathan Smith, of Joussard School, Jamie Green, of E.G. Wahlstrom School in Slave Lake, Doudou Zhang, of Kinuso School, and Sara McKenna, of E.W. Pratt School in High Prairie.

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