NWT Educators Honoured at Hall of Fame Ceremony

May 29, 2012
News Releases

YELLOWKNIFE (May 29, 2012) – Seven Northwest Territories residents were honoured this morning as inductees into the Education Hall of Fame. The third annual Induction Ceremony was held in the Legislative Assembly’s Great Hall, as a way of recognizing the important and lasting contributions of those dedicated to education in the North.

“A good education is the foundation of a happy and successful life,” said Minister of Education, Culture and Employment Jackson Lafferty. “This year’s inductees made a positive and lasting impact on the lives of countless NWT residents, and I want to recognize them for their commitment, diligence, creativity and passion that we want education to inspire in us all.”

The Education Hall of Fame identifies and celebrates outstanding commitment to education in the territory from educators, Elders, custodians, administrators, volunteers, coaches, students, advocates, sponsors and businesses. A Selection Committee chose one inductee from each region of the NWT, with a seventh inductee chosen to receive the Minister’s Choice Award.

The 2012 Education Hall of Fame inductees are:

  • Helen Kitekudlak from Ulukhaktok;

  • Betty Barnaby from Fort Good Hope;

  • Chris Baron from Behchoko;

  • Angela James from Yellowknife;

  • Margaret Thom from Fort Providence;

  • Kevin Antoniak from Fort Smith; and

  • Dr. Curtis Brown from Fort Smith as the Minister’s Choice Award.


More information on the 2012 inductees is available in the attached backgrounder.

For more information, contact:

Ashley Green
Public Affairs Officer
Education, Culture and Employment
Phone: (867) 920-3059
Email: ashley_green@gov.nt.ca

BACKGROUNDER – Education Hall of Fame

The Department of Education, Culture and Employment launched the Education Hall of Fame in 2010 to recognize that we all play an important role in supporting the education of our children. It reflects the valuable contributions that people make as educators, Elders, custodians, administrators, volunteers, coaches, students, advocates, sponsors and businesses.

2012 Inductees

Helen Kitekudlak is the community counselor at Helen Kalvak School in Ulukhaktok. Since beginning work in the classroom as a teenager and for the past 40 years, she has shown a genuine desire to make a difference to the people of the Beaufort Delta through education and partnerships. Helen takes great pride in her work and is a positive influence on all the students.

She received her teaching certificate from Aurora College and her Bachelor of Education from the University of Saskatchewan. She has taught all grades from one to nine and has a great understanding of her students. Helen believes in working with each student’s strengths and making a positive and lasting impression on her students. She has the respect and admiration of her colleagues, the students and the entire community.

Betty Barnaby of Fort Good Hope is both a teacher and a student. Throughout her 20 year career, she has always believed in the power of education and instills that belief in her community. Betty has always gone above and beyond in pursuit of education. She has continually returned to school to expand her knowledge. She recently graduated from Aurora College with her Bachelor of Education degree and is now another step closer to her dream of receiving her Masters of Education.

Chris Baron has been an active Kindergarten to Grade 5 educator in the Tlicho region for the past 25 years. Chris started her career as a teacher in Saskatchewan before coming north to Gameti. She spent 5 years teaching at Jean Wetrade Gameti School and then moved to Behchoko, where she has taught for the past 20 years. She is a strong advocate for literacy, and has always placed emphasis on teaching her students to be strong readers. Chris believes in teaching every child, at their own level, to be the best that they can be, and to appreciate their own cultural identity.

Angela James is known throughout the North as an educator who believes in the importance of community and culture in the school. Over a career that spans more than 20 years, Angela taught English and French in Yellowknife for 6 years before operating the Dene Cultural Camps with her family, for all schools in Yellowknife.  In their last year of hosting the camps, more than 2000 students from Grades 1 to 12 participated in the learning adventure where they experienced the heritage, culture and language of the Dene people. This experience was the basis of her thesis for her Master’s Degree in educational leadership: “Dene Cultural Camps: A Culture-Based Educational Model for Aboriginal Education in the Northwest Territories.”

During her 12-year tenure as Principal, K’alemi Dene School has become a community centre for cultural and social activity as well as learning. Her introduction of the School Elder program has given Weledeh culture an honoured and integral place in student life.  Recently, Angela took on the leadership role of Director of Early Childhood and School Services with ECE.

Margaret Thom has contributed to the education of her people through her work as Community Counselor at Deh Gah Elementary and Secondary School for over 20 years. She has taken a lead role in supporting graduates by travelling with them to visit post-secondary institutes, assisting them in the application process, exploring funding options with them and even travelling with them to secure housing and orient them to their new community.  She continued her support of many students after they left her school and went on in their education journeys.  Margaret recognizes the importance of traditional teachings in education and she has made sure that the culture, value and beliefs of the people of the Deh Cho are present in all the school does, from counseling to parental involvement to classroom work. Through her ability to share her knowledge and passion, students and staff receive a strong grounding in the culture of the people whose land they live on.  In 2009, Margaret became the first Elder Representative on the Aurora College Board of Governors. She is now impacting students and educators from Kindergarten to the College level and ensuring that the importance of education is highlighted in the community and that culture is in the forefront of our education system.

Kevin Antoniak has been an instructor at Aurora College’s Thebacha Campus in the Environment and Natural Resources Technology Program for 30 years. Throughout his career, Kevin delivered difficult content, like botany and statistics, in a straight forward and easy to understand manner.  He positions students to achieve success through clearly defined evaluation and continually pushing them beyond their comfort zones. His instructional methodology has always been hands-on and developmental, in manageable and achievable steps.  Much of Kevin's instructional work has taken place in the field, where he has continually provided excellence in instruction, often under difficult conditions. He has played a significant role in the convocation of approximately 200 diploma graduates, many of whom now comprise 20% of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ entire workforce.

Dr. Curtis Brown has spent the past 24 years expanding horizons for youth throughout the Northwest Territories and Nunavut as teacher, principal and Superintendent. Through these roles and his commitment to excellence in teaching, he has had a lasting and profound impact in the areas of school leadership, student achievement and the development of innovative and inclusive programming.  Curtis played an instrumental role in developing the Principal Certification Program, which is a required course for all principals in the NWT, and ensuring its continued success 20 years later.  It comes as no surprise, given his interest and passion for building leadership capacity that his doctoral thesis was in the area of school leadership. His focus on student achievement provides a glimpse into his visionary and dedicated service to students, including directing the development of an innovative and effective literacy program in the South Slave, which has dramatically benefitted hundreds of students.

Throughout his career, Curtis has been a strong advocate for alternative programming and expanded opportunities for students.  While serving as Principal of Chief Jimmy Bruneau School (1991-1994), his efforts to extend and expand programming for students received national attention and his school was heralded as "the school where students are dropping back in".

More recently, in his role as Superintendent of the South Slave Divisional Education Council, he provided direct support in the creation of the territory’s first “Store Front School'' that has become the model for other alternative programs in the NWT. Since inception, the Phoenix School has provided an alternative educational setting for more than 200 students.  In just three years of operation, the school has celebrated the graduation of 30 students - many of whom had been disengaged and had left school.

His “student first” attitude has not gone unnoticed. He was presented with the Canadian Superintendent of the Year award in 2011, awarded by the Canadian Association of School Administrators.