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Shyla Clarke Honored at Edwin Parr Awards Dinner

September 27, 2023 District Announcements news
woman posing for the camera holding a framed certificate

Grade three teacher Shyla Clarke from Florence MacDougall Community School (FMCS) was one of six finalists from the North Zone recognized at the Annual Edwin Parr Awards Dinner in Peace River on September 20.

“I was a little surprised but also so thankful to see that all of my hard work has not gone unnoticed” said Clarke when she learned of her nomination. She continued, “I was also so thankful for my principal Mrs. Brown who fought really hard and took a lot of time to make sure that my nomination made it through!”

An exemplary teacher, Clarke has not only met but excels at the Teaching Quality Standards set out for Alberta Teachers. FMCS Principal, Stefanie Brown said, “I am grateful that Shyla Clarke was chosen as Fort Vermilion School Division's Edwin Parr winner and am so incredibly proud of her for being selected as one of six finalists for our Zone.” Brown continued, “Mrs. Clarke exemplifies the standards and expectations we wish to see in our teachers. Her hard work, skill and dedication make her so worthy of this award and I'm thankful that she has received the recognition she deserves.”

Reflecting on her first year of teaching, Clarke shared that it went by quickly but was an amazing experience, “I don't think I could have asked for a better group of students or a better staff. I loved all the activities and adventures I did with my students including dressing up like scientists doing experiments and joining them in sledding on the hill in the winter.”

She credits her success to having the support of many individuals, “I had a great mentor teacher, Mrs. Balsor, who was always supportive in lending a hand, ear, or resources. I also had a great grade-level team with Ms. Kirby, Mrs. Hussey and Mrs. Petkus who all took me under their wings. We worked hard together to implement the new science curriculum but also had fun together, combining classes to celebrate in style. And of course, my husband Mr. Clarke, who helped to put up the tall bulletin boards and had supper waiting most late nights when I finally came home! I knew the first year would be hard and busy, but I think being surrounded by so many helpful, kind, and organized individuals is what helped me to get through it so successfully.”

Now in her second year of teaching, Clarke has great advice for this year’s new teachers, “Please don’t be afraid to ask for help or clarification. Chances are you are not the only one in the room who needs support, but you may be the only one willing to speak up.” She continues, “You can't do it all! All those cool art projects, math stations, TPT resources and TikTok trends look amazing but pick one or two and use your fellow teachers to borrow resources from.” On a lighthearted note, Clarke implored her colleagues, “Not everything needs to be laminated… you will think it does, but I promise you can make do with not laminating every poster!” she laughed.

Her final piece of advice, “Most of all embrace those unplanned teaching moments, the fun activities, and the things that just didn't go as planned.”

From everyone at FVSD, “Congratulations Mrs. Clarke!”

For almost 60 years, the Edwin Parr Teacher Awards has recognized outstanding first-year teachers across the province. Each year six teachers are chosen from nominations sent in by school boards and are honored for their outstanding work in education.