Goodyear, Mayberry semi-finalists for teaching excellence awards

Two Poplar Ridge School teachers are among the semi-finalists for Excellence in Teaching awards.

Two Poplar Ridge School teachers are among the semi-finalists for Excellence in Teaching awards.

Jeff Goodyear, a Grade 5 teacher, said “it feels good, it’s nice to be nominated”.

He’s been teaching since 1988, spending his first two years in Newfoundland before moving to Alberta. After six or seven years of teaching at the high school level he switched to middle school.

A teacher at Poplar Ridge for the past 17 years, he said he enjoys the Grade 5 and 6 students because “they’re old enough to be independent to a certain degree but young enough to still be kids”.

This is the second time he’s been nominated for the Excellence in Teaching award. He noted that the fact someone took the time to do the nomination means a lot.

“I am so glad he is being acknowledged in this way,” said Principal Barb Hanson. “His motto is ‘if it’s not done well, it’s not done.’ He has brought to our school the Habits of Mind, as well as our school values, which he lives by every minute of the day. His combination of humour, music and activity make it an unforgettably ‘good year’ for every one of his students.”

Beatrice Mayberry, a Grade 2 teacher, believes in making her classes fun so she’s inspiring students. “I’ve always said, if they want to come to school I could teach them anything.” As an example, she pointed to the last snow day where many classes only had two or three students while she had 15 of her students attend. “It’s just because it’s fun.”

“We have an authentic, real-life Miss Frizzle from the Magic School Bus at our school,” said Hanson. Every day her students have an adventure, whether it’s creating a tour through fairytale land, creating Easter bonnets for a parade, hosting parents and community members for project-sharing, or reading in a bat cave, she makes learning an adventure that students love.”

Mayberry started her career in 1968 at G. W. Smith in Red Deer. She’s taught for 28 years including eight with Red Deer Public and 10 years when she was a substitute teacher.

“In between bouts of teaching I went back to school.” Because she started her career with just two years of post-secondary education, she went back and earned a Bachelor of Education in 1993 and a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership in 2000.

She’s been at Poplar Ridge School for the past 19 years. Her family farmed west of Penhold for a number of years and now they live just east of Sylvan Lake. “It’s lovely to be so close to school. I spend a lot of time here, probably because teaching one of the lower levels requires lots of prep work — but I love it.”

This is the first time she’s been nominated for the Excellence in Teaching award. “It’s kind of humbling, it doesn’t feel right almost. If you do something you love, that, in itself, is pretty well a reward.”

An interesting side story, is that one of the students she taught at G. W. Smith then became her supervisor when she did her practicum as part of the Bachelor of Education degree. Next year that same person – Jody Dennis — is going to be her principal. “I’ve been in education a long time,” she laughed.

Mayberry wanted to thank the people who nominated her — and all the kids over the years.

Over 100 educators were recognized as semi-finalists this week at regional celebrations in Edmonton and Calgary. From that group 20 will be chosen to receive an Excellence in Teaching Award which will be presented May 25. Both semi-finalists and award recipients will have access to special funds for professional development.