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A JUST-RETIRED teacher has received the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence — Canada’s highest award for K-12 teachers and educators.
Grade 5 teacher Patricia Kolterman, who retired at the end of June after an education career that began in 1976 on Haida Gwaii, was one of 94 recipients across Canada to receive the award that
has honoured outstanding elementary and secondary school teachers since 1993.
Kolterman moved to Terrace in 1978 and taught at Uplands Elementary, at Copper Mountain in Thornhill and then at Thornhill Elementary.
“When I knew I was being nominated, I felt embarrassed,” said Kolterman last week after hearing the news.
“There are so many people you work with and you learn so much from other people. At Copper Mountain, we used to say there was no ‘I’ in team,” she said.
A citation of Kolterman’s accomplishments noted her “legendary long field trips, gardening skills and quirky ways.”
Those field trips included visits all the way down to Barkerville in the Cariboo, to the Fort St. James National Historical Site and to the Huckleberry copper mine near Houston.
All of those trips followed the Grade 5 curriculum which examined the use of non-living natural resources, said Kolterman.
“We had wonderful parents,” said Kolterman of the work that went into the trips. “They would take time off of work and help. Without the parents, I couldn’t have done it.”
One field trip took students into the Nass Valley to visit the Nisga’a Lisims Government building where they toured the assembly chamber and enjoyed a luncheon.
Kolterman said parents also helped her in developing a school garden which provided food for healthy lunches for students.
“Kale chips,” she said. “They couldn’t wait to eat kale chips.”