Features & Resources

A tale of three (award winning) teachers

Every day there are teachers across this District who inspire us all in creating those “aha moments” … the moment where a student understands a new concept first time, where they achieve something special, or maybe when they just feel seen. And there are a million ways we can measure the success of all the amazing folks who contribute to our schools every day.

This Fall, three outside organizations have stepped up to highlight three of the powerful and inspiring, individual educators we all work alongside.

(Now, in the order they were each honoured … )


Carmen Woo … Regional Certificate of Achievement for the 2020 Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence

Carmen is the dedicated, welcoming and multi-talented Teacher-Librarian at École Glenbrook Middle. She has a background in both inclusion and French programs, and has a developed expertise in Applied Design and Science Technology (ADST) due to the interest she saw sparked in students. With a passion for building meaningful relationships through collaboration and mentorship, it is safe to say, Carmen’s influence reaches well beyond the Library’s doors in terms of how she supports students and colleagues.

In addition to all the work she does as Glenbrook’s Teacher-Librarian, she’s used her ADST experience to: start a robotics club for the students at the school, has been a teacher-coach to support her peers in learning how to use the manipulatives to teach STEM lessons, and has done work to introduce both teachers and students to coding programs.

Diversity is a core value that’s centred in Carmen’s teaching, because she fundamentally wants every child to be able to learn and grow to the fullest of their capacity. She also plays a leadership role in the school’s SOGI work, co-sponsoring the Gender and Sexuality Alliance Club (supporting LGBTQ2S+ and gender questioning kids, and their allies … including connecting those students to the club at the high school to help ensure a safe and better supported transition all). And she’s taken on leadership roles when it comes to getting students and teachers engaged in everything from Indigenous teachings to supporting civic engagement.

When Carmen saw student anxiety was on the rise, she did her thing: she delivered a solution. And, in this case, that meant starting a morning mindfulness club for students. And she also sometimes leads colleagues through the same mindfulness exercises in staff meetings.

In recognition of her contributions to the school community, Carmen was awarded a Regional Certificate of Achievement for the 2020 Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence.

Glenbrook Principal Chris Evans had this to say about Carmen: “We are so proud to see Carmen recognized for all the work she does every day with both students and our staff here at Glenbrook. She’s the kind of educator that never sees the door to the hall or the school as the point where her work stops. She truly sees everyone around her as a community of learners and teachers.”


Kristie Oxley … 2020 Teacher-Librarian of the Year, BC Teacher-Librarians’ Association

Kristie Oxley is another of our District’s amazing educators whose significant contributions and dedicated efforts have been celebrated this year. She currently stands as our District Teacher-Librarian, running our media services department and working to support other schools and libraries across New Westminster.

What does that look like? Maureen McRae-Stanger (Director of Instruction, Learning and Innovation at New Westminster Schools), describes Kristie and her work this way: “Kristie Oxley is a committed educator who thrives in her role as the District Teacher-Librarian and as a member of the Curriculum Facilitator team. Kristie works with teacher-librarians and classroom teachers to select engaging resources, plan and co-teach literacy activities, and teach research skills to our students. She is passionate about embedding indigenous literature, resources and cultural experiences into the curriculum. And Kristie supports professional development initiatives in the district as both an event organizer and presenter. We’re so lucky to have her as part of our team.”

Kristie’s dedication to the profession extends past her daily role within our schools:  she stands as the President of the British Columbia Teacher-Librarians’ Association and serves as an instructor in the UBC Teacher-Librarian program. And it’s in recognition of her leadership across all these categories that she was awarded the 2020 BCTLA Teacher-Librarian of the Year award at their October conference.

We’re so proud to have Kristie’s calm, thoughtful and detailed approach to support our student and staff in their learning and teaching.


Barb Paul … 2020 award for Outstanding Elementary Music Educator, BC Music Educators’ Association

Barb Paul’s infectious energy and passion for all things music has been inspiring students at Lord Kelvin Elementary for 41 years. That’s right, 41 years of teaching music in the heart of New Westminster!

But you don’t have to know her long to see how powerful her connection to her students is … spend 10 minutes standing inside her classroom and all you’ll see and hear are excited little faces peeking in as they walk past, looking for their window to call out “Hi Mrs. Paul!”

“Barb is woven into the fabric of our school community in such a beautiful way,” notes Ken Millard, Principal at Lord Kelvin. “She has connected with so many children over the decades through her joyful and caring way of teaching music and they remember Mrs. Paul with such good feelings. Her positive influence extends deep into the roots of the school.”

Barb’s passion for music and its possibility is at the heart of all that: whether it’s the way she uses music and dance to connect with youngsters who are new to Canada (and welcome the relief of a space where language isn’t a barrier they have to work past), the Christmas plays and concerts she takes so much pride in, or the decades of choral singers she’s inspired to be brave and share their voices.

It seems only appropriate that in this, her last year of teaching, the BC Music Educators’ Association has awarded her with this year’s prestigious Outstanding Elementary Music Educator Award.