Canada’s Premiers Announce 2023 Literacy Award Recipients

Colette Frees – New Brunswick
“Madame Colette” is an exceptional teacher from the Restigouche region known for her passion, commitment, and dedication to her learners. She always succeeds in innovating according to the learning needs of all. A tireless teacher, constantly seeking to help multiple clients from different backgrounds, she knows how to create a climate of trust that fosters success. Whether it is with Adult Community Learning classes, at the Correctional Centre, at the Restigouche Hospital Center or in Workplace Essential Skills training, she knows how to reach everyone and help them improve their level of skills and literacy. The versatility of Ms. Frees makes her the ideal person for any new initiatives. An asset and a source of pride that the region cannot do without.

Joanne McIsaac – New Brunswick
Joanne McIsaac has been the face of adult literacy in the Woodstock area, having been teaching at the Community Adult Learning Program for Western Valley Adult Learning Regional Committee for 21 years. Her impact is deep; she has directly influenced over 240 learners in their endeavors. In Joanne, you see a warm and soft-spoken woman with a big heart. She always roots for the underdog and goes above and beyond by connecting learners to post-secondary education and helping them further along the way, after her mandate has ended with them. She can be found on many noon hours, evenings and weekends, providing tutoring for learners in secondary and post-secondary subjects. Joanne’s embodiment of what it means to be an educator makes her truly deserving of this award.

Aurora College Literacy Outreach Centre – Northwest Territories
More than just reading and writing, literacy is a way to understand and be a part of the world around you. Being able to read and write, and have the skills, knowledge and understanding to manage your personal and work life are all part of literacy. The Aurora College Literacy Outreach Centre in Yellowknife works with people who want to improve their English literacy levels but who are not ready to enroll in Adult Literacy and Basic Education courses. The Literacy Outreach Centre (LOC) offers a gateway to lifelong learning that is open to everyone. The Yellowknife Literacy Outreach Centre is a partnership with Inclusion NWT and offers a number of programs both on-site and in the community to individuals with or without disabilities. Programs offered by the Yellowknife LOC include: Adult Literacy Classes, Introduction to Computer Basics Levels 1 & 2, Family Literacy, Tutoring Services, Baker Centre Book Club.

Shelley Gray – Nova Scotia
Shelley Gray left high school before she could finish her studies. At age 52, Shelley found herself a single mother and unemployed while raising her two daughters. After working in seasonal production jobs for many years and facing health issues, Shelley realized that it was time for a change. This led her to enroll at the Valley Community Learning Association to complete her education. She successfully completed four General Educational Development (GED) exams and hopes to complete her last GED exam this summer. In July 2022, Shelley accepted a job offer and is working full-time providing support to individuals with intellectual disabilities, helping them live within the community. Shelley’s determination and hard work made her a role model and mentor to her daughters, fellow adult learners and co-workers.

Jeena Kadlutsiak – Nunavut
Jeena Kadlutsiak of Igloolik, Nunavut is a Kindergarten to Grade 3 teacher at Ataguttaaluk School. Jeena assists in curriculum development for schools across Nunavut and mentors other teachers to use and teach Inuktut. She shines through her vital support of reconciliation through language revitalization. Jeena is promoting literacy in her own classrooms by coaching teachers, hosting Elders and holding meetings to plan for and promote Inuktut language learning. Jeena is implementing Inuktut curriculum in K-3 classrooms and spends much time gathering and distributing resources to teachers. She has a deep understanding of components required by the Inuktut curriculum and supports staff to implement these literacy goals. She is a positive role model for promoting literacy in her community, Nunavut’s education system and the territory.

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