This is the first in a series of introduction articles to the new teachers in Slave Lake and surrounding area.
Courtney Taylor is in her second year of teaching and her first year with her own classroom. “I’ve always wanted to be a teacher,” says Taylor. “Teachers run in my family.”
She is teaching Grade 3 at CJ Schurter. Last year, she subbed and covered a temporary position in Calgary. She moved to Slave Lake for this position. She spent 12 years in Calgary. She’s originally from Williams Lake, in the interior of BC.
“Relocating here was a bit of a change, but not bad,” Taylor says, since she grew up in a small town.
She’s enjoyed Slave Lake “so far, says Taylor ”I’ve only been here for a month. The small town vibe is nice. As a new teacher, it’s very nice to have the support of everyone at the school.”
Ann McLeod has lived in Slave Lake for six years. She moved to Slave Lake for education and her husband’s job.
McLeod did her education degree at Aboriginal Teachers Education Program (ATEP) through the University of Alberta. This program is offered in Slave Lake at the Northern Lakes College campus. It is a two year degree for Indigenous people who have a degree.
McLeod’s first degree is a BA in Aboriginal studies from University College North in Thompson, Manitoba.
McLeod teaches kindergarten. She’s in her third-year of teaching.
“I just love helping youth and inspiring their minds to be great citizens,” McLeod says is why she became a teacher.
McLeod is originally from Cross Lake, Manitoba also known as Pimichikamak Cree Nation.
“I do (enjoy Slave Lake),” says Katie Steenson. “There’s lots of things to do compared to where we’ve lived the last five years.”
Steenson and her husband moved to Alberta five years ago to work as teachers. They’ve taught in Fox Lake, High Prairie, and moved to Slave Lake in the spring. Her husband teaches Grade 6 at EG Wahlstrom.
Steenson is from Brockville, Ontario, which has a population of 20,000 people. She received her teaching degree from Brock University, which is not in Brockville, but in a different part of Ontario. She’s in her sixth year of teaching. She’s teaching Grade 2.
“I wanted to be a teacher, since I was quite young,” Steenson says. There were a few high school teachers who inspired her and encouraged her to become a teacher.
Jesse Sloan graduated with a teaching degree in 2004, but stayed at home with her kids until 2011.
Even when Sloan started working again, she tended to do temporary and maternity leaves. She is teaching Grade 1 to cover a maternity leave until March 2020.
Sloan grew up in Kinuso and has lived in Slave Lake since around 2003. She became a teacher “because I like working with kids,” she says.
“I really enjoy working in Slave Lake,” Sloan says. “This is a new school for me and I’ve really enjoyed working here.” Last year, she worked at EG Wahlstrom, and years ago she worked at St. Mary of the Lake Catholic School.
Moving to Slave Lake was returning home for new CJ Schurter Grade 3 teacher Blake Skahl.
“I’ve lived here my whole life, so as soon as I was done school we (Skahl and her three-year-old daughter) moved back,” Skahl says. “Slave Lake is my home.”
“I’ve always wanted to be a teacher,” Skahl says.
Skahl has a piece of paper from Kindergarten where she said she wanted to be a Grade 9 teacher. She ended up teaching Grade 3.
Skahl graduated with a Bachelor of Education from the University of Alberta in the spring. She started her schooling at Northern Lakes College, took a year at Grant MacEwan and finished at U of A.