Of the six new Kinuso teachers: one lives in High Prairie, one in Faust, one between Kinuso and Slave Lake, and the others in Slave Lake.
Ryan Desjardins grew up in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He has a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in kinesiology and a Bachelor of Education (BEd) in phys ed and biology. He’s taught for five years. He subbed in Saskatoon and taught phys ed, math and biology in Blaine Lake, Sask., which is 45 minutes north of Saskatoon.
In August, Desjardins moved to High Prairie, because his wife, a dietitian, got a job in High Prairie. Starting this fall. He commutes to work at Kinuso School. He teaches options, career and technology studies (CTS) and literacy and numeracy intervention.
The current CTS course Desjardins is teaching is photography. The literacy and numeracy intervention is done in small groups for kids who struggle with English and math.
“I just enjoyed working with kids and helping them succeed,” Desjardins says, about becoming a teacher. He is especially focussed in helping junior and high school students build the skills they need to succeed in the workforce.
Asked his opinion of High Prairie and Kinuso, he says, “it’s nice and remote. Close to nature.”
Kirk Fischer moved to Faust this summer to teach at Kinuso School. His wife is in Edmonton. It’s their first time living apart.
“I like living in a rural area,” Fischer says. “It’s quiet.”
Fischer teaches senior high math and science. He’s in his 18th year of teaching. For 16 years, he taught in Toronto, with one six month stint in Sandy Bay, Saskatchewan. Sandy Bay is three-and-a-half hours from Flin Flon, Manitoba, in the southern boreal forest.
Last year, he taught in Fort Smith, Northwest Territories.
Fischer grew up in Toronto. He did his three degrees in Ontario. He has a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry from the University of Waterloo, a Masters of Physiology from the University of Toronto, and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto.
“Originally, I wanted to be a scientist,” Fischer said. “That’s why I did a masters.”
Fischer even started a doctorate, but realized he’d have to specialize.
“I’m a generalist,” he says. “For the longest time, I avoided teaching, because my dad was a teacher.”
“It (teaching) suits me well,” Fischer says. “I like working with young people. I like sharing my knowledge of science and math. They’re very practical subjects.”
Fischer is very proud of some of his students who went into engineering and medicine.
Jodi McMahon is the new vice-principal at Kinuso School. Jodi’s been teaching for over 20 years. She is married to Lance McMahon, who teaches at Roland Michener School in Slave Lake. They live between Kinuso and Slave Lake.
“I like it (Kinuso and Slave Lake) a lot so far,” says Jodi. “Very nice people and interesting kids. What more could you want? It keeps you hopping and thinking.”
Jodi grew up in Nova Scotia, Bolivia and Costa Rica. For the last 16 or 17 years, she and Lance lived in the Northwest Territories. She did a Bachelor of Arts, in honours Spanish and French, at Dalhousie University, in Halifax, Nova Scotia (NS). She did her BEd at Acadia University, in Wolfville, NS.
Jodi became a teacher, “because, originally, I wanted to help kids read and have success with learning.” She continued teaching “because I felt like I could make a difference.”
Suzie Greenwood teaches Grade 1 at Kinuso School. She’s in her 10th year of teaching.
“I just really like working with kids,” she says is her reason for choosing teaching.
Greenwood continued teaching, because “even though it can be hard work, it’s really exciting to see how the kids change from the beginning to the end of the year.”
Greenwood did a Bachelor of Arts in sociology at Nipissing University, in North Bay, Ontario and a BEd at Lakehead University Teacher College, in Thunder Bay, Ontario.
Greenwood taught in the Greater Toronto Area and for the past three years in Fort Chipewyan. She lives in Slave Lake.
“It’s nice,” Greenwood says about Slave Lake area. “After living three years in an isolated community. It’s nice to have roads and access to stores.”
Landon Fink is in his first year of teaching. He teaches health, phys ed and English at Kinuso School. He also coaches volleyball, basketball, archery and track.
Fink was born in Regina, and has lived in Calgary and Edmonton. He lives in Slave Lake.
Fink started studying at Grant MacEwan and finished at the University of Alberta, both in Edmonton. He started out in arts and transferred into a Bachelor of Education with a social studies major and a minor in phys ed.
Fink became a teacher, “because it’s exciting every day.” He enjoys the “unpredictable-ness and just being around kids.”
Fink had worked in an office before he started teaching and found the routine boring. In high school, he worked at summer camp. He enjoys working with kids. He also worked as a rig mover for a year, which gave him some experience with smaller towns.
“It’s interesting how people know each other so well,” says Fink about Slave Lake and Kinuso. “Every student is somebody’s cousin.”
John Flemming teaches junior high science and math. He has taught for nine years.
Flemming is from Prince Edward Island. He did a Bachelor of Arts in economics with a double minor in history and math, at the University of P.E.I. He did a Bachelor of Education at Memorial University, in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Flemming lived and taught in Saskatchewan and the East Coast. He moved to Slave Lake at the end of September.
“We really like the town,” Flemming says. “We really like Slave Lake. I think Kinuso has some charge, as well. People have been very friendly.”
Flemming went into teaching to make a difference.