There are three new teachers at E.G. Wahlstrom Elementary School. Matt Steenson and David Barr moved to Slave Lake this year; both taught in Fox Lake, close to Wood Buffalo National Park. Courtenay Pederson transferred from C.J. Schurter in Slave Lake.
Steenson teaches Grade 6. He’s in his sixth year of teaching. He’s from New Market, just outside Toronto. He and his wife moved to Slave Lake in the summer.
“I love it,” Steenson says. “I’m really outdoorsy. I love to fish and golf in the summertime and camping. I try to do a lot of that with my wife.”
Steenson got into teaching through hockey.
“I worked as a hockey instructor through high school and university,” he says. “I fell in love with watching kids learn and grow.”
Steenson’s undergrad degree was in phys ed at Brock University, in Ontario. Along with three other teachers in Slave Lake, Steenson did his BEd at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia.
“I got to surf a lot,” Steenson says, about his time on the Sunshine Coast.
Steenson worked in Fox Lake for three years before moving to High Prairie two years ago and Slave Lake this year. For the last six years, Barr taught in Fox Lake. He teaches Grade 5 at E.G. Wahlstrom.
Barr moved to Slave Lake in June, with his wife and their baby.
“I love it,” he says. “I knew I’d love it which is why we moved here. We wanted to lay down roots for our baby.”
Barr became a teacher “because I had some ‘impactful’ teachers in high school,” he says. He’d like to do the same for even one child.
Barr did an undergraduate degree in Communications at York University and a BEd at Queens University, both in Ontario.
Pederson, has lived in Slave Lake for three years.
“I love Slave Lake,” she says. “I love the small town feel of it. I grew up in a tight community.”
Pederson plays on the Kodiaks, the women’s hockey team in Slave Lake and slow-pitch in the summer.
Pederson teaches Grade 5 at E.G. Wahlstrom. She’s from Port Alberni on Vancouver Island and studied at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo. She’s taught in Grande Prairie and for the last three years at C.J. Schurter, in Slave Lake.
Pederson went into teaching because she loves kids and had experience working at camps and in other programs before university.