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News Item

GPPSD Board Nominates Megan Layden for the Edwin Parr Teacher Award

April 18, 2018
The Grande Prairie Public School District is proud to announce that Parkside Montessori teacher, Megan Layden, is the GPPSD nominee for the Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA) Edwin Parr Award for first-year teachers.
Megan Layden teaches a grade 1-3 class at Parkside Montessori as one of the components of this type of programming is multi-age classrooms to build the skills needed for success in today’s world.

Megan was raised in southern Alberta and attended the Education program at the University of Lethbridge. She moved to Grande Prairie just prior to the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year to assume her role as a member of the Parkside team. Megan shared that she enjoys spending her time exploring the outdoors and experiencing nature. She loves picture books and finds pure joy in reading all that they have to offer to students of all ages. Megan is a baseball fan and follows the Blue Jays, in her words, she is a big Blue Jays fan. Megan also enjoys baking, playing piano and cooking with her chef husband. She appreciates the opportunities she has to work with children every day and is also appreciative of the Edwin Parr nomination, "I feel extremely grateful to be nominated for the Edwin Parr Award. I feel greatly supported as a beginning teacher within the District and am thankful for an amazing school, a supportive staff, and inspiring students who help make teaching such a wonderful experience."

Megan’s nomination was submitted by Corrine Shymruk, Principal at Parkside who noted that “Megan exemplifies the characteristics that I look for in an excellent, student-focused teacher. Her commitment to high-quality teaching and learning experiences combined with her passion for the Montessori approach ensures her students flourish within an exemplary learning environment. It was a great pleasure to nominate such a deserving teacher for this recognition.”
The Superintendent and Board agree with Ms. Shmyruk and affirmed the nomination as a further indication of the high-quality teachers we have been fortunate to hire over the years. Mr. McDonald provided his thoughts on the nomination, “Megan is an exceptional choice to be GPPSD’s nominee for the Edwin Parr Award. She is very skilled at meeting the individual learning needs of her students, which is especially remarkable considering her classroom contains three grades of students and meets the expectations of both the Alberta Education curriculum and Montessori Programming expectations. We are very proud of Megan’s work this year.” John Lehners, Board Chair, pointed out that Megan is an excellent candidate as, “the passion and commitment she brings, each and every day, is a testament to her love of education and children. Despite her early years in the profession, she truly is an inspiration to all our other teachers and staff. She reminds us why we work in education, and for that, we are so very proud of her.”

About Montessori Programming: Developed by Italian educator, Doctor Maria Montessori, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Montessori method is characterized by an emphasis on self-directed activities on the part of the child. It stresses the importance of adapting the child's learning environment to his or her developmental level. The Montessori Method is:
  • Child-directed
  • Individualized
  • Hands-on with tactile materials
  • A process of exploration and discovery
  • Focused on nurturing a natural curiosity and love of learning in a social environment
Dr. Montessori's observations of children led by her to design several multi-sensory, sequential and self-correcting materials that facilitate the learning of new skills.
As the only dedicated Pres-school to grade 6 Montessori school north of Edmonton, Parkside Montessori follows both the Alberta Curriculum enhanced by the utilization of the Montessori approach which goes beyond just the acquisition of knowledge and developmental growth to a further focus on the development of the whole person.

About Edwin Parr: The Alberta School Board’s Association is dedicated to supporting the publicly funded school boards in Alberta in its vision of achieving excellence in education through exceptional school board governance. One aspect of this support is to work with the school boards in each zone of the province to select a first-year teacher whose teaching practice and approach is deserving of being honoured with the Edwin Parr Award.
Edwin Parr homesteaded in the Meanook area near Athabasca in 1920. He began a long career in educational affairs as a member of the board with the George Lake School District prior to 1925. He went on to serve as chair of the board of the Athabasca School Division and president of the Alberta School Trustee’s Association (now the Alberta School Board’s Association). He had initiated the practice of presenting an Annual Teacher Award in his system and, in honour of his work and memory, the Edwin Parr Award was established in 1964.

About Grande Prairie Public School District (GPPSD): The Grande Prairie Public School District is a learning community in the city of Grande Prairie responsible for the education of over 8,300 students (Preschool to grade 12) in 18 schools. The Grande Prairie Public School District is proud to provide a variety of Preschool, French Immersion, Montessori, Christian Education, sports-focused and International Baccalaureate programs catered to students and parents of the Grande Prairie community. GPPSD believes in creating a nurturing environment where “Every Student Succeeds.” Visit us online at and follow GPPSD2357 on Facebook and Twitter.


Media Contacts:
Mr. Sandy McDonald 
Superintendent of Schools
Grande Prairie Public School District No. 2357

Mr. Mohammad Haidar
Communications & Design Specialist
Grande Prairie Public School District No.2357
780-532-4491 Ext.1013

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