Jessica St. Jean (left), Staples district manager for Vancouver Island, northern B.C. and the Yukon; Lorraine Juurlink, Staples divisional sales manager, Saanich News publisher Oliver Sommer and Gerry Denis, Staples Langford general manager gather to kick off Black Press/Staples Great Teachers. The initiative, supported by Staples School Tools, encourages parents and students to nominate deserving teachers. Through April and May, we’ll also publish stories featuring people who tell how teachers impacted them by going above and beyond. Don Descoteau/Black Press

Series highlights Capital Region’s great teachers

Readers invited to nominate teachers who make a difference

  • Apr. 12, 2017 6:30 a.m.

They are the people who guide our children along the path to adulthood, inspiring young minds to reach their limitless potential. To recognize their efforts, Black Press and Staples in partnership with Camosun College are pleased to bring you the fourth edition of Great Teachers, a series illuminating the outstanding dedication teachers across the Capital Region bring to the classroom every day.

Black Press associate group publisher Oliver Sommer said it’s important to celebrate all teachers because so many that deserve recognition for the amazing work they do.

“That’s why we engage the community, parents and students in nominating a teacher who has left them with a lasting impression,” Sommer noted. “The response has increased each year, which underlines the significance of what teachers do. Reading what people want to share in the nominations they submit really gives you a strong sense of how teachers make such a positive difference in the lives of their students.”

Gerry Denis, manager of Staples Business Depot West Shore, said the company is proud to once again be part of an initiative that highlights the work that teachers do.

“They play an exceedingly important role in developing our future,” he said. “You can’t talk to anyone who doesn’t have a great story about how teachers influenced them in a positive way.”

Underlying the company’s commitment to education, Staples is launching a new program this year, Bring Your Own Device, to help ensure there are more resources available for teachers and students.

“With so many schools shifting more and more to digital, more and more classes are using Chrome Books,” Denis said.“With kids being kids, there’s an increasing number of students that are accidentally damaging their Chrome Book, or misplacing them.”

BYOD will provide different levels of warranty options for schools that register with the program, based on their degree of commitment to the program, Denis explained.

”It’s another way for Staples to assist parents who may face financial difficulties purchasing Chrome Books,” Denis said.

Camosun College president Sherri Bell said great educators possess many skills. “They inspire, engage, encourage and really challenge students to allow them the space to naturally take charge of their own learning. Learning is about growth and transformation. A great educator sets the stage for that to happen.”

A great teacher also creates a sense of community, collaboration and belonging, Bell added. “I know that at Camosun we encourage an engaged student-instructor environment and co-operation between disciplines.”

She noted as an example that students in Camosun’s sociology, marketing, early learning and care, and mental health and addictions programs recently worked together on a project to study and brainstorm on solutions to the issue of homelessness in our community.

“I’ve been an educator my entire career. I began teaching in 1981 and have worked at all levels of education from elementary school to college and university. And, I applaud all the outstanding teachers I’ve had the pleasure to learn from and teach alongside, throughout my life,” Bell said. “We all want students to achieve their potential. In the end, it’s about equipping students with the right skills, knowledge and self-confidence to go out there so that they can challenge and change our world, for the better.”

To nominate a teacher go to

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