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Two teachers at Glendale receive national recognition

Ashton Lutz

Two teachers at Glendale Sciences and Technology School have been recognized at a national level for their excellence in teaching.

Ashton Lutz, Learning Facilitator, is one of 10 teachers across Canada to be awarded the 2022 Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence, while Amy Mathison, Grade 7/8 Math Teacher, is one of 25 teachers across Canada to be awarded the 2022 Certificate of Achievement for Teaching Excellence.

Untitled%20design%20(74)-1.pngAmy Mathison (middle) stands with some of her students at Glendale Sciences and Technology School.

Both teachers were nominated by the school’s Principal Sandre Bevan, and Vice Principal Jeff Plackner.

“I feel very honoured and very grateful that I was nominated and selected for this award and that there is a belief in me by the people around me,” said Ashton, after learning she was a recipient. “I have a lot of gratitude and appreciation.”

In her new role as a Learning Facilitator, Ashton makes the connection between the Grade 2 curriculum and the daily lives of her students in order to fully engage each and every one of them. “What I really love about my role is that I get to connect with so many people and make a difference in so many lives,” she said. “When you come to school and a student has a great day, then you have a great day. I get to be a person in a child’s life that gets to make a true difference for them. It’s really rewarding.”

Amy added she also feels honoured to be recognized.

“I was not expecting this to happen. I was honoured to be nominated out of the many teachers in our Division, and then to receive the recognition feels amazing,” she said. “My parents are both teachers, so they were really proud.”

Both Ashton and Amy added they enjoy teaching at a school with a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).

“The role of science and technology is really important to engage learners and it’s really important that kids have that hands-on experience,” said Ashton. “With technology, I am able to pace instruction based on each student’s needs. For example, if a student is having trouble with a concept, they can get remediation at the same time that other students can move onto higher concepts.”

“The biggest thing about STEM learning is how engaged students are,” added Amy. “They are getting deeper learning with STEM. They get to do 3D printing and laser cutting - which are some pretty unique learning opportunities, and we have so much fun with it.”

Ashton’s interest in becoming a teacher stemmed from her time teaching swimming lessons. “I was taking college courses that didn’t allow me to teach swimming anymore and I really missed it,” she said. “I graduated with my combined Bachelor of Education and History degree from the University of Lethbridge in 2015 and moved to Red Deer, and I have been teaching elementary school ever since.”

For Amy, growing up in a household where both parents were teachers was inspiring. “At the dinner table they would always talk about teaching, and I started coaching sports when I was 16 and I loved it,” she said. “I went to school at the University of Lethbridge where I made the swim team and I was working on my degree in Kinesiology. A couple of years in, I applied to the Education program and got accepted. I completed a combined degree in Kinesiology and Education, and moved to Red Deer afterwards.”

Amy, who is in her ninth year of teaching, said she loves teaching in middle school. “I love the age of middle school kids - they are fun to teach, independent, and I appreciate their sense of humour,” she said. “I also love teaching at Glendale. We have some really great, supportive, and knowledgeable staff members. I enjoy the subjects and courses that I teach, as well as coaching volleyball here.”

Meanwhile, Ashton will fly to Ottawa next week to present with the other Teaching in Excellence Award recipients from across the country. “The presentation I have chosen is called Meeting Kids Where They Are At,” she said. “I have a true belief that everyone gets a seat at the table and it’s important that we meet their needs so they can be successful at school. So I’m going to be talking about what I feel my best practices are regarding that.”

Sandre added Glendale Sciences and Technology School is incredibly fortunate to have two phenomenal teachers.

Our students, their parents, and our staff all benefit greatly from their respective efforts,” she said. “Ashton works hard to set students up for success in all aspects of their schooling. She has incredible insight about her students and works tirelessly to meet each of their individual needs. And Amy’s students truly believe that they can be successful in math, which is no easy task when a lot of people think that you are either good with numbers or you aren’t. We are so incredibly proud of them both.”

“The Board congratulates both Ashton and Amy on their national recognition,” said Board Chair Nicole Buchanan. “It is an honour for Red Deer Public to have dedicated and passionate teachers who go above and beyond every day for our students, ensuring there is excellence in teaching and learning in our classrooms.”

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