When Ian Smith started on his career path, education was not on his radar. Arriving in Canada in 1984, he came to work at a summer camp after finishing a Business Diploma in England.
“Working with young people was more fun and rewarding than the world of accounting and marketing,” Smith recalls. “I went back home and signed up for an Education degree. Each summer thereafter, I returned to the summer camp. Upon graduation, they offered me a job as the director and I immigrated to Winnipeg. After seven years, living half my life on an island on Lake of the Woods, a career change was in order and I applied to Manitoba Education for my teaching certificate. I had done a lot of outdoor education with schools from Pembina Trails and it was high on my list of divisions to apply to.”
It seems the rest is history. Smith got his classroom start at Oakenwald School. He later spent time inspiring middle years students at General Byng School before settling in at Pembina Trails Alternative High School.
“His career has spanned all grade levels and he has been warmly acknowledged by administrators, colleagues, parents and former students for his dedication, his enthusiasm and his willingness to do whatever it takes to ensure that students are working to their full potential in today’s changing world,” shared Pembina Trails Alternative High School principal, Susan Woods.
In late April, not only his peers, but also the Minister of Education and Training and the Premier of Manitoba acknowledged that same dedication.
Ian Smith won the 2019 Premier's Award for Excellence in Education. The honour is given to educators who distinguish themselves by their remarkable contribution to student learning and engagement. There is only one award of this kind given out per year.
“I was simultaneously thrilled and humbled,” said Smith.
The award comes as Smith gets set to retire. In June, he will say his goodbyes and have time to reflect on a rewarding career.
On behalf of our Senior Administration Team and Board of Trustees, we would like to congratulate Smith and wish him all the best.
Learn more about Manitoba's Excellence in Education Award Ceremony.