National awards for Surrey educators

Jonathan Rempel and Danielle Jimeno recipients of 2012 Prime Minster's awards.

Surrey teacher Jonathan Rempel receives his Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence and Excellence from Stephen Harper.

Surrey teacher Jonathan Rempel receives his Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence and Excellence from Stephen Harper.

Two Surrey educators are among 94 chosen from across the country as recipients of this year’s Prime Minister’s Awards for Teaching Excellence and Excellence in Early Childhood Education.

Jonathan Rempel, a teacher at North Surrey Learning Centre, was honoured for doing whatever it takes to get and keep his teen students interested in learning.

He developed the Learning Adventure Co-op to inspire students through a series of hikes, camping and outdoor adventures, which developed a valuable sense of community that transferred back to the classroom. As the aboriginal teacher advocate in the school, he also works with about 70 aboriginal students. Rempel was lauded for helping teachers and students integrate aboriginal content into lessons, as well as going above and behind to support students, including visiting homes when necessary.

“Jonathan is a young, tenacious, creative and caring teacher who deserves to be recognized for the wonderful work he is doing with students who have been abandoned by the system. He is a model for others because he does whatever it takes to engage students and motivate them to learn,” said a colleague.

Danielle Jimeno, childcare director at A Place to Grow Childcare Centre near 137 Street and 96 Avenue, was recognized for her work in early childhood education.

Her philosophy of centring activities on what interests the children rather than what has been planned was noted, as was her push to have her team always consider how a child will learn best.

She introduced an activity of documenting each child’s story through photos, allowing parents to feel more connected, makes a point to communicate with parents daily, and adjusts to families’ needs by offering flexible schedules and employing multilingual staff.

“As a leader in the community, Danielle strives to seek out research and evidence of best practices, of how we can improve and how programs can be enhanced … she is inquisitive and provides insight to issues through dialogue and questioning,” said a colleague.

The Prime Minister’s Awards for Teaching Excellence honour outstanding elementary and secondary school teachers who, through the innovative use of information and communications technologies in the classroom, help students develop the knowledge and skills to succeed in the digital economy. The Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Early Childhood Education honour exceptional early-childhood educators who help build the foundation that young children need to make the best start in life.

A list of all Teaching Excellence award-winners for 2012 can be found at http://bit.ly/VhPUtA, while a list of Excellence in Early Childhood Education award-winners can be found at http://bit.ly/SqBQNP.