Spring 2021 Class Notes

We had a wonderful response to our recent Teacher's Contest with over 1800 entries. The following prizes have been awarded:

Christina Boisvert - First Prize $125.00 Gift Certificate from Audreys Books + Swag Package
Kari Odegard - Second Prize $75.00 Gift Certificate from Audreys Books
Christel Hennig - Third Prize $50.00 Gift Certificate from Audreys Books

Edward Keith Hostetler (‘63 BEd, ‘75 BSc) — During the 1990s I taught for eight years in the pre-university program of the United Arab Emirates University along with a group of about 100 math/computer colleagues—some with Ph.Ds. It was a tremendous opportunity for professional development. Every Wednesday afternoon (corresponding to our Fridays) a group of math teachers would meet to present their solutions to some challenging math problem. I was especially impressed by one colleague who, on every occasion would present his solution in visual graphical form on a computer program—this in the very early days of personal computer programming. That provided the inspiration for me to learn how to program well, first in Quick Basic and then in Visual Basic. Since then I have developed dozens of Visual Basic programs that present a variety of math and physical concepts in visual form, some of which would be very difficult to demonstrate as effectively by hand, and all of it was initially inspired by an expert and creative teaching colleague.

Ed Fergusson

Ed Fergusson (‘68 BEd ‘68) — The first time, at 20 years of age, I applied to join the RCMP. I was tall and skinny and wore glasses, so they rejected my application. Later, I was fortunate to have my back straightened by a chiropractor, I worked hard at a gym for three years, gained 45 pounds plus a great deal of strength and was accepted into the RCMP. One of my chiropractors was Dr. Lou Russell, a former RCMP officer. He counselled me that I had a great deal of initiative, which could cause problems as an RCMP officer and suggested I take a bit of time and think about it.

In the meantime, because I had completed a four-year carpentry apprenticeship, plus five years more experience and had full university entrance requirements, I was offered a $2,000 scholarship to attend University of Alberta and become a teacher. Thank you, Dr. Lou, for making me hesitate and have a wonderful career with the Edmonton Public School Board.

Josephine Enero Pallard ('72 BEd, '74 Ed(Dip), ‘08 Alumni Honour Award) — I emigrated to Edmonton as an economic immigrant from the Philippines in 1967. I taught for 38 years with the Northern Alberta School Division ( Vera M. Welsh Elementary School, Lac La Biche) and Strathcona School Division, now Elk Island Public School Division ( Wes Hosford School and Pine Street School, Sherwood Park ). I also taught Basic Adult Literacy evening and weekend classes at Alberta Vocational Centre (now Norquest College) and Grant MacEwan Community College (now MacEwan University. I am presently teaching ESL/EAL classes to immigrant/refugee /newcomer women at Changing Together... A Centre for Immigrant Women here in Edmonton.

As an immigrant, I had been inspired to help immigrant women overcome personal and systemic barriers in order to fully participate in Canadian society , thus co-founding Changing Together… A Centre for Immigrant Women, a non-profit organization, and the Filipino-Canadian Saranay Association of Alberta, which has donated scholarships towards Southeast Asian Studies at the University of Alberta. For this the federal and provincial governments have presented me some prestigious awards, such as Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Award, the Medal of Excellence for Outstanding Leadership in the Filipino Community from the Senate of Canada, and Joy Award to Stop Human Trafficking from the Soroptimist International Club.

I am very proud to be an alumna of the University of Alberta.

Shirley Sylvia Machura (née Wolansky) (‘73 BEd, ‘81 MEd, ‘91 PhD) — It was my first year at the University of Alberta, enrolled in the Junior E. Program in Elementary Education. Our courses were set. We had no choice. Music was one of the courses which would make us proficient elementary teachers. Learning to play the tonette was required to pass the course. I didn’t know one music note from another, never mind knowing what a tonette looked like. My teacher was Dr. Elizabeth Filipkowsky. Thanks to her guidance, I passed. Can I play it today? No. But at the time, I was elated. I couldn’t have passed without her patient explanation of music notes, how to read them and, of course, understanding that this was a difficult hurdle for one so bereft of music experience except for hearing local church singing. She was my hero.

Roy FergusonRoy V. Ferguson (‘72 PhD) — When I first met Harvey I was employed as a psychometrist at the Glenrose Hospital in Edmonton where he was doing some consultation work. He was kind, positive, empathic, engaging and very skilled clinically. As we both grew up in small, rural farming communities in Alberta, we made a quick connection. I admired his approach and style as a psychologist and enjoyed being involved with him on a number of projects. Subsequently, Harvey suggested that I might consider doing a PhD in Educational Psychology at U of A where he was departmental chair. He had shaped the department to celebrate a diversity of psychological views and I found this very attractive. This generalist structure was somewhat unique since at this time it was popular to specialize in one particular approach (e.g. behavioural, family therapy, Rogerian person-centred, etc.) to the exclusion of others. Harvey believed that good clinical psychologists needed to be skilled in a variety of approaches from which they could select the best combination for each individual client. I had the pleasure and good fortune of him supervising my doctoral dissertation that spanned the fields of psychology, medicine and disability Studies. Harvey taught me about the importance of the nexus between theory and evidence-based practice across diverse contexts. Subsequent to graduation, I relied on these principles in my role as Director of Psychology at Alberta Children’s Hospital and later as Director of the School of Child and Youth Care at the University of Victoria. It was wonderful to have had such an inspirational mentor who created a pronounced influence throughout my career as a psychologist. Thank you to the University of Alberta for the program that launched me and to Dr. Harvey Zingle who steered it.

Dorothy HowardDorothy Howard (‘74 BEd, ‘76 MEd) — Circa 1965, the Montreal Protestant School board launched a scheme to recruit British teachers trained in early childhood education. I submitted an application. With five years of teaching experience, a desire for adventure and a bundle of hand-knitted sweaters, I waved au revoir from the deck of Cunard’s Carinthia in Liverpool. Following a seven day passage I was welcomed as a landed immigrant in Quebec City. A position as kindergarten teacher at Surrey Gardens school awaited. I had imagined I would return to England one year later... well, maybe two years if I liked it! Who would have dreamed that my return passage would not take place for 50 years? What was it that held me on Canadian soil for half a century?

Seven years passed as I became absorbed with challenging teaching engagements in Montreal, Frobisher Bay and Cape Dorset on Baffin Island and Hobbema. If a teaching position in British Columbia had followed, I would have travelled east to west, seen Canada and returned to my roots. But by 1972 a two-year British teacher training qualification was no longer acceptable to secure a teaching position in British Columbia. With this rejection of my qualifications and experience and some indignance, I enrolled at the University of Alberta. This decision was a turning point in both career and future as I engaged with learning/teaching in the expanding field of Early Childhood Services in Alberta.

A team of faculty at the University of Alberta motivated and inspired. They exerted influence in my life and career as educators, colleagues and following my retirement in 2000, as life-long friends. I mention three with whom I am privileged and pleased to remain in contact: Janis Blakey, Lorene Everett-Turner and Myer Horowitz. All were role models, esteemed and respected human beings and inspirational as mentors. Amongst a range of skills and competencies they were energetic, hard working, positive, committed, forward-thinking, generating ideas and bringing them to fruition.

Retirement has not lessened their desire or resolve to engage and strive for causes which they deem worthwhile! ‘Saving’ the Ring Houses on Campus and in particular Ring House 3 would be a fitting tribute to any or all of them. Their contributions are part of the history and consequently the wealth of the University of Alberta.

Cairine MacDonal (‘73 BEd) — Dr. David Wangler taught us to read, express ideas and think! His class, where we all sat in a circle, centred on vigorous discussion. In 1972/73, such an approach was revolutionary. You were graded on the number of books you read and discussed in class—an honour system. In large part due to David, I moved from being an indifferent student to an honour student. I taught in Brisbane, Australia and served as community school coordinator at M.E. LaZerte HS in Edmonton before pursuing an MBA at Western and, later, the Advanced Management Program at Harvard. I led organizations in telecommunications, education and government. Learning to think, and express and defend ideas, was critical to my success!

Mary Anne NealMary-Anne Neal (‘76 BEd) — I left my full-time studies at U of A with a three-year teaching certificate in 1973, then completed all the requirements for a BEd in 1976. I spent the summer of 1971 in a tiny Indigenous bush camp north of the Arctic Circle. In 2020, COVID travel restrictions provided time for me to write about the experience that sent me back to the University of Alberta and launched a teaching career that spanned half a century and three continents. Under the Midnight Sun is a powerful story featuring the Dene in the remote Sahtu region of Canada’s Northwest Territories. The book is a tribute to those people and is also a memoir, chronicling the uncanny coincidences that led to our reconnection and then collaboratively publishing four books in four years, winning the Arctic Inspiration prize in 2018. Endorsed by the Sahtu band leaders and other Indigenous friends and colleagues, Under the Midnight Sun recounts my journey to the far North back in 1971, life in a bush camp and subsequent reconnection with the Dene almost half a century later. A quest to understand Indigenous ways of knowing and being led me to hitch rides with bush pilots so that I could spend time with the First People themselves.

You can find my publication on Amazon.

Ovid WongOvid Wong (‘70 BSc , ‘71 Dip (Ed)) — It has been 50 years since my U of A graduation and I have been back three times, including receiving the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1994. I hope to visit more because the university remains vibrant in both teaching and learning. I will not hesitate to make my decision to enroll for my undergraduate study if I have to do this all over again. Go GUBA! I am currently a Professor of Science Education, Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois and the author of 35 books.

Alexander Ross Marian (‘68 BSc , ‘70 BEd , ‘81 MEd) — I was born in Vermilion, Alberta in 1947. We moved to Edmonton in 1961 and I attended Wellington Junior High and Ross Sheppard. I taught senior high math for 34 years at Ross Sheppard, M.E Lazerte, Queen Elizabeth, Bonnie Doon and Victoria Comp. I was seconded to Alberta Education in 2004 and worked there for 13 years as Examiner for Pure Math 30 and Exam Manager for Pure Math 30 and Math 30-1 developing diploma exams. I was inspired by many excellent teachers such as Fred Tarlton, Don Nixon, Mack Fysh and also by many excellent math teachers while developing diploma exams.

I enjoyed playing and coaching baseball, hockey and badminton and later curling and golf. In retirement I enjoy spending time with my wife Janice at our home in Griesbach and at our lake house at Baptiste where we golf, skidoo, fish and enjoy the outdoors.

Desmond Berghofer (‘70 MEd, ‘72 PhD) — Almost 50 years after my graduation with a PhD in Educational Administration from the U of A, I can look back and see how my time in the program transformed my life. Initially it took me into a career in government culminating as Assistant Deputy Minister in the Department of Advanced Education. From there I went on to a career in the private sector where the futures perspective I developed in the U of A program served me well. In 1992 I published The Visioneers: A Courage Story about Belief in the Future, which is a fictional story about how the world came together in a Congress of the Global Mind to achieve a future of peace, justice and sustainability. This has not yet happened in reality, but in October 2022 my team at the Visioneers International Network will be launching a virtual Congress of the Global Mind on the 30th anniversary of the publication of the book. My interest in futures research was inspired by two U of A professors. Dr. Fran Thiemann introduced me to the field in 1969 and Dr. Erwin Miklos supported me through my PhD thesis in 1972.

Cal BotterillCal Botterill (‘72 MA, ‘77PhD & Cert. Ed.) — I enjoyed amazing preparation experiences at the U of A, Dr. C.C. Anderson provided some of the most inspiring & insightful lectures in Educational Psychology I have ever attended. He always came to class with a big bag of books that he had researched in preparing. After pulling out B..F Skinner's book Beyond Freedom and Dignity, he read the first two sentences, then proceeded to lecture passionately non-stop for 90 minutes! When I asked for some sources of interest, he invited me to his home to pick up a couple of books. I have never seen so many books in a home before—and he knew exactly where to find them! Dr. Murray F. Smith, was my doctoral & education advisor, & we loved sharing stories about Dr. Anderson's brilliance, & his frank & insightful style. The staff at U of A had a big effect on my career in health and performance psychology. From there I enjoyed rewarding career opportunities in Olympic sport, business, and medical education. Forever grateful!!

Jeffrey Pollitt ('73 BEd) — Choosing one person who was influential in my career journey is difficult as I had a number of them. In the spirit of the Japanese sensei, it is literally "one who has gone before," commonly translated as "teacher.” My first influential "teacher" was football legend Johnny Bright at Bonnie Doon H.S. As my football and basketball coach, he did say to me a number of times, "you should do this." In my years at the university, I was fortunate to be part of the "jock shop" and future amazing teachers and administrators. Dr. Bob Wanzel, Ken vanLoon, Larry Dufresne and Larry Lerbeckmo were ever present. I also had teachers Arnie Enger, Clarence Kachman and Gary Naylor as coaches when I played for the Edmonton Huskies, as a great influence. Leading by example, I wanted to be like them. A great start to a journey that took me into teaching junior high and later a successful career in business.

Hugh Read (‘73 BA, ‘76 Dip (Ed) PDAD) — As a working musician, I enrolled in the U of A’s PDAD program in 1976 to become a substitute teacher, the only job I knew that would allow me to absent myself frequently to play out-of-town gigs. Over five years of subbing, I came to realize I probably had better prospects as an educator than as a guitar player. In 1980, I started teaching adult ESL evening classes, which soon morphed into daytime classes. My ESL students asked tough questions, which pushed me to learn much I previously had not known about grammar and composition. That knowledge served me well when I joined the faculty at NAIT in 1985, where I taught technical writing and business communications courses for the next 26 years. Since retiring in 2011, I have presented more than 150 clear-writing workshops to Canadian organizations through my company, Westbridge Communication Inc., and yes, I’m playing in a band again.

Francis Michael (Frank) NolanFrancis Michael (Frank) Nolan (‘78 PhD) — I was fortunate to have Dr. Pat McFetridge as supervisor of my doctoral thesis on the writing processes of young children. I subsequently taught in both the state and Catholic school systems in his home state of Victoria, Australia. I now enjoy retirement with Nola, his wife of 59 years, and follow the careers of our two children and five grandchildren.

Dean SarneckiDean Sarnecki (’82 BEd, ‘21 PhD) — The list of people who have inspired me as an educator is long—education is filled with witnesses who inspire and lead. The most important have been the students and families that taught me how to teach! Dr. Jim Parson and Dr. Matt Hoven have been the most recent in a long line of people who have exposed me to new ideas and journeyed with me on my education career. Dr. David Wangler in my undergrad changed my perspective (in a good way) on education and the possibilities for making a difference and changing my horizons. Lastly Dr. Teresita Kambeitz, OSU, provided me the courage to believe in myself as an educator—to her I will be eternally grateful.

Nancy SquairNancy Faye (Johnson) Squair (‘85 BEd) — I took a rather winding path into the field of education. While I graduated with a degree in secondary education, I found that I worked better with college-age students and ended up going to graduate school, eventually becoming a college-level writing instructor. My graduate work focused on the rhetoric surrounding the issue of working class education in 19th-century Britain and how this rhetoric revealed specific political agendas. My work grew directly from the educational sociology class I took with Dr. Anne Marie Decore at the University of Alberta in 1984. She had us do a project identifying the “hidden curriculum” in the educational materials in our major. I had never thought of the underlying political objectives in classroom readers and other materials, and the class was an eye-opener! Dr. Decore changed the course of my thinking about the aims of education.

Darcy Randall KingDarcy Randall King, (‘83 BA, ‘87 BEd) — After teaching in Surrey BC for 32 years I’m retiring. I spent the first 17 years of my career teaching severely behaviorally challenged elementary students. The last 15 years teaching senior socials, history and psychology. My wife, Jane (Wofford) King B.Sc.O.T. 83 is retiring after 38 years as an Occupational Therapist in Psychiatry, with the last 32 at the Abbotsford Regional Hospital. Now looking forward to travel and new hobbies.

Marilyn ManningMarilyn Manning (‘89 BEd) — For 25 years, I was a busy, passionate teacher and happy in my role when my friend and colleague, Michelle DeAbreu, approached me to consider a new role as a consultant. Through hours of conversation, she patiently brought me along to see the broad range of skills that teachers use every day in their classrooms. She drew from me the personal attributes that I had honed over many years of working with children and adults in a school environment. In short, she inspired me to look beyond my classroom walls and see myself in alternate settings and taking on bigger responsibilities than I thought possible. With Michelle’s assistance and encouragement, I took the chance and yes, I got the job! I’ve taken on other roles and responsibilities since that time and I’ve never looked back, except to express my gratitude to my teaching colleague and wonderful friend, Michelle DeAbreu. Merci pour toujours mon amie!

Beckie TiekenBeckie Tieken (‘01 BEd) — I graduated from U of A Red Deer Campus in 2001. I taught high school special ed for more than four years, then was headhunted by Red Deer Public School District to teach at-risk youth in the Alternative School Programs. The last 15 years I have continued to work at Red Deer Public School District with youth who have unique challenges and needs. I am currently teaching in one of the Alternative Program Institutional Programs with students in care who require a trauma-informed classroom.

Heather LarsonHeather Larson (‘07 BEd/BPE , ’14 MA, ‘19 PhD) — I was 17 years old when I ran into one of my junior high teachers, Deryk Hamilton, at the pool where I worked as a lifeguard. I hadn’t seen him since Grade 8, but he still remembered me. I told him I was enrolled in physical education, and he said, “Why don’t you tack on an Ed degree? You can get two degrees in five years.” Long story short, I took his advice. My education degree allowed me to spend two amazing years teaching at an international school in the Philippines. When I went on to pursue graduate studies in sport psychology, my K-12 teaching experience helped me accumulate way more undergraduate teaching assignments than the average grad student. From there, I discovered my passion for instructional design, and have been happily employed as an instructional designer for over three years—thanks to a brief conversation many, many years ago!

Brian PottsBrian Potts (‘08 BEd) — I enrolled at U of A in 2004 at the age of 28. Being older than my fellow undergraduates, I was nervous and unsure of myself. I came to the University of Alberta seeing it as a necessary, but inconvenient and expensive, hoop that I would have to jump through in order to achieve my goal. Having moved to Edmonton from Calgary, my wife worked as an administrator in the university's Engineering faculty so, in a way, we went through the university experience together. An English major, planning on building a career as a teacher, my first year had me in a 100-level English class taught by Dr. Mark Morris. WIthout hyperbole, his teaching elevated my thinking and I have carried so many of the lessons I learned in his lecture hall into my own classroom. The great conversations we had in his class, about stories and theory and ideas, changed how I look at things—and that's true of so many of the courses I took in my degree program.

University didn't turn out to be an obstacle on my path, it was a life-changing experience that I wouldn't trade away for anything. Certainly, university was difficult but that pales against the friendships, the laughter and the enlightenment of the experience. Both my wife and I look on those years with fondness. We met so many amazing people and learned so much. Indeed, I am an English teacher now, and have been happily doing so in Athabasca since my graduation. As chance would have it, I eventually joined the provincial marking teams for Grade 12 English diploma tests and we, for a time, marked those tests at U of A. Back at my alma mater, one day at lunch, I wandered over to the English department on campus, looked up Dr. Morris's office number and sheepishly knocked on his door. It had been years, but he turned from his desk, smiled and greeted me by name. Green and gold for life.

Andrew ParkerAndrew Parker (‘14 BEd) — Thom Elniski was my high school teacher and coach. I was in elementary school when I first met Mr. E, but what I remembered most about him was that he was an absolute professional. In 1998 I enrolled at M.E. Lazerte high school, I didn't know many students there, but that didn't bother me, because I wanted to be taught and coached by a man that I admired greatly. Our relationship was special. He was an older white man and I was a son of Carribean immigrants, but it was like everyone in school knew how much I respected him. I narrowly escaped expulsion in my senior year, but with his help I graduated and accepted a scholarship which led me to becoming a Golden Bear, and a professional athlete. Cancer took Mr. E away from us in 2004, and after he passed I committed my life to becoming a teacher and coach like him.

Randy Hetherington (‘14 BEd) — In education, things often come full circle. I had the privilege as a school principal to host the doctoral investigation of an amazing student who demonstrated a level of commitment to research, in support of student learning. She inspired me to start my doctoral studies. That doctoral student began her academic career in Saskatchewan where she excelled as a supervisor. She inspired me to join the academy. That same academic then came home to U of A and continues to inspire me with her contributions to the profession. U of A's Dr. Bonnie Stelmach is truly inspirational. I never was a student in her class, yet I learned so much watching her conduct research, present to local and international audiences, and above all, support her students. I am a better professor (University of Portland) because of her.

Nazia Hiscock (‘18 MEd) — On July 4, 2016, two months after the Horse River Fire and two weeks after finally returning to my Fort McMurray home, I walked into my first Master of Educational Studies classroom. Complete with nerves of starting a master’s program, I carried the burden of my displacement and worry about my family and community's well being through the most traumatic experience of my life as an educator.

And that's when I met Professor Matt Hoven at the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta. He not only was understanding and supportive, he went above and beyond any professor I had ever met in my undergraduate studies. His consistent check ins, his positive morale boosters and dedication to my social-emotional wellbeing is the reason I continued my graduate studies. He created the culture of supporting each other to build feelings of community he created. Our cohort that Professor Hoven brought together was essential for my successful completion of my Masters in Educational Leadership in 2018. His leadership also inspires me to bring community building as my second year as Vice Principal in the Fort McMurray Public School Division.

Diana Pidruchney (BEd '19)  Both my High School Biology and English Teachers inspired me to become the teacher I aspire to be in my career journey . I was a student in their classes driven to achieve, putting pressure on myself to work hard, study, and succeed. They were always there for me, making time for their students to make sure we were physically and mentally okay, and taking the time to get to know all them! Although they were very knowledgeable in their subject matter, the connection I had with them and knowing I could go to them for help or to talk is what made me excited to come to their class each day. Now as a teacher, I continue to aspire to be like them- to take time to get to know my students, open my heart to them, and always be there for them.

Erin McBeanErin McBean (BEd Secondary ‘19) — When I graduated in April 2019, after always knowing I wanted to be a teacher, I was no longer certain. I had a genuinely adverse experience in my AFX, leading me to question my career choice. After supply teaching for a year, I landed a job at a school I had gone to for junior high. My principal at this school has completely revolutionized my feelings around being an educator. After only a few months here, I am certain about where I want to be. There's something to say for admin who are supportive and appreciative every day. My first contract position has been within the most loving and connected school community and I could not be luckier.

Jillian KnuttilaJillian Knuttila (pictured on right), (MA SLIS ‘2020)  I did not go to daycare. Instead, I went to my grandparents’ houses. From our time together, I learned so much from them: how to bake, clean, garden, golf, fish, hike, camp, and to be a good human. My grandparents continue to inspire me. I see how they adapt to our current challenges as they learn how to follow you on social media, make video calls, play online games, and stay connected from afar. They are resilient. Seeing them overcome obstacles has made me a stronger person. Listening to them has made me a wiser person. They always have just the right thing to say. My grandparents inspired me to write a children’s picture book series on intergenerational inquiry. “When the World Panics” tells Lilly’s story as she worries about COVID19 and learns calming SEL strategies from her Grandma Willow. For more information and FREE Educator Guides, visit: adventuresoflillyandlyndon.ca