Rocky View Schools (RVS) has selected RancheView grade 6 teacher Maureen McCann as its nominee for the Edwin Parr Teacher Award.

The award is presented to a teacher who excels in their first year of instruction and McCann will now be given consideration for the Zone 5 award.

The school division says McCann goes above and beyond to connect with students, parents, and colleagues. She sees every student as an individual and strives to find out what is uniquely important to each one. Maureen believes that by finding each student's passion, she can connect the learning and gain valuable background knowledge about her students' behaviour and learning.

Maureen firmly believes that students need to be socially and emotionally supported first and foremost before academics can be taught. She has a few students in her class who struggle with mental health complexities, and she has worked hard to build trust with these students so they know she always has their back. Maureen often says she cares first about the person her students are and the learning will follow if they feel safe, secure, and confident in her class.

McCann had the added challenge of being the third teacher to instruct this classroom of 30 students since the beginning of the school year.

"A highlight for me is seeing the growth of the students over the year after coming in from a tricky situation with them having two teachers already. Seeing their growth now that I've been with them six or seven months is exciting."

She's received plenty of support along the way, including that of her mother, who only retired from teaching last year. She is excited to be following in her mother's footsteps of continuing to educate and inspire the next generation.

"My mother was a teacher for 30 years, so I'm very grateful for her lending her ear in the evenings and the amazing team at RancheView, from the students to the parents to the teachers to the administration. I credit a lot of what I've learned and what we've achieved as a classroom to all of them."

She says for the students, an upcoming highlight is the return of field trips.

"We're in the works of planning some field trips, and I know the kids are excited."

McCann says it's an honour to have been chosen and gives kudos to the other teachers nominated for also doing amazing things in their classrooms.

"I was a little bit shocked to see that I was selected but incredibly honoured that I get to represent Rocky View in this way. I'm looking forward to the next step of the Zone 5 portion of it."

The Edwin Parr award has annually recognized excellent first-year teachers across Alberta since 1964 and is awarded to a teacher in each of six zones of the Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA).

If selected as the Zone 5 winner, McCann will be recognized along with five other teachers at an ASBA meeting this fall.

Six other first-year RVS teachers were given consideration. They are Cassandra Bollinger, Elizabeth Barrett School; Kyra Lake, Cochrane High School; Anastassia Rushford, W.H. Croxford High School; Janice Swan, École Elbow Valley School; Jessica Gobran, Meadowbrook School; and Lisa Sundstrom, École Edwards Elementary School.