In these unprecedented and often stressful times, The Manitoba Council of Reading Clinicians is pleased so share some good news! This year the Barbara Koffman Scholarship was awarded to three incredibly deserving recipients. We remember Barbara fondly as a born educator and leader who inspired both teachers and students alike. We know that in her memory, these awards will support our recipients as they move toward gaining knowledge and understanding to also inspire and support the literacy community. Sincerest congratulations goes to the following recipients:
Lori-Anne grew up in a small town in southeastern Manitoba, and knew she wanted to be a teacher ever since Kindergarten. She went away to university at the age of 18, and studied Elementary Education at McGill University. Worried that she had chosen the wrong career, as she had found that the job of a classroom teacher was not a good match for someone as introverted and highly sensitive as herself, she returned to Manitoba. She worked at a coffee shop for a few months, feeling that she had made the wrong choice to be a teacher, and wondering what to do next.
She soon returned to teaching, after having been invited to work at a school in northern Manitoba, by one of the customers at the coffee shop. This customer came in for coffee everyday, and when she learned that Lori-Anne was a certified teacher, suggested she try a position at Little Grand Rapids School. Lori-Anne thought that working on a reserve might be a good match, since the style of teaching and learning that honoured the cultural ways of Aboriginal students, was appealing to her.
One day Lori-Anne found a book written by a reading clinician, who described her work with struggling readers, teaching phonological awareness and phonics, through games, in a one to one therapy setting. She knew that teaching in that way would be a better match to her skills and personality. However, she also knew that returning to university at that point in time was impossible, due to student loan debt.
Lori-Anne slowly moved away from classroom teaching toward a more supportive role eventually finding a position as a resource teacher in the Interlake School Division. She worked at a Grade 8 – 12 school for 10 years, supporting students with special needs and their teachers. She finally found her niche, working directly with teachers and classes part of the time, writing funding applications and Individual Education Plans, and meeting with people in small groups, the rest. It was a perfect mix of extroversion and introversion for her, a very rewarding career, that was a good fit!
Nancy is a current Master of Education student in the department of Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning with a specialization in Language and Literacy. It is her intention to complete the coursework required for certification as a Reading Clinician in Manitoba.
For as long as she can remember, Nancy has been passionate about literacy. Even as a child, when others were striving to learn how to read, she resolved to take matters into her own hands. Gathering her favourite Frog and Toad books, she would find a cozy spot to read with these children, hoping that before long, they too would able to dive into independent reading and all the wonder and joy that a literate life brings.
Nancy’s life-long passion for the written word led her inevitably to a Bachelor of Arts degree with a focus on English Literature. She then earned a Bachelor of Education in Elementary Education, and a Post Baccalaureate Diploma in Educational Psychology. Last year, she completed the course, “Diagnostic and Remedial Techniques in English Language Arts”. As she immersed herself in the study of diagnostic teaching, data collection and analysis, as well as report writing, she revelled in every aspect of the work, which confirmed both her affinity and her passion for her chosen profession.
In her current position, Nancy is a resource teacher serving a grade five to eight middle school in the North End, as well as a kindergarten to grade four school located in Winnipeg’s inner-city. A large part of her work consists of conducting reading assessments and facilitating reading, writing and language remediation with a diverse population, including students with (dis)abilities, students of indigenous heritage, newcomers to Canada, and resilient families living in neighborhoods too often stereotyped by addictions, violence, and low socioeconomic status.
The important work of advancing power and agency within these communities has provided a sense of urgency and motivation, compelling Nancy to learn and implement research-proven teaching practices to responsively meet her students’ individual needs. Nancy believes that as the threads of literacy are woven into each child’s life, the fabric of the entire community is strengthened. To her, literacy truly is a matter of equity and social justice.
As she continues along this journey, Nancy is grateful for the love and encouragement of her son Nicholas. Nancy also wishes to thank the Manitoba Council of Reading Clinicians and the Koffman family for their kind support. In addition, Nancy would like to extend sincere appreciation to Tracie McDonald, Carrie Laurenzo and Valdine Bjornson for their inspiring passion and wisdom.
Nicole L Normandeau
Nicole’s love of reading started early. While she certainly had many rich literacy experiences at home, it was at school where the magic of reading took hold. Nicole attended Crane School from Kindergarten to Grade Four, and it was here she learned from so many wonderful teachers that reading was a gift. The creative exploration of language was encouraged, new worlds opened for her, and she was profoundly impacted.
These transformative experiences with literacy inspired Nicole to become a teacher. She graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Education in 1993 and began her career teaching Grade One in a small country school. She has taught many grades in many schools over the years, and a consistent theme, no matter what she is teaching, has been to share her love of language and literacy with her students.
Recently, Nicole’s role as a teacher has been in resource in the Winnipeg School Division. In this role she has had the privilege of working with students who are dealing with multiple challenges both at school and at home, including struggling with reading. Because she knows how empowering being an engaged reader is and because she see so many of our most vulnerable students disengaged, Nicole is inspired to continue to learn more. Her desire to become a Reading Clinician will enable her to better help students become empowered through reading.