The Manitoba Council of Reading Clinicians is pleased to announce the winner of the Barbara Koffman Scholarship Award. We remember Barbara fondly as a born educator and leader who inspired both teachers and students alike.
Congratulations to Ailsa Desender! Ailsa has always intended to become a teacher, having loved reading and learning so much as a child. Since kindergarten, her path has involved as many opportunities to work with children and to teach as possible, including ballet instruction, tutoring, and working in a day care. She graduated in 2011 from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Science (Hon.) in Chemistry, then from the Faculty of Education in 2013 with a degree in Early Years Education with Honours.
She began her teaching career in September 2013 with a position teaching Grade One in River East Transcona School Division. During this time, I participated in a professional development series with an aim to strengthen literacy instruction skills in Grade One teachers in the division. This exposure to data driven programming peaked her interest in becoming a literacy specialist.
In September of 2014, she began her permanent position in Louis Riel School Division as a Grade 1/2 teacher. She spent three years at Frontenac School before transferring to her current position at Dr. D.W. Penner School. She feels privileged to have encountered many literacy minded colleagues through her career so far and has participated in several professional learning networks regarding topics such as Regie Routman’s Writing Project and Reciprocal Teaching.
She decided to return to the university to begin her post-baccalaureate degree in 2017, and it was here that she discovered the position of Reading Clinician which appealed to her scientific, data driven nature as well as her love of teaching. With the encouragement of classmates and professors, she switched to the Master’s program in the summer of 2018 with the goal of eventually becoming a Reading Clinician. For her thesis, she is interested in researching inclusion and Universal Design as it pertains to literacy programming for students with severe auditory or communication deficits.
In her free time, she reads avidly, both professionally and for pleasure, bakes, and crochets. She feels fortunate to have the support of her husband, Bryce, and her family as she pursues the next phase of her career.