Campbell River teachers win Prime Minister’s Awards for Educators

Awards for Teaching Excellence honour outstanding elementary and secondary school teachers

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the recipients of the 2012 Prime Minister’s Awards for Teaching Excellence and Excellence in Early Childhood Education Wednesday.

The Awards were presented at a ceremony in Ottawa ahead of World Teachers’ Day on October 5, 2012.

“Good teachers help lay the foundation with which we interpret and navigate the world. They make a valuable contribution to Canadians being among the brightest and most innovative citizens in the world,” said the Prime Minister. “It is a real privilege today to honour educators who have imparted their knowledge and inspiration to us and our children, helping all of us become the best we can be.”

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.

This year, Awards were given to 94 teachers/educators from across Canada, 27 of which travelled to Ottawa to receive their Certificates of Excellence (national-level) from the Prime Minister and attend three days of celebratory and professional development activities. In addition to those Certificates of Excellence, 67 Certificates of Achievement will be awarded at a regional level.

Campbell River’s Dave Coad received a Certificate of Excellence and Diana Camerin received a Certificate of Achievement.


The Prime Minister’s Awards website ( had this to say about the Campbell River recipients:


Dave Coad – Certificate of Excellence

Star Wars will never be the same for students who experience a class with Dave Coad. After learning how to create their own space scene, the mystery behind sci-fi special effects begins to unravel. Adaptable and creative, Coad makes sure his students develop practical skills for problem solving in both the techie world and beyond.


Teaching Approach

With students already facebooking, tweeting, texting and googling, Coad tries to make use of every teachable moment when they enter his class.

Coad’s lab is a collaborative place where students play the role of both learner and teacher.

He establishes an inclusive student-centric atmosphere where students can explore technology at their own pace and have fun while they develop solid skills for their future.


Outstanding Achievements

With a small amount of initial funding, Coad pioneered the school district’s computer animation program back in 1998.

As technology evolved, so did his lessons. He is now the first teacher in the district to offer fully developed courses in computer animation, game design, scrapbooking, digital art and photography.

With financial setbacks that have teachers teaching several grades in one time block, Coad’s solution was to implement lessons with Camtasia, a screen recording software.

Having created over 1,250 individualized lessons, Coad’s students each have access to individualized programs and can progress at their own pace. In this learning environment, the traditional teacher is replaced by a learning experience where students watch and listen via a computer and can replay parts of lessons as necessary.

Coad provides his students with cutting-edge technology by fundraising diligently and offering his time at summer camps and evening courses. Over the past 13 years, he has raised over $80,000 for the benefit of students in his school district.

Coad’s students have gone on to work in the industry and participate in prestigious opportunities. But Coad’s focus is always to create an inclusive environment. He has worked hard to get more girls to take his classes, bringing the gender divide from 80-20 to almost 50-50. He also focuses on helping students with special needs access his lessons.


Diana Camerin – Certificate of Achievement


Sometimes it takes some money to make some money.

With funding to purchase an online grant search engine, Diana Camerin searches and obtains grants to fund her many innovative projects that enhance student learning and motivation. To Camerin it’s important to be able to provide her students with opportunities in the greater community, help them identify their unique talents, and have a variety of enriching experiences that they can apply to their learning.


Outstanding Achievements

Through a partnership with the Director’s Cut Media Literacy Foundation (, Camerin developed an eight-week summer program for Aboriginal youth which exposed them to animation and video production techniques.

They animated Aboriginal legends and conducted interviews with nominees for the Chamber of Commerce Awards of Distinction (

Partnering with the local movie theatre, Camerin brought high school students together with elementary school students to make movies on specific themes like “beauty is only skin deep” or “celebrate your gifts”. Once the movie is complete everyone is treated to a viewing, complete with popcorn, pizza and a drink!

Through Camerin’s connections, Campbell River now has a lifeskills house dedicated to helping at-risk youth and special needs students.

The Ed and May Mailman House Life Skills Centre is a beehive of activity where students with special needs learn pre-work experience skills like preparing and cooking food.

The centre is also used by at-risk youth who need some help in organizing their apartments to live independently.

Camerin is also responsible for bringing the co-op program to her school.

The program is now in its 23rd year of placing over 100 students a year.

the Community section for a story on one of Camerin’s programs.

Campbell River Mirror