Elementary teacher Jo-Ann Lindahl poses with her students following an outdoor ‘closing circle’ in which they discussed what they had learned that day. (Image submitted)

Mission elementary teacher to receive national Indigenous educator award

Jo-Ann Lindahl named a 2020 Guiding the Journey: Educator Award recipient

  • Nov. 23, 2020 12:00 a.m.

A teacher at Dewdney Elementary School will be recognized for her work to improve Indigenous students’ educational outcomes.

Jo-Ann Lindahl has been named a 2020 Guiding the Journey: Educator Award recipient for community service by Indspire.

“When they first called me, I felt like they made a mistake,” she said, noting she was overcome with emotion and brought to tears.

“I’m just really appreciative that the work that I do in my district has been recognized.”

Lindahl has been an educator since 2013.

She launched her teaching career as a K-12 substitute before being awarded a contract at Ecole Mission Secondary as an Aboriginal support teacher. There Lindahl supported at-risk youth in class as well as out of class through numerous clubs she had launched, such as the female empowerment movement which connected students with resources and other community members.

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“I remember feeling just absolutely alone and lost,” Lindahl said of her own high school experience.

“It was a tough time, just like I know it still is for lots of kids these days, so I wanted them to know that I cared.”

Today, Lindahl teaches grades 2 and 3 at Dewdney Elementary where she infuses the curriculum with as much Indigenous content as possible, enjoying the moment when the ‘lightbulb’ in her students’ eyes go off when they have fully grasped the material.

As the school successfully received some grant funds, she is currently in discussion with their Aboriginal liaison worker about possibly developing a lunchtime group for students who may be experiencing bullying or challenges in making friends.

Lindahl will be presented with her Guiding the Journey: Educator Award at the 2020 National Gathering for Indigenous Education held online Nov. 26 and Nov. 27.

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