Courtenay teacher finalist for award

Courtenay Elementary teacher Sue Bannister is one of 12 finalists in the Canadian Family Great Teacher Awards.

THE GRADE 1 class of Courtenay Elementary School teacher Sue Bannister takes a break from hunting for fossils during a field trip. Bannister is one of 12 finalists in the Canadian Family Great Teacher Awards this year.

Courtenay Elementary teacher Sue Bannister is one of 12 finalists in the Canadian Family Great Teacher Awards — and she needs the Comox Valley’s help to win.

Bannister could be one of three teachers to win a $2,500 prize if she’s one of the three finalists with the most online votes by June 28.

Bannister says she’s flattered to be nominated, but notes she wants to win, not just for herself or Courtenay Elementary School, but for the whole Comox Valley.

“What I am really, really excited about though, is that by becoming one of the 12 finalists from across Canada, a wonderful opportunity has been created not just for Courtenay Elementary, but for the larger community of the Comox Valley,” says Bannister. “This is actually an opportunity for all of us to rally together to see if we can out-vote 11 other communities across Canada, most of which are larger than us.

“Courtenay Elementary is actually the most challenged school in our district and it would just be so fantastic if we, as a broader community, could come together to support this school.”

Courtenay Elementary School encourages people to vote everyday at

Bannister has been teaching Grade 1 at Courtenay Elementary for one year of her 15 years as a teacher. Originally from Alberta, she’s taught at schools in California, Vancouver, Victoria, the Agassiz-Harrison School District, on Lasqueti and Cortes islands and at a band controlled First Nations school in Saanichton.

She moved her family to the Valley four years ago, and says she’s “firmly planted” her feet here and is “not budging” from the area.

Bannister enjoys teaching so much it doesn’t even feel like a job to her.

“I have so much fun teaching,” says Bannister, adding the kids in her class are her favourite people to be around besides her family. “It’s very satisfying and fulfilling when you can put together learning experiences for children that foster deep learning, engagement and fun.

“I don’t’ really go to work everyday — I go to play. It truly is a huge privilege to spend a day in the company of bright, young, wide-open individuals.”

Courtenay Elementary parent Kindle Parsons nominated Bannister for the award.

“Sue Bannister is an amazing teacher. She gives so much to our school and our class — she parents the kids, she parents the parents, she goes that extra mile — she deserves this,” says Parsons. “She wants every minute that she’s teaching those kids to be a quality minute.”

If Bannister wins the award, the $2,500 would be put towards something for the whole school, and Bannister notes the school community would likely come together to decide.

“Personally, I’d love to see an outdoor natural play space created, possibly as an extension to our new garden, or it would be wonderful to purchase iPads or Android tablets and get more current technology into the hands of Courtenay Elementary children,” she says.

Meanwhile, Courtenay Elementary’s Holly Edwards, Laurel Hodgins and Carlene Steeves have been nominated as a team for the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Early Childhood Education (ECE).


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