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AHCOTE students become teachers

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The 2013 class celebratesthe successful completion
of the AHCOTE program.

The 2013 class celebrates
the successful completion
of the AHCOTE program.

FORT ST. JOHN – Twelve new teachers were recognized at a celebration of completion ceremony for the Alaska Highway Consortium on Teacher Education (AHCOTE) program on December 3 at the North Peace Cultural Centre.

The AHCOTE program is a unique partnership between Simon Fraser University (SFU), University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC), School Districts 59, 60, and 81, local teacher associations, and Northern Lights College (NLC).

The program, which is delivered at NLC’s Fort St. John Campus, provides aspiring teachers with the theoretical background to teaching, along with practical classroom experience. Program graduates are eligible to receive either a Professional or Conditional Teaching Certificate, depending on academic background, from the Teacher Regulation Branch of the Ministry of Education.

“I think AHCOTE actually represents what SFU has been trying to promote since the very beginning of the program’s inception (more than) 20 years ago – having a community-based program,” said Kau’i Keliipio, associate director of professional programs for the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University.

The 2013 AHCOTE completion class included Jen Allen, Dale Boissonneault, Rick Davison, Jillisa Doherty, Laura Fusco, Steph Godber, Rhya Hayes, Grace Hill, Keilah Martin, Krystal Miller, Lucy Redfern and Mercy Smith.

Dale Boissonneault

Dale Boissonneault

Krystal Miller

Krystal Miller

“I believe that it is an excellent program. The teaching, the classes, the practicum are absolutely excellent. I couldn’t be any happier with the experience I have had in the program,” said Boissonneault, who completed his practicum at Charlie Lake Elementary School.

Miller completed her practicum at Parkland Elementary School near Dawson Creek, and complimented AHCOTE Faculty Assistant Joy Cochrane on a very positive experience.

“Joy was very organized and really worked to make my practicum a success. Joy arranged my placement ahead of time, which allowed me to be able to prep in advance letting me focus more on teaching and not be stressed out about lesson planning,” Miller said.

Cochrane had nothing but praise for this year’s AHCOTE cohort.

“Our new teachers deserve to celebrate their success because they have worked very hard to develop excellent working relationships within School Districts 59 and 60. The time and effort they put in to their work with students, teachers and families will serve them well in their careers in education. I am proud to have worked beside our AHCOTE students and wish them all well in their chosen profession,” Cochrane said.

Other dignitaries at the ceremony included David Sloan, Superintendent of Schools, and Ray Asai, Director of Instruction-Human Resources, both for SD 60; Trudy Baggett, an AHCOTE assistant for SFU; Dr. Peter Nunoda, Vice President of Academics and Research, at NLC; and Dr. Steve Roe, Dean of Academics and Vocational Programs at NLC.

In his address, Nunoda talked to the class about the responsibilities they have accepted.

“You have entered a profession, but also a vocation. You are called to this. You also have great power. The best teachers inspire students. I hope all of you will take that to heart. You hold the future in your hands. You will shape the next generation and the next generation of learners for this area,” Nunoda said.

The next intake for the AHCOTE program is September 2014. Applications are being accepted now with a January 15, 2014 deadline.

For more information or to start the admissions process, contact program assistant Jaclyn Jones at or program chair Lisa Verbisky. To view the program page, which includes admission prerequisites, go to the NLC website at