Nunavut teacher wins national award
Arviat’s Gord Billard known for “achieving miracles” with students
A veteran Arviat high school teacher has been honoured with a Prime Minister’s award for teaching excellence.
Gord Billard, who teaches English, drama, photography and audio-visual production at John Arnalukjuak High School, was one of 54 teachers across the country — and the only one from Nunavut — to be honoured at an Ottawa gala Oct. 7.
And Billard was only one of eight teachers selected to receive the certificate of teaching excellence.
Billard began his teaching career in Newfoundland before moving to Arviat in 2001.
His classroom at John Arnalukjuak is a busy place; when he’s not teaching, Billard is helping produce plays or hosting the weekly meeting of the Arviat Film Society.
Judy Connor, principal at John Arnalukjuak, said she nominated Billard for the award to highlight his ability to connect with his students.
“What stood out for me is that Gord teaches from his heart,” Connor said. “He builds relationships with these kids and meets them where they are. They inspire him and he inspires them.”
In a biography posted to the prime minister’s website, Billard’s colleagues say he’s known for “achieving miracles” with his students; helping them find their voice and sense of belonging.
— Jordan Konek (@JordanKonekCBC) October 8, 2014
During his teaching career in Nunavut, Billard has helped create a “Mac lab” at the high school, outfitted with 11 iMacs and video editing software.
Billard has also directed and produced a number of plays based on social issues happening in Arviat, facilitating the translation of scripts from English to Inuktitut to make the performances more accessible to the Inuit community.
More recently, Billard helped the Arviat Film Society launch a community television station, while his students created five anti-bullying videos for Nunavut Education week.
“The tireless dedication of our teachers inspires our children and encourages them to succeed,” said Prime Minster Stephen Harper in an Oct. 7 release.
“Today we celebrate the recipients of this year’s teaching awards for their outstanding achievements and thank them for continuously enriching the lives of their students.”
Staff and students at John Arnalukjuak plan to celebrate Billard’s award when he returns to Arviat.