Meet some of Victoria and Esquimalt’s Great Teachers nominees

Carol Aileen was a teacher at SJ Willis Alternative Education

Black Press and Staples, in partnership with Camosun College, are proud to recognize some of the great teachers found here in the Capital Region. We asked our readers to nominate teachers who have gone above and beyond to make a difference in the lives of the students they teach.

Carol Aileen is a now-retired teacher at S.J. Willis alternative school. Here’s what nominator Laura Collie had to say about her:

“Carol is an inspiring educator. She creates the safest and most welcoming environment for her students every day without fail. Her classroom feels like a comfortable home where snacks and coffee are always on hand. Buddy the resident bearded dragon, plants and cozy chairs are a part of the caring environment she has thoughtfully engineered.

“She understands that small successes need to be celebrated especially in the face of the incredible challenges her students face. Carol advocates tirelessly for her students and all students attending alternative education programs. She understands how important this is as many of her students are just learning to advocate for themselves. She coaches her students in this process to ensure they are leaving her program with skills to navigate the next part of their journey.

“Carol creates a community that is strong and supportive. There are so many examples of this but a popular one is her infamous birthday celebrations. For their birthday each student will put in a special cake request, usually something totally original that has no recipe, and the next day Carol will arrive with a home baked creation matching the request to be shared and celebrated with all of her students.

“I have worked with Carol over the past four years. In this time I have learned so much from her example. She will be retiring at the end of the school year and will be so very missed by our school community. I feel that her efforts are very worthy of recognition as she is a true model of education from the heart. She works relentlessly to create a community that is authentic, inclusive, patient, supportive and will always welcome you back which in my eyes is incredible.”

Our Great Teachers special section runs in the Victoria News on June 21 with the winners and all of the Victoria and Esquimalt nominees. You can also find a story here on the ceremony at Staples in Langford, where three selected teachers were honoured as this year’s representatives.