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MED Alumnus Ashley Bodnar Receives Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence

Class of 2022 Master of Education in Educational Leadership graduate Ashley Bodnar was recently awarded the Prime Ministers Teaching Excellence Award, Certificate of Achievement

Ashley Bodnar

The BC-based educator, who, until recently, taught Grades 6 and 7 at John Henderson Elementary School in Vancouver, was singled out for the award as a result of her commitment to supporting her students through collaborative learning. 

“Ashley provides connections, builds relationships, and creates an engaging learning environment to ensure all students can build skills and confidence in themselves as she elevates their voices, making them seen and heard,” said her former principal, Harjinder Sandhu. 

Bodnar called being recognized for the award “an absolute honour,” especially given all the other dedicated educators in the field. 

“Collaborating with both staff and students has played a crucial role in shaping the educator I am today. What I value most about being a teacher is the continuous learning journey — each day brings fresh insights and new learning that I can integrate into my practice,” she said. 

“The teacher who I was when I first started is completely different to the teacher I am today and will be in the future.” 

Bodnar’s innovative teaching method combines the use of the collaborative learning model with a focus on developing her students’ core competencies – an approach she’s so passionate about, she even devoted her Yorkville Master’s capstone research to the topic. 

Realizing that the provincial core competencies were written for adults, Bodnar translated them into student-friendly language and developed resources for students to understand their competency learning and growth. She also created core competency portfolios for her students, so they could self-assess their core competency skills, develop new ones, or determine which competencies they could work on in the future.

“Yorkville University has truly shaped my teaching practice. My course work taught me to be more intentional and reflexive. and my capstone helped me uncover my genuine passion – the interconnectedness of inquiry-based learning, core competencies, and collaboration,” she said. 

“I wouldn’t be the educator I am today without the help of Yorkville.”

Since receiving the Prime Minister’s Teaching Excellence Award, Bodnar has made the decision to change school districts, but said that all the heartfelt emails she’s received from her former John Henderson students and their families were “powerful reminders of the significant impact of teaching.” 

“The essence of teaching,” she said, “lies in the lasting ripple effect we create on our students.”

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