Congratulations to Lori Pritchard, principal at Sir John A. Macdonald School, on being selected to receive a 2018 Guiding the Journey: Indigenous Educator Award for Innovative Practice from Indspire. This award recognizes the achievements of outstanding Indigenous educators who are leading positive systemic change in education.
“Since becoming a teacher twenty-five years ago, my work has mostly focused on empowering Indigenous students and families to feel success and pride in their relationships with school, and to help teachers learn and include Indigenous histories, cultures and ways of knowing and being into the learning experience for all K-12 students,” says Pritchard.
In her current role, Pritchard has been able to successfully bring together Indigenous and non-Indigenous knowledge systems, creating learning opportunities across her school. “Last year, we held our first annual round dance for all SJAM families to come together in celebration of the winter solstice. Our school also led the gathering of ten schools to offer Moo'kaaksin, which means "knowledge" in Blackfoot. During Moo'kaaksin staff from all ten schools gather for one day of Indigenous knowledge building,” says Pritchard.
Most recently, Pritchard who is Métis started a Flower Beadwork Club for interested students to learn how to bead floral patterns seen in nature, while listening to and discussing Métis stories, poems and music.
Prior to her current role, Pritchard was the system lead for Indigenous Education where she led the community consultation and design for the Niitsitapi Learning Centre and the CBE’s Indigenous Education Strategy for all K-12 CBE students and staff. Pritchard was also principal at Piitoayis (Eagle Lodge) Family School where she co-designed a trauma informed holistic learning model, leading to increased student happiness, attendance and academic success.
“Lori’s personal background, expertise, and work experience related to Indigenous Education provides her with the solid foundation required to lead us in creating a brighter future for our Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, and the education systems they attend. I am honored to have the opportunity to work and walk alongside Lori as a leader,” says Darlene Unruh, director Area 2.
Pritchard will be honoured in November during the Indspire National Gathering for Indigenous Education in Edmonton.