2021 MHPSD Retirees

2021 MHPSD Retirees
Posted on 06/23/2021
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2021 Retirees 


  • Valerie Browne
  • Mina Carlson
  • Valerie Clarke
  • Naomi Dawson
  • Boris Grisonich
  • Deanna Immel
  • Shelley Lukasiewich
  • Audrey Pavelich
  • Grant Sisko
  • Julia Stewart
  • Kathryn Western

Central Office:

  • Stacee Hooper
  • Pat Krecsy


Support Staff:

  • Clayton Orge
  • Brenda Fode
  • Marie Siewert
  • Oscar Morales
  • Lorraine Johnson
  • Mary Kemp
  • Shirley Greenfield


Teacher Biographies:

2020 RetireeValerie Brown

To teach and to learn- public education made a difference in my life. In a small eastern Ontario farm community, I was encouraged to learn. Along the way, parents, siblings and teachers mentored me into choosing teaching as a career.

To teach and to learn- I graduated from Queen’s University with Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Arts degrees. Later, I completed a Diploma in Inclusive Education and Master of Education degree from the University of Alberta.

To teach and to learn- it was my privilege to experience a strong performing arts education in high school and university. Lifelong relationships were formed. I also enjoyed teaching music for many years. It was a joy to synergize with children and fellow teachers to create choral sound together. The performing Arts are vital!

To teach and to learn- I have had four teaching assignments in Medicine Hat Public School Division- grades 6-9 in a group home, Riverside School- a small community school, Crestwood School- a leadership school and then concluding at The HUB- an online school. In each learning environment, I have worked with quality individuals- students, families and colleagues who helped me hone the craft of teaching.

To teach and to learn- as I close the chapter on a 30-year career, I am looking forward to the next chapter that will continue to foster both teaching and learning. Thank you to my family who supported both my personal and professional goals.  My husband and best friend Ralph and children Andrew and Julie, Adam and Danielle. They have provided much encouragement throughout my teaching journey. I am grateful for their influence and love.

2020 RetireeMina Carlson

What led me to a career in teaching, is most likely the fact that I love being a student. I started teaching because it meant sharing what I already loved to do.

As a student, I spent my early school years in British Columbia. Attending school in the 70’s during the fad of Open Classrooms prepared me well for learning and teaching. In the Open Classrooms curiosity ruled the day and students grazed at whatever learning center they chose. I think I stayed at the art station for almost an entire year! Therefore, as a teacher, I have kept my feet firmly in two worlds - progressive and traditional. I concluded my formal learning with two degrees from the University of Lethbridge: a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Education.

 More than half of my teaching years have been spent between grade 7 and grade 9. Somehow the middle school grades stuck and it felt right.  My best memories are from those times when I would share some bit of content with my ‘kids’ or they would share something with me, and we would all be amazed or dumbstruck at the same time...that connection was as awesome as it gets. That, to me, is the beginning of natural, organic learning and it can lead anywhere.

Over the years I have worked with many amazing teachers, administrators and support staff at CHHS. They have been instrumental in creating a work environment that is constantly seeking improved, student centered practices. It was both challenging and rewarding to be part of a community that embraces positive change. And finally, to my husband Rory, our three boys and my parents, thank you for your unwavering support and encouragement. It has meant the world.

My future plans are to spend more time with family and friends, preferably outdoors, hiking or biking. Travelling during a non-holiday time is also high on my list of things to do. I also want to volunteer more, relax more and my husband hopes I will cook more!

Valerie Clarke

From a young age, I knew that I wanted to be a teacher and in my view that was my only option. Upon graduation from Memorial University in 1990 with a Bachelor of Education and being unable to find work in NL, my fiancé and I were both offered jobs in Northern Alberta. We decided to move our wedding date up and married in August of 1990 and then made the trek to the Fort Vermilion school division, where we were determined to stay only for 2 years. Well those 2 years turned into 24 (with a short 3 year move back east) and then the last 4 years have been spent here in the MHSD.

My teaching career had an interesting start to say the least. As a first-year teacher I was prepped and ready to teach grade 1 in a small school in Meander River in the FVSD. After about 5 days of teaching, my husband and I were reassigned to a new community, a new school and new grades. Needless to say, this created a little stress and I was determined that I was moving back home to NL. But sanity prevailed and I settled into a grade 3 position in a school that I spent the next 10 years in. 

Being so far away from home and support of family was not easy, especially once we had children, so in 2000 we moved east to be closer to family. After a few years of having short term positions and teaching piano lessons, my husband was offered a position back with FVSD and we once again decided to move back to Northern Alberta. La Crete was home for us for many years and we raised three beautiful children during our years there. Two of our children are also teachers and our youngest is training to become a firefighter. 

During my teaching career, I have taught grades 3 - 6 and been involved in the music program at various schools. I have loved the challenges and the rewards that come with being a teacher and have been fortunate to work alongside so many wonderful, dedicated teachers, who have helped shape my career. 

Even though my time with MHSD has been short, I am very happy to be retiring from a school with so many amazing educators. Thank you to the Crestwood staff for being part of my journey. 

As Roger and I move into retirement, our plans are fluid. We will spend some time at our cottage on the lake in NL, where we can do what we love; spending time with aging parents, kayaking, swimming, hiking and whatever else the day brings. We will always be Albertans, as this is where our children are, so we will spend time here as well and we plan to spend time travelling and exploring sandy beaches instead of shoveling snow. 

Thank you to everyone who has been a part of my journey. 

Naomi Dawson

I grew up in small town Saskatchewan where I developed a love for volleyball, basketball and swimming.  The love of team sports and competitive swimming led me to work as a lifeguard, to coach competitive swimming and then to teach swimming lessons.  I enjoyed teaching swimming lessons so much that I then thought I might like to teach school, coach sports and work with children.  Once I graduated from high school, I attended the University of Saskatchewan where I earned a Bachelor of Education.  After a few years in the classroom, I realized that I really enjoyed working with the Specialized students, so I then headed to the University of Regina where I received a Designation in Special Education.

I began my teaching career in Wood Mountain Saskatchewan where I taught Grades 3 & 4.  I then moved to Rockglen, Saskatchewan where I taught Grade 2 and then moved into the Resource Room. I stayed in Saskatchewan for many years and then moved to Medicine Hat in 2000.  Once in Medicine Hat I began working with the Special Needs population teaching at Georges P. Vanier School and I have continued in the Specialized Program to this day. I have LOVED every minute of my time at both Georges P. Vanier School and Herald School.

I would like to thank my husband Cameron and our children Gaege, Samara, Tanika and Shabree for their unwavering love and support.  They have supported me through ISP’s, report cards, planning and Science experiments.

In retirement, I plan to spend LOTS of time with my grandchildren, Harper, Sophia, Olivia and Zade.  In addition, I hope to travel, camp, visit family and friends and I really hope to enjoy lots of fun in the sun!!


2020 RetireeBoris Grisonich 

Born and raised in Medicine Hat, Boris was actively involved in athletics and school activities in his youth.  With a degree from the University of Alberta in Biology, he started his career at Medicine Hat High teaching Phys Ed and Chemistry.  He spent 15 years in the classroom and 16 years as a vice-principal, principal and one year as acting Associate Superintendent, Human Services.

His passion for coaching began when as a grade 9 student he took responsibility for coaching a younger team rather than seeing the team canceled for lack of a coach.  Over the years, he added to his repertoire of drills, plays and defensive schemes to build and challenge the individual and team skills of his athletes.  Boris coached the MHHS Kwahommies, the MHC women’s Rattlers and later 9th grade teams.

The experience of overseeing the modernization of MHHS brings Boris a tremendous feeling of accomplishment and pride along with his successes in coaching high school basketball with nine 4A south zone championships and two 4A provincial championships. Over the past 32 years as a teacher, coach and administrator, his fondest memories, consistent with the reason he chose education as a career, have been the relationships he was able to develop with staff, students and parents.  Watching teachers create positive opportunities and relationships with their students, seeing kids smile at school after a fulfilling day or achievement, and observing the pride in parents as they watch their children compete and accomplish and eventually walk the stage at graduation has made this career so meaningful.  When asked if he would change things, his immediate response is “I would do it all exactly the same way if I could!”

A special thank you to his family – his mom and dad for their guidance and love and for committing their lives to building better opportunities for their boys; to his two brothers, Pat and Rob, for their mentorship and care and for leading the way in providing a path to follow throughout his career.

Deanna Immel         

I was born in Grande Prairie, Alberta into a family full of educators.  My grandmother, aunt and mom were teachers, and my dad was a superintendent.  With a house full of teacher manuals and school supplies, my sister and I set up our imaginary classrooms in the basement and spent many hours “playing school”.  From early on, I knew I wanted to be a teacher.

Following a move to southern Alberta, I graduated from Medicine Hat High School, then entered the Education program at the Medicine Hat College.  After two years, I transferred to the University of Lethbridge and completed my Bachelor of Education in 1988. 

I began my career as a Grade One teacher in Brooks, Alberta.  After a year and a half, I was offered a Grade One position at Vincent Massey School and returned home to Medicine Hat.  I have been very fortunate to spend 30 years of my career at Vincent Massey.  It’s hard to believe that I was the youngest person on staff at one point!  I taught Grade One until the arrival of our three sons.  While the boys were young, I worked part time as the Resource Room Teacher.  The latter part of my career has been spent teaching Grade Two.

Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to work alongside many wonderful colleagues, administrators, families, and students.  I have loved being a primary teacher and watching young children learn and grow.  It’s been tremendously rewarding to help reluctant readers learn to love books and build connections with students who accidentally call me mom.  I will miss those moments!

I would like to thank my family and friends for all their support and encouragement over the years.  I am looking forward to spending more time with them in my retirement, as well as traveling, cooking, and enjoying our cabin in Elkwater.

2020 Retiree
Shelley Lukasiewich

I grew up on a farm in Central Alberta and attended school in Vermilion.  In 1987, I earned my Bachelor of Education Degree from the University of Alberta, majoring in Home Economics after being inspired by my Mom who was an amazing cook and baker.

I began my teaching career in Leduc, AB as a Foods/Sewing Teacher.  In 1990, my husband and I moved to Medicine Hat where I began working for the Medicine Hat Public School District in a variety of temporary teaching positions, until starting at Crescent Heights High School in 1992.  At CHHS, I have always been a part of the CTS Department, teaching Keyboarding, Tourism, Fashion, and Foods.  I held the position of CTS Team Lead for many years.   I have had the pleasure of working with many amazing Teachers and Support Staff at CHHS over the years and have cultivated many life-long friendships.

It has truly been a joy to work with so many incredible students at CHHS.  Over the last 10 years, I have had many students compete in the Skills Alberta Competition in Baking and Culinary Arts.  In Foods, my focus has always been to encourage students to be creative in the kitchen and to be able to make tasty and healthy meals for themselves and their families.  I still hear from countless students that continue to use recipes from Foods class at home.  Thank you, students, for sharing your recipes with me over the years and for all the visits I have received from you at school, long after you have graduated.

Thanks to my husband, Darren, and our sons, Zachary and Jacob.  You have all been very supportive over the years.  In retirement I look forward to spending more time gardening, reading, camping and visiting with friends and family.

2020 Retiree

Audrey Pavelich

It’s true…you never know how or when a teacher will influence you….

Audrey was born in Medicine Hat, moved to Weyburn, Saskatchewan, lived in Redcliff, then moved back to Medicine Hat to attend River Heights, Alexandra and Medicine Hat High Schools.

Medicine Hat College was where she started her post-secondary journey with a Business Administration Certificate earned, while she waited to hear if her application to Air Canada was accepted. (Yes, she wanted to see the world as a stewardess!) With no reply from Air Canada and realizing very quickly that business was not for her, she looked to her childhood days where she had spent many happy afternoons catching insects and playing school with the neighbourhood children. It took her future husband Brad, whom she met the last day of classes at the Medicine Hat College, to point out perhaps her true calling was teaching (however biology and travel continued to be a passion).

The University of Calgary is where she obtained her Bachelor of Education Degree with an ECS Diploma, later earning a Master of Education from the University of Lethbridge.

Audrey started her teaching career in 1984 in an ECS position at Southview Community School where she taught Grade 1, 1/2 and Kindergarten for 17 years. In 2002 Audrey transferred to Crestwood School where she taught Grade 4 for 18 years and finished off by teaching her “Dream Job” Grade 2.

Highlights of Audrey’s career have been participating in Medalta and Police Point Community Classrooms, serving on ATA ECEC and Science Council, mentoring education practicum students, nurturing classroom pets, and obtaining numerous grants for “Tracing our Carbon Footprint” before it was trendy to do so.

After 37 years she is finally ready to heed her Biology 30 teacher’s words of wisdom: “You’d be pretty good at this if you gave up your friends and cheerleading!”

Audrey would like to thank all of her colleagues, past and present, as well as her husband Brad, three boys Scott, Aaron, Blake, and cat Ripley for being part of her support team. It’s time to give Biology a try!

2020 Retiree

Grant Sisko

With both parents as teachers, Grant grew up in Medicine Hat and was active in all sports. After graduating from McCoy High, Grant went to the University of Lethbridge where he obtained his BA and BEd degrees. During his university years, he trained and competed for five years in Track and Field as a shotput thrower. His personal commitment to high school and university sports was great preparation for a career that supported young high school athletes.

Grant spent his entire 30-year career at Medicine Hat High School. He taught Phys Ed, Outdoor Ed, and most recently Foods. His “Sizzling With Sisko” classes were a highlight of his career and the most enjoyable teaching experiences he had. As a coach, Grant helped train athletes and support teams primarily in volleyball but also in basketball, baseball, cross country and track and field. His teams garnered 3 provincial titles in baseball and they had 3 runs at provincials in volleyball. The on and off the court individual and team skills that students acquired during their high school careers was a great reward to Grant.

Grant’s ability to present students with his personal accounts of experiences in the real world of business was one of the gifts that he brought to his classroom. Working with supported learning students, Grant prepared them for working in retail as he engaged his students in the “Teen Creations” store that they operated in the mall.  Grant has been a positive influence in the lives of athletes and students during his extended career at Medicine Hat High and will be missed by students and staff alike.

2020 Retiree

Julia Stewart

I started my teaching career later in life.  I worked as an EA with students who had a variety of special needs.  I earned my Diploma in Early Childhood Development and then decided to pursue my teaching degree through the University of Alberta. I completed my degree with a focus on middle years. My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.  I have enjoyed teaching so much.  There is never a dull moment, and as the saying goes “kids say the darndest things!”  One of the most important things I learned from children was that Santa has a lair, and elves do not know how to ride horses or unicorns.

I moved to Medicine Hat 15 years ago and have been very fortunate to work for Medicine Hat School Division since then. I taught the Sr. Learning Assistant Program, Grade 2 and Grade 4 at Southview School, and Grade 1 at Elm Street School.

One of the most rewarding experiences I have had with the division is volunteering/coaching the wrestling program at both Southview and Elm Street School. This wonderful opportunity came through Coach Darren Klein.  I didn’t know I could coach wrestling until he guided me down that particular path. I loved every moment of practice and watching the students grow. These students learned so much more than just wrestling techniques.  They learned about themselves, how to push just a little more to be a little better, about personal discipline, about sportsmanship, and a sense of belonging.  I hope to continue to volunteer with the program at Elm, in some capacity, during retirement.

I am looking forward to spending more time with my own 4 children and their rapidly growing families! All of that will involve travel as none of them live in Medicine Hat.

2020 Retiree

Kathryn Western         

Upon graduating from the University of Saskatchewan in 1988 with a Bachelor of Education degree specializing in Reading and Special Education, I took my first job teaching a combined grade 3/4 classroom in Cadillac, Saskatchewan. The following year, I relocated to Medicine Hat and started my career with the Medicine Hat Public School Division. In my 32 years with MHPSD I have taught at AMS and Crestwood School. I taught the Learning Assistance Program for numerous years and then Reading Resource Room as well as holding the positions of Counselor, Learning Coach and most recently, Classroom Support Teacher.

I look back at my career with gratitude. Gratitude for the connections with students, parents and staff that have enriched my life. Gratitude for a career that allowed me to raise my family and have my girls attend the elementary school where I taught, giving them a wonderful educational experience in their elementary years. Gratitude for health and happiness in my career and the tremendous satisfaction my career has given me. I look back on many wonderful years of friendship, laughter, and fond memories.

I am so appreciative of the amazing colleagues that I now consider friends and look forward to continued connections with them in retirement. I am thankful for the support of my husband. He has been encouraging, supportive, and always willing to help. In those times that were more demanding, he would take over family responsibilities to allow me to focus on work. It truly has been a team effort!

In my retirement I am looking forward to travel, supporting my family, spending time with friends, volunteer work and developing my own schedule with exactly what I choose to do!

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