YK1 staff inducted into NWT Education Hall of Fame
Former Yellowknife Education District No. 1 (YK1) Superintendent/CEO Ed Lippert, current Kaw Tay Whee School teacher Neil Penney, and former YK1 teacher Adrien Amirault were recently inducted into the NWT Education Hall of Fame. Their inductions were confirmed by Education, Culture, and Employment (ECE) Minister R.J. Simpson in a celebratory video acknowledging 2021 and 2022 recipients. The awards were cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. YK1 is grateful to Mr. Lippert, Mr. Penney, and Mr. Amirault for their unique contributions to the field of education in the Northwest Territories.
ECE launched the Education Hall of Fame in 2010 to recognize that we all play an important role in supporting the education of our children. It reflects the valuable contributions that people make as educators, Elders, custodians, administrators, volunteers, coaches, students, advocates, sponsors and businesses. The Education Hall of Fame provides lasting recognition and gratitude toward those who have provided exemplary service or made a lasting impression to the field of education in the Northwest Territories.
Ed Lippert exemplifies leadership in education. He has devoted decades to learning, as a teacher, principal, department head, administrator, superintendent, and mentor to many in the NWT. Ed inspired students and teachers alike in Yellowknife and Inuvik for many years. He helped develop the Leadership Academy and Leadership Group for Yellowknife Education District No. 1 (YK1) teachers, as well as the 10-day Educational Leadership Program (ELP) for NWT administrators. Ed prioritized indigenizing education, particularly through Indigenous art. Colleagues have called him legendary and gifted, especially when it came to his famed science classes and experiments, which “made science come alive.” He was known to take learning out of the classroom to explore the outdoors, creating lifelong memories for students through his ecology and scuba clubs. Ed is known for his humour and gentle, selfless, humble ways; leading by example, always praising others and offering a helping hand. Case in point: he delayed his retirement during the pandemic, and helped YK1 navigate unchartered territory. His support of northern educators and the NWT education system will have a lasting impact in the territory.
Neil Penney has made a remarkable impact on students and the community of Dettah for more than a decade. In its nomination letter, the Dettah District Education Authority said they are “blessed” to have such a dedicated teacher at Kaw Tay Whee School. Neil has a passion for teaching, and has introduced innovative ways to broaden students’ knowledge through robotics, technology and projects like MakerSpace. Through this program, he and his students have worked on nationally recognized films – pieces of art that encouraged youth to learn their oral and cultural Dene traditions, taught them lifelong skills, and involved many community members. He weaves Dene Laws into his teaching and embodies these characteristics in all aspects of his life. Neil is dedicated to his school and community, which has made a lasting impact on students, many of whom provided handwritten nomination letters. “Neil Penney impacted my life because he taught me how to film, and helped me speak my Wiliideh language,” wrote one student. Students also spoke of his kindness and humour, and how he makes them feel safe and welcomed. The influence his compassionate, caring and encouraging nature has had on the youth of Dettah makes Neil a deserving inductee to the 2021 NWT Education Hall of Fame.
Adrien Amirault is the 2022 Education Hall of Fame inductee that was selected by Minister R.J. Simpson as the Minister’s Choice. Adrien was an educator and administrator in Nova Scotia and the Northwest Territories for 27 years before taking on several roles with the NWT Teachers’ Association, including executive director. A music teacher by trade, Adrien came to the NWT in 2001, during a two-year leave of absence from Nova Scotia, working at Yellowknife Education District No. 1 (YK1). Safe to say he was hooked. Colleagues say he’s had an “immeasurable” impact on the NWT education system through his various roles. “He has been referred to as ‘The Wizard’ for his ability to address concerns and bring a fair resolution to even the most difficult situations,” reads one nomination. Adrien is highly respected and known for his compassionate, supportive and collaborative approach to problem-solving, always aiming for a ‘win-win.’ He is a worthy inductee in the 2022 Education Hall of Fame and recipient of the Minister’s Choice award.
- Frank Galway, Inuvik – Minister’s Choice recipient
- Pauline Tardiff (Gordon), Aklavik/Fort Smith
- Ed Lippert, Yellowknife
- Neil Penney, Dettah
- Adrien Amirault, Yellowknife – Minister’s Choice recipient
- Deborah Reid, Hay River
- Josée Clermont, Yellowknife
- Eugène Roach, Yellowknife
Click here to see a full list of inductees dating back to 2010.