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PECI’s Laurie Spencer receives school board’s highest recognition award

Coach Laurie Spencer speaks with her PECI girls hockey team players in this file photograph

Prince Edward Collegiate Institute secondary teacher Laurie Spencer was one of eight school board employees to receive the school board’s highest recognition this month during an Inspiring Excellence Awards celebration.

The Hastings Prince Edward District School Board awards Inspiring Excellence Awards to employees who make significant contributions to student achievement and well-being through their commitment to, and leadership in, education.

“Inspiring excellence is about consistently offering the very best to those around us,” said Kerry Donnell, Communications and Privacy Manager at the HPEDSB. “In addition to making a difference in daily interactions, individuals inspiring excellence have the unwavering commitment to being the difference.”

Spencer’s nominator, and supporters agree.

Laurie Spencer

“Small in stature, but fierce in spirit, Laurie turns her ferocity into dedication and determination to pursue an improved experience for all of our students,” said Jenny Lyons, Science Instructional Lead at PECI. “She dedicates herself to the young learners in her physical education and math classrooms, to the impressionable and eager athletes of the teams she coaches, and to every single one of our exceptional PECI Panthers. Laurie creates opportunities for all students to strive for excellence in their academics, athletics and personal well-being.”

Lyons attributes Spencer’s hard-work attitude to growing up with a successful and supportive dairy farming family.

“Laurie’s goal of supporting students to achieve success at school – either on the whiteboards in the math classroom or the gym and weight room is worth the hard and important work that Laurie does. This work is noticed, respected and repeated by her
teaching colleagues. Laurie inspires her new and seasoned colleagues to adopt these practices and participate in professional discourse to continue striving toward excellence in all our classrooms.”

Spencer believes sport provides opportunity for personal improvement in more forms than the obvious physical health benefits as student athletes learn about teamwork, perseverance, leadership and communication while having fun.

Spencer is the school’s long-time Athletic Director where she co-ordinates all sports and is also a coach of volleyball, cross country, track and field, as well as hockey – all while serving as a staff advisor for the school’s Athletic Council.

“School can be overwhelming,” notes Lyons, “But when a student has a center, a focus, and a place of
belonging beyond the classroom, they are more likely to succeed at school.”

She explains the Athletic Council members under Spencer’s guidance have successfully organized and led lunch-time intramurals, elementary sports tournaments, student-staff hockey games and profession clinics to support young athletes (including taping/injury prevention, nutrition and mental health).

Grade 9 Panther Juliette Blouin told the school board Spencer coaches groups with the mantra: ‘We work hard before the event so we can enjoy the event’.

“Mrs. Spencer has shown me what I can accomplish, with great support and leadership. She does an amazing job of giving the athletic council the right tools that we need to succeed and achieve our goals.”

Athletic Council Co-Captain and student athlete Rowan Colby agrees.

“Mrs. Spencer is a selfless, hardworking role model for all of PECI. She has helped me become a more effective leader and a more well-rounded individual by providing me with endless, usually unavailable opportunities – such as co-leading the 2023-24 Athletics Council, running basketball tournaments, offering me an executive spot on a basketball organization and introducing me to my now two-year long-running coach.”

“Laurie’s dedication to improving the lives of young people through varied opportunities both in and out of the classroom serves to strengthen both our school community and the greater community,” added Lyons. “Laurie Spencer inspires excellence.”

Inspiring Excellence Award recipient Laurie Spencer, far right, a teacher at Prince Edward Collegiate Institute, was honoured with co-recipients from left: Robert Freymond, Elementary Teacher, York River Public School; Heather Yearwood, Learning Partner, Education Centre; Lise Lindenberg, Secondary Teacher, Eastside Secondary School; Jeff McDougall, Secondary Teacher, Trenton High School; Jeffery Mills, Custodian, North Hastings High School; Jennifer Burbidge, Secondary Teacher, North Hastings High School. Not pictured: Linda Holbrook, Head Secretary, Bird’s Creek Public School.

The eight 2024 Inspiring Excellence Award recipients:
Jennifer Burbidge, Secondary Teacher, North Hastings High School
Robert Freymond, Elementary Teacher, York River Public School
Linda Holbrook, Head Secretary, Bird’s Creek Public School
Lise Lindenberg, Secondary Teacher, Eastside Secondary School
Jeff McDougall, Secondary Teacher, Trenton High School
Jeffery Mills, Custodian, North Hastings High School
Laurie Spencer, Secondary Teacher, Prince Edward Collegiate Institute
Heather Yearwood, Learning Partner, Education Centre

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