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Fort McMurray Public School District - Celebrating Milestones & Achievements

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Fort McMurray Public School District (FMSPD) has had much to celebrate already with only a few months into the new school year. Dr. Clark Public School turned 50 on September 27, 2018. A fun-filled birthday theme chosen by students paid homage to our senior-most school’s past, present, and future.

The school is named after Dr. Karl A. Clark, who is dubbed the “father of oil sands chemistry,” for using hot water to separate bitumen from oil sands. A robust program saw congratulatory remarks from MLA Tany Yao, MLA Laila Goodridge, Councillor Krista Balsom, FMPSD Board Chair Linda Mywaart, Superintendent Doug Nicholls and local historian Bert McKay.

McKay brought greetings on behalf of Premier Rachel Notley, who encouraged students and staff to “look back at your achievements...and ahead to your hopes and dreams for the next 50 years.”

Clark’s family’s message called the school “the best in Alberta. Dr. Clark would have been extremely pleased with it. We were proud to have made several visits to the school in the last 50 years.”

Chair Linda Mywaart congratulated everyone on the birthday.

“Dr. Clark is a school that very literally meets the students at the front door and welcomes them here for their education journey. Each student is recognized and acknowledged as a special, important person here. The learning opportunities provide strong academics and a wide range of extracurricular choice and opportunity. We are especially pleased to see the Leader in Me embraced, growing, and gaining momentum here at Dr. Clark.”

Superintendent Doug Nicholls acknowledged the “thousands of students, and hundreds of staff,” who have made Dr. Clark excel over the five decades.

“We have excellent programming at the school. I’d like to point out the first principal of the school was Dave McNeilly, a remarkable leader, whose legacy lives on in our newest school, Dave McNeilly Public, opened last year. We are proud of Dr. Clark’s students, and staff, and thank parents, plus the community for their support,” Superintendent Nicholls said.

Community support was highlighted at our third annual Partners in Education event this fall. We hosted our closest friends at Shell Place where Syncrude Canada received the Board Excellence Award for championing FMPSD’s many initiatives like Robotics, Coding, Indigenous programs, to name a few.

Large Business/Corporation Partner of the Year went to Canadian Tire Corporation for painting a major portion of Beacon Hill Public School last summer. Save-On-Foods Store #6607 received Medium Business Partner of the Year Award for its continued support of Dr. Clark School’s breakfast program. Access Taxi was named Small Business Partner of the Year for driving Ecole McTavish High School’s Indigenous students to volunteer around town free of charge. Norma Shaw was named Promoter of the Year for championing FMPSD on social media.

Speaking of champions, Thania Breitkreuz, our Walter and Gladys Hill Public School teacher won the prestigious Edwin Parr Award for first-year teachers from the Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA). FMPSD won the award for the second year in row.

The annual award is given to six outstanding teachers across the province. Breitkreuz won for Zone 2/3.

“I am extremely honoured to be the recipient of the 2018 Edwin Parr Award. Becoming a teacher was always one of my dreams, but I never dreamed of an achievement of this magnitude this early in my career,” noted Breitkreuz, who teaches grade four, and is a graduate of Westwood Community High School (2011).

Thank you to our students, staff, parents, volunteers and community in making all our celebrations, achievements, and milestones possible. We are Doing What’s Best for Kids together.


For more information on any of our 16 schools, visit: For real time updates: follow us on Twitter: @FMPSD @DougNicholls2 and like us on Facebook: Fort McMurray Public School District. We are also on Instagram @FMPSD.


PHOTOS: Superintendent Doug Nicholls, Trustee Dan Rizutto, Chair Linda Mywaart, Thania Breitkreuz, Vice Chair Angela Adams, Trustees Solange Maher, and Tim O’Hara with Trustee Jonathan Lambert in the back at the ASBA fall general meeting/awards ceremony, Councillor Krista Balsom, MLA Tany Yao, Chair Linda Mywaart, MLA Laila Goodridge, and local historian Bert McKay with Dr. Clark students. Photos supplied


Kiran is a national award-winning communications specialist, freelance journalist, and social media consultant. She loves telling community stories, and is a strong advocate for inclusion, diversity, women’s rights, and multiculturalism. Got story ideas? Contact her via Twitter: @KiranMK0822.