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Best Teacher

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Rachel Harris – Timberlea Public School

107 Brett Drive, 780-743-5771

PHOTO: Supplied

Born and raised in Fort McMurray – it’s a phrase heard more, and more, in recent decades as families settle their roots to call our city home. With record-number birthdates to prove it, many children are entering the school system each year.

Through recent decades, educational recruitment throughout Canada was essential to keeping up with Fort McMurray’s school board demands. However, if you look around the community today, some of those children have grown up. And, after spending years learning through the branches of our local education, they’ve found themselves teaching in a classroom of their own.

Meet Rachel Harris. Born and raised in Fort McMurray, Rachel is a fourth-grade teacher at Timberlea Public School, who “goes above her duties with quiet confidence and consideration for the needs of her students, and as a member of a school team,” said Timberlea Public School Principal Waleed Najmeddine.

In 2011, Rachel graduated from Keyano College’s Bachelor of Education Elementary Generalist Degree, a collaboration program with the University of Alberta, and started her first position as a teacher with a class of grade five students.

The following year, she stepped into the fourth-grade classroom and has been there since - aside from two very important breakaways to become a mother to her now four-year-old son and two-year-old daughter. 

“With her students, she is a role model of politeness. She treats every child with respect and is treated likewise by them. Her students look forward to spending time with her because she is gentle and caring to everyone, and is always mindful of each student's unique qualities when making decisions about what is best for them,” Waleed said.

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Dawn Booth is a local journalist and business owner of the communication service, Media Booth. Residing in Fort McMurray since 2007, Booth has been actively working in the Wood Buffalo region as a media and marketing expert. From her arrival to the city, until November 2010, she worked as the Special Features Editor at the Fort McMurray Today. In April 2011, she co-launched snapd Wood Buffalo and managed the publication for three years, until June 2014. In March 2014, she created Media Booth and is currently working with a wide-variety of clients in the business and nonprofit sectors throughout Alberta. Her passion for volunteering in the community has given her two civic awards from the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. She has also received the title for the Fort McMurray Connect's Top 40 Under 40 and is one of Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta's 2014-2015 Women of Inspiration. A happy wife and loving mother to two young boys and a baby girl, Booth can be found easily at