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 Jamie Pettit
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From: Tuesday, January 9, 2018 10:16 AM -0500
Subject:Bluewater Alumni Profile – Heather Bender
We are pleased to celebrate some of the many examples of staff excellence in Bluewater District School Board with our new alumni profile feature. This week, we highlight some of our former graduates whose career pathways have led them back to Bluewater to serve another generation of local students and families.

Image of Heather Bender
Name:  Heather Bender

Current position:  Secondary Teacher - Grade 10 and 12, John Diefenbaker Senior School

What Bluewater school(s) did you attend as a student?  John Diefenbaker Secondary (now Senior) School

What year did you graduate from Bluewater?  1984

Please provide a brief summary of the career pathways (e.g. post-secondary studies and subsequent employment) you pursued after graduating from Bluewater.

After graduating from JDSS, I attended the University of Toronto where I completed a double honours specialist in English and History.  I went on to attend the Faculty of Education at the University of Toronto where I graduated with a B.Ed.  I was employed by the former Grey County Board of Education in the same year that I graduated from U of T, and have been employed by Bluewater District School Board ever since.

What has been your greatest career achievement thus far?

I was honoured to receive the Loran Scholars Foundation Teachers Building Leaders Award in 2015.  I was nominated for this award by a student who had won the Loran Scholars Foundation award.  It was a great honour.

How has your education in Bluewater prepared you for your career pathway?

When I studied  at John Diefenbaker Secondary School, I was educated by many excellent teachers.  Bruce Iserman, a U of T masters grad himself, was the head of the English department at the time.  We were studying the archetypal approach to literature.  I thoroughly enjoyed the multifaceted, thoroughly academic approach to literary analysis.  This experience contributed to my decision to study at U of T, where I was able to take courses with Northrop Frye who wrote "Anatomy of Criticism".  My history teachers, Dave Ralph and Donna Reay, allowed me to explore topics that were of interest to me, while at the same time, making sure that I was grounded in the basics.  I was privileged to work alongside all of these teachers when I was hired to work at JDSS.

Other comments:

It has been my privilege to work with many students as they embark on realizing their potential.  What I have enjoyed most about being an educator is being a learner alongside my students. Whether it is teaching them new concepts in history class, coaching them to pass resolutions at the Model United Nations held at the U of T, or helping them learn to ski at Blue Mountain, it has been a most rewarding experience to work with teens.