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UBC Recognizes Local Educator's Outstanding Contributions to Rural Education

Michael Balahura, Principal of Robson Community School, School District 20, has been awarded the UBC Marlane King and Joseph Ranallo Teaching Award for Outstanding Contributions to Rural Education. In May, 2008, a special teaching award was created by Dean Robert Tierney in the Faculty of Education at UBC to honour the work of Marlane King and Joseph Ranallo who were the Site Coordinators for the West Kootenay Teacher Education Program (WKTEP) from 1990-2008. This year, Michael Balahura was selected to receive the award. Among his significant professional achievements as an educator in rural and small communities, Michael taught the special education course to appreciative WKTEP students for many years. *This came as a big surprise to me,* explained Michael. *I became involved in teaching WKTEP students in the hope that they would become strong educators, prepared and happy to influence children and young adults who live outside the lower mainland. Seeing the success of the students and the growth of the program is a reward in itself. I never expected anything *external*, but I am certainly appreciative of, and humbled by, the recognition.* The award carries the names of Marlane King and Joseph Ranallo so they will continue to be recognized for their many teaching and leadership contributions to the success of WKTEP. It includes two plaques (one for the recipient and one which will be displayed in the faculty of education at UBC). The award will be presented annually to an educator who has made outstanding contributions to rural education including the preparation and/or ongoing development of K-12 teachers. WKTEP focuses on preparing teachers for K - 12 classrooms in rural and small school settings in recognition that rural communities offer exciting educational challenges for teachers. Graduates are found teaching in BC schools, across Canada, and overseas. Others become educational leaders in public schools, alternative schools, or informal education settings such as museums and galleries. For more information on WKTEP, visit www.teach.educ.ubc.ca/bachelor/wktep.