Rod Osiowy - Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence
Rod was a teacher at Mount Baker Secondary School in Cranbrook. Rod O. saw theatre and the arts as the heart of all education. With that in mind, he set out to reach his students with a careful blend of practical and emotional challenges. He designed projects with science, English, music, hospitality and social studies teachers that integrate and expand learning, including his own, and encourages students to reflect, respond and critique everyone's work.
This work includes student-created public awareness videos on a wide variety of issues (these led to a UNESCO-sponsored media project on youth social justice in Costa Rica) and at least three student-run theatre productions each year. Rod's leadership has almost doubled participation in the school's drama program, with students achieving a 99 percent pass rate. Many of his graduating theatre and video students receive scholarships for post-secondary education.
Former students now have successful careers with major theatre companies, including those at the Stratford Festival and Circle in the Square in New York. Others have found work in the film industry as technicians and actors. Rod O. constantly expands his own, and the school's, students' and other teachers' capabilities by bringing new technologies into the classroom and upgrading his skills whenever possible.
He co-founded an international association for flying effects in theatre, currently serves as president of the provincial drama educators' association, and is part of the provincial drama curriculum-writing team. He also publishes articles in professional journals and maintains the British Columbia drama teachers' website.
Rod Osiowy passed away in 2010.