Archived — Tanya Leary

Year: 2010-2011 – Province: Ontario

Certificate of Achievement Recipient

Waabgon Gamig First Nation School
P.O. Box N13, RR 22
Sutton West, ON L0E 1R0

Principal: Janice McDonald-Zavarce
School Tel.: 705-437-1529
School Fax: 705-437-4024
School Email:

Subjects and grades taught: Language, Math, Science, Social Studies and Arts for Junior Kindergarten to grade 5

Teaching approach

“I can’t teach students anything, I can only teach them how to think.” - Socrates
These are the words that hang on the wall of the one-room schoolhouse that is home to Tanya Leary and her students. Students learn how to hoop dance and often perform at opening ceremonies for conferences and events, but most importantly they learn valuable lessons in collaboration, creativity, leadership and problem solving.

Outstanding Achievements

  • Ms. Leary developed a seamless transition program for students from junior kindergarten to full-day senior kindergarten. Students have experienced an above-average academic start, often reading above grade level by the end of senior kindergarten.
  • Ms. Leary often makes use of laptops for graphic novel / comic strip assignments. Cyber-awareness starts in kindergarten and his students are able to independently use the computers for Internet searches.
  • The local community radio D.J. annually hosts in Ms. Leary’s classroom and records students singing in their native languages.
  • Ms. Leary uses the SMART Board to develop First Nations curricula. She is a curriculum writer for both the Rama Ojemiwaj Tribal Council and the First Nation Student Success Project, funded through Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. In her spare time, she’s also co-authored the Rabbit and Bear Paws Sacred Seven Picture Book Series.

Rave Reviews:

"I have [had] the pleasure of working collaboratively alongside Tanya. (…) Traversing issues in language, culture, tradition, with curriculum development drawing upon the “multiple intelligences” within her community, Tanya services all age groups with tremendous confidence, competence and ease"


"Ms. Leary is a kind and compassionate teacher with a gentle spirit. She teaches her students about mutual respect, kindness and empathy through role modeling these values in her everyday practice."


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