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Gordon Billard

Year: 2015 – Territory: Nunavut

Certificate of Excellence Recipient

Gordon Billard

John Arnalukjuak High School
P. O. Box 450
Arviat, Nunavut X0C 0E0

Principal: Judy Connor
School telephone: 867-857-4223
School email:
School website: N/A

Subjects and grades taught: English, Drama, Photography, Audio Visual Production for Grades 9-12

Gordon Billard began his teaching career in Newfoundland, moving to Arviat, Nunavut in 2001. Fourteen years later, he is still there, still producing plays in one of Canada's most fascinating, and inspiring regions. Despite the many challenges that come with teaching in a remote, fly-in school in Northern Canada, he is praised by his colleagues for "achieving miracles" with his students. He helps them find their sense of belonging and their unique voice.

Teaching approach

Overall, holistic. Specifically, based on experiential learning, differentiation of instruction, cultural inclusion, linguistic and language-focused instruction.

Outstanding achievements:

  • Assisted in the creation of a community television station within the school under the auspices of the Arviat Film Society (founding member). Students plan, shoot, edit and upload video, cover local stories for broadcast and provide visiting filmmakers with production assistance;
  • Participated in national competitions such as Skills Canada (TV/Video Production), E-Spirit Aboriginal Business Plan Competition and the National Improv Games.
  • Facilitated the creation of a "Mac lab" with 11 iMacs and video-editing software despite geographical challenges such as low bandwidth and high shipping and freight charges;
  • Encouraged and facilitated the translation of scripts and materials from English to Inuktitut to provide greater access to information and to make theatre productions more accessible to more unilingual members of the community;
  • Directed and produced new plays responding to current social issues in the school and community. The plays received a public commendation on the floor of the Nunavut legislature by the presiding premier, Eva Aariak;
  • His students recently created 5 anti-bullying videos and 4 award-winning videos for NU Education Week.

Rave reviews

Not many teachers, especially in the North, see their students succeed like Mr. Billard has and still support them in their lives. It was clear when he moved to Arviat that he loved the community and its culture and people.

Former student

Through the local Film Society, the students have met people from around the world via video conferencing and through visits to the community. He helps foster imagination and creativity in students, helping them find their way in this modern era.

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