Shauna Hamm

ShaunaHammWhat education have you taken?

I graduated from W. C. Miller Collegiate in Altona, MB in 1992. I completed my Bachelor of Education at the University of Manitoba, with a double major in English and History. I graduated with honours in 1996. I began a Masters in Distance Education in 2001 and graduated in 2006, completing my defense just one month before my third child was born. I am currently completing my Graduate Certificate in Special Education, and plan to continue on with a Masters Degree in Special Education when I have completed this degree. I am interested in pursuing a Ph. D. in the future.

What accomplishments are you proud of?

My family is my greatest accomplishment. I am a proud mom to 3 beautiful children, one of whom has special needs. These three children have been my greatest teachers and my greatest pride. I am also proud of my academic accomplishments, and of the opportunity to apply my learning to my daily work to support learning and inclusion in my school division.

Tell me about yourself/ your background/ your history.

I was born and raised in Altona, Manitoba. I have one sister, who lives in London, Ontario. In the early years of my life, my dad worked on a construction crew that built the #6 highway. During summers, we lived in small communities along this highway. Throughout my childhood, I have good memories of traveling, meeting new people, and exploring new places. These experiences, along with a love of reading, sparked a love of learning that has lasted throughout my life! This love of learning led to my decision to pursue a career in education.

After receiving my Education degree, I taught high school English in Garden Valley School Division for 6 years. During this time, I was involved in developing and implementing on-line courses for high school students (among the first in Canada), that led to my curiosity about best practices in Distance Education, leading to my first post-graduate studies. After the birth of my first child, I taught at an Adult and Alternative Education Centre. I was able to apply my learning to this unique environment, in which students (ages 14 to 84) worked on individualized, self-paced programming. In 2007, I became the Director of the centre. I appreciated the challenge of this work, and the opportunity to provide leadership to a great collaborative team of passionate educators! I also appreciated the opportunity to learn from the experiences of the students at the centre, who had often experienced struggles in traditional schooling environments.

I am currently in my second year as the Student Services Coordinator for Border Land School Division. I love working with school teams across the school division to support the learning of children with special needs in inclusive environments. This leadership role provides me with on-going opportunities for learning and collaboration.

How did you become interested in your field of study?

My learning and experience as the parent of a child with special needs, and as a teacher to students who struggled in a regular school environment, sparked my interest and passion for universal design and inclusive education. I believe that every child has the ability to learn, has strengths to develop, and deserves relevant, engaging educational experiences that will support the development of their strengths and promote a positive quality of life. This passion and experience has resulted in my career becoming increasingly focused on the goal of providing safe and supportive learning environments that promote the learning of all students. As a lifelong learner, I constantly strive to learn more about my practice.

What is your philosophy in life?

I believe that we have a responsibility to collaborate to empower others, particularly those who have been marginalized. We empower others when we truly listen to understand all voices, when we collaborate to build on strengths, and when we embrace learning from others. I believe that we are most effective in supporting the learning of others when we are open to what they have to teach us. We empower others when we value the strengths they have to contribute, and provide opportunities for people to build their strengths. I also strive to act with integrity, and live out my beliefs in my daily life.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

I know that I will continue to learn in the future, and that whatever learning life brings me will lead to more learning! I see myself continuing to work in the field of education in the long-term, and continuing to act as an advocate for the inclusion of diverse students in educational systems.

Nominator’s Comments

Shauna Hamm is presently working on her Graduate Diploma in Special Education in order to obtain her Special Education Certificate. She has to date completed her B.Ed. at U of M and a Master of Distance Education at Athabasca University in 2006. She has done exceptionally well in her graduate work in the Faculty of Education, with her written work of Ph.D. caliber. Currently, Shauna is the Student Services Coordinator for Borderland School Division in southeastern Manitoba.