Rae-Lynn Billingsley, first-year teacher and Edwin Parr Teacher Award nominee, A. L. Horton Elementary

Rae-Lynn Billingsley, first-year teacher and Edwin Parr Teacher Award nominee, A. L. Horton Elementary

Sherwood Park, AB. — First-year teachers are no strangers to hard work—they practice, train and put their skills to the test, similar to great athletes. They also overcome everyday obstacles like lesson planning and classroom management to ensure students are motivated to succeed and encouraged to pursue their passions. High-flyer Rae-Lynn Billingsley is a shining example of a first-year teacher with impressive achievements both inside and outside of the classroom.

Billingsley, who teaches Grade 4 at A.L. Horton Elementary and is an RBC Training Ground competitor, has been selected as Elk Island Public Schools’ (EIPS) nominee for this year’s Edwin Parr Teacher Award. The award is given by the Alberta School Boards Association to recognize excellence among first-year teachers. Billingsley’s nomination highlighted her outstanding commitment to education, dedication to capacity building and innate ability to encourage a love of learning in students.

“I found so many role models in the teachers I had from elementary to secondary school,” says Billingsley. “They always believed in me—which helped me accomplish many goals in my life. Now, I want to be the one to build that same confidence in the students I teach.” Billingsley always had support throughout her academic and athletic journey and was inspired to pass on the torch to a new generation of learners.

“Sports have been a big part of my life,” says Billingsley. “I’ve had some amazing experiences. I want to teach students the qualities that athletics taught me, such as perseverance, dedication and a strong work ethic. It’s about helping them find a desire to succeed in themselves, so they can develop a want to be the best they can be independent from other people’s expectations.” Billingsley believes in making education exciting for students, gamifying her lessons to promote play-based and hands-on learning. Seeing her striving learners continue to grow and improve over the course of a school year is especially rewarding.

“I grew up in Vegreville so it’s a full circle moment working here,” says Billingsley. “My colleagues at A.L. Horton are incredibly supportive—whether I’m dealing with a minor or major struggle, they’re always there to give guidance. They teach me to cherish the good moments because those make it all worth it.” She also finds a mentor in her sister—a teacher who was nominated for the Edwin Parr Teacher Award five years ago. Billingsley appreciates having people to depend on as this allows her to focus on what’s most important—the unique needs of each student in her Grade 4 class.

“Rae-Lynn experiments with different ways of engaging diverse learners and is highly reflective about what's working for students,” says Keri Busenius, the principal at A.L. Horton Elementary. “She teaches leadership and models it in our school and community. This winter, Rae-Lynn coordinated skating trips for all classes, organized afterschool yoga for staff and supervised intramural sports at lunch time to keep students active. After school you can find her coaching the U15 girls' hockey team in town. She's also very humble about being an RBC Training Ground competitor for the Olympics, but we think she's an inspiration for all of us. Our school is a better place because she's here.”

Congratulations to Rae-Lynn Billingsley on her nomination as EIPS’ Edwin Parr Award nominee and thank you to all first-year teachers within EIPS for their dedication and contributions throughout the past year.


Elk Island Public Schools is one of Alberta’s largest school divisions, serving approximately 17,460 students in 43 schools. We are proud to be an integral part of our communities, including Sherwood Park, Fort Saskatchewan, Vegreville, Strathcona and Lamont counties, and the western portion of the County of Minburn.


Alberta School Boards Association Awards



For more information contact:
Laura McNabb, Director, Communication Services, EIPS 780-417-8204 cell 780-405-4902