“I am not a teacher, but an awakener.” — poet Robert Frost
Yvonne Machuk is not a teacher, but an awakener. Spending almost 40 years educating students as either a teacher, vice principal, principal or senior district administrator, Yvonne has helped to awaken the minds of thousands of young learners who have come through her classroom. Her Bow Valley teaching career began at Banff Community High School in 1977 as a French teacher. She became the vice principal in 1980 and then the principal 10 years later. In 1998, she transferred to Lawrence Grassi Middle School in Canmore where she worked as Assistant Principal until 2005, moving to central office as Director of Professional Learning, a position she held until her retirement in 2011 that afforded her the opportunity to work with teachers.
“Yvonne’s years as an educator saw her commitment to our children and young adults of the Bow Valley flourish as a mentor, a steady and guiding light, and a voice for all with regards to fairness, respect, and appreciation,” friend Nancy DaDalt says.
And appreciate they do, as Yvonne explains that one of the biggest rewards of her teaching career is when students get in touch with her as adults to let her know what they are doing and to thank her for encouragement and moral support.
During her career, Yvonne also volunteered with the Soroptimist International of Banff National Park and Canmore for more than 30 years, aligning the values of the organization with the needs of the community. Yvonne has also served on many boards, supporting the governance of local organizations such as the Bow Corridor Continuing Education Council, Society Against Family Violence, Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, Banff Mineral Springs Hospital, Banff Sports Hall of Fame, and the Banff Canmore Community Foundation.
“Yvonne is passionate about her community,” DaDalt says. “What stands out for me the most with Yvonne is how she operates from the heart and is generous with her time and experience.”
Since retirement, Yvonne has recommitted to her personal goals and will convocate in November, receiving her EdD (Doctor of Education) from the University of Calgary in Educational Leadership. When she isn’t studying or writing, she also enjoys travelling with her husband Doug.
“A lot of people in Banff work in quiet ways for this community,” Yvonne says, modestly preferring to look at others who share, help, inspire, nurture, or enrich on a daily basis. “Sometimes people don’t know how much they affect others and they would be surprised to know they are someone’s role model — it’s a Banff thing.”