Sandra Tee is a UBC graduate many times over, having completed her Bachelor of Science (Nutritional Sciences) in 1996, her Bachelor of Education (Elementary ELL focus) in 1998, and her Master of Education (LLED) in 2003. Most recently, Sandra completed the Transformative Educational Leadership Program (TELP) with the Faculty of Education at UBC.
After graduating from UBC’s Teacher Education program, Sandra pursued and completed her preschool and elementary Montessori training and was hired to be the pilot teacher for the Montessori program with the New Westminster School District. As a teacher, Sandra was also involved with the BCTF as a Professional and Social Issues (PSI) and a School Unions Representative Training (SURT) facilitator
After many years teaching in New Westminster, Sandra accepted a Vice Principal position with the Delta School District, in 2017. She is currently the Vice Principal of École Devon Gardens Elementary in North Delta, a school that offers both Early French Immersion and Montessori programs. Sandra is an active participant in many District initiatives and is also a Google Certified Educator.
Sandra is driven to be a lifelong learner and believes firmly that we are all learners. She values the importance of listening to others and in developing relationships with all of our educational stakeholders.
What is your most memorable experience from your time in the Faculty of Education?
I have spent many years at UBC as a student and there have been many memorable moments and experiences for sure. Each memorable experience builds upon one another until you feel deeply connected to UBC. The Faculty of Education at UBC has always provided me with what I was looking for each time; whether it be the latest research, connecting with other educators, or learning together.
Looking back, I realize that many of my most memorable experiences were from connecting and developing friendships over food. (UBC did not and is still not lacking in options when it comes to finding something good to eat there!) I remember late night study sessions with friends while sharing a delicious UBC cinnamon bun or a Blue Chip cookie. At the end of one of our LANE course, Dr. Gunderson took our whole class out to The Pit to celebrate and it is that shared connection with friends (and food!) that I remember the most.
Where has your education from the Faculty of Education taken you in your career?
My education from the Faculty of Education has taken me to where I am today. I am currently a vice principal with the Delta School District.
My Bachelor of Education degree was a catalyst for my growth. For my long teaching practicum, I was placed at Tyee Elementary, a Montessori public school in Vancouver. From my experience there, I knew that I wanted to learn more about the Montessori method of education. I completed my Montessori training soon after and became the pilot teacher for the Montessori program with the New Westminster School District.
From there, I have had many opportunities to continue to learn, stretch and grow. All of my experiences have led me to be where I am today as a vice principal with the Delta School District.
Where do issues of inclusion find a place in your life or at work?
Inclusion and equity are foundational elements of the Delta School District’s bold vision and as I have gained more experience (both professionally and personally), I am continuing my own growth and learning around the need to continuously revisit and challenge situations, systems and structures where both explicit and implicit bias persist. Through my learning from TELP (Transformative Educational Leadership Program) with the Faculty of Education at UBC, I am on a journey with my principal Elaine Greenhalgh to examine systems and practices in our educational setting that unknowingly advantage or disadvantage some students. This is particularly important when it comes to historically disadvantaged and underrepresented students. And the learning opportunities are everywhere! Even something as simple as a school spirit day Crazy Hair Day can spark a thought provoking conversation with teachers. While the concept of promoting school spirit through “school wide days” seemed innocent enough; upon closer examination, we realized that this particular spirit day was not inclusive of all students in our school community.
As well, in the last couple of years, our school has focused our professional development learning time on Inclusion and Assessment for Learning in order to ensure that all of our instructional practices provide an entry point for all our learners.
Do you have any words of wisdom for current students? Newly graduated folks?
As I write this, our world is still grappling with the COVID 19 pandemic. Like many of us in BC, I am a great fan of Dr. Bonnie Henry. Borrowing her words, I would tell current students or newly graduated folks to “Be Kind to one another and Be Kind to yourself.” Teaching is a rewarding career and reminds us every day that we are all learners.