Indigenous Excellence

Sherri Denysuik

March 2012

Sherri Denysuik

  • Home Community:
    Sagkeeng First Nation, Manitoba
  • Cultural Identity: Anishinaabe
  • Current Position:
  • Education/Training: Bachelor of Education,
    Post Baccalaureate
    in Education
  • Roles/Responsibilty:
    My role as an educational leader include setting a tone for a community of learners, promoting creativity and innovation in classrooms, facilitating professional dialogue and creating spaces where teachers and students mutually learn, grow, and discover ways of impacting the world.
“The roadblocks that may come your way will become opportunities to the realization of your goals in life.”

What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
I grew up in the city and went to schools where my younger brother and I were basically the only brown kids in the crowd.  I grew up not knowing much about my background or my culture.  It wasn’t until I was much older that I was able to embrace my culture and appreciate the beauty in it.   The teachings I was exposed to later in life gave me a greater sense of self.  I am thankful for the experiences and the people along the way who helped me in my journey as an Aboriginal person and educator. 

What or who inspired you to really go after the profession you are in now?
My mother Mary Courchene is my hero. It is because of her that I am an educator today. She is a retired educator with over 40 years of experience, and a survivor of the Indian Residential School system. Hers is a story of beautiful resilience and strength. Lessons shared through her experiences continue to inspire me in the work that I do every day. Her passion is Aboriginal Education and she continues to work in the education system as an Aboriginal Elder-in-Residence (currently in two school divisions). I am fortunate to be able to work with her in one of the divisions and it has been a joy to share with her a strong voice and presence from the Aboriginal community.

What critical choices or decisions did you make that helped you get where you are today?
Pursuing a post-secondary education in my adult life provided numerous opportunities to grow and learn which eventually lead me to meet my goals and purpose in the field of education. I believe that it is the combination of being a learner, teacher, researcher, community member and family member that allows me the opportunity to make the strong connections I am able to make with students, parents and colleagues.

Message of encouragement:  
I believe that we all have gifts, and in each of us is the dream to pursue those gifts .The roadblocks that may come your way will become opportunities to the realization of your  goals in life.