Comox Valley music teacher receives medal for academic achievement

June 6, 2012 - 8:45am

Wendy Nixon Stothert, a Comox Valley music teacher and highly respected conductor of community choral groups, received a Governor General’s Gold Medal for achieving a perfect grade point average in a Masters program.

Nixon Stothert graduated this week from Vancouver Island University’s Master of Education in Educational Leadership program. She has taught music in the Comox Valley since 1997 at middle and high schools. She begins teaching at Aspen Park Elementary in September.

She took time off from teaching to complete VIU’s two-year Masters program in Nanaimo because she felt it was time to develop new skills and learn more about innovative teaching practices.

“I’m thrilled with the program,” she said. “What I learned has spilled over into every area of my life. The Masters program is designed to help students develop leadership skills and knowing yourself really well is the main premise of good leadership.

“I came out knowing how to deepen relationships with every person in my life including my husband, children, friends, colleagues and adults in the Just in Time Vocal Jazz Choirs which I conduct.”

Nixon Stothert’s Masters thesis was entitled “Music Performance Anxiety in Choral Singers.”

“Within the context of the program, we were able to pursue our own interest areas for a research project,” she said. “We could take whatever it was we were interested in and focus on a leadership aspect. Performance anxiety comes up all the time for myself and my singers. So the new knowledge I’ve gained applied to my teaching and personally as well.”

Harry Janzen, Dean of Education at VIU said, “Wendy has been an outstanding Masters student in our program. She achieved a perfect grade point average of 4.33 and was a thoughtful and insightful contributor to seminar discussions.”

Professor Judy Halbert said, “Wendy distinguished herself in our class through her thoughtful reflections on course readings and her ability to adapt and apply new ideas to a variety of contexts. She was generous in her support of her classmates and in the midst of finishing her Masters project volunteered to do demonstration lessons and to lead a massed choir for the Alberni school district. The results of her contribution were nothing short of outstanding.”

For more than 130 years, the Governor General’s Academic Medals have recognized the outstanding scholastic achievements in Canadian high schools, colleges, and universities. Medals are presented on behalf of the Governor General, along with personalized certificates signed by the Governor General. They are the most prestigious award that students in Canadian schools can receive.

For more information about VIU’s two-year Master in Education in Educational Leadership program, go to

Tags: In the Community

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