Daniel Macdonald, Saskatoon

Daniel Macdonald is an award-winning playwright, theatre director and teacher.

A celebrated educator, Daniel was a drama and English teacher in the Regina Catholic School Division for 17 years, where he worked with high school students both in and out of the classroom. His program at LeBoldus High School was known for developing original large-scale plays with as many as 50 student actors. He was also the school’s improv coach, winning the Canadian Improv Games national championship.

With each new play, he would collaborate with students for months, writing and creating a work of theatre for their school’s annual production, and became known for these experimental and innovative works based on issues most important to his students. Plays included Flock Formations, Tragedie, Waking and Blind Love, the latter of which received accolades at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Most recently, Daniel was Artistic Associate at Persephone Theatre. In this capacity, he curated, programmed and directed productions seen by thousands of students across the province. As director of the Persephone Young Company, he created new works of theatre for young adults, including These Things I Know, The Romeo Project and HERE, a musical featuring newcomers from the Saskatoon Open Door Society about youth finding their place in the world.

As a theatre artist, Daniel has used his considerable knowledge and talent to help foster the love of performance and performance creation in Saskatchewan youth. Many of his students are now providing inspiration to the next generation through the arts.

Monique Martin, Saskatoon

Monique Martin has been educating young people and adults for 24 years. Believing that art can create change, her student projects often focus on environmental and social awareness issues. She began the Playland Art Gallery, a children’s art gallery in Saskatoon, in 2015. That year, she also partnered with the Remai Modern to create light post banners inspired by Picasso prints. Her students have created public education projects using city transit bus ads, which she calls “captive audience learning.” These projects have been displayed in Saskatoon, Ottawa, Kingston, and on highway billboards between Toronto and Montreal.

With the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Saskatchewan, Monique’s students created visual learning posters in French, English, Cree and Dene about the history of engineering in the province. Her classes created installation art projects provincially and nationally. Student murals adorn walls at Habitat for Humanity, Ronald McDonald House, Saskatoon Zoo and Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon.

While teaching students, Monique continues her own art practice, exhibiting provincially, nationally and internationally and has served as an artist-in-residence in locations around the world.

She received the Governor General’s Award for Excellence in Teaching Canadian History in 2007, and the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence in 2009. Monique is a two-time winner of a National Teaching Award for combining art into other subject areas. In 2011, she received a Canadian Society for Education through Art Affiliate Award. In 2014, she received the ArtsSmarts award for the best realized art project in Canada. In 2017, she received the Canada 150 Award for her contributions to the arts and education in her community. She leads through example for her students and fellow teachers.


Lynda Oliver, Regina

Lynda Oliver is an arts educator and advocate for the arts in schools. Her interest in the school-community relationship led her to complete a master’s degree in 2000 for a study done with the MacKenzie Art Gallery on the challenges of school-community partnerships and teacher-artist partnerships in schools. She has been a curriculum developer in the arts for the Ministry of Education for 30 years. From the very beginning of her tenure as a curriculum writer, she has built the work of Saskatchewan artists into the required learning for students.

In 2001, Lynda met with the Saskatchewan Arts Board and SaskCulture to formally begin a partnership that would see the development of programs such as ArtsSmarts, Artist in Schools residencies and LIVE Arts. Her role has been to ensure that the programs fit with curriculum objectives and help teachers with their classroom responsibilities. She also ensures support with directors of education and principals. Over the years, she has built relationships with researchers and curriculum developers in the arts, including the Centre for Arts in the Basic Curriculum in Massachusetts, which subsequently recommended that US school districts follow Saskatchewan’s model for their arts education programs. The Atlantic provinces, Ontario, BC, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut have all adopted the framework or sections of Saskatchewan’s arts education curricula.

Lynda’s next challenge in curriculum is the renewal of high school specialized courses, based on the principle that all high school students should have the choice to continue their studies in the arts.




Photo of Daniel Macdonald: Willie Whitten

Photo of Monique Martin: Trint Thomas

Photo of Lynda Oliver: Michelle Arnusch