Getting to know...

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Anne Thomson

Position: Teacher

Anne has been teaching at PRI for just over two years now.  When she was initially hired in 2007 Pine River had recently become an inspected private school with the Ministry of Education.  Says Anne, “it was exhilarating to be involved in such a young academic program and be a part of its growth.” Anne and her fellow teachers have worked hard to offer Pine River students a broad range of educational opportunities. 

Before Pine River Anne was an Instructor and Trip Lead with Project D.A.R.E/Wendigo Lake Expeditions, leading wilderness trips for young men in custody.  Project DARE is a residential wilderness-therapy program for at-risk youth. The acronym D.A.R.E. stands for Development through Adventure, Responsibility and Education.  She has also been involved in education and outreach work with various social justice and environmental NGOs in Ontario and the Maritimes.

How did Anne know she wanted to work with troubled teens? 

“While living in rural New Brunswick working for a sustainability education centre I spent my evenings volunteering with a youth group for troubled teens.  When my job there was coming to an end I reflected on my career path and questioned what I wanted to pursue next.  I thought to myself ,”I want to do youth group full-time!”

She completed a BEd. in Outdoor Experiential Education at Lakehead University and went to teacher’s college. 

“(I had) no intention of working in a conventional classroom; I knew I wanted to work in an alternative setting…It is very important to me that my work reflect my social values and teaching at Pine River certainly fits the bill!  It truly is a privilege to be a part of such an innovative and meaningful initiative.

The rewarding moments in this line of work are endless.  I have celebrated with students as they earn more credits than they ever dreamed possible.  I have shared the elation of students who finally have a strong sense of what path they want to pursue in life.  I have seen several students put on a cap and gown and accept their high school diploma, and have received letters from former students that are now in College or University.   In addition to these large-scale rewarding moments there are also the day-to-day rewards of seeing students increase their academic confidence, peer-tutor one another or discover a joy of learning.”


When she’s not with the students at Pine River, Anne spends her time hiking, canoe tripping, cross-country skiing, and seeing live music.  She is also active in community initiatives that support issues of food security and social justice.

And coming up at the end of October, Anne will be presenting on Pine River’s academic program and its interconnectedness with the therapeutic process at the Association for Experiential Education’s 37th Annual International Conference in Montreal.   (Conference details at AEE.org)

We are thrilled to have Anne on our team – she is an incredible teacher, mentor, and colleague.  A big thanks for all you do!