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Jackson among Toronto's All-Star Teachers finalists

Alberta science teacher has spent 23 years in education, teaching numerous subjects

With 23 years of experience in education, Brian Jackson has taught many subjects, from physical education to history to science. Jackson currently teaches at the Ralph McCall School in Airdrie, Alberta. Before Ralph McCall School, Jackson spent 14 years at a small-town school where he effectively displayed his diverse skillset; he spent time as a classroom teacher, acting assistant principal, and served as a community-of-practice lead teacher for the school district.

Jackson loves to share his passion for science with "anyone who will listen," even going so far as to connect his students to astronauts on the International Space Station. To further his passion for space science, Jackson co-founded a local space science club for kids who launch model rockets and balloons that fly to 100,000 feet. It's not only science that Jackson exposes his students to. Jackson tries to make learning "real" for his students by bringing in guest speakers of all occupations.

Jackson has been publically recognized for his efforts many times, twice receiving the Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence, being awarded the space educator of the year award from Space Center Houston, being given a $10,000 innovative technology grant, and winning the "Right Stuff" award from the United States Space & Rocket Center. In addition, Jackson became the first non-American teacher to be awarded the American Institute of Aeronautics and Aerospace (AIAA) Educator of the Year.

Outside of school, Jackson is married with five children. He spends his personal time watching Blue Jays baseball and Calgary Stampeders football. He is an amateur radio operator, as well, and co-founded a local space science club for kids. In his 23 years in education, his greatest moments in teaching have been his chances to teach his two children. Jackson loves what he does and feels blessed to be able to work with kids.

Jackson is very much looking forward to travelling to Toronto on June 25 to be honored as a finalist by the Toronto Blue Jays. When Jackson learned of his nomination as a finalist, he said, "I love what I do. I am blessed to work with kids and colleagues and parents."

The Blue Jays are also looking forward to hosting Jackson and acknowledging the hard work and dedication he has put into teaching over the years.

To vote for Jackson, or for any other Blue Jays finalists, cast your vote before the June 29 deadline. The candidate with the most votes for his or her respective team will have a chance to attend and be recognized at the 2014 All-Star Game at Target Field in Minnesota, and one will be featured in PEOPLE.

Jesse Cynamon is a contributor to
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