Willie Rex of Arctic Bay, Nunavut was one of three northern instructors who was named an Outstanding Adult Educator at the first ever Northern Adult Basic Education Symposium in Whitehorse last month.

"I was surprised because I didn't know I had won it and I was proud that I received it," he told the CBC.

For the last seven years, Willie has been working as an adult educator with Nunavut Arctic College's community learning centre in Arctic Bay.

He was honoured for his passion and dedication to teaching and the community, and for his work building partnerships with Inuit Heritage Trust, Nunavut Youth Consulting and Carleton University.

Willie says one of the projects he's most proud of is the Arctic Bay atlas.

That's a website with traditional place names and information about the surrounding area.

Two other outstanding adult educators were named last month, including Patty Moore, an instructor/coordinator at Yukon College’s Haines Junction community campus. 

Moore has been instrumental in developing two programs at the campus: Cultural and Heritage Interpretation and Home Support Worker.

Bryan O’Hagan was recognized for his work as a Developmental Studies instructor at Aurora College’s Thebacha Campus in Fort Smith, N.W.T.

He’s been teaching upper level adult literacy and basic education at the campus for more than 15 years.

The awards were handed out at the first ever Northern Adult Basic Education Symposium, which was held April 29 to May 1, 2014 at Yukon College.

The award is sponsored by the Canadian Association for Studies in Adult Education.