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2020 Recipients – Teaching Excellence

Certificate of Excellence

Alberta

Maureen Kelly-Gibson

Maureen Kelly-Gibson

Students with learning disabilities who are struggling to learn in the regular public system—and are often two or three grade levels behind—thrive as a result of this veteran teacher's care and commitment. She put the relationships she builds with her students and colleagues at the centre of everything she does.

British Columbia

Debbie Mar

Debbie Mar

A gift of 75 tulip bulbs led children to an in-depth study of Canada's Second World War link to Holland. Hands-on projects bring other aspects of real-world learning into the classroom, including studying the life cycle and the scientific method by raising salmon in the classroom—all to change young lives and teach them that they can make a difference.

Manitoba

Robert Esposito

Robert Esposito

With more than 15 years of experience in the information technology sector, this pioneer has been instrumental in developing the Sisler Cyber Academy, which is educating the next generation of Canada's cyber defenders. Students thrive in a learning environment that promotes cross-curricular connections, competitions to test their skills, and opportunities to lead and help others. Graduates often move into the cyber security field right after graduation.

New Brunswick

Stacey Stairs

Stacey Stairs

Through practical, relevant approaches to learning and evaluation, this optimistic and resourceful teacher seeks to maximize each individual's strengths and to support them in areas in which they need to improve. Students run a childcare centre, cook meals for the school and community, while integrating literacy and numeracy skills. Large grants support technology and extensive school breakfast and lunch programs.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Ashleigh Hudson

Ashleigh Hudson

This French-immersion teacher not only thinks outside the box, but also figures out how to make the box, why making the box is important and what else the box could be used for. This translates into multi-modal learning. Students created a scale model of a community of the future using coding, robots and 3D printing, learning about healthy eating, safety, community structure, and math concepts such as perimeter and area, too.

Northwest Territories

Kim Ivanko

Kim Ivanko

She is a grades 3 through 12 English teacher and a leader among her students and at her school. Her profound understanding of her students, her ability to listen and her constant search for new teaching methods make her an essential member of her environment. Involved in both educational projects and extra-curricular activities, she proceeds with generosity, energy and caring at the École Boréale.

Ontario

Richard Bernard

Richard Bernard

Character development, ethical decision making and global citizenship are as important to this committed educator as academic learning. Students connect deeply with the natural world and each other through photography. Classes research Louis Riel prior to reacting his trial, but without knowing the outcome. Grade 8s handle the day-to-day management of the school's breakfast and snack program.

Imran Mohamed

Imran Mohamed

Former students keep in touch with this role model and mentor, who provides all students with access to appropriate technology and engages them with hands-on solution-focused projects. Business students analyze, evaluate, interpret and synthesize industry information and then design inclusive business models. Through his Change Impacting Toronto's Youth program, students have raised more than $120,000 to address issues such as access to clean water, food insecurity and homelessness.

Neeru Sekhon

Neeru Sekhon

This beloved teacher, who was nominated by students for a Prime Minister's Award, nurtures students to be critical thinkers, exercise self-awareness and be attuned to peers' needs. Students created a stock photography platform of images of themselves and their many backgrounds and abilities. Other students, uncomfortable with the mispronunciation of their names, created an audio dictionary app with the names (and preferred pronouns) of all members of the school community.

Quebec

François-Henri Lafarge

François-Henri Lafarge

This teacher is passionate about the ICTs that are an everyday part of his teaching. Thanks to his innovative teaching methods and the many technological tools he uses, he enables his students to vary their learning methods, develop autonomy and achieve success every day on their own. A dedicated teacher, he makes sure to creates an environment that fosters success by considering the strengths and interests of each student.

Certificate of Achievement

Alberta

Michelle Haveroen

Michelle Haveroen

This inspiring educator champions her students who struggle with behavioural, attendance or learning challenges, and makes it possible for them to get a fresh start and to see a bright future for themselves. Focused on outcomes, she builds strong relationships, ensures students can access career opportunities and focuses on outcomes.

Stephanie Krammer

Stephanie Krammer

Whether she is helping a Mennonite student in rural Alberta to finish high school, a student with asthma to succeed in physical education, online psychology students to analyze Indigenous issues, or teachers in brick-and-mortar schools to embrace online learning, this educator in an online high school uses technology to build bridges.

British Columbia

Ryan Parker

Ryan Parker

With infectious enthusiasm, this active teacher models how to balance the arts, academics and sports. In his extensive filmmaking program, students gain the skills and connections—to people and jobs—to succeed (sometimes even before graduation) in Vancouver's thriving film industry. The school's drama program has expanded in popularity during his tenure, with two new teachers needed.

Dianna Rai

Dianna Rai

Sign language, movement and simple pictures—a total physical response—engage students eyes, hands and bodies as they develop oral fluency the Nisga'a language, which is nearing extinction. After-school programs, summer camps and free evening classes for high school students extend language learning beyond the class. Elders are moved to tears to hear young people speaking their language.

Robyn Robinson

Robyn Robinson

A strong believer in the importance of team spirit, this lifelong athlete has energetically nurtured a cohesive learning community at her school. She recognizes and adapts her approach so all students can succeed, supports parents so they can support their children and creates a supportive classroom atmosphere so students with learning challenges feel safe and are willing to take risks.

Carmen Woo

Carmen Woo

Students use their strengths to support others while pushing themselves out of their own comfort zones. They learn about democracy, digital literacy and Indigenous cultures in an inclusive environment. Through this teacher's French/English tutoring program, high schoolers tutor her students who, in turn, help their peers. The program also builds inter-school community.

Manitoba

Jennifer Wiebe

Jennifer Wiebe

This empathetic teacher works to engage her students—and colleagues—in local and global issues. She uses her English language arts curriculum as a springboard to explore issues of equity and fairness in society. In her required truth and reconciliation course, Grade 7s research Indigenous topics and Grade 8s complete community projects focused on the 94 Calls to Action.

New Brunswick

David Gopee Mark Noel

David Gopee, Mark Noel and Tyson Theriault

Inspired by a professional development conference, these veteran teachers completely rebuilt their classes, combined them into a student-centered humanities program just two days before the start of a new semester. Students pursue their interests, working together on projects related to global issues, and showcase products they have made and discuss local issues with members of the public.

Northwest Territories

Carolyn Matthews

Carolyn Matthews

A champion of Indigenous and French-Canadian cultures and languages, this globetrotter leads world issues discussions and social responsibility activities at her school. Students learn how to solve problems effectively, working on real-world scenarios, and engage with gaming and design challenges and other creative activities that integrate modern skills education and Indigenous traditions.

Nova Scotia

Kelly Slade

Kelly Slade

Music is a great connector for this East Coast teacher. Students focus on patterns, symbols, counting and representing, which are common to both music and math. Indigenous Elders taught students how to build a Mi'kmaq drum. Junior band members practise collaborating by forming ensembles, and critique and compliment each other on their performances.

Ontario

Tyler Boyle

Tyler Boyle

This artist and dancer immerses students in the curriculum through the arts: costumes and props engage them in history units on Egypt and New France; movie trailers build interest in math; dance parties help students learn literacy and math concepts such as fractions and angles. Through his leadership and stewardship program, students volunteer at an animal shelter, collect litter and donate money to a hospital.

Greg Chomut

Greg Chomut

This compassionate educator builds multiple bridges between his Indigenous students and the wider community, and helps those students find their voices. Their artworks were the backdrop for journalist and author Tanya Talaga's Massey Lectures. Some students become so proficient with digital tools that they earn a college credit for their work. Others perform alongside Indigenous and non-Indigenous musical acts at a large music festival their teacher founded.

James Cook

James Cook

In the equity and social justice course this inspiring teacher created, students research topics that engage them, such as climate change, pay equity, mental health and electoral reform. In weekly community-building circles, students discuss nuanced social issues, complex curriculum concepts, short stories, and values, all helping them develop empathy, communication skills and collaboration techniques. The school's Model United Nations team has won multiple awards.

Stacey Falconer

Stacey Falconer

Through her TechDudes program, this special education teach helps children with learning disabilities develop advanced executive functioning and use technology. Students can choose from more than 40 tools to make notes, access tips, share information and collaborate. They then share their successes by presenting at teachers' conferences and narrating videos about their breakthroughs. Many students reintegrate into regular classrooms or go on to post-secondary education.

Mark Gaynik

Mark Gaynik

This environmental and civics educator revamped his school's outdoor education leadership class. The full-day, full-semester, interdisciplinary program now features multiple field trips and immerses students in real-world issues. Students push their physical, mental and intellectual limits, while designing sustainable "future homes," developing an app to help a conservation centre track invasive insects and researching waste-reduction measures for a paper company.

Rachel Luke

Rachel Luke

This teacher's global experiences and connections help her help students engage with the world beyond the classroom. Students explore Shakespeare through their own poetry and modern slang, and learn about the Holocaust through virtual reality and meetings with local survivor and education groups. At-risk students benefit from clubs, guidance on financial literacy and being able to earn community service hours with the school basketball team.

Deidre Macpherson

Deidre Macpherson

This active educator's holistic sports program—which she built from scratch—focuses on learning, inclusion, mutual respect, self-improvement and enjoyment. Students learn to take risks, try new activities, develop lifelong fitness habits and study accessibility, gender diversity and equal pay. Students lead middle school teams and organize field trips. Teams succeed on the field and participation is wide, due to a policy of no try-outs, no cuts and no captains.

Jessica Neilson Jennifer Schaefer

Jessica Neilson and Jennifer Schaefer

This teaching team builds confident, digitally literate global citizens. Their students Skype with children in Yellowknife, ship a teapot to Singapore, visit seniors, fundraise for charity and collaborate with a university. Using design thinking, software and 3D printers, they designed and built prototypes for a dental mouth guard that a woman with arthritis could still use and an improved school portable.

Ginette Perreault

Ginette Perreault

Although she is near retirement, this teacher willingly took on a new challenge by changing schools and learning about the STEAM approach – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics. In the kindergarten setting, she works with her very young pupils to equip them to deal with the demands awaiting them in their schooling. The children that go through her class develop their creativity, curiosity, technology skills and sensitivity to the major issues of our time. 

Jennifer Warren

Jennifer Warren

Believing everyone is capable of thinking deeply and creatively, this English teacher treats each class like a think tank, giving students the chance to collaborate to solve-real world problems and learn to be flexible thinkers who are willing to learn from others. At a year-long leadership camp, students plan and implement "pay it forward" activities to gain leadership experience.

Quebec

Maxime Boudreault

Maxime Boudreault

This teacher stresses the importance of forming bonds with his students in order ensure that everyone participates. The innovative activities that he puts in place provide each student the opportunity to go further and aspire to success. With discipline and humour, his teaching increases their confidence so that they are ready to go on to secondary school without difficulty.

Angela Morra

Angela Morra

By choosing to teach students presenting with learning problems or disabilities, this teacher has made it her challenge to offer each student the opportunity to succeed. Passionate about her work, she endlessly develops new tools that will enable her students to become more independent in acquiring knowledge and skills throughout their education. Involved in both the classroom and the community, she is a model of dedication and enthusiasm.

Jean-Philippe Payer

Jean-Philippe Payer

Through his innovative projects, particularly his Class-Museum, this teacher motivates both his students and the entire educational community of his school, Francophonie and even the world. His participatory teaching approach enables him to bring together as many as possible around the activities that he proposes and to expand the learning spectrum of his students in the fields of history, technology and citizenship.

Saskatchewan

Kalyn Heisler

Kalyn Heisler

Commuting 60 km each way from her home to her First Nations school for the last decade, this dedicated teacher is generous with her time and attention, and unfazed by a lack of budget, equipment and other resources. Students flock to her classes, so they can work with live animals and learn math and science concepts using chocolate bars and cookies. Her automotive technology course gives students practical, workplace skills.

Christa Walton

Christa Walton

Connecting STEM to literacy and creating a scope and sequence for technology in each grade, this leader helps students and fellow teachers harness new learning and teaching approaches to foster deeper learning for all. Multifaceted student projects focus on everything from carbon-capture technologies, learning and sharing seniors' life stories, and developing and pitching business ideas.

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