McGuinty Government Recognizes Recipients Of First Premier's Awards For Teaching Excellence

    Outstanding Teachers, Principals and Education Support Workers To
    Receive Awards

    QUEEN'S PARK, April 20 /CNW/ - Fifteen teachers, principals and education
support staff have been named as the recipients of the first Premier's Awards
for Teaching Excellence, Education Minister Kathleen Wynne announced today.
    "I want to congratulate these outstanding educators. Their dedication,
creativity and commitment have a real impact on their students, schools and
communities," said Wynne. "These award recipients are role models who truly
deserve to be recognized for the contributions they make in our publicly
funded schools."
    The 15 awards recipients from across the province will receive awards in
10 different categories, including outstanding new teacher, excellence in
special needs and contribution to school leadership.
    "Each of these educators has been a tremendous influence for good in the
lives of our kids, day in and day out," said Premier Dalton McGuinty. "I am
pleased to have this opportunity to thank them - for helping their students
build opportunity, develop their own potential and discover an enthusiasm for
learning that will last a lifetime."
    The awards honour exceptional teachers, principals, vice-principals and
education support staff. Response in the first year was great - a testament to
Ontario's many fine educators, and a measure of the respect Ontarians have for
the people who teach and support Ontario's students. Award recipients will be
recognized at a special event celebrating their achievements on May 2, 2007.
    A selection panel reviewed and assessed the nominations to select the
award recipients. The panel was chaired by Seamus O'Regan, co-host of CTV's
Canada AM, and included a teacher, principal, student and parent.
    "I would also like to congratulate the more than 1,000 educators from
across Ontario who were nominated for these awards," said Wynne. "The
principals, teachers and support staff in our publicly funded education system
deserve our recognition and respect for the important work that they do to
help Ontario's students reach their full potential."
    The McGuinty government has also demonstrated its respect and support for
educators by providing funding for more teachers and more professional
development, and by ushering in an era of peace and stability with four-year
collective agreements.

    Disponible en français


    Document d'information



    The Premier's Awards for Teaching Excellence honour exceptional teachers,
principals, vice-principals and education support staff across the province.
In this first year of the award, 14 educators in Ontario have been recognized
for their outstanding contributions in 10 categories. In addition, a custodian
from North Bay will receive a special recognition award for his exceptional
efforts to support student learning in his school community.


    Outstanding New Teacher - Celina Cada-Matasawagon, Teacher, Urban
    Aboriginal Alternative School, Ottawa (Ottawa Carleton District School

    Celina Cada-Matasawagon increases opportunities for her Aboriginal
students to build their self-esteem and pride in their heritage. She has
organized several trips and helped find classrooms for students evacuated from
Kasheshewan. In addition, she has developed courses that incorporate
culturally relevant material, such as outdoor education credits that include
dog sledding and winter camping.

    Outstanding New Teacher - Carla D'Elia, Teacher, Cardinal Newman Catholic
    Secondary School, Stoney Creek (Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District
    School Board)

    Carla D'Elia has brought social justice issues to life for her students.
Under her leadership, her school raised $10,000 for the Dominican Republic
Educational and Medical Supplies project and took a group of students to the
Dominican Republic to help build a home. She has supported numerous clubs and
teams, and organized a volunteer convention to connect students to community
organizations. She also developed a health care program and turned a classroom
into a medical teaching environment.

    Parent and Community Involvement - Jerry Powidajko, Principal,
    Lincoln M. Alexander Secondary School, Malton (Peel District School

    Students at Principal Jerry Powidajko's school represent over 20
linguistic groups. He has created new opportunities to engage parents and the
community in student learning and embraced the school's cultural diversity to
reach struggling students. His efforts include hosting a cross-cultural
celebration and reaching out to faith organizations in the community. Under
his leadership, literacy scores have improved significantly and suspension
rates have declined dramatically.

    Excellence in Literacy - Ruby Charron, Teacher, Monsignor Uyen Catholic
    School, Chatham (St. Clair Catholic District School Board)

    Primary teacher Ruby Charron's lessons are outstanding in challenging all
of her students to reach their full potential, including gifted students and
those with special needs. She draws upon a rich variety of methods, many of
which she has designed herself, to reach her students and engage parents in
building student literacy. She is a valuable mentor for other teachers across
her school board, eagerly sharing her expertise and model lesson plans.

    Excellence in Numeracy - Gretel Reid-Willis, Teacher, North Kipling
    Junior Middle School, Toronto (Toronto District School Board)

    Gretel Reid-Willis uses a creative and hands-on approach to inspire a
love of math. In a math centre that she developed, students visit stations to
work through problems related to music, language, space and other subjects.
Her students baked a cake to learn procedural writing, 3-D geometry and
calculating volumes. Her motto is "math is everywhere" and she uses journal
writing, dancing, and "math walks" to integrate math with other subjects.

    Excellence in Teaching Support - Mary Nunes, Educational Assistant,
    Montrose Public School, Toronto (Toronto District School Board)

    An Educational Assistant for over 23 years, Mary Nunes is known for her
gentle manner with special needs students. She is dedicated to student
learning and has developed numerous programs, including a snack and breakfast
program through Toronto Public Health, an after-school homework club and a
curriculum night BBQ. She also provides childcare during parent council
meetings and runs the recycling program with the help of the school's special
needs students.

    School-to-Work Transition - Jerrold Karch, Teacher, Lincoln M. Alexander
    Secondary School, Malton (Peel District School Board)

    Jerrold Karch is exceptional at finding successful co-op placements for
his students. He makes real connections with students to understand where
their talents and interests lie and builds relationships with employers to
expand students' placement options. Karch has a talent for placing students
who have not been successful in mainstream education, and a knack for helping
students uncover their hidden strengths. His talents will soon benefit
students across his board in his new role as the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship

    Excellence in Special Needs - Peggy Morris, Teacher, Broadview Public
    School, Ottawa (Ottawa Carleton District School Board)

    Peggy Morris uses her love of teaching and the arts to help students
accomplish things beyond their own expectations. She recognizes abilities,
uncovers hidden talents and is dedicated to helping students with special
needs excel. Morris worked with students to liven up the walls of the school
with murals, and to write and perform puppet shows for young children. She
also began a successful lunchtime program for at-risk students.

    Excellence in Special Needs - Dale Zimmerman, Educational Assistant,
    Sunny View Public School, Toronto (Toronto District School Board)

    Known as the "Toy Doctor," Educational Assistant Dale Zimmerman designs
and adapts items that help students with special needs develop independence,
and access games and the curriculum. She works in a learning community for
exceptional students with physical and cognitive difficulties, where she
chooses to see what every child can do and refuses to think anything is

    Enterprise in Teaching - Kathy Elmer, Teacher, Florence Meares Public
    School, Burlington (Halton District School Board)

    Real-life and hands-on business projects keep Kathy Elmer's Grade 7 and 8
students engaged and excited. Students write business plans, make
presentations to local businesses and organizations for support, as well as
develop and sell the finished product. Recent projects include selling wrist
bracelets to raise funds for the Red Cross. Her students also wrote,
published, and marketed their own book, Behind Imagination: Stories from Mrs.
Elmer's Grade Eight Class.

    Contribution to School Leadership - Dr. Dina Dalia, Principal,
    St. John's College, Brantford (Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic District
    School Board)

    St. John's College students have the chance to help their community - and
communities around the world - thanks to humanitarian projects initiated by
Principal Dr. Dina Dalia. Her advocacy has given students more courses like
horticulture and cosmetology to choose from. She has championed exercises to
develop a common vision and improve the culture of schools in her board. She
supports and encourages staff and student development by providing programs
and services which foster a passion for lifelong learning.

    Teacher of the Year - Amare Demesie, Teacher, Westview Centennial
    Secondary School, North York (Toronto District School Board)

    Amare Demesie came to Canada as a refugee from Ethiopia and has since
become an accomplished physicist. He could be working at a university, but his
passion for teaching keeps him in a high school classroom where he has had
tremendous impact on his students. He works with university colleagues to
enrich his lessons, and since he arrived more students have been accepted to
university science programs and have excelled in a national physics

    Teacher of the Year - Kelly Stapleton-Korber, Teacher, St. Nicholas
    Elementary School, Barrie (Simcoe Muskoka Catholic School Board)

    Kelly Stapleton-Korber excels in building partnerships with parents. At
the beginning of each school year, she sends home welcome packages for
students and parents, and later on a DVD that shares her students engaged in
classroom routines. She organizes an annual "Art-O-Rama" with her division
where students create art projects with parents and guests. She also hosts
school literacy nights and book fairs, and is actively involved in the
creation of a literacy room in her school.

    Lifetime Achievement Award - Denis Sauvé, Teacher, Ecole Secondaire
    Catholique Le Relais, Alexandria (Conseil Scolaire de district catholique
    de l'Est ontarien)

    Denis Sauvé has been an outstanding teacher and mentor for 31 years, and
is a passionate leader in his francophone community. He is known for his
breadth of knowledge, contagious love of learning and his challenging lessons.
Sauvé has supported many student clubs and is the driving force behind Café
Chantant (Singing Café), an acclaimed student musical theatre troupe he
co-founded 20 years ago. The group continues to inspire students and the
francophone community.

    Special Recognition: For Exemplary Service in Education - Dyson McLaren,
    Custodian, Dr. MacDougall Public School, North Bay (Near North District
    School Board)

    Dyson McLaren, a 56-year-old custodian for the Near North District School
Board, goes far beyond his job description to support students. In his own
time, he fixes up donated computers and gives them to elementary students
whose families cannot afford them. The challenges of living with a learning
disability motivate him to give back. Dyson learned how to use and build
computers on his own - he has no formal training - and is a role model for
students and educators.

    Disponible en français


For further information:

For further information: Michelle Despault, Minister's Office, (416)
212-3747; Patricia MacNeil, Communications Branch, (416) 325-2676; Public
Inquiries: (416) 325-2929 or 1-800-387-5514, TTY: 1-800-263-2892

Organization Profile

Ontario Ministry of Education

More on this organization

Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890