Premier's Awards for Teaching Excellence


Minister of Education, Kathleen Wynne, Kelly Stapleton-Korber, Denis Sauv�, Carla D'Elia, Kathy Elmer, Gretel Reid-Willis, Dyson McLaren, Premier Dalton McGuinty, Jerry Powidajko, Celina Cada-Matasawagon, Ruby Charron, Dr. Dina Dalia, Dale Zimmerman, Jerrold Karch, Peggy Morris, Amare Demesie, Mary Nunes and Seamus O'Regan

Past Recipients
Outstanding New Teacher— Celina Cada-Matasawagon, Teacher, Urban Aboriginal Alternative School, Ottawa ( Ottawa Carleton District School Board)

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

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)

Outstanding New Teacher
Carla D'Elia
Teacher, Cardinal Newman Catholic Secondary School
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 Board)

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

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)

Excellence in Literacy
Ruby Charron
Teacher, Monsignor Uyen Catholic School
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)

Excellence in Numeracy
Gretel Reid-Willis
Teacher, North Kipling Junior Middle School
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 � Maria Nunes, Educational Assistant, Montrose Public School, Toronto (Toronto District School Board)

Excellence in Teaching Support
Mary Nunes
Educational Assistant, Montrose Public School
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)

School-to-Work Transition
Jerrold Karch
Teacher, Lincoln M. Alexander Secondary School
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 Co-ordinator.


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

Excellence in Special Needs
Peggy Morris
Teacher, Broadview Public School
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)

Excellence in Special Needs
Dale Zimmerman
Educational Assistant, Sunny View Public School
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 impossible.


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

Enterprise in Teaching
Kathy Elmer
Teacher, Florence Meares Public School
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 � Dina Dalia, Principal, St John's College, Brantford (Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic District School Board)

Contribution to School Leadership
Dr. Dina Dalia
Principal, St. John's College
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)

Teacher of the Year
Amare Demesie
Teacher, Westview Centennial Secondary School
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 competition.


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

Teacher of the Year
Kelly Stapleton-Korber
Teacher, St. Nicholas Elementary School
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, École Secondaire Catholique Le Relais, Alexandria (Conseil Scolaire de district catholique de l'Est ontarien)

Lifetime Achievement Award
Denis Sauvé
Teacher, École Secondaire Catholique Le Relais
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)

Special Recognition: For Exemplary Service in Education
Dyson McLaren
Custodian, Dr. MacDougall Public School
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.