Premier's Awards Recipients 2011-12
Teacher of the Year
Sheri Alcordo focuses on community and parent engagement to instill values in her students. She empowers her students by honouring their cultures and encouraging parents to volunteer and share their heritage with the class. Her creative teaching methods engage and inspire her students. Sheri's students frequently take trips to connect with the local community, including local business owners and seniors. She has also opened her classroom as a model for others, inviting educators from all over North America to see how an ethnically diverse class can thrive.
With more than 30 years as a designer/builder, Peter Boeckh brings a wealth of practical knowledge and experience to the classroom. He enriches his classes through partnerships that give students authentic learning opportunities while also supporting the community. He has partnered with Habitat for Humanity and the Brampton Civic Hospital, and recently completed a rooftop garden with Lowe's and the City of Brampton. He is committed to helping students succeed by inspiring them to stay in school through projects that build their self-confidence.
Neil Orford inspires his students toward a deep and active understanding of history. Through a partnership with the Dufferin County Museum, his students research local veterans as part of their “pathway through history." Under this framework, his students have commemorated veterans at Juno Beach in France and have contributed research to a virtual database. Using their skills, several students recently organized a rededication of the school's War Memorial, attended by over 700 community members. Neil shares his expertise by developing an engaging history curriculum and preparing workshops on school-museum partnerships.
Jennifer Petahtegoose is a respected leader and champion for Aboriginal culture. She established the first Native Studies program in her school board as well as her school's first Native Studies Student Club. By organizing projects around Aboriginal traditions like Mishomis and Nookomis day (grandfather and grandmother day), she connects students with the larger Aboriginal community and helps instill a sense of pride in their heritage. Committed to helping others, she also started the “Be the Change” campaign, with proceeds going to the Red Cross to benefit the community of Attawapiskat.
Lisa Williams innovates and inspires by using technology and unique learning materials in her classroom. Her puppet “Ruthie” is just one example: students teach Ruthie to read, which in turn helps them practise their own reading skills. Lisa has sent Ruthie travelling throughout the local community and across the world. Through Ruthie's letters and pictures, students learn about different places and the people in their community. In addition to her teaching and work on school improvement plans, Lisa coaches the school's cross country, track and field, and dance teams.
New Teacher of the Year
Adam Lecuyer has achieved a lot in two years of teaching. He has led staff sessions on using technology in the classroom, co-facilitated a board professional development day and created a website for teachers to share resources. Adam and his colleagues also developed a visual graph to track student progress, and he is working with another teacher to update a College Mathematics course. Committed to student learning, he tutors students during lunch ‘Math Help' sessions and posts lesson notes online. He is also involved with the school rugby team.
Sabrina Cicconi (née Spidalieri)
Even though Sabrina Cicconi (née Spidalieri) is only a few years older than her students, she quickly earned their respect. Working at an adult alternative school with many at-risk students, she has rejuvenated their love for learning. Her creative teaching methods engage her students, resulting in dramatic improvements that inspire other staff at the school. Sabrina has also started a homework club, organized job fairs and leads a program that organizes teacher mentors to support students close to graduation — all while building on the diverse needs of her students.
Jason Trinh is a dedicated science teacher who brings out the best in students, helping them connect science with their daily lives. He organized a science fair club, and linked students participating in a biotechnology competition with industry and academic mentors. Committed to sharing his knowledge with colleagues, he has also helped other teachers set up classroom websites and is developing a professional development session on biotechnology. He also worked with a group of teachers to create resources and programs for a “Math Camp” pilot project he led.
Full-Day Kindergarten Team of the Year
Janet Martin and Gloria Bauman
Gloria Bauman and Janet Martin are full-day kindergarten leaders at their school, in their school board and across Ontario. Thanks to their efforts in promoting the benefits of full-day kindergarten, registration in the program has more than doubled in their board. They share their expertise and work closely together to develop programs based on the interests and needs of their students. They achieved impressive results by embracing the new play-based learning model for kindergarten. By the end of the first year, all kindergarten students were meeting the board's reading targets — a dramatic improvement from the previous year.
Early Childhood Educator of the Year
Charlene Moss has a passion for early childhood education — a passion she is keen to share with children, parents and other early childhood educators. From encouraging children to use their imagination to develop creative artwork to helping them organize a tea party to honour a local veteran on Remembrance Day, Charlene nurtures her children's interests and helps them learn about and understand the world around them.
Excellence in Leadership
Kevin Graham is an accomplished and compassionate educator with a deep commitment to creating more learning opportunities for students. He has been involved with student programs such as the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program, Co-operative Education, and Specialist High Skills Majors. His dedication to helping others has led to partnerships with Habitat for Humanity-Niagara and the creation of a co-op program that allows students to plan and build homes in developing countries. His latest project is developing an Outdoor Environmental Education Centre on the Niagara Escarpment.
Mark Cassar is an inspiring leader with a gift for engaging staff, students and parents in the life of the school. He achieves dramatic results by collaborating with others and fostering an engaged Catholic community. Student achievement, attendance, discipline and parent involvement have improved significantly under his leadership. He also champions leadership opportunities for students by supporting a strong and active Student Council, Student Faith Ambassadors and bullying-prevention teams. A dedicated principal, Mark promotes professional development for staff and is an advocate for at-risk students.
Excellent Support Staff
Parents know that with Vivienne Paquette, their children are receiving caring and professional support. She is involved in numerous extra-curricular activities at the school and encourages her students to do the same, many for the first time. She studies the material her students are learning on her own time — from English to technology class — so she can better support them. By helping young people gain confidence, feel secure and become part of the school community, Vivienne makes a tremendous difference in the lives of students with special education needs.
For 30 years, Rosemarie Rose was an advocate for her students. Rosemarie's passion for her work showed through her commitment to getting to know each and every student, which provided valuable insight for teachers and helped her students succeed. She helped at-risk youth get back on track, tutored in her free time and strove to ensure students' needs were met in all aspects of their lives. Her in-depth experience working with students with hearing impairments was also a great support to teachers new to the school. Sadly, Rosemarie lost her battle with cancer late last year.
Amy Di Nino (née Wark)
Amy Di Nino (née Wark) is a remarkable music therapist for blind, low vision or deaf-blind students. She has a passion for helping young people discover new skills and is always looking for new ways to make music more accessible for her students. The Deaf-blind Bell Choir she started at her school gives students an opportunity to reach out beyond the school walls and into the community. Taking a creative approach with vibration and various instruments, she ensures every student has the chance to learn through music.
Anna Maria Morris
After 48 years, Anna Maria Morris still exudes a passion for teaching. She is an exceptional educator, a mentor to new teachers and a creative inspiration to her students. Anna Maria is responsible for all the drama productions at her school, putting on as many as four each year. She also acts as a student council advisor and arrives at school early to help students prepare video morning announcements. Every year, she asks to teach new courses because she still loves the challenge of teaching and learning.
Team of the Year
Judy Kupers, Deirdre Fowler and Mary Hutchinson
In the past school year, Judy Kupers, Deirdre Fowler and Mary Hutchinson worked as a true team in the school's busy front office. Together, they made sure that all aspects of the school and its numerous programs ran smoothly. They served a large and diverse school community and went above and beyond to make sure that every student was welcomed and well-cared for. For example, many families that were new to the school were also new to Canada, and this team connected families with community resources to ensure they had the support they needed.