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The 1997 Certificate of Excellence recipients are listed here by province, along with a short description of them and some of their award-winning teaching ideas. If you are interested in contacting one of these outstanding teachers, please call 1-800-268-6608 or send an E-mail (pmawards@ic.gc.ca).


Certificate of Excellence recipients

Newfoundland | Quebec | Ontario | Alberta | British Columbia | Yukon


Certificate of Achievement recipients

Newfoundland | Nova Scotia | New Brunswick | Quebec | Ontario | Manitoba | Saskatchewan | Alberta | British Columbia | Northwest Territories


Certificate of Excellence recipients

Newfoundland

Brenda Rowe-Bartlett of Bishops College in St. John's was the driving force behind the school's new traditional-style galley for student artworks (The Treasury). This gallery attracts visitors from all over the city and surrounding areas, who are amazed by the calibre of artistic merit produced by adolescents in levels I, II and III (Grade 10, 11 and 12 students) of the high school art program. The presence of the gallery on site at Bishops College reinforces the artistic aspirations and aesthetic abilities of art students within the entire Avalon East School Board, in addition to those at Bishops itself. Visiting art professors from Canadian universities and graduates from art programs across Canada are equally impressed with the aesthetic and artistic output from these young artists. Many former students have enrolled in fine arts programs at university and have gone on to sell their works.

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Quebec

Herzliah High School in Montréal is far from ordinary. The students at this trilingual school study everything from the very foundations of Western culture to its latest scientific achievements. The first of these is covered in the school's Hebrew studies program and the latter is the responsibility of Yofi Sadaka, Head of the Science Department.

Mrs. Sadaka is always pushing her students to new heights. They are perennial winners in science fairs and last year reached an apogee when their experiment on the formation of barium sulphate precipitate was performed on the space station Mir.

Mrs. Sadaka teaches in both French and English and has worked for the province's education ministry analysing the discrepancies in student performance on ministry science examinations between the French and English sectors.

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Ontario

Writer, editor, presenter, teacher and teacher of teachers, Pat Bell is known throughout her school, the province, the country and internationally for efforts in the teaching of Latin. Her teaching awards and scholarships testify to her international status among educators. Ms. Bell is that rarity who combines serious scholarship, imaginative ideas and loving attitudes in one person. She gives her students knowledge, understanding and compassion, challenging them to expand their horizons and try their talents in new areas. She has earned the greatest respect of her peers and the love of her students and their parents.

Ms. Bell spends many hours supervising preparations for the Ontario Student Classics Conference, a provincial athletic, academic and creative Latin competition. Her well-organized and informative biannual Classical Tour of Italy is in high demand both at Centennial Collegiate Vocational Institute and among other Ontario Latin teachers. The effects of her efforts pervade the school, as her students choose classical themes for French class presentations, English creative writing, artwork and architectural drafting.


Give Randy Cook and Maureen Flynn the chance to develop something new and they will shoot for the top. The two Mississauga teachers jumped at the opportunity to create the International Business and Technology (IBT) program and now students are lining up to get in.

The program, offered at Allan A. Martin Senior Public School, is designed to create self-directed learners by encouraging adolescents to use technology and launch entrepreneurial ventures. The program is cross-curricular, and students are evaluated on standards of behaviour and responsibility developed in consultation with the corporate community.

An optional program, IBT began with 120 Grade 7 students in 1995 and grew to 240 the next year when the program expanded to include Grade 8 students. Since then the number of staff delivering the program has been doubled to accomodate the growing student body.


The Creative Inquiry Centre at William Lyon Mackenzie Collegiate Institute in North York is where you will find Richard Ford creating a new style of education. Instead of teaching in the conventional sense, he encourages students to discover for themselves what they can do, and how to do it. He coaches, suggests and facilitates. He continuously extends the limits of education, pioneering new partnerships between business, government and students.

Under his guidance, students participated in the recent G-7 conference in Halifax by video conference, created the Metro Hazardous Waste Materials instructional video, and ran a multimedia conference by and for students.

Mr. Ford's teaching style fosters cooperative and self-directed learning, essential in the fast-changing technological environment. Student achievement is remarkable. Even classes with students speaking many mother tongues work together to produce professional quality materials for outside clients.


For 17 years of her 29-year teaching career, Dalia Naujokaitis, an elementary teacher at St. Elizabeth School in Ottawa, has challenged students and teachers to meet the rapidly changing demands of an information-oriented society. She has been using computers as an educational tool with all her students, both gifted learners and those with special needs, since 1981.

Her classroom is a dynamic place where cooperative learning and on-line collaboration with other schools around the world are everyday activities. With her students, Ms. Naujokaitis has created and managed nine GrassRoots programs through SchoolNet. Her program for gifted learners for grades 4, 5 and 6, draws students from 22 schools around the city. The students spend one day a week in her class.

Using the skills and information they gain there, they frequently return to train students and teachers at their home school in the uses of the Internet, Web page design, and environmental or social action programs.


Chemistry Department Head Bob Sanders of Sir Wilfrid Laurier Collegiate Institute -- a 33-year-old high school in Scarborough -- is a firm believer in the value of hands-on learning. The school is a microcosm of the challenges of multiculturalism. Of its 1300 students, one third were born outside Canada. Gaps in these students' education caused by disruptions in their home countries, as well as language difficulties, present special challenges to teachers.

Mr. Sanders uses "kitchen chemistry" to hook students' interest while teaching theory, and plenty of lab work to hold their interest and suit different learning styles and abilities. His high standards and expectations result in students being well prepared for university and community college courses.

A tireless organizer and contributor to professional development, he is a pioneer in integrating computer technology into every level of the science curriculum, using CD-ROMs, dissection simulations, and other software in exciting and creative ways. These computer programs supplement the classroom and lab lessons, providing a wider range of experience than the equipment and budget available would otherwise allow. Increased enrolment in science classes, the enthusiasm of students and the calibre of their work all attest to Mr. Sanders' teaching excellence.


Daniel Thorsley of the G. A. Wheable Centre for Adult Education in London is a dynamic and captivating teacher of science, chemistry and physics. He has the ability to interact well with students of all ages.

Eager to create learning experiences for all students, Mr. Thorsley employs as many ways as possible to have students see the knowledge and skills they are learning in a different way. For example, he makes use of discrepant events -- an experiment in which common sense predicts one outcome but the activity produces another. For the same reason, he develops curriculum-based contests in the London area. He has been involved in the local science fair for more than 20 years and in the London Science Olympics for almost as long.

Mr. Thorsley is a leader in science education in the London area. He writes computer programs to illustrate chemistry and physics concepts. He has computerized the registration and attendance procedures required for adult education. He publishes a newsletter called SCIENCE2000 to keep schools and community leaders up to date on what is happening in science in London. He is chair of the committee that will host the Canada-wide Science Fair in London in the year 2000.

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Alberta

John Dupuis of Bishop Pinkham Junior High School and Cal Kullman of Louis Riel School in Calgary are two outstanding science and environmental education teachers. They both have science degrees and extensive experience in summer field work, and have taught for the Calgary Board of Education at the junior high school level (grades 7 through 9) -- Mr. Dupuis for seven years and Mr. Kullman for 15.

Teaching science and environmental awareness allows them to combine their appreciation of outdoor activity and the natural environment with their enjoyment of working with young people. They share an impressive list of accomplishments in their work with students. Among their projects are hundreds of field trips, an in-school climbing wall, a mobile cross-country ski program and summer science camps.

The River Watch Science Program is their most successful project to date. Originally based in Calgary, the program now runs on eight Alberta rivers with nearly 4000 students annually. A River Watch Web site (http://www.cadvision.com/beybooks/river) reports on developments and findings of the program. The popularity of their programs demonstrates the talent, commitment and leadership of Mr. Dupuis and Mr. Kullman.


Dr.Frank Jenkins, a chemistry teacher at Ross Sheppard High School in Edmonton, has spent his 30-year career helping students grasp the nature of science. He believes this is the key to developing a solid understanding of how science, technology and society mesh every day.

His classroom programs hone students' ability to think and solve problems. In one exercise, they read an article from a chemistry journal and highlight the language the scientist uses to express uncertainty and to appeal to authority. For example, the scientist might indicate uncertainty by writing "tentative results indicate," "based upon this one study" and "until further studies are completed." The authority might be identified by statements such as "according to the Lewis molecular theory," "based on the law of conservation of mass" and "according to the evidence gathered in this experiment." The challenge for the students then is to apply this process to their chemistry textbook and their teacher's oral and written lessons and tests (after, of course, the teacher has gained enough consciousness of and confidence in his or her scientific language). In such ways "Dr. J" involves his students in exploring new chemistry and epistemology concepts -- simultaneously.


Austin O'Brien High School's profile in the community was raised considerably when Garry Kroy took control of the Career and Technology program in the early 1990s. His students have achieved international recognition and their success has helped attract more students to the school, which had been suffering from declining enrolment.

Mr. Kroy created a laboratory where students can use technology, which encompasses traditional and state-of-the-art tools and computers, and learn about possible careers. He laid the foundations for more than 90 learning modules in which students explore career options.

Students from all fields -- from sciences to drama and art -- and of all learning abilities use the lab regularly. Mr. Kroy also developed a modular system so that students can follow a program of their own choosing that gives them the skills they need to make future career choices.

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British Columbia

Bill Henderson, Head of Technology Education at Robert Bateman Secondary School in Abbotsford, has three attributes of a great teacher: vision -- he has the ability to foresee and take advantage of advances in technology and teaching strategies; commitment -- he is intent on helping his students develop to their fullest potential, and on contributing to the development of technology education province-wide; and a love of learning -- he regularly upgrades his skills and recently received his master's of education in curriculum development.

Mr. Henderson's Design Communication and Information Technology programs are popular and highly successful. Classes work on projects for community and industry partners. With this experience and exposure, students have moved directly from Grade 12 into highly skilled jobs. DigiFest, an annual conference initiated by Mr. Henderson, supports this by bringing students, teachers and industry leaders together to keep curriculum relevant and contemporary.


Ted McCain of Maple Ridge Secondary School in Maple Ridge is an energetic and vocal proponent of new technology in education. He stresses its potential for individualized learning, integration of disciplines, quick access to new information and the development of critical thought. He regularly updates colleagues and parents on new developments, delivers speeches and leads workshops. He is closely involved in curriculum design in his school district and province. Courses created by Mr. McCain have become models for technology education across the country.

In his Computer Science, Work Experience and Knowledge Architecture classes, he practises what he preaches by coaching his students rather than teaching them. He frequently poses as an uninformed customer, questioning his class to highlight the need for students to think creatively and to have a firm grasp of concepts. He provides hands-on experience, real-life work training and advanced academic challenges; his students thrive.


Dawne Tomlinson of Brookswood Secondary School in Langley created and runs an extremely successful film/television production program that is the envy of schools across Canada. Through arrangements with Rogers Community TV, she gives secondary school students opportunities usually available only to those in prestigious film schools. She started the program five years ago and found space in an unused welding workshop at the school to set up the "BackStreet" Studio. The students who go through the program are in high demand in the television and film industry for jobs after graduation.

Ms. Tomlinson is the driving force behind a number of other innovative projects. She started a peer counselling program, training interested students to give personal support to others, as well as Klown Kids, a travelling troupe of junior students who perform at elementary schools.

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Yukon

Robert Sharp has been involved in Yukon education for the past 30 years as a teacher, administrator, researcher and curriculum developer. During this period, Mr. Sharp became increasingly interested in finding ways to make education more engaging and effective for a wide variety of students.

He has created a school within a school at F. H. Collins Secondary School in Whitehorse. The Experiential Science 11 program he developed was designed to engage students and increase the value of their educational experiences. The program integrates seven subjects around a variety of study themes. Mr. Sharp's students face an intense but varied program that includes more than 35 field days every semester and two days each week working in college science labs.

Engaging students in real problems and field studies has proven to be very popular and successful: only one student has withdrawn from the program in four years and attendance has averaged more than 95 percent. More than one third of his students are on the honour roll, and another third improve their marks from Grade 10 by more than 10 percent. Mr. Sharp also ensures that a wide variety of students can take his course. He bases admission on attitudes as well as marks.

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Certificate of Achievement recipients

Newfoundland

Jane Scaplen, a French immersion teacher at Sacred Heart Elementary School in Marystown, regularly uses the Internet to make distances disappear. By integrating computer technology into her teaching she provides her students with continuous access to French-language use, and broadens their geographic and cultural awareness. They improve their academic and social skills, and gain valuable familiarity with new technologies. She and her students initiate and participate in many on-line educational activities. Two of their Internet-based projects were recognized as exemplary by the International Society for Technology in Education's Special Interest Council on Telecommunications. In addition to her classroom involvement with technology, she acts as a resource for other teachers. She is recognized provincially and internationally for her contributions and accomplishments in this field.

Patrick Wells' students can repeat a favourite field trip to the beach over and over again because the whole thing is captured on their computer. The Intertidal Zone Web site allows students from Bishops College in St. John's to visit the beach and collect samples for analysis without ever leaving their keyboards. This is only one of many ways that Mr. Wells uses technology to promote learning. Based on his philosophy that technology should be an integral part of curriculum, he regularly has students make multimedia presentations or create research papers electronically. His enthusiasm has spread and today students are eager to get into his classes. Virtually every group at Bishops, from individual science classes to basketball teams, has its own Web page.

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Nova Scotia

Janice Farrell and Stephanie Krszwda, two remarkable teachers at the Colby-St. Joseph Complex in Sydney, amazed local business people and parents by turning their Grade 1 and 2 charges into budding entrepreneurs. In 1996–97 about 55 six- and seven-year-olds learned how to run a business, and then actually did it. The Grade 1 class produced a cookbook of recipes requiring no cooking. The Grade 2 students created the Slappy Happy Card Company, making all-occasion greeting cards, and another company that made peel-and-stick labels promoting fire safety. Ms. Farrell and Ms. Krszwda provided guidance only as the children negotiated a loan from the school principal, set up shop, and decided how to market their products and what to do with the profits. The young students learned about teamwork, partnerships, informed risk-taking and commitment to a project, and were responsible for their own decisions.

The parent or guardian of each student in Diane Racette's classes gets a call from the teacher every month. She also sends a regular newsletter home with students. A French immersion teacher at Oxford School in Halifax, Ms. Racette believes in keeping the community up to date on what is going on in the classroom, and in keeping students in touch with the community. For example, in a recent social studies unit students acted as a planning committee determining the future use of their school. They visited city hall, collected data from the archives and canvassed their neighbourhoods for further information on demographic trends. They used the information to create proposals, backed by databases and spreadsheets, that they presented and then discussed with classmates. Ms. Racette was also key to the development of a new program that will help students prepare for the transition from elementary school to junior high.

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New Brunswick

Andrew Campbell of the MacNaughton Science and Technology Centre in Moncton is a rare bird, though his media studies course is no "bird course." MacNaughton serves three area high schools as a centralized electives school, allowing Mr. Campbell the singular opportunity to first create and then teach his course. Students produce several films, music videos, CDs, CD-ROMs and radio commercials each year. Media studies is a broad, multidisciplinary subject. This integration shows students the relevance of their learning, and improves their knowledge and skills in many areas. Mr. Campbell strives for excellence in himself and his students. His energy, dedication and enjoyment of both his students and his work are essential elements in the success of the program.

Wendy Coyle teaches a methods and resources class for grades 6 through 12 at Stanley High School in Stanley, where the local school is the focal point of the surrounding rural community. In only a few years, her influence has been enormous on students, teachers and the community as a whole. Ms. Coyle has introduced a number of programs for assisting and inspiring students, including those with special needs. Her Peer Helpers and Peer Tutors are students, chosen by their peers, who volunteer to organize various student activities and to help others improve their learning abilities, self-esteem and motivation. Her newly formed Junior Achievers are currently learning business development and managerial skills. As these programs evolve, students are increasingly eager to take part.

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Quebec

One of the educational records that Robert Arsenault, Jean-Marc Gosselin and Maurice Normand are most proud of is an auditor's statement. Their school, the Centre de formation en entreprise et récupération in Victoriaville, is a working business and the statement is one way of showing how well it is run. The business carries out a number of money-making ventures such as recycling hardware from abandoned hydro lines. In the process, the students learn how to start and run a business. The teachers have spent their entire career developing hands-on approaches to helping students who have been failed by conventional education. The students at the Centre de formation, for example, are 16- to 19-year-olds who had not previously succeeded in advancing beyond primary levels.

Ginette Larose of École du Sacré-Cœur in Masson-Angers likes to get her primary-level students cultivating new growth, often in tangible ways. For example, she created a program in horticulture that saw students up to their elbows in earth, seedlings and fertilizer, teaching them how to identify different types of crops, how to grow them, and the usefulness of plants for maintaining good health and a strong immune system. She also encouraged them to enter a contest run by the town's environmental committee to come up with a slogan for local environmental programs. The students entered the contest, and won. These and many other rewarding hands-on activities have created considerable enthusiasm among Ms. Larose's students, who all signed a letter of support when their teacher was applying for this award.

Is a student council just a student council? Not to Brian Potter, who sees it as a learning opportunity for students at John Rennie High School in Pointe Claire. Under his direction the council has greatly expanded its responsibilities and achievements and has taken on a new structure to enable it to do so. Instead of being elected to the position, students now have to apply for a position as if it were a job. They are selected for positions by the students who are currently on the board. Mr. Potter helps on both ends by teaching applicants how to prepare for the selection process and showing senior council members how to conduct interviews and review applications. The idea has caught on and is being studied by other schools in the area.

When Thérèse Sauvé wanted to show her students at École St-André-Apôtre in Montréal the science behind reproduction, she went looking for a guinea pig. She found two, as well as two mice and two birds. The class fed and cared for the animals until the birth of their offspring, after which good homes were found for them. Exposing her students directly to a subject is a favourite approach of Ms. Sauvé's. In the past she has also invited a professional actor to teach her students elocution, has connected them with pen pals from other countries and has made extensive use of the Internet. When asked why she makes all this effort to prepare for classes, she replies that she doesn't see it as work but as an exciting adventure. She creates the same attitude in her students, who find themselves confronted by materials so special and mysterious that they cannot help but ask questions.

Bernard Tousignant of École Secondaire De-La-Salle in Trois-Rivières has long succeeded in drawing large numbers of students into science and technical programs. When asked how he does it, he has a one-word answer -- democratization. Mr. Tousignant has long lobbied authorities to get them to open advanced programs to more students. He believes that if you ask more of students and give them more support, they will respond; he has proven this approach works. In the classroom, his students face daunting challenges in subject areas such as optics but see an immediate return on this work when they are able to do real science in astronomy. Mr. Tousignant reinforces his point by getting access to professional-quality instruments for students to do their research.

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Ontario

John Bradley is the Mathematics Department Head at St. Matthew High School in Orléans. The school is known locally as St. Math's, largely because of Mr. Bradley. Using a personal touch to get students involved, he coaches several of the math teams, preparing them for provincial and national competitions. The importance of math is highlighted throughout the school. Student achievements are honoured, math is promoted as a key discipline for overall learning, "math anxiety" in students and parents is addressed, and the enrichment that extracurricular math activities offer is advertised. Mr. Bradley obviously loves math and math teaching. He guides and encourages the other teachers in his department, has created seven board-wide exams and co-authored a marking document that has improved student performance and confidence.

Joan Brent, a 20-year veteran at the Woodman-Cainsville School in Brantford, is known for her eagerness to try new teaching practices and her ability to create stimulating learning environments. Her Grade 2 students, mainly from economically disadvantaged, and many times single-parent, families, respond enthusiastically to her own passion for scientific discovery. Using the resource-rich Galaxy Classroom curriculum called Fixer Uppers (from TVOntario, the provincial educational channel), her students learn how to use technology, do experiments themselves, and communicate the results of their studies concisely and clearly. Add to this Ms. Brent's special talent for making natural science exciting and rewarding, and the results are students who develop a more positive attitude towards problem solving.

Glenn Byford wants his students to understand the difference between listening to and merely hearing music. The entire music program at Lasalle Secondary School in Sudbury leads students in gradual steps to a deeper understanding of music. For example, in one exercise students listen to a piece once and then are asked to write a story that goes with the music during a second listening. Later they are asked to transcribe what they listened to. The students not only analyse music, but they also apply their lessons in the school's junior, intermediate and senior jazz bands, all of which have distinguished themselves in performance and competition. Mr. Byford invites many professional musicians to do clinics and concerts and, beginning this year, a professional musician or composer is serving as artist-in-residence at the school.

Judith Crompton, from Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School in St. Catharines, believes in second chances. Any student can understand math and those who already do can perform better. One of the ways she shows this is by letting students opt for follow-up courses and by giving them a second shot at exams and assignments. Even students who are firmly convinced that mathematics is not for them respond to her teaching, and requests for timetable changes so students can get into her class are a regular event. Ms. Crompton has also promoted improvements to the curriculum and mathematics competitions and has recently implemented a tutoring program at her school.

Sharon Davis teaches elementary grades at St. Gregory's Separate School in Etobicoke. She has a child-centered classroom, and enjoys motivating her students to learn, as is evident in her planning, teaching and discipline strategies. She provides firm, consistent expectations of behaviour and encourages students to work to the best of their ability. Her interested and caring attitude encourages the children to look beyond themselves. They help each other learn in the classroom, with paired reading exercises and joint presentations. The students also write monthly letters to an elderly woman, visit an extended care facility at Christmas, and participate in organizing several school liturgies. Regardless of ability, Ms. Davis ensures that each child has a special role in these projects.

James Ferris is the linchpin of the music program at Parry Sound High School in Parry Sound. His teaching philosophy is strongly rooted in his Christian faith and his dedication to the local community is something he shows through his actions rather than simply his words. He creates a positive environment in which his students can develop the self-esteem they need to challenge themselves, and participates with school bands in many community activities. Mr. Ferris is also on the cutting edge, using innovative teaching methods as well as new technology in the classroom. Students use computers, for example, to support everything they do from composing music to managing band finances.

Even a small school can set up important partnerships with multinational companies. André Fillion of École Rose des Vents in Cornwall, a small French school with 226 students, has proven this. For example, a partnership with Lego Dacta™, the educational wing of the Danish toy company, resulted in a project called "Au boulot... avec la techno" (Let's get to work with technology). Using special Lego™ blocks and a computer, Mr. Fillion's students make models that can move manually or have their motion simulated on a computer. The students made a number of objects that taught them important lessons in physics, such as a roulette wheel, which demonstrates some basic concepts of motion and velocity.

Susan Fisher of North Bay's Chippewa Secondary School did not wait to be asked when the need to develop the school's information technology program became apparent. After attending the Ministry of Education's Updating Workshops in 1986, she initiated a new Grade 11 information processing course for advanced and general-level students. This course is the foundation of Chippewa's Grade 12 Information Technology Management Program, which she started in 1996. It is evident that, with a combination of creativity and leadership, Ms. Fisher continuously initiates teaching practices that spark the enthusiasm of her students and lead them to high achievements, whether it is their increased grasp of information technology or their improved entrepreneurial and managerial skills.

Dena Hansen, Blair Hilts and Diane Lessels of Georgian Bay Secondary School in Meaford are a model of teamwork for their students. The three led the development of an English, history, communications and business studies publication entitled Canada Learns: Canada Remembers, a history of World War II designed, written and published by students for students taking general-level Grade 10 courses. Many of the members of the publication team had weak reading, writing and speaking skills. This project gave them a context in which to develop their critical and creative thinking, and gave them confidence in their abilities and improved their academic and social skills. The team of Ms. Hansen, Mr. Hilts and Ms. Lessels provided excellent organization, careful monitoring and attention to detail, encouraging and inspiring the students to achieve the highest standards.

When a teacher in the English Department at St. Joseph's High School in Windsor is stumped by a literary question, invariably a student will run down to room 131 to get the answer. Anthony Johnston, in room 131, seems always to have it. Classically educated in Ireland, Mr. Johnston's lifelong love of literature and for learning is immediately evident whether he is answering an obscure question or making the characters and plot of a classic novel come alive for his students. He is an inspiration to students of all ability levels; he spent several years teaching at an alternative high school and had remarkable success getting students there to finish school. Graduates now working in a variety of fields consider Mr. Johnston a friend and, more importantly, as the person that set them on their successful life path.

Bob Malyk has taught biology at Ridley College in St. Catharines for 15 years. During that time, biology has become the most popular program in the Science Department. In a school with only 480 high school students, there are nine classes of biology in grades 11 through OAC, largely because of his enthusiasm, innovations and class projects, such as field trips to New Brunswick, Costa Rica and Galápagos. Mr. Malyk developed software so students could do remedial work on their own time, and as university-bound achievers emerged, established Ridley's Advanced Placement Program in biology (an international program with directors at Princeton). Most recently, his senior students have become involved with an American facility in original research aimed at isolating the human gene for deafness.

Penny McLeod has spent 25 years watching good and bad ideas for teaching chemistry come and go and has unfailingly found the better ones. She has spent her entire career sorting out the methods that work, and her students at Thornhill Secondary School in Thornhill have benefited immensely. They get to take advantage of a wide variety of options, from working with industry and science professionals to taking part in special programs for girls. Ms. McLeod has shown that she can help students from a wide range of backgrounds: she is able to help gifted students excel and is also commended by her colleagues for her determination to see weaker students succeed. All the while, she continues to experiment with new ideas, having recently brought integrated curriculum and new technology to her teaching.

David Mowat, a biology teacher at Haliburton Highlands Secondary School in Haliburton, has taken his students out of the classroom and into the woods, literally. Five years ago, he started ELM (Energy, Lifestyles, Matter), a program based in environmental science and the humanities designed to place students in an outdoor environment that becomes a theatre for nurturing their commitment to the human community. Strong communities, Mr. Mowat believes, encourage young people to explore and develop their individual talents. In ELM, students from Grade 9 through OAC work in teams to teach elementary students about nature and the role of human society in protecting it and making it flourish. The program is interdisciplinary, with literature, drama, biology and computer students, beginners and seniors, typically working together.

Stavros Naxakis, a chemistry and physics teacher at Vaughan Secondary School in Thornhill, is an inspiration to all who know him. His rapport with his students, a gentle yet tenacious teaching style, and leadership abilities make him a highly respected member of the school. Dr. Naxakis is always able to relate even obscure concepts to real life or present a visual demonstration, making otherwise stressful courses with heavy workloads enjoyable. Under his guidance, Vaughan students consistently score in the top five percent in an international chemistry contest, the University of Waterloo's Chem 13 News Contest. He combines a famous sense of humour, an impressive educational background and a genuine love of teaching to make a valuable contribution to his school and society.

Thanks to their geography teacher Mark Oliver, students at Napanee District Secondary School in Napanee have the world at their fingertips, so to speak. Beginning in 1992, Mr. Oliver introduced Ontario high school students to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology, which allows them to study the "real" world to a much greater extent than traditional tools do. Computer outreach means that students can acquire, analyse and contribute information that is actually useful, and feedback from community and other groups continually reinforces the value of this educational experience. Mr. Oliver has created a GIS lab that is the envy of educators across Canada and the United States. He is a strong advocate of partnerships between secondary and post-secondary institutions and the corporate world.

Stephen Oliver teaches computer science at Central Huron Secondary School in Clinton. In his Digital Media Studies course, students in grades 10 through 12 learn to work effectively in small teams, drawing on the individual talents of members as they master interactive technology and the dynamics of the creative process. But the emphasis is not so much on tools as on understanding the context in which such tools can best be used. Much time is spent discussing technology as it relates to social change. To date, Mr. Oliver's students have collaborated on multimedia productions with a wide range of educational or business content. From Mr. Oliver's course, Central Huron graduates gain the communication skills they need to be more competitive in pursuing employment or advanced education.

As computer site manager and teacher, Michael Pannabecker masterminded the introduction of information technologies at Phelps Central Public School in the northern community of Redbridge. With an awe-inspiring ability to circumvent roadblocks, he developed his resource teacher's room into a state-of-the-art Internet lab, motivated and instructed his fellow educators, and demonstrated to parents and students what the ability to use the latest information technology can mean to their lives. To date, he has trained more than 100 local students in Web design and development techniques. One of these students has already won an American Internet design award. Mr. Pannabecker is currently Program Coordinator for the Nipissing Board of Education in North Bay.

A good teacher can use any subject matter to teach students critical thinking, analysis and teamwork. Robert Perkins of Madawaska Valley District High School in Barry's Bay responded to the growing demand for changes in curriculum by showing students, parents and his colleagues just how much can be done with an art program. He created an art curriculum that is highly structured, but also promotes creative thinking. Mr. Perkins encourages students to tackle complex tasks, but he ensures that these tasks never become too daunting by showing students how they can break them up into discrete parts and work with others to complete them. In the end, the students learn that art is made up of a whole range of skills that can be applied to other subjects.

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Manitoba

Although Ste. Anne Elementary School in Ste. Anne is a small rural school with only 225 students, it is well equipped with a computer and science lab and even a computer-operated weather station on the roof. Daniel Forbes, the school's computer administrator, worked hard to establish a new computer and science lab at the school when it split from the local high school by soliciting grants and donations to bring in high-quality technology. In addition to creating these facilities, Mr. Forbes teaches students how to use them and has organized a leadership team of Grade 8 students to help teachers from other grades and to teach small groups of younger students.

As Head of the Mathematics and Computer Science Department of Sisler High School in Winnipeg, William Korytowski's dedication to student development is apparent inside and outside the classroom. He integrates concepts from business, engineering and computer science into his lessons to make them interesting and relevant. His ability to draw on each student's existing skills and strengths when teaching challenges his advanced students while still encouraging others to learn. Mr. Korytowski coaches students for the national mathematics contest, gives after-hour tutorial sessions, initiated a partnership with the University of Manitoba enabling Grade 12 students to take university-level calculus for credit, created and funded the Sisler High School Math Award, and wrote, co-authored or reviewed numerous textbooks and curricula.

Corinne Kutcy of Silver Heights Collegiate in Winnipeg leaves nothing to chance. Every moment of her basic French, French immersion or advanced placement French classes is planned with care and executed with enthusiasm. She presents new concepts in a consistent, organized way, using a variety of innovative instructional methods. Her love of French and learning is transmitted to every student; students look forward to French class. Ms. Kutcy's energy and dedication extend beyond the classroom. She coaches the girl's basketball team, prepares students for a provincial French speaking contest, and directs the school's annual musical, in addition to organizing activities for her gifted education class. Twelve of her former students are now French teachers themselves.

Lynwood Madder of Earl Grey School in Winnipeg has high standards, and his students rise to meet them. Responsible for a pilot all-girl science, math and technology program, he had a direct role in its success. His classroom management eliminates discipline problems, and his enthusiasm for the curriculum captivates the students. This yields impressive results: attendance in his classes exceeds 96 percent, and students' grades are higher than average, both for the school and on the Canadian Test of Basic Skills. Mr. Madder gives pre- and post-lesson tests to highlight the students' learning, brings science to life with hands-on experiments in almost every class, and leads many field and overnight trips.

Kristin Peterson of Sisler High School in Winnipeg has influenced educational practices in her school and province. She was instrumental in creating several innovative programs at Sisler. Single-sex classes for compulsory courses have resulted in substantial grade increases for students. A modified math course using individualized learning programs, specialized texts, and frequent skills testing reduces early failure in this important subject. Her latest project is an English program to improve students' communication and literacy skills. Ms. Peterson also works to improve education in Manitoba, promoting the teaching of literature, the Mathematics Fair and Gifted Student Institute. She has co-authored English curriculum support documents and home-schooling reform legislation.

It is largely due to Lesley Peterson that university-level calculus and English courses are taught at Sisler High School in Winnipeg. As Head of the English Department, she has pioneered curriculum development, teaching methods, school-community relations, and the promotion of student achievement. Sisler's Self-Directed Learning Program embodies her vision of how learning can be different: more personal, relevant, challenging and successful. She introduced innovative reading and writing techniques, started a full-credit creative writing program (now in its 11th year), stimulated the school's arts program, and developed, with science educators, a Grade 12 course called The Language of Science and Technology. Most of all, Ms. Peterson is able to instil in students the love of learning and ideas.

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Saskatchewan

A French immersion, science and physical education teacher at École Henry Kelsey in Saskatoon, Marcia Klein's motto is "Reach for the stars." Her love of nature and learning is obvious to students and fellow educators alike. To develop her own expertise, she regularly attends workshops, conferences and training sessions. She uses a wide range of innovative instructional techniques to help students discover their natural world. For example, to create a butterfly garden, Grade 2 students researched and chose plants attractive to butterflies, designed and planted the garden, then gave detailed tours to schoolmates, parents and other visitors, explaining their work. Ms. Klein has written or co-authored several field guides as well as course material for science programs in the field and classroom.

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Alberta

Dawne Marie Aune thinks girls in vocational programs get a raw deal from the education system. Determined to do something about this, she turned the cosmetology program at Bowness Senior High School in Calgary into a retail business and showed her students how they could get personal and professional fulfilment in this field. Before undertaking this latest challenge, Ms. Aune pursued a teaching career that began in social studies and quickly branched out into curriculum reform. She took a leading role in implementing new curriculum and played a major part in helping her colleagues adapt to change. This enthusiasm and drive continues today -- Ms. Aune now teaches 400 students in grades 10, 11 and 12 with the help of only one aide.

Monica Etherington, a Kindergarten teacher at Swan Hills School in Swan Hills, thinks children should know now some things that their parents only learned much later in life. To Ms. Etherington, a positive approach to a rapidly changing future requires that children be aware of the impact of human society on the environment. It also means that from an early age they should be comfortable with technology, and her students use the computer regularly. She provides opportunities for them to learn by play, organized activities and cooperation with others, while encouraging flexibility and the willingness to make the best out of every situation. Most of all, she hopes to instil in her students the confidence to say "I'll try" rather than "I can't."

Laurie Jewell teaches Grade 10, 11 and 12 Career and Technology Studies at Harry Ainlay High School in Edmonton. This is a somewhat misleading description of her work, however, because she does more than teach. She equips her students with the necessary business and technological skills to succeed in the modern workplace. Interviews, consistent constructive feedback, and an emphasis on organization and time management skills keep students focussed and motivated. Ms. Jewell's main talent is linking the curriculum with life outside the classroom. She uses community resources, creates partnerships with businesses and invites guest speakers into the classroom. She also sponsors the school's Skills Canada Club and Junior Achievement Business Challenge Club. Club members have won medals at provincial and national business competitions.

Sandra Ogrodnick has led her students at Leduc Composite High School in Leduc on field trips to locations ranging from the physics laboratory at the University of Alberta to "Galaxyland." The latter is a local theme park where students analyse the physics behind five rides. They use triangulation to measure the height of each ride and then determine the kinetic performance of the moving parts. In all these activities, Ms. Ogrodnick's goal is to make students curious about the world and to show them that they can achieve. She firmly believes that students will not learn to love mathematics or the sciences unless someone shows them they can succeed at it. She has done just that and her students have responded with superior performance on provincial exams.

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British Columbia

Mitchell Barnes is a teacher at Strawberry Vale Elementary School in Victoria who makes it possible for young children to work with scientists to create educational software. The latest of a number of such rewarding projects is Tree Tales, a CD-ROM about forest ecology and forestry science. It was produced by 19 Grade 6 and 7 students with the help of research scientists from federal and provincial forestry ministries. In the process, Mr. Barnes' students had fun learning not only about photosynthesis, decomposition and the carbon cycle, but also about computer technology. Tree Tales is now being used in schools throughout the province. Other offerings in the CD-ROM series focus on freshwater fish and traffic safety.

Mathematics and sciences were never strong points for Agnes L. Mathers Elementary Junior Secondary School in Sandspit, but that changed with the arrival of Peter Gajda. He quickly put in place a program that combines learning at the students' pace with higher performance standards, and students responded enthusiastically. His students today can do mathematics at their own pace but they know they have to master 80 percent of the subject matter. Mr. Gajda transformed the school's computer lab, making more and better computers available to students. He did this without an increase in budget, often upgrading computers and wiring networks himself. In response, his students are doing better in mathematics and reaching levels in science fairs that are unprecedented for the school.

Why would a 78-year-old grandfather take the time to put together a Prime Minister's Awards nomination package for his grandson's teacher? Because he is a former educator himself who appreciates the incredible efforts Peter Guzzo of James Whiteside Elementary School in Richmond makes for students. The school runs a French immersion program and Mr. Guzzo specializes in encouraging students to develop the self-respect and creativity necessary to succeed in this special environment. His approach is based on involvement -- everyone from students to parents has a place -- and hard work. Those who take up the challenge find themselves completing integrated curriculum involving everything from reading exercises and music to mathematics and computer training.

Edith Illes has spent her entire career looking for trouble and then doing what she can to make it go away. Right out of teacher training, for example, she spent two years teaching on a reserve where the school had no running water. Since joining the staff at Signal Hill Elementary School in Pemberton, she has taught a young boy recovering from a gunshot wound to the head, and then a class of students with behavioural problems. She reached them through food, integrating food preparation into the curriculum and cooking with the class each Friday afternoon. Her services will continue to be valuable as the school struggles to meet the needs of a rapidly growing community. Signal Hill's classes are all bursting with students from a wide variety of backgrounds.

Kyle Kirkwood of the South Hill Education Centre in Vancouver is not only an educator, but also an advocate and mentor. He quickly develops a rapport and mutual respect with his adult students, many of whom are taking English as a second language. His classroom is friendly and interesting, and his lessons include many hands-on activities. Mr. Kirkwood encourages his students to learn from everything around them, pointing out free sources of information, such as libraries, parks and government agencies. Despite their previous school experience or the language barrier, the students do well. Several have achieved perfect scores on provincial exams; others have earned scholarships and entered university programs all over the world.

Among his peers at West Vancouver Secondary School in West Vancouver, John Klassen is considered to have been a major force in bringing about much-needed change to the school's mathematics program. This includes a 20 percent increase in participation in Math 12 between 1991 and 1997, and a steadily decreasing rate of failing grades. Among other things, Mr. Klassen designed and introduced a highly successful remedial learning program for incoming Math 10 and Math 11 students who have previously had difficulty in math courses. With typical determination, he also has been a leader in the use of graphical calculators in mathematics departments, an effort finally rewarded by British Columbia's decision to integrate this technology into new senior-level curriculum beginning in September 1998.

David Vandergugten teaches computer studies in the remote northern community of Fort St. John, where he himself went to school. His students at Bert Bowes Junior Secondary School benefit from his philosophy of educating the whole person, for Mr. Vandergugten has taught art and French as well as math and computer science. In the latter, he makes a phenomenal contribution, guiding the integration of technology into all the school's curricula, designing computer courses, establishing local networks and providing students and faculty alike with access to the latest technological tools. In 1997, he prepared the school for its very successful involvement in the APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) Conference in Vancouver. APEC representatives visited the school to make a presentation.

Sandy Wohl of Hugh Boyd Secondary School in Richmond believes that science education requires a broad range of thinking skills, cooperative learning, time management and a career perspective. In the course of his 25-year career, he has developed activities combining science, language arts, art, history and career education. A typical project might require a student to write a mystery using symptoms of a disease as the clues. This type of assignment reaches students of all language and ability levels and makes plagiarism difficult. Mr. Wohl's commitment to science education has led him to share his creative techniques with other educators. He runs workshops, contributes to many committees and has written dozens of papers, teaching manuals and textbooks.

Joseph Wood's students distinguish themselves with impressive performance in mathematics. Whether it is provincial exams, on which they regularly outperform other schools, or the Pascal, Cayley and Fermat mathematics competitions, in which they place in the top levels, the students of Killarney Secondary School in Vancouver are a force to reckon with. They get that way by completing a wide variety of learning activities. Some of Mr. Wood's techniques are tried and true and others use new technology, such as graphical calculators. These approaches have helped students at all levels to succeed. He makes his classroom equally welcoming to boys and girls; the latter comprise half of his classes.

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Northwest Territories

As a northern teacher for nine years, Elizabeth Tumblin is aware of the challenges facing her Grade 6 students at Joamie School in Iqaluit. Mostly Inuit with low levels of literacy in English and Inuktitut, they are caught in social and economic upheaval that undermines their own culture. In classrooms where student apathy, disruptive behaviour and erratic attendance were the norm, Ms. Tumblin has had extraordinary success in increasing learning achievement. She uses telecommunications technology and unique teaching methods, such as highly interactive small group study, geared to local cultural circumstances, to create an exemplary learning environment. Students contribute to a database of research on subjects such as racism and the history of the Thule and Dorset peoples.

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© 2010 Bill Henderson