Brockville – Director of Education Stephen Sliwa announced the most recent recipients of the Director’s Award of Merit during the Wednesday, November 22nd Board of Trustees meeting at the Upper Canada District School Board.
The Director’s Award of Merit is presented quarterly to employees who bring the best of themselves to the workplace on a regular basis throughout the year, contributing to a positive, productive, and caring workplace in which employees support each other to achieve important goals for serving and supporting our students and schools. Through their efforts and actions, these employees inspire students and colleagues alike, by demonstrating the spirit of the UCDSB’s mission, vision, and values.
Winners were announced at Wednesday night’s meeting, and the awards will be officially presented to recipients at the Celebration Night ceremony in June.
The most recent winners are:
Gordon Zubyck, Teacher, Russell High School: This teacher at Russell High School is being honoured for his passion and dedication to teaching. He leads many workshops and seminars throughout Ontario, sharing the latest research data on many facets of education such as physical literacy, elearning, literacy and student success. He introduced the “Revolution” at RHS, an approach to physical education that promotes healthy, active living for life. He is heavily involved in establishing and nurturing RHS’s relationships with local organizations and members of the community, such as ensuring the school enters a float every year in the Russell Christmas Parade.
Kathleen Gignac, Counsellor, Successful Destination Program: Kathleen has been a counsellor with the Successful Destination Program since its inception. She oversees students attending the program throughout the Board, as well as the Transitions and Foundations Cornwall Campus. She is kind, genuine and exerts a calming influence on students, who know they can talk openly with her because she allows them to talk through their concerns. She uses Sharing Circles to help students build emotional literacy, relationship competence, and the ability to feel at ease when speaking and listening to others. She is also aware of the financial circumstances many students find themselves in and works to ensure students have warm winter clothing, seeking donations of gently used winter clothing from staff, family and friends for students to use. She also encourages those in need to apply for Champions for Kids funding if required to assist a student (such as for the purchase of eyeglasses, food, and medication).
Nancy Clow, Learning Commons Informationist, River Family of Schools: Nancy is the Learning Commons Informationist for Gananoque Intermediate and Secondary School (GISS), Linklater Public School, and Thousand Islands Elementary School. She was instrumental in renovating the Learning Commons spaces within her schools and assisted with the selection, procurement follow-up, and even the assembly of new furnishings for the GISS Learning Commons. She is an active supporter of her schools’ Equity and Inclusion initiatives, attending workshops and conferences for LGTBQ+ and Indigenous issues. She assisted the Board’s Indigenous Education Program, collaborating with teachers to create the Virtual Learning Commons Aboriginal Voices Grade 11 Curriculum Resource Guide. She also assists teachers and students in the classroom with research skills, presentations and other exciting activities.
Paula Mooney, Teacher, Meadowview Public School: Paula is known for treating students like family. She has a warm, inviting classroom and her teaching methods keep the students focused and entertained. She is a champion of healthy eating and has brought in many programs for students to have fresh, local fruits and vegetables delivered to each classroom weekly. She is a champion of the school’s environmental club and has taught students about the importance of recycling, reusing, composting and caring for wildlife. Due in large part to her efforts, the school earned an EcoSchools Platinum designation. She regularly offers exciting learning opportunities in her classroom, such as a monarch butterfly project in which students are able to watch the lifecycle of monarchs in her classroom.
Susan Steele, Educational Assistant, Pakenham Public School: This educational assistant is known for her endless energy, hard work, and drive to develop and implement programming for her school’s most vulnerable students. She does not take breaks during instructional time, instead wishing to use her time to help our students be successful. She often stays late to discuss and help prepare special programming. Her caring attitude and organized work practice ensure she has adjusted her timetable so she is reaching as many students as possible when they need help the most.
Val Allen, Superintendent, Upper Canada District School Board: Valerie is being honoured for her positive outlook and commitment to helping everyone grow. That commitment can be seen in the way she creates learning opportunities for those around her through professional development, learning teams or meetings. During parent meetings, she consistently demonstrates respect and care for our students and their families, no matter what the circumstances. And while she manages a hectic schedule, she always has time for questions or to share her thoughts and ideas to help others.