Board Awards – 2023
Rainbow District School Board honoured its dedicated employees and community partners with the 2023 Awards for Outstanding Contribution to the Co-Curricular Program, Community Partnership Awards, the Go Green Globe Awards, Awards for Excellence, the Barbara Konarek Memorial Award and the William N. Roman Teacher of the Year Award. Individuals with 25 and 35 years of service were also recognized.
“These awards represent a rich tradition of honouring excellence in Rainbow Schools,” said Board Chair Bob Clement. “We are proud of our award recipients for their individual and collective contributions to Rainbow Schools in Sudbury, Espanola and Manitoulin Island. They represent the values that we cherish, model and teach.”
“Award recipients are champions for children and youth,” said Director of Education Bruce Bourget. “Together, they reflect the experience, energy and enthusiasm that make Rainbow Schools great places to learn. They give of themselves to provide a strong circle of care and, in the process, open doors, enabling students to explore a world of possibilities and achieve their full potential.”
AWARDS FOR OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO THE CO-CURRICULAR PROGRAM
Jon Balfe – Teacher – Manitoulin Secondary School
Jon Balfe graduated from Manitoulin Secondary School, pursued his postsecondary studies, and later returned to his alma mater as a staff member. He currently teaches math. Not surprisingly, Jon Balfe also gives back to the school that provided many opportunities to him as a student. He has been leading co-curricular activities his entire career. He also encourages the school community to adopt a healthy, active lifestyle through initiatives like homemade soup and outdoor walks to mark important days.
Through his efforts, Jon Balfe supports a wide range of students, from those seeking an introduction to working out to elite athletes looking to improve their skills. He developed a CrossFit gym where he offers workouts during lunch and after school. He is also a highly respected basketball and track and field coach. Under his expert guidance, students have captured many honours locally and beyond. Thank you for your contribution.
Karen Gauvin – Teacher – Barrydowne College
Passionate and energetic, Karen Gauvin is an educator who leads with her heart. She organizes activities, visits and visitors that enable students at Barrydowne College to meet others, gain skills, explore hobbies, learn about Indigenous culture and community programs, and have fun. Karen shops and prepares food for the school’s nutrition programs. She has also applied for funding to support Outdoor Education and Experiential Learning.
For many, these initiatives offer students experiences and opportunities to make memories as they re-engage in school and write their future stories. Staff get to know their learners better, building relationships that are so important to student success. A dedicated teacher, Karen Gauvin provides that just right balance of pressure and support that makes this school within a college a great place for students returning to school to achieve their diploma. She is most deserving of an Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Co-Curricular Program.
Neil Phipps – Community Coach – Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School
Neil Phipps started running and skiing at Lockerby Composite School in 1983 and he’s never looked back. Now he volunteers his time inspiring other student athletes to be the best they can be. At Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School, he co-coaches cross-country running, Nordic skiing and track and field. He’s the mid-distance coach during track season. His expertise is highly regarded, and staff and students are grateful for the consistent support he has provided over the past 10 years.
Under the expert guidance of their dedicated coaching team, Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School athletes excel provincially. They capture high honours in all competitions, including this year’s champions in Nordic skiing. In the community, Neil Phipps is a very active athlete. As the organizer of the Sudbury Fitness Challenge and the Beaton Classic, he gives others an opportunity to push themselves further and farther, building endurance and confidence as they pursue a healthy lifestyle. Congratulations!
COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP AWARDS
March of Dimes Canada
As a lead partner in ProjectSEARCH HSN, launched locally last fall, March of Dimes Canada supports students in their transition from school to work. Students in their final year of high school receive hands-on experience, enabling them to develop skills required for entry-level employment. Trainers from March of Dimes Canada work with students every day to ensure they have the skills and accommodations they need to be successful in their placements in a variety of departments at Health Sciences North.
March of Dimes Canada recognizes the importance of work in everyone’s life. Work builds confidence, character and independence. It also fosters a sense of purpose, meaning and satisfaction. Upon completion of ProjectSEARCH, March of Dimes Canada helps graduates find employment. We are grateful to March of Dimes Canada for partnering with us to bring ProjectSEARCH to Sudbury. Thank you for helping students in Rainbow Schools achieve their full potential. Accepting the award on behalf of March of Dimes Canada are Janine Roy, Regional Employment Services Manager, and Jennifer Way, Program Manager for Project SEARCH.
Rehan’s Your Independent Grocer
It takes a village to raise a child. Community partners, therefore, play an important role in supporting student success. At Lansdowne Public School, Rehan Iqbal, owner operator of Rehan’s Your Independent Grocer, is a much valued partner. Rehan provides students, staff and families with a strong circle of care, and they can’t thank him enough for his generosity. Healthy children are happy children who are well on their way towards achieving their full potential.
Rehan’s Your Independent Grocer fills food orders at Lansdowne Public School at cost, enabling the school to maximize its budget for nutrition. Rehan and his team also host school-wide events, including big breakfasts, hot lunches, treat days, and pizza for staff meetings. In addition, Rehan’s contributes to school food drives and donates food rescue items to Lansdowne families, supporting students at school and at home. Rehan Iqbal is most deserving of a Community Partnership Award. Accepting the Award on behalf of Rehan’s Your Independent Grocer are Produce Manager Manny Gavidia and Store Manager Lisa Renaud.
At Larchwood Public School, Roger Beaulieu is a Kindness Ninja in his own right. The owner of Valu-mart, he seeks out ways to contribute to the school and the community, modelling the values we instill in our students. He achieves this through donations for BBQs, prizes for raffles, school breakfasts and lunches, special orders for the nutrition program and events, support for school activities, and so much more.
Not surprisingly, Roger is the Kindness Ninjas’ biggest fan, always welcoming them on site to sell kindness buttons or hand out flowers. He even had a sign made for the Kindergarten students so they could set up their own grocery store in the classroom. He genuinely cares about students and makes them feel important. Author Coretta Scott King said: “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” Roger Beaulieu is part of what makes Dowling a great community.
GO GREEN GLOBE AWARDS
Chelmsford Valley District Composite School – Elementary
Eco-friendly practices at Chelmsford Valley District Composite School are encouraged with no-mow zones and Good On One Side bins. Grade 5/6 students created hydroponic indoor gardens using water-based nutrients rather than soil. To reduce their carbon footprint through alternative modes of transportation, students learned how to service their bicycles. When caught doing something good for the environment, students and staff are nominated for an “Ecostar” medallion.
The schoolyard at Chelmsford Valley District Composite School is home to over 30 new trees that promote biodiversity and provide shade for students on hot days. Apple trees that attract pollinators and outdoor classrooms with silver maples enhance student learning in nature. Hardy perennials are planted by students, who also maintain the garden beds. Two teachers and five students attended the Learning for a Sustainable Future conference to increase their knowledge on climate change and bring back new ideas for ongoing sustainability. Accepting the award are students Grace St. Amour and Adriana Tavares, teachers Joseph Lonsdale, Hailey Evers and Lynsey Davidson, as well as Principal Patrick Hopkin.
Espanola High School
Green culture has become second nature at Espanola High School where the Eco Allies incentive program inspires daily sustainable actions. Prosperous partnerships with Anishinabek Elders and Wisdom Keepers help embed traditional Indigenous knowledge into the fabric of the school. Students enjoy the CALMmon courtyard, an outdoor learning space complete with a tipi, flower beds, and water and four medicine gardens. Staff and students repurpose non-traditional items including paint, wood scraps and art supplies, and divert textile waste through the Spartan Thrift Store.
Environmental action has extended beyond school grounds with water walks and community clean-ups. Grade 9 students collected natural outdoor materials to create bee pollinator hotels for the community. Students are growing and maintaining indoor plants in classrooms, hallways and the greenhouse, and staff carpool whenever possible to reduce their carbon footprint. Most notably, the school’s comprehensive recycling and composting program was highlighted recently in Canadian Teacher Magazine. Accepting the award are Principal Melanie Bertrand, Vice-Principal Andrea Therrien and teacher Jayson Stewart.
AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE
Meghan Baggs – Program Leader – Lockerby Composite School
Meghan Baggs is connected to many facets of school life at Lockerby Composite School, contributing to the positive school culture. Throughout her 22-year career, she has exemplified excellence in teaching as Program Leader, Guidance Counsellor, Student Success Lead and classroom teacher. Despite her many hats, Meghan remains effortlessly optimistic. Her engaging demeanour, sense of humour, compassion and empathy have a lasting impact on students.
The ultimate team player, Meghan is intelligent, competent, adaptable and flexible. She is a mentor to colleagues and will always go the extra mile for students. Her leadership skills are evident as advisor for the School Council and Students’ Council. Meghan also presents OSSLT workshops, volunteers for the Breakfast Club, has coached a number of sports teams, and supports the School Promotion Committee. Meghan’s students know her to be reliable, sincere, caring, patient and conscientious. Thank you for your continued commitment to student success.
Tracey Brown – Attendance Counsellor – Sudbury Secondary School
It is a truth universally acknowledged that students need to be present to learn. As an Attendance Counsellor, Tracey Brown supports students and families who struggle to engage with school, helping them see the value of an education. Caring and compassionate, she uses a solution-based approach as she connects families with community resources and breaks down barriers to access.
In meeting the legal responsibilities of her role, Tracey Brown focuses on the overall well-being of students, working with schools and agencies to achieve positive outcomes. Home visits enable her to ensure students are safe while assessing the circumstances preventing them from going to school. With authenticity and empathy, she pursues students so they do not fall through the cracks. She is the caring adult who nudges and nurtures to encourage students to achieve their goals. A leader in her field, Tracey Brown is most deserving of an Award for Excellence.
Shelley Buckland – Speech and Language Pathologist – Centre for Education
Shelley Buckland develops language and communication skills among our youngest students, establishing a solid foundation for future learning. The Board’s Speech and Language team has piloted evidenced based programs to support early literacy, including Heggerty Phonemic Awareness which is now used in all of our schools. Shelley not only works with students to identify and meet their needs, she also supports families and trains teachers on intervention strategies that make a difference.
This includes sound walls in primary classrooms and the introduction of Story Champs which develops oral language through storytelling, information retelling, vocabulary and writing. A great collaborator, Shelley works with teachers and program staff to ensure students develop language and early literacy skills to reach their potential. When the Right to Read report was released, the Board was well on its way towards achieving the recommendations thanks to the strategies and programs already in place with Shelley’s expertise.
Natasha Corbiere and Melissa Volpini – Teachers – Little Current Public School
Natasha Corbiere and Melissa Volpini model excellence in teaching at Little Current Public School. Together, they devote countless hours outside of the regular school day to research best practices in literacy to develop engaging and meaningful learning experiences for students. With passion and perseverance, Natasha and Melissa have worked diligently to master the science of reading through a variety of channels, including the University of Florida Literacy Institute and the Right to Read Report. They also participated in the Summer Institute and purchased resources to deepen their understanding of literacy practices.
Going above and beyond for students, Natasha Corbiere and Melissa Volpini readily share their expertise by providing professional learning on instruction using sound walls and decodable books. They also made recommendations for teaching materials and supplies to enhance student achievement in literacy. Their commitment to student success, inquiry approach to literacy, and unwavering support for colleagues have made them a dynamic duo in developing strong foundational skills. They are most deserving of an Award for Excellence.
Chris Dinnes – Program Leader – Lively District Secondary School
As Program Leader of the Innovative Integrated Technology program, Chris Dinnes creates opportunities for students in manufacturing, welding, construction and carpentry, transportation, and design and communication. The lead teacher for the Specialist High Skills Major in Mining, he organizes reach ahead activities, certifications, challenges, Co-operative Education and field trips. An out of the box thinker, he promotes the trades through school and community events such as the Summer Welding Camp, Girls in Trades Nights, and other hands-on learning.
Chris Dinnes is adept at securing funding, building partnerships, engaging mentors, maintaining modern facilities, promoting women in technology and enhancing programs. In recognition of his contributions locally and provincially, he received the 2023 Excellence in Teaching Award – Secondary from the Ontario Council for Technology Education. A lifelong learner, he is continually improving his teaching practice. Under his leadership, students develop a passion for the trades and a pathway to rewarding careers.
Hazel Fox-Recollet – Indigenous Support System-Level – Centre for Education
Kind and caring, Hazel approaches her work with humility and empathy as she shares her own learning about Indigenous ways of knowing. Her Anishinaabe perspective values the importance of relationships for resilience, equity and community. Gentle and genuine, Hazel fosters positive and trusting relations with staff, students and communities. She helps to advance the Board’s commitment to Truth and Reconciliation, including the inauguration of a Sunrise Ceremony to commemorate those impacted by residential schools.
As a delightful Anishinaabe Kwe, Hazel contributes towards infusing an Indigenous perspective into the curriculum, helps create school connections to Elders and Knowledge Keepers, leads workshops, and provides inspiration for students to cherish the importance of identity and purpose as future leaders and care providers. She has been strategic to support the launching of our inaugural “Reclaiming the Honourable Harvest” Celebration coming this fall. Hazel embodies the gifts of the Seven Grandfather Teachings. A role model, we are grateful for all that she does. Miigwech, Hazel!
Monica MacMillan – Teacher – Redwood Acres Public School
Monica MacMillan is a shining example of intentional teaching. Dedicated to continuous improvement, she implements research-based strategies to support student growth and achievement. It’s one of the reasons she was selected to lead a lighthouse classroom where she models literacy for colleagues. Monica identifies the emotional and academic needs of each learner, sets goals and closes gaps. With purposeful practice, her students have made huge gains in reading, comprehension and writing.
In her classroom, every child is treated with respect and dignity. They feel welcome in the school community which creates a strong sense of belonging. Instilling a growth mindset in students, setting high expectations and celebrating small wins builds resilience, confidence and character. Every child believes in their ability to achieve success which establishes a solid foundation for the future. Monica MacMillan has had a positive and powerful impact on students. She is most deserving of an Award for Excellence.
Kaarina McLaughlin – Teacher – Walden Public School
Kaarina McLaughlin is a consummate professional who lives and breathes education, evident by her work with students. Motivated and organized, Kaarina embraces new learning concepts and teaching techniques to support student success in literacy and numeracy. She inspires students to be curious, challenge themselves and take risks. Colleagues are honoured to work alongside her and students love being in her classroom.
An exemplary role model and mentor to new teachers, Kaarina takes pride in sharing her knowledge as an educator. She is perceptive, self-reflective, kind, inclusive, honest, funny and giving. She serves on the School Council, another venue for building connections with parents. She has also coached a number of teams, including soccer, baseball, volleyball, basketball and floor hockey, helping students build important life skills, like resilience. Kaarina sees the best in everyone and always pushes students to reach their goals. Wherever she goes, positive energy flows. Thank you.
Debbie Presot – Human Resources Administrator – Centre for Education
Debbie Presot has worked in positions of progressive responsibility in the Board’s
Human Resources Department for the past 20 years. Her first and foremost priority is ensuring the Board recruits the best employees to serve the students in our care. She achieves this by actively contributing to the Board’s reputation as an employer of choice in Sudbury, Espanola and Manitoulin.
There are many attributes that set Debbie apart as an HR professional. She is reliable, dedicated, kind, helpful, committed, organized, knowledgeable and caring. She embraces outside of the box thinking to improve processes, steps up to volunteer when needed, and makes everyone feel welcome and supported. People are naturally drawn to her friendly approach and wonderful sense of humour. An engaging team player, she ensures students have excellent support staff to assist them on their journey of learning and does it all with a smile. Thank you, Debbie.
Craig Runciman – Principal – Lockerby Composite School
Craig Runciman has guided learning and teaching at Lasalle Secondary School, Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School and Lockerby Composite School. As a Principal, he values the importance of building strong relationships with students, parents/guardians and community members to nurture student success. With the support of dedicated staff, he has championed positive classroom experiences, engaging experiential opportunities and dynamic co-curricular activities, creating school cultures that foster a love of learning, a sense of belonging and a desire to give back.
On a system-wide level, Principal Runciman has become a mentor to many of his colleagues. A good listener and experienced administrator, he willingly shares his knowledge. His guidance on school athletics, assessment and evaluation, and safe schools has been highly appreciated and respected. Principal Runciman leads with humility and authenticity. A reflective practitioner who exudes quiet confidence, his commitment to creating warm and welcoming school environments has never wavered.
Mindy Rushton – Educational Assistant – C.R. Judd Public School
From the moment students step off the bus at C.R. Judd Public School, Mindy Rushton greets them by name with a cheerful smile. This sets a positive tone for their day of learning. Kind and compassionate, Ms. M, as she is affectionately known, has an extraordinary way of making students feel valued and supported, which contributes to a warm and welcoming school community. A proponent for success inside and outside the classroom, she volunteers as a basketball coach. She also organizes equipment donations.
Mindy Rushton is often sought by colleagues for her expertise in working with students of all abilities. She defuses stressful situations in a manner that is respectful to all involved and minimally disruptive to classroom learning. Mindy also works closely with the ABA team to successfully implement behaviour plans. Patient, humble, respectful, nurturing and generous, Mindy Rushton is most deserving of an Award for Excellence.
BARBARA KONAREK MEMORIAL AWARD
Christina Kulyski – Teacher – Northeastern Elementary School
A team player and leader in special education at Northeastern Elementary School, Christina Kulyski is a fierce advocate for the school’s most vulnerable students. Her passion for education, tireless work ethic and welcoming personality make students feel important, valued and empowered. This creates a strong sense of belonging. Christina also works alongside Grade 8 students and their families to prepare them for the transition to secondary school.
Christina is organized and spends countless hours creating and updating Individual Education Plans and behaviour safety plans for students. She also collects and curates school-wide literacy and numeracy data to share with colleagues. Christina enjoys using intervention strategies such as Empower to help bring students to their grade level in reading. Beyond the classroom, Christina leads clubs, extra-curricular activities and outings for the entire school. With her compassion, commitment and kindness, she is most deserving of the Barbara Konarek Memorial Award.
WILLIAM N. ROMAN TEACHER OF THE YEAR AWARD
Dale Beausoleil – Teacher – Northeastern Elementary School
Dale Beausoleil is a respected volleyball coach. Last year, the Ontario College Athletic Association named him Coach of the Year for men and women, which had never been done in the same year. He has also earned accolades from Rainbow Schools. Dale Beausoleil is equally as effective in the classroom, where he nurtures students to achieve their full potential. A mentor and role model, he pours his heart and soul into everything he does.
Mr. B has a deep understanding of the curriculum and provides an entry point and safe learning environment for students of all abilities. Students know they are valued and important. Like his coaching, he inspires them to believe in themselves and sets high expectations. Students complete academic tasks with confidence, make significant gains, and develop a love for learning. Patient and passionate, his commitment to student achievement and well-being inspires other educators to be a “Dale Beausoleil”.
Mac Bertrand – Teacher – Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School
A masterful English teacher, Mac Bertrand exemplifies the qualities that we value in Rainbow Schools. He sets high expectations, inspires curiosity, encourages students to take risks, and fosters critical thinking which leads to authentic engagement. Creative approaches in his classroom respond to student interests, further bringing learning to life. His students appreciate his energy, feedback, knowledge and integrity. His colleagues also benefit from his expertise, as he willingly shares best practices.
Beyond the classroom, Mac Bertrand recognizes the importance of giving students opportunities to fully experience school life through co-curricular activities. While he oversees the school newspaper, a natural extension to his talent as a writer, his true passion is basketball. Lo-Ellen Park basketball teams have won many championships under his guidance. He also organizes basketball camps to help younger players develop their skills. Mac Bertrand is an exceptional educator, coach and mentor in Rainbow Schools.