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2015 Excellence Recipients

Kweku Ekwam Teacher, Driftwood P.S.
Kweku Ekwam
Teacher, Driftwood P.S.

Kweku is an inspiring educator who works tirelessly to support the students, teachers and parents in the Driftwood P.S. community. He generously donates his time to enhance student achievement through the development of a number of after-school programs.

Kweku has organized a Math program which has led to a notable improvement in student math scores. He also provides piano classes for students free of cost. His kind and generous efforts have allowed marginalized students to reap the benefits of learning a music instrument.

He is also strongly committed to preparing Driftwood students for future leadership through Leaders of Tomorrow, a program designed to build positive social skills in students. His approach to education is clearly driven by a genuine desire to see his students succeed. Kweku often visits families at home to encourage students to take their school attendance and learning seriously. Kweku is truly dedicated to making a positive impact on his school community.

Patrick McCarthy Head Caretaker, Davisville P.S.
Patrick McCarthy
Head Caretaker, Davisville P.S.

“It’s not a job. It’s an adventure”. Those words are the motto of Patrick McCarthy, beloved caretaker at Davisville P.S. who consistently inspires students and staff. Patrick is genuinely passionate about taking care of the school and the wider community which has had a tremendous impact. He is the driving force behind Davisville’s Eco School program in which he actively engages students to take responsibility for the environment. In addition, Patrick has proactively taken responsibility for the success of Davisville’s bid for Eco-Platinum status. Through working with students to conduct regular eco-audits and placing compostable bins on each floor, Patrick has demonstrated his tireless commitment to sustainability and it continues far beyond school hours.

It’s not uncommon to see Pat on the school grounds on Saturdays, ensuring the yard is clear and accessible to all. Patrick’s unwavering and positive attitude has created a strong sense of school pride among students, staff and community members.

Shelle Rankine Child and Youth Worker, Heydon Park S.S.
Shelle Rankine
Child and Youth Worker, Heydon Park S.S.

Shelle Rankine is the crucial backbone of Heydon Park S.S. She continuously has her pulse on the school, always quick to provide her support for school events and resolving issues before they escalate. Shelle is involved in all aspects of school life, whether it’s tutoring students or organizing cultural celebrations during the school year. Her gentle but effective approach has made her a leader within the school. Shelle was instrumental in helping Heydon Park S.S. achieve one of its key goals - Character Development. As the lead staff advisor for “Future Aces”, a program to assist youth and adults to become the best they can be, the school has witnessed students transform into strong student leaders.

Her work has been pivotal to a positive school climate, particularly for those students who come from marginalized neighbourhoods. Working collaboratively, she has empowered young women to step outside of their comfort zone and achieve their dreams. Shelle is a true role model of excellence and her unwavering dedication continues to inspire students and staff each and every day.

James Bryers, Michelle Munk, Christine Saraceno, David Stocker, Shawna Watson Teachers, City View Alternative P.S.
James Bryers, Michelle Munk, Christine Saraceno, David Stocker, Shawna Watson Teachers, City View Alternative P.S.

This dedicated group of teachers at Cityview are passionate about providing students with the confidence to raise their voices. Their passion to see their students succeed both within and outside of the classroom has created a unique learning environment within City View. In their eyes, students are not just students – they’re citizens with the power to fight for social justice and equity. Through a thoughtfully designed curriculum, students are challenged to consider broader issues and alternative perspectives and are also empowered to act on larger civic responsibilities. For example, during the unit on Climate Change, students submitted a deputation to the City’s new subcommittee on Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation.

Also unique to City View is the year-long United Nations class where students engage in debates, tackle complex issues and volunteer in the community. They lead weekly discussion groups where students can express their feelings and perspectives. In a classroom constructed to enable collaboration and discourse leading to a positive environment of trust and respect, City View students have truly been inspired to make a difference now and in the future.

Lois Lorimer Nunn Teacher-Librarian, R.H. King Academy
Lois Lorimer Nunn
Teacher-Librarian, R.H. King Academy

For over 26 years, Lois Lorimer Nunn has been a much welcomed source of warmth, friendship and passion within R.H. King Academy. Teacher-librarian by day and poet by night, Lois is dedicated to setting an example for teacher-librarians around the city. Her work has been instrumental in transforming libraries into not only a place for learning, but a space for wellness. As part of her ongoing mental health initiatives, Lois created “Mindful Minute” which gives students a chance to breathe and relax. Her dedication to mindfulness doesn’t stop with students – she also helps provide staff with the opportunity to reduce their own stress through various workshops.

Lois has dedicated herself to creating a number of student clubs including Girls Novel Club, Creative Writers Club and King Library Council, a group of students that Lois mentors. She also helped in the development of the Living Library program which received a TDSB Excellence Award in 2012. The program pairs students with members of the local working community and community members are invited to be ‘living books’ that students can check out and learn about their lives and careers. R.H. King Academy has won the National Quality Institute Award of Excellence three times and both students and staff attribute the school’s success to Lois’ hard work and dedication.

Linda Caruana  Office Administrator, Terry Fox Public School
Linda Caruana 
Office Administrator, Terry Fox Public School

Linda Caruana’s devotion and commitment to Terry Fox Public School has helped to create a strong and effective school community. Linda participates in a variety of committees and activities including the Mental Health Team, Safe Schools Committee, Fundraising team and she even teaches folkdance! She is always willing to assist with any and every initiative, even beyond scheduled school hours. For the past two years, Linda has volunteered to spend three days away from home as a female supervisor for the Grade 5 trip to Toronto Island Nature School. Without her selfless involvement, the trip would not have been as successful as it was. Linda’s exemplary contributions make her an invaluable asset to the Terry Fox P.S. community.

Vivian Yeung Teacher, Lester B. Pearson C.I.
Vivian Yeung
Teacher, Lester B. Pearson C.I.

“Leaders do not follow, they lead”. Vivian Yeung is a true example of exemplary leadership, an educator who dedicates herself to bringing out the best in everyone. Not only does she commit herself to transforming Pearson C.I.’s school community, she’s dedicated to creating confident student leaders. Under her leadership, Pearson offers over 60 school-based clubs and organizations. She is also behind the newly formed Leadership Network which encourages students to create their own school initiatives. Vivian has the ability to make all students feel like they are a valued part of the school community. She’s able to see the potential in each and every student and work with them to become positive role models within the community.

Vivian is one of the most involved teachers at Pearson C.I as she’s the organizer for UNITY (an organization that connects students through Hip Hop), International Night (an event that exhibits various countries through pavilions and performances) and she coaches various sports including basketball and baseball. Vivian also encourages students to become globally conscious by leading students to Dominican Republic each year to build homes, libraries and schools for underprivileged families. Vivian’s positivity inspires both students and staff to become meaningful contributors not only within the school but in the greater community. 

Richard Filler Social Worker, Area A
Richard Filler
Social Worker, Area A

Richard Filler and his outstanding contributions have successfully promoted positive school cultures and supportive social environments. Approximately 10 years ago, Richard began “Exercise for Success”, an intergenerational program that encourages elementary and high school students, parents, grandparents, school staff and community members to come together for exercise and networking. The program consists of group exercise, followed by themed discussions. Through connecting with others and engaging in physical exercise, Richard has created a strong community in which participants feel confident to share, challenge and support each other.

“Exercise for Success” provides students with the opportunity to work on presentation and leadership skills as they are trained to speak about the program’s benefits at conferences and in nearby schools. Students are also encouraged to build their confidence by leading a portion of the fitness section. In an effort to build student engagement in the community, Richard takes students on outdoor education retreats and helps them earn first aid qualifications, which has helped students in attaining summer jobs. Richard’s passion for making a difference continues to support vulnerable students and families. His innovative program has transcended boundaries and opened horizons for those of all ages and backgrounds.

Andrew Buchoon Educational Assistant, Joseph Brant P.S.

Andrew Buchoon
Educational Assistant, Joseph Brant P.S.

Andrew Buchoon has become an instrumental leader in increasing parent engagement and community partnerships within Joseph Brant P.S. He developed his signature program “Performance Training”, a daily before school program that teaches students and staff the value of a healthy lifestyle, mental well-being as well as character and leadership development. Another integral part of the program is daily acts of kindness. Students make monthly visits to 43 Division officers to deliver random acts of kindness. Through participation in his program, students demonstrate improved attendance, behaviours at home and school and academic achievement.

In addition to managing this daily program, Andrew generously gives up his own time to coach numerous sports teams and organize special evening events such as Family Wellness Nights and community marches. Andrew is a beloved member of the Joseph Brant P.S. community as he continues to have a significant and positive influence.

Christopher Meyer Teacher, York Mills C.I.
Christopher Meyer
Teacher, York Mills C.I. 

Christopher Meyer has transformed the way physics is being taught within York Mills C.I, the TDSB and across Canada. Traditional lectures have been replaced by small group guided-inquiry investigations in order to provoke discussion, excitement and deep understanding. Through his unique, collaborative approach to teaching, students have found joy in science and have witnessed unexpected academic success. He has been instrumental in implementing the STEM approach in physics and his success has encouraged other educators to adopt the approach in Chemistry and Biology.

It was 10 years ago that Christopher first realized a need to switch to inquiry-based learning in order to better meet the needs of his students. Today, he is leader across the TDSB and Ontario. An author and influential presenter at workshops and conferences, Christopher works passionately to improve student success in the sciences. 

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