Two TDSB teachers are among a select group of twenty education workers that have been named recipients of the Premier's Awards for Teaching Excellence. The awards recognize outstanding educators and support staff in eight different categories that reflect the contributions they make to help students succeed.
Driftwood PS grade 5 teacher Sheri Alcordo is one of five named Teacher of the Year. A fixture at Driftwood PS for the past 18 years, Alcordo is a big believer in leveraging community and parent engagement to instill important values in her students. Recently she led her class in joining together with parents and various community leaders to plant and paint garden boxes adorned with key positive words about community. The project beautifies the community, provides fresh produce, and creates a sense of pride in the place students call home.
Students say she makes learning fun and challenges them to think."Without doubt, she is truly deserving of this award," said Driftwood PS Principal Debi Lavine. "Sheri has made a difference in the lives of many children because of her sincere commitment to them and to their education."
Lavine noted that her veteran teacher's success is based on strong principles that guide her both inside and outside the classroom. "The bond between Sheri and students, parents and administration is grounded in respect, integrity and trust," noted Lavine. "She willingly and enthusiastically shares her expertise, knowledge and resources with others and identifies, fosters and celebrates the strengths of others."
Last year she was also named OMNI TV's Teacher of the Year.
Northern SS teacher Jason Trinh was named one of three New Teachers of the Year. The long-term occassional teacher joined the staff last year to take over science classes for a teacher on a maternity leave. He is much loved by students, parents, and teachers alike said Principal Ron Felsen. "It's never an easy task to begin a teaching assignment in the middle of the school year," he said. But Felsen noted that Trinh not only maintained the standard of excellence for those classes, he went "above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that he instilled a love of science in his students and that they would succeed in his classes."
Felsen called Trinh a natural leader. "He understands that respect is best earned when it is genuinely modelled in all interactions and he understands how to shape instruction so that it is meaningful to his students and accessible to a wide range of learners."
In addition to his formal duties inside the classroom, Trinh offers much more. He serves as the coach to the school Badminton team, mentors students for their Science Fair projects, and led a Math Camp at a neighbouring school last summer, working with a team of four teachers to create programming and resources for the two-week venture. "Many participating students pointed to that camp experience as pivotal to their marked improvement in mathematics this year," said Felsen.
A selection panel reviewed and assessed hundreds of nominations from across the province to select the award recipients. The panel was chaired by Brandie Weikle, former editor of the Toronto Star's parenting website, parentcentral.ca, and included an early childhood educator, parent, principal, student, support staff member and teacher.
"Teachers, support staff, principals, teams and leaders at our schools know that education is not just a job, it's a calling," said Premier Dalton McGuinty in a statement. "Our kids and our schools are our investment in the future. It's important to honour and thank those who work so hard and so successfully in our schools."
Photos courtesy of the Ministry of Education.