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Capital Educators' Awards 2012

The 2012 Capital Educators’ Awards were presented to 16 of the region’s most innovative and respected educators on May 17th at the eleventh Annual EduGala, held at Algonquin College. The Ottawa Catholic School Board is proud to recognize our 11 finalists who attended the special event, and congratulate the two (2) award recipients. The new ONFE Innovation Award was also presented to St. Gabriel School in recognition of their innovative use of technology to support student learning! Congratulations to all!

Hosted by the Ottawa Network for Education (ONFE), the annual event honours talented and dedicated professionals from all levels of education in our public education system who demonstrate teaching excellence and instil confidence and a passion for learning in their students. "Our educators play a critical role in this community. They are shaping the lives of and minds of roughly a quarter of a million students in Ottawa. This event is a fantastic way to showcase their achievements and recognize their contributions,” said Julian Hanlon, Director of Education, Ottawa Catholic School Board. 

St. Gabriel School - Innovation Award Recipient 2012

ocsb-onfe-innovation-finalists-2012Students and teachers at St. Gabriel School are using technology to develop and demonstrate collaborative and critical thinking skills to support curriculum expectations. Their learning is shared in their own classrooms, across the school board and globally using Google Apps, iPad Apps and Edmodo. Classes have created environmental projects and saved their work into QR codes while other classes are actively using Edmodo to work collaboratively online in literary circles. Classes are also using Twitter and Google+ Hangouts to work with students globally in literacy and math. As well, Web2 tools and apps have encouraged second language students to express their thinking orally. These adaptive learning tools have enabled students to personalize their education and reach their own learning goals. Students also provide constructive feedback to each other and to students outside their own classrooms. The students find success as they are given choices to use technology to display their thinking and to achieve a sense of ownership in the learning process. They are eager to share their learning and to ask questions to further their thinking.

Photo above: Group shot of the Innovation Awards finalists


Nominations for Capital Educators’ Awards were open to educators employed by the four publicly-funded school boards, two colleges and four universities located in the City of Ottawa. More than 560 nominations were received for 354 educators who were nominated by current and former students, parents and professional colleagues. A panel of judges representing business, education and community organizations reviewed the 68 finalists and selected the 16 award recipients.

The Capital Educators’ Awards were created in 2001 by a group of business and education leaders who wanted to raise the profile of public education and to recognize and celebrate the achievements of Ottawa’s local educators.

The Ottawa Network for Education (ONFE) hosts the Capital Educators’ Awards program in collaboration with ten participating education institutions, as well as through support from corporations and foundations who share ONFE's belief in the importance of celebrating excellence in education in our community. ONFE has played a lead role in developing over forty innovative education programs since its inception in 1985

  Read more about ONFE >>  

Maureen Bourke, Holy Trinity Catholic High School

Bourke Maureen_G4508Maureen Bourke’s commitment to social justice issues is intertwined in all she does. Instrumental in creating a Social Justice Specialist High Skills Majors program at her school, she creates for her students a deep understanding of those less fortunate than themselves. She brings to all involved, the opportunity to gain knowledge on various environmental, human and faith-driven organizations seeking to change the status quo. Ms. Bourke encourages the use of web and social networking to spread the importance of ending social inequality. Through her volunteer service at a school in El Salvador, she has raised $26,000 over the past three years for school improvements. At the same time, over 30 students and five staff members have met and dialogued with various human rights organizations working to improve the lives of Salvadorans.

Ms. Bourke leads by example. She tirelessly makes efforts to leave this world better than when she found it.

Nancy McLaren, St. Catherine School

McLaren Nancy_G4573An exceptional educator, Nancy McLaren takes the initiative to make traditional academics more interesting and motivating. She bakes with her students, building math and teamwork skills, then fosters a sense of community as the class enjoys their treats or shares them with others. She teaches crafts such as weaving and sewing, sparking an interest outside the classroom. Dedicated, supportive, creative and caring, Mrs. McLaren demonstrates to her students every day, how important they are to her. She thinks outside the box to make learning fun and appealing. One of her most recent innovations has been the creation of a science test connected to the Jeopardy game as seen on television.

Students become eager to take part and do well in something they can relate to and enjoy. Mrs. McLaren is the epitome of a teacher who takes the time to establish a positive learning environment in her classroom — a place where her students want to be.

Richard Linke, Mother Teresa High School

Linke Richard_G4271An engaging teacher, Richard Linke’s students feel a sense of pride and respect when they accomplish the tasks he places before them in his photography and dramatic art classes. Although his expectations are high, he gets back exactly what he knows his students are capable of, within an environment where they can shine and grow. Mr. Linke’s students know that he trusts them to reach their potential; that there are no boundaries to what they can explore in their learning. Consistently optimistic and forward thinking, Mr. Linke infuses confidence in his students. He demonstrates that they can stick to the plan if they all work together.

Whether in class or during extracurricular activities, his presence makes everyone want to hear what he is presenting. Students and teachers alike admire him for his unique style and individuality as a teacher. Mr. Linke doesn’t manage a class; he builds community.

Todd Stuart, Notre Dame High School

Stuart Todd_G4216Last summer, Todd Stuart’s students launched a campaign to keep him at the school when it was announced he had been transferred to another. A Facebook page and poster campaign aside, he did switch to his new school last fall, filled with his usual enthusiasm and dedication in helping his students reach their full potential. As a math and English teacher, Mr. Stuart takes an interesting, engaging and humorous approach to classroom discussions, assignments and tests. His explanations are easy to understand as he relates concepts to everyday life. Many parents enjoy reviewing their child’s math tests as he invariably creates some amusing and imaginative questions that challenge students to think differently. Mr. Stuart’s approach to teaching is also evident in his English classes where discussions regularly turn to topics that are broader than the specific content of what they are studying. History, science, geography and world events all come alive in his classroom.

Wendy MacPhee, All Saints High School

MacPhee-Ebbs Wendy_G4376As a special education teacher, Wendy MacPhee works with a variety of students with different learning disabilities and exceptionalities. Consistently fair and kind, she strives to find what works best for the student at all times. Never too busy, she makes each child feel like the most important person in the world. She is adept at finding ways to reach each student and enable them to understand. Ms. MacPhee also shines by creating an inclusive environment for all staff and students. She was instrumental in starting All Saints High School’s Mental Health Ambassador program involving “What’s the Scoop,” “Silent Love Protest Day,” “Don’t Get Twisted,” “Sweet Start to School,” programs, and the creation of a butterfly garden, all aimed at reducing student stress and increasing acceptance. She has single-handedly changed the feeling of acceptance of mental health issues at the school.
Ms. MacPhee is the voice for those who may not be able to advocate for themselves.

Congratulations to all of our Capital Educators!

Luisa Kutten, Monsignor Paul Baxter School

Kutten Luisa_G4613What is most impressive about Luisa Kutten is that through what appears to be play, she instils in her young students, learning strategies that they can adapt and apply to other subjects and situations. She helps them think critically and understand that everyone plays a role in making their world a better place. Ms. Kutten has a love of song and dance. This passion leads her to create classroom activities that are the right mix to get her students interested in learning French. Goofy dances, over-exaggerated gestures and general silliness pave the way to students hungering for more.

She engages parents in their child’s learning by using them as guest speakers to expand the classroom beyond the world in which her five- and six-year-old students live. She encourages the students to work their hardest, with a mother-like softness and toughness all rolled into one.

Linda Seymour, St. Patrick’s Adult ESL School

Semour Linda_G4401Linda Seymour is the engine that motivates newcomers to Canada, who were professionals in their homelands, to learn English and integrate into the Canadian workforce. Her student population is diverse, but she has developed a cross-cultural awareness and has a great respect for ethnic differences. Students in her ESL (English Second Language) classes learn something new every day; however, Ms. Seymour teaches more than just a language. She also helps her students develop essential skills such as punctuality and discipline. Her creative teaching strategies have seen her students learn English by varied means including the use of technology. She continually explores and discovers the best way for her students to learn and builds on their strengths. Ms. Seymour’s passion for learning is contagious; translating into her students developing a passion for learning these much needed language skills. She is a true representation of vocation, discipline, patience and dedication.

Bernhard Fernandez, St. Patrick's High School - Award Recipient

Fernandez Bernie_G4657A highly respected science teacher, Bernhard Fernandez is a firm believer in providing a solid foundation for students in terms of skill development, curriculum understanding and attitude to ensure success in future years. He promises his science students that they will not be bored in his classes; rather, they will become excited. One student comments that he now loves science so much that he actually asks his mother if he can miss football practice because he prefers to work on his science homework! Known for his innovative use of technology, Mr. Fernandez expands its use in developing enrichment programs for gifted learners, Google translator for ESL (English as a Second Language) students, and differentiated instruction for students with learning disabilities. Believing home support is critical to a student’s success; he establishes a relationship with parents and fosters a partnership approach to the education of each child. The entire school community is indeed enriched by Mr. Fernandez’s presence.

Joan Savoie, St. Paul High School Achievement Centre - Award Recipient

Savoie Joan_G4429Joan Savoie’s priority at the beginning of the teaching year is to make school a place where her students want to be. This is particularly important in the Achievement Centre where students from all lifestyles have one last chance to earn a secondary school diploma. Ms. Savoie ensures that their experience at will be successful. Using non-traditional teaching methods to gain the students’ trust and interest, she creates a “family” classroom environment where her students feel welcome and comfortable — they want to come to school. At any given time, they can be working on a number of different credits, individualized to their own particular interests and abilities. Each year, approximately 50 students graduate from high school in Ms. Savoie’s class. A large proportion of them go on to college or university, often earning scholarships to do so.

To her credit, students graduate from her class with a very different mindset than the one with which they entered.

Bonnie Caminiti, St. Leonard School

Caminiti Bonnie_G4499Bonnie Caminiti understands that building her own capacity as an educator leads to improved student achievement. A leader in the school, she is committed to lifelong learning and freely gives of her time to plan, teach and share best practices with her colleagues and parents via workshops, meetings, and newsletters. She is an integral part of a school improvement team that last year raised literacy goals from 41% of students scoring levels three or four, to 80% in the provincial EQAO (Education Quality Accountability Office) reading, writing and mathematics assessments. For the last two years, Ms. Caminiti garnered funding to develop critical literacy skills that integrate literature with explicit writing expectations and strategies for students.
She is committed to 21st century learning and seeks out opportunities and resources to enhance this type of learning in her classroom. A truly positive role model, Ms. Caminiti exudes professionalism and a genuine caring nature.

Jim Mick, St. Peter High School

Mick James_G4606There is a reason why Jim Mick receives the student-appointed “Teacher You’ll Never Forget” award almost every year — the care and concern he has for his students. His teaching methods and interest in his students have made him an icon in the school community. As a subject, physics is not the preferred course for many students, but Mr. Mick makes the lessons come alive with his novel teaching technique. During his annual class trips to Canada’s Wonderland, he exhibits kinematics to the amazement of his “audience.” In the classroom, his fascinating and innovative demonstrations of physics principles create a learning experience that few can resist.

But Mr. Mick is more than a teacher; he is also a friend a mentor. He willingly gives of his own time to help students with school and other issues. He is a compassionate listener and motivator; he has the ability to create a sense of family within his classroom.