Manitoba's Excellence in Education Awards

Award Recipients 2017-2018

Photo of Recipients 2017-2018



Premier’s Award for Excellence in Education

Photo of Mr. Derek Acorn


Recipient:

Mr. Derek Acorn
École Marie-Anne-Gaboury and École Varennes
Louis Riel School Division

As a former Grades 7 and 8 teacher and now a teacher-librarian at two French Immersion schools, Acorn has an outstanding track record of engaging students in learning, based on their interests, strengths, and needs. He implemented the “genius hour” where students work on their “passion projects” to develop critical-thinking and project-management skills while given the opportunity to collaborate with experts. Acorn created video math lessons and introduced the Judo Math program to help students learn and excel at their own pace. He was also instrumental in helping to develop the school’s film studio and green room used by all students. Through his vision and initiative, the school libraries have become learning commons, each equipped with a Makerspace for all ages, for hands-on project-based learning related to classroom themes and curricular outcomes for each grade level. Acorn developed a school-wide project focusing on nutrition and sustainability, which resulted in the school introducing an outdoor garden and an indoor living wall. He also helps students make global connections through the use of the Global Read Aloud project and by communicating via Skype with scientists—such as a paleontologist—from across North America. Very much in tune with youth interests, Acorn shares his passion for reading by posting compelling book reviews and tweets. He is a leader in teaching innovation and readily supports his colleagues in creating lessons using technology such as iPads, Spheros robotic devices, and MimioBoards. As an enthusiastic, creative, and encouraging educator, Acorn is an excellent role model who always inspires students and staff to embrace outside-the-box learning experiences.

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Teaching Excellence Award

Photo of Ms Lesley Dickson


Recipient:

Ms. Leslie Dickson
Elmwood High School
Winnipeg School Division

Dickson is the school’s social studies department head and teaches a full course load in social studies and English language arts (ELA). She is also the school’s literacy teacher, who strongly believes that strengthening literacy skills is critical to improving students’ learning experiences and academic achievement. Dickson was the driving force behind a multi-grade, cross-subject-area literacy program “Equity through Literacy.” Unlike the conventional approach in which literacy efforts are limited to ELA, her collaborative approach involves all subject-area teachers through a school-wide literacy committee. Dickson introduced colleagues to a variety of assessment tools and resources to enhance literacy, and has amassed a large library of levelled reading materials. A member of the executive committee of the Reading Council of Greater Winnipeg, she has built a collaborative network of specialists including Winnipeg School Division reading clinicians, ELA consultants and literacy support teachers. Dickson has organized professional development sessions with experts in the field and has also conducted presentations on literacy to local, provincial, and international audiences. During her tenure as the literacy teacher, she helped establish a Grade 9 ELA class for students with low literacy skills. As their teacher, she has been successful in using alternative teaching practices to meet each student’s learning needs. Dickson also serves as lead teacher for the Senior High student council, co-ordinates a human rights group, and has led student travel to Europe in the last four years. Needless to say, Dickson’s deep commitment and impressive efforts have had a profound, positive effect on the entire school community.

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Teaching Excellence Award

Photo of Mr. Bryan Williams


Recipient:

Mr. Bryan Williams
Balmoral Hall School

Williams is a high school teacher who instills a love of learning in his students through innovative strategies and technologies. He is known to provide a rich environment for learning, communication, and relationship building. Whether it is in his Advanced Placement psychology course or in one of his social studies classes, students enter into collaborative student-led discussions where they deepen their understanding, make real-world connections, and support each other in their learning. To help students connect and keep organized, Williams effectively uses Microsoft TEAMS, providing a dynamic and flexible learning environment allowing each class or “team” to access from anywhere, at any time, course content, assessments, a class chat group, and teacher feedback. To address the needs of a large international student population, Williams uses effective English as an Additional Language strategies and the Response to Intervention approach to help scaffold learning. He contributes to the entire Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12 school population by facilitating meaningful professional development as a team leader for a professional learning group and by collaborating enthusiastically with colleagues and students. As a strong believer in our collective responsibility to give back, Williams volunteers alongside students at Siloam Mission and Winnipeg Harvest, co-ordinates the school’s annual Christmas Cheer Board hamper drive, and leads student service trips to Central America. In Williams, the school community honours an innovative teacher who successfully prepares students for a future as engaged global citizens.

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Teaching Excellence Award

Photo of Mr. David Zynoberg


Recipient:

Mr. David Zynoberg
Seven Oaks MET School
Seven Oaks School Division

Zynoberg was among the first group of teachers hired in 2009 to teach in its inaugural year of the Seven Oaks MET School. He has since become a driving force behind the Big Picture Learning movement in Manitoba and in Canada. Quick to embrace this project-based, student-centred learning philosophy, he continues to demonstrate an ongoing commitment to the school’s focus on the 3Rs—relationships, relevance, and rigour—and to the philosophy of “one student at a time.” Through the school’s unique format, whereby teachers are responsible for covering all content areas with the same group of students for all four years of high school, Zynoberg has had a lasting impact on his students by fostering their desire to learn through mentoring. He uses exemplary teaching methods, including purposeful student internships, to reach his students and support the development of the knowledge and skills that contribute to their success. Because of his strong background in technology, students who are interested in projects related to computer programming, gaming, and animation find that he is an invaluable resource. No matter the students’ interests—sports, arts, sciences, or other—they blossom intellectually, socially, and emotionally under his guidance. They also learn to take necessary risks because of the confidence he inspires in them. As a result, the quality of their work, their research, and their projects are often exemplary for the entire school. Zynoberg’s remarkable dedication, outstanding teaching practices, and unwavering belief in his students empower these youth to reach their full potential. To colleagues and students alike, he is a master teacher, a trusted mentor, and a friend who is a pillar of strength for the school community.

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Outstanding New Teacher Award

Photo of Ms. Gabrielle Huggins


Recipient:

Ms. Gabrielle Huggins
École Sacré-Cœur
Winnipeg School Division

Huggins has demonstrated many exceptional qualities that distinguish her as an outstanding new teacher. In her Early Years classroom, she effectively uses a variety of teaching strategies, incorporating oral, visual, and tactile learning components to meet the needs of her students. From alternative seating options to adapting learning activities, she ensures that each student feels valued and successfully progresses in their learning. Her warm, energetic personality has helped create a positive, safe classroom environment where students are eager to learn and share their successes. Huggins created the “kindness project”, inviting students to write letters of kindness to each other, resulting in new friendships and mutual respect. The class also participates in sharing circles on a regular basis as a way of resolving conflicts and having meaningful discussions about social justice. Huggins also contributes to the school culture by coaching sports and by collaborating with colleagues on various school committees, such as the Well-being and Aboriginal education and perspectives (AAA) committees. Her enthusiasm, superior work ethic and strong commitment to her students and the school have made her a valued member of the school community.

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Outstanding Team Collaboration Award

Photo of Ms. Rose Bird, Mr. Matthew Fabbri and Ms. Lindsay Harms - Team Collaboration

Recipients:

Ms. Rose Bird,
Mr. Matthew Fabbri and
Ms. Lindsay Harms

Nelson McIntyre Collegiate
Louis Riel School Division

Bird, Fabbri, and Harms make up an exceptional collaborative team that has transformed teaching practice as part of Nelson McIntyre’s re-imagination of high school for 21st century learning. Their focus was to change the traditional subject-based approach for Grade 9 into a project-based interdisciplinary learning model that would increase student engagement and achievement. In developing this approach, each team member brought their respective areas of expertise and passion: Bird in science, geography, and Indigenous teachings; Fabbri in ELA, theatre, film, technology, and design thinking; and Harms in social studies and in differentiation and adaptations. Together, the team developed numerous interdisciplinary projects, each addressing essential learning outcomes in the Manitoba curriculum and each with its own “driving question.” The “Hidden Gems at The Forks” project has students inquire about a special aspect of The Forks and then promote it through video. Another project gives students the opportunity to conduct research at the St. Boniface Youth Biolab to investigate the impact of lifestyle choices on cell development. The new learning model also includes Life/Work Exploration taught using responsive classroom techniques and “Weeks without Walls,” where students participate three times per year in experiential learning opportunities in the community. The positive impact of this team’s work is evident not only in the students’ high attendance rate and achievement, but also in the school climate that has been re-energized by these youth. The enthusiasm, energy, and collaboration of Bird, Fabbri, and Harms, which brought about such a remarkable transformation, are a source of inspiration for their colleagues as they work together to roll out this approach in subsequent grade levels.

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Outstanding School Leader Award

Photo of Ms. Rosanna Cuthbert


Recipient:

Mrs. Rosanna Cuthbert
Sigurbjorg Stefansson Early School
Evergreen School Division

As principal of a Kindergarten to Grade 4 school since 2010, Cuthbert has been the catalyst for creating a dynamic and exciting learning environment that fosters creativity, curiosity, and collaboration among the whole school community. Equipped with a passion and drive for excellence, with proven teaching strategies and up-to-date brain research, Cuthbert engaged the teaching staff to discover and embrace the Reggio Emilia educational philosophy. This student-centred and constructivist approach uses self-directed and experiential learning in relationship-driven environments. Through Cuthbert’s support and mentorship, teachers have been empowered to implement new strategies and ideas that honour the “hundred languages” of students in an inquiry-based setting. They removed their desks to create more purposeful and engaging learning spaces, purchased natural materials, and created rich classroom libraries. To further their professional development, teachers are given time in their schedules for co-teaching and collaborative discussion and planning. Cuthbert spearheads initiatives in music education, social justice, sustainability, and outdoor learning. The school grounds currently include a greenhouse and vegetable garden, and will soon have a professionally built ‘natural playground’, designed in collaboration with students. The impact of her leadership on student learning and sustainability is clear, substantial and commendable. Her work has been praised by visiting educators from other school divisions and post-secondary institutions. The school community feels very fortunate to have Cuthbert, an exceptional educational leader, at their helm.

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