2020 Winning Teachers

OTIP (Ontario Teachers Insurance Plan) and the Ontario Teachers’ Federation (OTF) have recognized three outstanding Ontario teachers with the OTIP Teaching Award for excellence.

Because of the pandemic, the winners were not presented their awards. OTIP and OTF hope to honour them in the spring.

2020 Winning Teachers

September 22, 2020

OTIP (Ontario Teachers Insurance Plan) and the Ontario Teachers’ Federation (OTF) have recognized three outstanding Ontario teachers with the OTIP Teaching Award for excellence.

On Tuesday, September 22, the following educators received the OTIP Teaching Award:

Deanna Gaughan

James Grieve Public School, Caledon

Deanna is the winner of the OTIP Teaching Award in the beginning teacher category. She teaches a Grades 6-8 ASD Contained class which includes all classroom curriculum and programming.

Deanna spearheaded the successful program, the RISE Room (Reaching Independence while Striving for Excellence). Her students’ curiosity and interest are challenged in Deanna’s interactive learning environment – they feel safe to inquire, explore and engage in hands on learning experiences.

In addition to the experience of the use of technology, a life skills program and personal care program, students participate in school wide events, a ‘buddy’ program with other classes, and an annual blacklight show for the school. Deanna encourages community involvement – her class wrote letters to the town council in support of a sidewalk in front of the school.

Students gain insight and an understanding of the diversity of their community through the study of art in different cultures and the celebration of cultural holidays such as Diwali and Holi, the festival of colours.

“There are many good teachers but seldom do you come across someone who evidently has committed their entire life’s work to the education and wellbeing of students,” states the parent who nominated Deanna Gaughan.

Cameron Douglas

Peterborough Alternative Continuing Education (PACE) at Peterborough Collegiate & Vocational Institute

Cam’s passion for teaching and for protecting and saving the environment has spearheaded the Youth Leadership in Sustainability program (YLS) (yls.green) in Peterborough. The program, one semester in the fall, is open to senior students and offers four OSSD high school credits; however, students leave the program with so much more.

As one colleague wrote, “Cam’s program provides his students with the tools, strategies and knowledge to create a sustainable future. More importantly, he activates and empowers them to be agents of change.”

Cam moves learning beyond the classroom or bringing relevant guests into the classroom by connecting with classes worldwide, learning from professionals in their area of expertise such as David Suzuki, and working with like-minded community organizations. Students apply their learning by writing advocacy letters and press releases as well as by speaking effectively to people in power.

As his student nominator stated, “Cam taught me so much about the world around me and gave me a new perspective on issues and solutions.… I pay attention to the news, care about issues in my community and globally, and know how and want to take action for what I believe in.”

Heather Lett

Eganville & District Public School, Eganville

Heather Lett, the recipient of the OTIP Teaching Award in the elementary category, brings student-led inquiry, freedom to voice ideas, and respect for others to her Grade 3 classroom.

An example of this is Heather’s contributions to the First Nation Metis Math Voices research project with Dr Ruth Beatty at Lakehead University. The project involves partnering with the community to co-design and co-teach units of math instruction based on Algonquin artistry. This has resulted in relationship and trust building with the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan, whose students attend Eganville. As well, the project has assisted in rejuvenating the Algonquin culture and language.

Heather has also co-developed comprehensive social studies units that focus on the history and continuing contributions of Indigenous peoples. She has been a leader in her school on Conscious Discipline, training in youth mental health to recognize the signs of deteriorating mental health as well as ways to improve or sustain mental wellness in children.

As stated in a letter of support, “Heather has a clear sense of purpose: to ensure that all the people in our school family (students, families and staff) have a safe and inclusive environment to learn and grow in and to inspire and empower those around her to achieve their potential.”

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