Skip To Content
UCDSB Recognizes Excellence at Board Celebration Evening
UCDSB Recognizes Excellence at Board Celebration Evening
Posted on 06/12/2024
Board Celebration Night
June 12, 2024 (Kemptville, ON) – The Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) celebrated its outstanding employees on Monday, June 10 during the annual Board Celebration Evening at North Grenville District High School. Thirty-six UCDSB individuals were recognized with one of four UCDSB awards – Service Excellence Award, Ontario Principals’ Council Award of Character, Trustee Innovation Award and Director’s Red Apple Award.
Service Excellence Award
The UCDSB Service Excellence Awards recognize those who provide exceptional service to the board’s students, their families, and co-workers. Five individual winners and one group award were handed out. This year’s Service Excellence Award winners are as follows:
  • Shelly Blanchard - Educational Assistant, Brockville Collegiate Institute
Shelly is an individual award for winner her efforts in enhancing communication among staff, managing the Nutrition for Kids table, and handling shopping and packaging outside school hours. She brings joy to students and staff with her humour and her lasting impact is evident in the enduring relationships she maintains with students long after they leave BCI. Known as the 'go-to person' and 'student champion,' Shelly makes each student feel special with her morning greetings, notes of encouragement, and check-ins.
  • Elizabeth Fortier - Teacher, Wellington Elementary School
Beth is an individual award winner for her dedication to her students and for fostering a supportive and inclusive environment for everyone. She understands her students' diverse needs and encourages them to achieve their best. Beth excels in organizing sporting events and extracurricular activities, ensuring all students can participate. Her dedication and strong personality are inspiring and enhance the capabilities of the staff as educators and leaders.
  • Sabrina Kiskis – Teacher, Russell Public School
Sabrina is an individual award winner for her exemplary dedication to fostering a culture of care and inclusivity in her classroom. She integrates community engagement with activities like weekly nature walks and civic services. She tailors instruction to meet each student's unique needs, utilizing formative assessments and occupational therapy principles. Committed to professional growth, she applies new methods and resources to enhance her teaching. Her innovative initiatives and her leadership significantly benefit the entire kindergarten team and the school daycare.
  • Lesley Walker - Educational Assistant/Registered Early Childhood Educator, Commonwealth Public School
Lesley is an individual award winner for her personalized approach to supporting and uplifting her colleagues, including posting motivational quotes, and offering regular encouragement. She deeply understands her students' needs, creating learning environments that cater to their interests. Her teamwork in the Power Up classroom and coordination with outside agencies ensure the best care for her students. Lesley's profound impact, genuine goodness, and fierce advocacy for her students makes her an invaluable asset to the school.
  • Danielle Weiss - Board-Certified Behaviour Analyst, Student Services West
Danielle is an individual award winner for her exceptional dedication as a Board-Certified Behaviour Analyst. She celebrates personal milestones and consistently encourages her colleagues and students. Danielle provides reliable support during difficult times, creating a comfortable environment for sharing concerns. Her tailored guidance meets individual needs, positively impacting personal growth. She actively collaborates on projects, contributing to their success through practical assessments and skills-based treatment.
  • Crystal Phifer & Lindsey Stuart - Kinder “Yellow” Team at Iroquois Public School
Teacher and Early Childhood Educator duo Crystal and Lindsay won the group award for their exceptional dedication and innovative approach to education. They create a caring, student-centered learning environment that highlights students' work and interests. They also serve as leaders by taking on roles such as Principal Designate, coordinating hot lunch programs, and spearheading fundraising efforts. Their commitment extends to securing grants for outdoor learning and mentoring new teachers.
OPC Award of Character
The Ontario Principal’s Council (OPC) Award, also known as the Ted Kennedy Award of Character, is an award given to UCDSB Principals who embody the spirit and character of the late Superintendent Ted Kennedy. During his career with the UCDSB, Kennedy was dedicated to advancing children's success, particularly by finding alternative graduation pathways for those struggling with traditional methods. The 2023-24 award winners are:
  • Silvia Speck, Principal of Avonmore Elementary School
Silvia won the award for her exceptional dedication to supporting and caring for children and families throughout her career. Her commitment to student well-being and success, often demonstrated by her active participation in school activities, sets her apart. Silvia's decisions are guided by the principle of prioritizing what is best for the children. Additionally, she has a profound passion for literacy development, inspired by her own transformative experience with reading during her childhood journey from Switzerland to Canada.
  • Nancy Holman - Principal, Duncan J. Schoular Public School
Nancy won the award for her exemplary support, care, and responsiveness to the needs of her staff, students, and community. She demonstrates strength, patience, positivity, and creativity in supporting her school and engaging community resources to address diverse needs. Her dedication to service above self and daily compassion reflect her commitment to the growth of her school and staff. Nancy has fostered a welcoming and inclusive community at her school, ensuring everyone feels valued.
Trustee Innovation Award
The Trustee Innovation Awards (TIA) recognize individuals who use creative and innovative practices in their schools or workplaces and inspire others to think about how they can adapt new practices and grow. Recipients also receive a monetary contribution to their school or department that can be used to continue the project or expand it. This year’s winners are:
  • Colleen Leslie (Teacher, Seaway District High School), Joel Exner (Teacher, North Dundas District High School) & Erin Ritchie (Teacher, St. Lawrence Secondary School)
The three music teachers won the award for their innovative creation of the SDG Mass Band event. When a local community event was cancelled for 2024, the group organized a full day of workshops with local musicians and music professionals, culminating in a public evening showcase that drew a large crowd. The positive reception has generated excitement for expanding the event to more schools and community members next year.
  • Dan Tremblay – Teacher, Vankleek Hill Collegiate Institute
Dan won the award for his efforts in promoting physical and mental health among staff and students. He has improved student participation in lifelong fitness by implementing new extracurricular activities like Ultimate Frisbee, Arm Wrestling, and CrossFit, appealing to those who don't usually join traditional sports teams. Dan spearheaded the first eastern regional CrossFit "Throwdown" Competition at VCI, involving 100 students from nine regional schools. This bilingual event emphasized individual goal setting and inclusivity.
  • Kelleyanne MacKenzie - Teacher, Thousand Islands Secondary School
    Kelleyanne won the award for her initiative, the TISS Treasure Chest. This project, led by a group of students, aims to support fellow students in need by providing essential items like food, household items, hygiene products, and even prom attire through an in-school "treasure chest." They have also organized a free hot lunch program and take-home meals to ensure all students have what they need. Starting as a Grade 10 applied English class project, it has evolved into an after-school credit program. The ongoing collaboration and innovation of this group demonstrate their commitment to making a difference in their school community.
  • Mary-Kaye McGreevy and Lori Taylor, System Staff
    Mary-Kaye and Lori won the award for their work on the I³DEA³S³ project, which has evolved into a district-wide initiative promoting accessibility, diversity, and inclusion in schools. Their efforts have resulted in tangible changes within school communities, supporting students with disabilities and fostering inclusion and equity. The project, involving multiple departments and schools, has had a profound impact on students and staff, making real changes in their lives. Their innovative approach lies in their ability to engage a wide audience and effect significant change in a short period.
  • Scott Currie - Teacher, North Dundas District High School
Scott won this award due to his exceptional contributions to integrating STEM technology at his school. His dedication and expertise led to the creation of Studio 138, a design, modelling, and printing studio at the school. Scott secured donations from industry leaders like Wacom, Stratasys, and Sphero, resulting in a class set of drawing tablets, an industry-grade 3-D printer, and coding robots. Additionally, he organized a STEM day for Engineering Month. His efforts have not only enhanced the school's current STEM offerings but also laid the groundwork for future program expansion.
  • Shauna Burton – Teacher, Caldwell Street Elementary School
Shauna won the award for her innovative and impactful real-world learning project at her school, which included creating themed boxes with manipulative objects, 3D printed words, and online QR codes to aid blind and low vision students in learning French. Shauna integrated this project into her teaching and collaborated with Carleton Place High School and specialists who work with blind and low vision students to ensure the boxes met their needs. Her grade 3 and grade 4 students developed valuable skills through this project, such as seeking support from local businesses, collaborating with older students, and presenting bilingual workshops to educators. Shauna’s project not only provides a significant resource for blind and low vision students but also fosters essential skills in her students.

  • Shannon Campbell – Teacher, Athens District High School
    Shannon Campbell won the award for her innovative approach to teaching history. She led a cross-curricular project focused on the WWI Battle of Hill 70, integrating Grade 10 English and History curricula. Shannon's method involved primary source document analysis, drama, re-enactments, writing skills, and the arts, allowing students to engage deeply with historical inquiry. She collaborated with the RWL team and community partners to enhance the project's impact. Her approach not only brought history to life for her students but also laid the groundwork for future classes and potential replication at other schools. Congratulations to Shannon for her innovative teaching and inspiring students to connect with history.

  • Teachers and Administrators involved in the Reading and Writing Strategies pilot course
Randi Tolhurst, Ewen McIntosh, Abigail Fawcett, Dominique Bertrand, Breanna Bedor, Terry Gardiner, Monica Taylor, Issac Chapman, and Dean Fournier won for their successful pilot course, Reading and Writing Strategies. Aimed at Grade 9 students needing a boost in reading skills, the course helped prepare them for de-streamed English in the second semester. Despite being spread across the district, these educators collaborated closely. They implemented high-impact instructional practices and met monthly to share experiences and strategies, creating a district-wide learning community. The course led to significant improvements in students' reading skills and confidence, with students and parents reporting positive outcomes.

Director’s Red Apple Award  
The Director’s Red Apple Awards are presented to individuals that stand out for their deeply-rooted dedication to our school board’s top priority – students. This year, Director Ron Ferguson chose six award winners: 
  • Leanne Huffman - Teacher, South Crosby Public School
Leanne is the Special Education Teacher at South Crosby and runs the Power Up 2 classroom at the school, also known as “superhero headquarters”. Her class has been actively involved in growing food and supporting local food banks. She is doing heroic work with her students to ensure they are successful.
  • Sylvia McAllister, Financial Assistant/Office Administrator for Gananoque schools
Sylvia worked for the UCDSB for over 60 years and is now in retirement. She’s not only getting the award for the six-decade dedication to students, but the fact that through the years she was incredibly welcoming and caring and was the heart of the school. She even witnessed former students’ grandchildren walking through the doors. She’s positively impacted the lives of countless students over her career.
  • Jennifer Perry, Superintendent of Special Education and Student Wellness
  • Jen was instrumental in launching the Power Up Program in 2018. What she has done for students with special needs and for our Power Up classrooms since the launch of the program is remarkable and has helped so many students. Jen leads with her heart and always puts kids first.
  • Rory Renwick, Grade 6 student, Russell Public School
Rory is the first student to win this award. She is an award recipient for the compassion, courage, and leadership she demonstrated during a bus accident this past April. Following the collision, Rory sprang into action to ensure the physical and emotional well-being of others on the bus were met. She provided comfort and assurance to the younger students while they waited for first responders, and she continued to help until everyone was safely off the bus.
  • Blake Seward and Mason Black - Teachers, Smiths Falls District Collegiate Institute
Blake and Mason have been doing project-based learning and real-world learning at SFDCI before it was a board focus. They are currently assisting in consultant roles for the UCDSB Real-World Learning team, focused on the work around the Hill 70 project and We Were Here Showcase. Their dedication and leadership have moved the work forward in so many schools and introduced students to history lessons like none they’ve ever experienced.
  • Silvia Speck, Principal of Avonmore Public School
Silvia is retiring this year after dedicating 29 years to public education, most recently as the Principal of Avonmore Elementary School. She has mentored countless administrators, is widely-known and respected across the UCDSB, and has shown a deep dedication to her students. In retirement, she’s going on to become a therapist and continue to help people.
    Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2024 SchoolMessenger Corporation. All rights reserved.