John Polanyi CI teacher Nicole Anthony and Central Toronto Academy teacher Rebecca (Beckie) DiLeo are two of twelve teachers across Canada, and two of just six Ontarians, to be recognized with the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence this year.
Since 1993, the Prime Minister's Awards for Teaching Excellence have honoured exceptional educators in Canadian elementary and secondary schools. The TDSB has been fortunate to have a number of past winners over the years, including this year’s winners - Nicole Anthony, a Science teacher from John Polanyi Collegiate Institute and Beckie DiLeo an Arts teacher from Central Toronto Academy.
This year was the first year for a specific Teaching Excellence Award in STEM with Nicole Anthony being one of the two winners recognized.
Nicole Anthony is a former-business-student-turned-science-teacher at John Polanyi Collegiate Institute. Nicole brings science to life for her students by making it personally meaningful and relevant. She has them solve real-world problems and connects science learning to other parts of the curriculum. With a passion for STEM subjects in their own right—and as areas in which girls can excel—she also sees them as a way to foster collaboration and inspire creativity. Some of Nicole’s achievements include: Founding the Metamorphosis Girls STEM conference, the largest such gathering in Canada, to encourage more girls to enrol in STEM courses and help close the gender gap in STEM fields and launching a Ministry-registered private school, GENEius Science, which runs on weekends and in the summer in her classroom.
Beckie DiLeo is part of a small team that has helped transformed and revitalized Central Toronto Academy. She embraces the challenges that come with teaching a very diverse group of students from many countries, cultures and socio-economic backgrounds with enthusiasm and creativity. Beckie's arts department is called the "HeArts Department" for a reason: students think, do and act with their hearts and minds. She teaches young people respect and to be conscious of the environment, all while providing engaging opportunities to express their creativity and look to careers in the arts. Some of Beckie’s achievements include: Helping students create their own product/fashion line (backpacks, sneakers, phone covers and clothing) that they design and sell online and in pop-up shops with the funds returning to the school to support arts programs and collaborating with business teachers to launch Business for the Arts program to give students the skills to become entrepreneurs who can start successful artistic and fashion businesses.
Humberwood Downs Junior Middle Academy teacher Vince Racanelli was also recognized at this year’s event, receiving a Certificate of Achievement in the STEM category as well.