Congratulations to Ontario’s winners of the Prime Minister’s Awards for Teaching Excellence

Don Ball, Cawthra Park Secondary School, Mississauga

Grades 9 to 12, Visual Arts

Thinking globally and acting locally, Don Ball encourages his students to challenge conventions and to think critically about the social issues around them. Don organizes a biannual cross-curricular travel program for science and visual arts students to Latin American countries and Inuit communities in Canada. His students complete community service projects while exploring the art, culture and ecology of the areas.

Kathy Cepo, St. Joseph’s Catholic High School, St. Thomas

Grades 9 to 12, Science and Chemistry

Sixteen -year veteran high school chemistry teacher Kathy Cepo started a competitive robotics team in her rural Ontario community, that in five years has inspired 84% of graduates on her team to pursue STEM related fields. Kathy also partnered with Just Cause Education Outreach to develop curriculum for robotics programs for students in Uganda. Workshops are run on the ground in Uganda, while Cepo runs them in tandem with her students.

Thomas Doherty, Keewaytinook Okimakanak Board of Education, Balmertown

Kindergarten to Grade 9, Student Retention Lead Teacher

A strong enthusiasm to share his Métis heritage with his students, a respect for the land and a regard for the Ojibwa culture and language; Thomas Doherty embraces a cross-curricular approach that is consistently tied back to Indigenous teachings. For example, in a presentation about ice safety, Doherty had his students apply their knowledge on an ice fishing expedition with local Elders, later bringing their catch to the local homeless shelter.

Rahim Essabhai, John Polanyi Collegiate Institute, Toronto

Grade 12, Business

“Legacy is not what you leave for people but what you leave in people”. This is the mantra that guides this business teacher as he leads his students to create projects that are not just for profit, but to give back to a community. Rahim has also led students to provide assistance internationally, raising funds to build a school in Nicaragua, and to creating partnerships with businesses to improve the local community.

Source: Government of Canada website