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Teacher of the year originally wanted to be coroner

By: Heidi Ulrichsen - Sudbury Northern Life

 | May 23, 2014 - 3:37 PM |
Two teachers were presented with the William M. Roman Teacher of the Year Award at the Rainbow District School Board's yearly board awards May 21. Heather Pennie (left) is a Grade 5/6 teacher at Assiginack Public School on Manitoulin Island, and Vicki-Sue Potvin is a chemistry teacher at Lockerby Composite School. Photo by Heidi Ulrichsen.

Two teachers were presented with the William M. Roman Teacher of the Year Award at the Rainbow District School Board's yearly board awards May 21. Heather Pennie (left) is a Grade 5/6 teacher at Assiginack Public School on Manitoulin Island, and Vicki-Sue Potvin is a chemistry teacher at Lockerby Composite School. Photo by Heidi Ulrichsen.

Rainbow board honours outstanding educators

Lockerby Composite School chemistry teacher Vicki-Sue Potvin was presented with the William M. Roman Teacher of the Year Award on May 21 during the Rainbow District School Board's yearly awards ceremony for board employees.

Interestingly, though, Potvin's 13-year career in education almost didn't happen.


“I had started out thinking I was going to be a coroner, believe it or not,” she said.

“During university, I was invited into a classroom to help a teacher out that had a split class. I loved it so much, that I changed my profession and decided to go into teaching.”

Potvin hasn't entirely given up her previous interests, though, as she developed a forensic science program for Lockerby students. She was selected to receive the award because of her interactive and inspiring classes.

“I just feel that I do what it is that every teacher should be doing,” she said. “I never expected to ever receive this award. I just do my job to the best of my ability, and I am so happy to have been recognized for it.”

Also presented with the William M. Roman Teacher of the Year Award this year was Heather Pennie, a Grade 5/6 teacher at Assiginack Public School on Manitoulin Island.

Pennie, who has been a teacher for about 15 years, said she loves bringing the real world into the classroom.

For example, this year her students made quilts, and then wrote an article about quilting for Canadian Quilter Magazine, which taught them math, art and writing skills.

When asked about her response to winning the award, Pennie prefers to put her focus on the team of educators she works with, as well as the “amazing community” she works in.

“All that support made me the teacher I am,” she said.

Lasalle Secondary School principal Jeff McKibbon was presented with the Apple Award, a commendation given to board employees who bring “pride and praise” to Rainbow schools at a national level.

This past February, McKibbon was named one of 40 “outstanding principals” in Canada by The Learning Partnership.

The selection is based on a range of criteria from student achievement, to instructional leadership, to professional learning teams, to partnerships with families and communities, to personal growth initiatives.

“I'm humbled by that recognition,” McKibbon said. “I work with a lot of school administrators that I see as being every bit as committed and dedicated to their work.”

Full list of 2014 Rainbow board award recipients

Outstanding Contribution to the Co-Curricular Program

Mary Brohart – S. Geiger Public School
Paul Dupont – R.L. Beattie Public School
Kevin Ellsworth – Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School
Robert Gruhl - Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School
David Farrow – Churchill Public School
Dan Monti - Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School
Ray Scott – Assignack Public School
Jayson Stewart – Espanola High School

Community Partnership Award

-Nicole Chiasson – Science North
-Denise Fraser – Greater Sudbury Police Service
-Bob Hanson – Laurentian Nordic Ski Club
-William Strain – Little Current and District Fish and Game Club

Awards for Excellence

-Dayna Bayford – Walden Public School
-April Bois – Espanola High School
-Heather Boychuk – Lasalle Secondary School
-Christine Craig – Little Current Public School
-Cheryl Geoghegan – Gord Ewin Centre for Education
-Brenda Johnston – MacLeod Public School
-Debie Lacelle – Northeastern Elementary School
-Gerald Lovelace – Espanola and Manitoulin Schools
-Dean Riggs – Espanola High School
-Sharon Speir – Board Office
-Margaret Stringer – Assignack Public School
-Cheryl Teolis – Lansdowne Public School

Go Green Globe Awards

-Walden Public School
-Lockerby Composite School

Barbara Konarek Memorial Award

-Daniel Koziar – Princess Anne Public School

William N. Roman Teacher of the Year Award

-Heather Pennie – Assignack Public School
-Vicki-Sue Potvin – Lockerby Composite School

Apple Award

-Jeff McKibbon – Lasalle Secondary School 
Heidi Ulrichsen

Heidi Ulrichsen

Staff Writer

@heidi_ulrichsen

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