Multiple Awards and Honours for Renfrew County District School Board Educators, Staff, and Partners

Posted on Thursday June 22, 2023
Staff Appreciation

The Renfrew County District School Board (RCDSB) staff and partners have racked up a slew of awards and honours for outstanding excellence in their fields this June, 2023. Vice Principal, Patricia Fraser was awarded the Canadian Wildlife Federation's WILD Educator of the Year Award, RCDSB educators and partners in the First Nations and Métis Math Voices Research Partnership were honoured at the C2UExpo 2023 Gala Award, and, sixteen RCDSB staff were recognized at the first annual RCDSB’s Employee Recognition Awards.  

On June 7th at a dinner held at Fort William Historical Park in Thunder Bay, Community-Based Research Canada presented the Excellence in Community-Campus Research Partnership Award to Dr. Ruth Beatty, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at Lakehead University and RCDSB partners Christina Ruddy of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation (and newly appointed RCDSB Indigenous Trustee); RCDSB educators: Tina Nelson, Vice Principal of Indigenous Education, Mike Fitzmaurice, Technology Enabled Learning and Teaching Consultant, and Heather Lett; along with Laurie Bennett of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation.

RCDSB along with local First Nations community partners, have been participants in the projects, known collectively as “First Nations and Métis Math Voices” since its inception in 2012. In partnership with Dr. Ruth Beatty, the RCDSB team has played a leading role, co-planning the Indigenous Education and Mathematics Conference at Lakehead University in 2019, 2022, and 2023.

Locally, “Indigenous Ways of Knowing Mathematics”, started at Eganville and District Public School (EDPS), with a team composed of First Nations leaders, artists, and educators, as well as non-Indigenous educators. It is now in elementary and secondary schools across the District and continues to grow each year. The program allows students to explore a deep understanding of complex mathematical concepts, inherent in Indigenous culture including: creating hair bone pipe, bracelets through loom beading, and medallions, as well as coding with the LYNX online platform. 

“It was an honour to be recognized for a community partnership with the RCDSB that develops a deep understanding of mathematical concepts, while strengthening students' awareness of the place mathematics has inherently in Indigenous culture and in Indigenous Peoples own cultural and mathematical self-identities.” said Christina Ruddy, RCDSB Indigenous Trustee. 

On June 17th, 2023 in Whitehorse, Yukon, the Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF) honoured recipients at a ceremony for the Canadian Conservation Achievement Awards. Patricia Fraser, Vice Principal of Mackenzie Community School in Deep River was awarded the WILD Educator of the Year award.

A statement from the CWF reported “Patricia Fraser of Pembroke, and the Renfrew County [District] School Board have inspired and informed many strategies and approaches within CWF when it comes to the WILD Education program. Their willingness to share lessons learned, provide insights into teacher perspectives and challenges, and support program development has gone a long way in helping strengthen the curriculum and ensure that it meets the changing needs of educators.”

Vice Principal Fraser remarked “do not let the physical structure you live in determine the limits of your mind’s curiosity.”

On June 20th, 2023 at the final Board of Trustees meeting for the 2022/2023 school year, sixteen staff members from across the District were honoured at the first-ever Employee Recognition Awards. 

Through a peer nomination process, the RCDSB recognized employees who contribute to a positive, productive workplace in schools and central departments. In all that they say and do, these employees demonstrate the spirit of the RCDSB’s Vision, Mission and Values in support of the achievement, equity and well-being of our students, staff and school communities.


2023 RCDSB Employee Recognition Award Recipients:

  • Carolyn Neil - Teacher, Central Public School
  • Jennifer Hartwick - Head Custodian, A.J. Charbonneau Public School
  • Trista Barlow - Teacher, Mackenzie Community School
  • Amy Dahm - Principal, McNab Public School
  • Susan Collins - Senior Elementary Secretary, Beachburg Public School
  • Mike Fitzmaurice - Technology Enabled Learning and Teaching Contact (TELT-C)
  • Elise Trepanier - Teacher, Pine View Public School
  • Jennifer Morris - Teacher, Valour JK-12 School
  • Amy Johnson - System Principal, Equity, Anti-Racism & Anti-Oppression
  • Killaloe Public School Educational Assistants Team:
    • Lee Ann Kuehl
    • Sandra Swain
    • Cheyenne Warren
    • Natalie McClement
    • Katelyn Mick
    • Jordan Cuddy
    • Blair Wagner


Director of Education, Dr. Pino Buffone, Senior Staff and the Board of Trustees join RCDSB staff and students in congratulating all the honourees. These individuals represent the excellence and innovation happening throughout the Renfrew County District School Board. The entire community can take pride in the recognition RCDSB receives internally and on the provincial and national stages. 


1st Photos: Indigenous Trustee Christine Ruddy, Dr. Ruth Beatty, Colinda Clyne of Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation

2nd Photo:  Photo Credit: Canadian Wildlife Federation, Vice Principal Patricia Fraser

3rd Photo: (from left to right) Carolyn Neill, Jennifer Morris, Amy Dahm, Natalie McClement, Trista Barlow, Sandra Swain, Jennifer Hartwick, Blair Wagner, Elise Trepanier, Susan Collins, Mike Fitzmaurice, and Amy Johnson. 


For more information or interview requests:

Hannah MacMillan

Communications Officer

613-735-0151 X 2215