Alessia, Deni, and Ryan

Alessia, Deni, and Ryan
Posted on 10/08/2021
Celebrating Staff LogoEvery week we celebrate SMCDSB staff members who have been recognized by a parent, student, or colleague.

This week, we are celebrating Alessia Baldassarra, Deni Nikolova, and Ryan Tootill.

Alessia is a teacher at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Alessia School. She was nominated by a parent who said:

“Ms. Baldassarra has done an amazing job with the children this year. Considering what life has thrown at everyone, she has kept open communication with all families. She did an amazing job with the online learning that was held in January and was so patient with all of us (parents) and was so helpful in giving clear instructions on how to join and participate. She has a kind heart and is very knowledgeable. I had told her something personal about my daughter and the next day she confronted my daughter and made her feel extra special. My daughter came home that day and asked if I had shared information with her teacher and I said I did. She turned to me and said thank you mommy, Ms. Baldassarra shared her experience with me too. My daughter thoroughly loves going to school this year where in the past it wasn't as motivating. She has given my daughter confidence in her classroom and in her abilities. Even if she is wrong, she doesn't feel that she can't try because this amazing teacher doesn't make her feel like she has provided the "wrong" answer, just a different one. I would like to recognize Ms. Alessia Baldassarra - she goes above and beyond her role as a teacher. God bless.”

DeniDeni was a teacher in the virtual school last year. She was nominated by a colleague who said:

“Deni and I have recently become classroom roommates, and I am in absolute awe of her. She is so positive and enthusiastic with her students, and works so incredibly hard. She is constantly collaborating with her ECE partner, and her enthusiasm with the kids is amazing. Where many of us would put on a song or dance for the kids to enjoy, Deni jumps up and is dancing and singing right along with them. She is an incredible literacy and numeracy teacher, leading small group instruction constantly and always building the kids up. She opened her door to me to share the space without hesitation and has been so encouraging to me, too. I can't say enough about this amazing teacher. I am grateful to be her colleague and roomie!”

Ryan was a teacher in the virtual school. He was Ryan nominated three times by parents who said:

“Mr. Tootill is an amazing teacher. He truly cares about the children in his class and their progress. He celebrates achievements, expects effort, and engagement. He creates interesting, impactful content. Teaching virtually and being taught virtually can be challenging, however Mr. Tootill makes virtual learning a great alternative in these times. Mr. Tootill's sense of humour and his natural way of being supportive are not going unnoticed. We are fond of his little sayings, e.g. "No big deal", "Genius level!", "You've got this", etc. Thank you Mr. Tootill!”

“I think it’s important we share our appreciation for how you all have been going above and beyond while we all navigate kind of blindly through this entire ordeal.

He goes above and beyond on a daily basis for these kids. He is always fast to reply to emails, keeps a positive attitude no matter what, shows the patience of a saint, and somehow keeps all these kids engaged, entertained, and in line all day! It's amazing. If a child is showing any sign of stress or hardship, he makes sure to make them feel included with an empathetic approach. My daughter has been having some difficulty with the isolation and lack of community involvement which has resulted in her acting out and Mr. Tootill has been working together with me to try and find some healthy outlets as a solution. We continue to work together towards the same goal.

This is a perfect example of what a positive influence this caring teacher has on a child.

I have no doubt as (my daughter) gets older and experiences different classes, she will find herself referring back to the high standard that Mr Tootill has set. Good luck to anyone striving to reach his level! He sure set the bar high! May God bless him today and always.”

“Mr Tootill was such an amazing teacher. He helped his class learn and grow with so many kids at different levels. He made learning fun, so much so that when my daughter wasn't feeling well she still went online for school. She didn't want to miss a thing. He made all the kids feel good about themselves. My daughter has loved this year of learning with him in a time where kids are struggling. I think all his students will remember him for years to come. His impact on their lives is huge.”

We would like to thank Alessia, Deni, and Ryan for their commitment to Catholic education at our board.