Kim, Andrea, and Andrea

Kim, Andrea, and Andrea
Posted on 12/03/2021
Celebrating Staff LogoEvery week we celebrate SMCDSB staff members who have been recognized by a parent, student or colleague.

This week we are celebrating Kim Lewis, an EA at Kim Lewis Monsignor J.E. Ronan Catholic School. Kim was nominated by a four parents with special needs students who were supported virtually, who said:

“Last year and this year we were rocked with the complexities of the pandemic. The way we and the teaching community taught our children was thrown upside down, teaching special needs children proved to be difficult in these circumstances.

In the dark of the cloud we call the pandemic, Mrs. Groen is a shining light every day in our children’s lives, she goes above and beyond to make them happy and teach them at the same time. From language to math to actually have caterpillars hatch at her house for the kids to virtually witness, I don’t know what we would do without her. She is exceptional in every way and not only supports our children, but us parents as well.

Mrs. Groen has been my son's EA for most of his years at MRO. She has always gone above and beyond in supporting him at school. This pandemic year, Mrs. Groen's dedication to her students was immensely evident in her work with the students in Virtual School. From the classes she led throughout the day, to the learning activities and crafts she prepared and videos taped. As a parent of a child with exceptionalities, I looked forward to meeting with the group everyday.

I knew Mrs. Groen was special from the very beginning, but this pandemic year has proven her outstanding dedication to her vocation and the children she supports. Mrs. Groen is a very special person with a really big heart. We are truly blessed to have her in our lives.

Mrs. Groen has done a phenomenal job this school year. She has been a constant in my son’s day and she always had a smile on. He looked forward to his class time with her because he knew she made it fun to learn. Mrs. Groen thank you so much for helping us navigate this difficult school year and making it seem easy. You have done an amazing job.

With our great appreciation we would like to nominate and acknowledge the work of Mrs. Groen our EA at Monsignor Ronan for her dedication, love, enthusiasm and extraordinary work always, and especially this past year in the virtual learning environment.

Mrs. Groen has been one of our EA's since we moved to Beeton 5 years ago from York region. She made our transition to the new school seamless and the smoothest possible. Her passion, her love, and patience to work and learn with each child. Her motivation to bring out the best of every student is a great example of pure love and dedication to her work. We have been blessed these years. But most of all, this past challenging year when the world for all of us was different, scary, and unknown, but for our children with special needs even more confusing as they couldn't understand the danger.

Mrs. Groen was like our superhero, our sparkle for the day, our motivation to learn to go on Google classroom independently to see her cheerful smile, her positivity and to feel a part of the MRO community. She went above and beyond to make our morning and afternoon sessions fun, interesting and interactive so our children’s learning experience would not seem difficult. She planned and prepared materials, games, songs and stories. She reminded them of their time in school by sharing her memories of school activities as well as using pictures of the kids from previous years and presenting them. Oh, I can see my daughter's face as well as the faces of all the other kids sparkle with joy as they remembered all the fun times they had in school in person. She spread reassurance to them that things will get better and they will go to school again. As I always said, she is the superhero for our children.”

Andrea Sturino This week we are also celebrating Andrea Sturino, a teacher at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School. Andrea was nominated by a five parents, who said:

“Mrs. Sturino had never taught kindergarten before and with never having taught online she has done an amazing job with these little ones! My son absolutely adores her and everything she does with them in class. She makes it fun for all and has tons of fun activities planned.
Someone who has never taught that age group and can do it through a screen deserves to be recognized!”

“She has shown her passion and love in teaching… She is energetic, patient and creative in making virtual class experiences exciting, fun and interesting everyday.”

“No matter what's on the way, Mrs. Sturino is always available to teach, and demonstrate to her students. Her methods of teaching are playful and great. She does her best to make sure the kids are not feeling bored or disappointed with Online Learning at home. Kids fall in love with her instantly, not to mention us, as parents. We were surprised by her personality and by what an amazing woman, mother, and teacher she is. Mrs. Sturino will teach us all great and different ways to see things. She is always there for parents who need support when kids need it the most.”

“Mrs. Sturino is very engaging with the kids, she knows how to discipline the kids even virtually which I think is very hard, she gives everybody a turn to speak and most of all, you can reach her and speak to her regarding all of your concerns and usually will get back to you in a timely manner.”

And …

“Her consistent effort to navigate through the virtual teaching world. Making it fun for the kids and easy to follow for the parents. Absolutely amazing woman!”

This week we are also celebrating Andrea Varney - Andrea Varney-Galloway Galloway, a teacher at Notre Dame Catholic School. Andrea was nominated by a several families, who came together to say:

“Mrs. Varney-Galloway has done an amazing job of keeping her Grade 2 students engaged during the ups and downs of this school year, and especially during online learning. She is a strong and talented teacher both in person and online! She makes a point of trying to meaningfully connect with each child to get to know them. She celebrates their accomplishments and is positive and encouraging at all times. During online school, she has used a variety of methods to keep learning interesting and fun for the kids, including age-appropriate humour, games, and physical activities. Mrs. Varney-Galloway has worked hard to maintain connections with each of the children on a daily basis, making them all feel valued and part of the class despite being physically removed from the classroom and their peers. She even kindly includes younger siblings when they interrupt her online classes! Last year was my twins' first year at Notre Dame, and it was a very disjointed experience with their schooling impacted by the pandemic. This year has felt like a fresh start for our family, with Mrs. Varney-Galloway fostering a real tie to the school for our boys, despite the continued intermittent school closures.

It is very clear that teaching is Mrs. Varney-Galloway's calling, and we are grateful for that! Her calm, kind, caring, and consistent approach is just what the children needed during this time of uncertainty. Our family and many of the other classroom families would love to see her receive some well-deserved recognition. Thank you, Mrs. Varney-Galloway!”

We would like to thank Kim, and the two Andrea's for their commitment to Catholic education at our board.