Pages - York Region District School Board’s 2019 Teacher of the Year Recipients
Google Translate           
York Region District School Board’s 2019 Teacher of the Year Recipients
News Release
York Region District School Board’s 2019 Teacher of the Year Recipients

Aurora, ON - York Region District School Board is pleased to announce the recipients of its annual Teacher of the Year Award. This year’s honours go to Andrea Häefele of Highgate Public School in Markham and Elizabeth Pereira of Milliken Mills High School in Unionville.

“Each year, the York Region District School Board recognizes teachers who have demonstrated a strong commitment to supporting student achievement,” said Louise Sirisko, Director of Education. “Teacher of the Year recipients are teachers who exemplify our Mission, Vision and Values as well as other practices that enhance classroom and school success.” 

“Andrea and Elizabeth are representative of the many dedicated teachers within our Board who support student success across York Region,” said Chair of the Board, Corrie McBain. “Congratulations to them on receiving this award.” 

Andrea Häefele, Highgate Public School

Andrea is an advocate for outdoor learning opportunities and plans, implements and supports staff in outdoor physical education lessons. She has worked with staff members and students to advocate for accessible playgrounds close to the school, and successfully appealed to the Town of Markham to resurface the play areas so that all students could have use of the facilities. 

She often engages students as leaders of the Student Champions (formerly Breakfast Champions) where they support the breakfast program. Through this program, more than 80-90 students receive a hot breakfast daily and access to healthy and nutritious snacks. In addition, Andrea has partnered with the Equity Team to build workshops for the junior students on ableism in order to identify the discrimination and impact that occurs when students are targeted because of their differences. 

Andrea provides support to families and staff by sharing her knowledge of support services for special needs students. Andrea engages parents and grandparents by bringing them in to teach events - such as the Dragon Dance, multicultural assemblies and “From ME to WE” - or inviting community members to knit scarves and mittens for primary students during the winter Olympics in 2018. As well, she has undertaken a unique school-wide presentation where people with disabilities, or an advocate, are part of a panel and share their narratives. 

Elizabeth Pereira, Milliken Mills High School

Elizabeth has been at Milliken Mills High School (MMHS) for 30 years and has been Subject Head of Moderns for 15 years. She works diligently to ensure that the Spanish and French language curriculum is engaging, culturally responsive and relevant for all learners. Her work with the Spanish Centre of Toronto, Glendon College, the YMCA and Spanish Resource Centre at York University has provided invaluable academic and career resources to students. In 2018, MMHS received certification for its International Baccalaureate program (IB). During the summers, Elizabeth contributed many days and evenings at the school in order to create an exemplary IB French curriculum.

Elizabeth has worked with a small team of teachers to support the needs of students of African heritage at the school by developing the Nubian Excellence Club. The student group focused on issues affecting students such as anti-Black racism with a focus on the development of advocacy skills. She has been a long standing member of the Alliance of Educators for Black Students, initiated its annual fundraiser (for scholarships) and parent conference.

When the boys’ basketball program was in jeopardy due to the loss of a coach, Elizabeth was ready and willing to take on the role of staff advisor to ensure that the team could continue. She also provides free tutoring for JK-12 students who have struggled with reading and writing in English and French.

​For more information contact:

Erin Bain

Corporate Communications

Tel: 905-727-0022, extension 2520

Email: ​

Share |