Branksome Hall News

Defying the Status Quo in Education

What better way to mark World Teachers’ Day than to celebrate teachers Jill Strimas (Director of Boarding and Instructional Leader, Language A, ESL & International Languages) and Jordan Small (formerly Branksome Hall, recently appointed Chair of English at UCC) on being selected as recipients of the Regional Certificate of Achievement for the 2022 Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence.
The Prime Minister's Awards for Teaching Excellence recognize exceptional elementary and secondary school teachers in all disciplines. Teaching Excellence Awards recipients are honoured for their remarkable achievements in education and for their commitment to preparing their students for a digital and innovation-based economy.

In a world that has become characterized by isolation and fragmentation, Ms. Strimas and Mr. Small formed a professional partnership and friendship that defies the status quo. They remind us that meaningful change comes when we work together, and when we construct common visions that rest in the belief that things can be made better.

Advocates of transparent course design, Ms. Strimas and Mr. Small provide students with an overview of how the syllabus is created, and create space where students can help to curate content and engage with themes. Student well-being is at the centre of their approach. Their uncompromising focus on student leadership, agency and success cuts across every initiative and project, establishing authentic relationships that make students feel cared for and free to explore their unlimited potential. 

Upon learning of their award, Ms. Strimas commented, “It is humbling to be recognized with this award, and it is a catalyst to continue to find ways to help empower young people. The work Jordan and I have done over the years is a testament to the power of collaboration and community.” Mr. Small also noted, “It is truly an honour to be recognized in this way. Despite our names being on the nomination, this is truly a testament to Branksome Hall. I will always be grateful to everyone at the school who encouraged and supported me to be the best educator I could be.”

Another crucial aspect of Ms. Strimas’s and Mr. Small’s leadership is their commitment to fostering intercultural understanding. With backgrounds and interest in Indigenous Studies and storytelling, they have worked together with Indigenous thought leaders and creators to reshape curriculum design and integrate Indigenous knowledge frameworks.

Mona Malone, Chair of the Branksome Hall Board of Governors, congratulated the teachers, saying, “Young people and colleagues benefit from your leadership and innovation. The Branksome and UCC communities are appreciative of such excellence in teaching.”  Principal Karen Jurjevich also celebrated their achievement, commenting, “Branksome Hall is very proud of you and grateful knowing that our students have benefited so much from your many years of teaching excellence. I also know that you have mentored and guided faculty members and other school leaders throughout your time at BH. Your impact both inside and outside the classroom has truly been remarkable!”

We're so grateful for Ms. Strimas’s and Mr. Small's contributions to Branksome Hall. Please join us in celebrating their incredible achievements! 

Photo credit: Daniel Ehrenworth
Land Acknowledgement
We wish to acknowledge this land on which Branksome operates. For thousands of years, it has been the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, and most recently, the Mississaugas of the Credit River. Today, this meeting place is still the home to many Indigenous peoples from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work and go to school on this land.
Branksome Hall
10 Elm Ave, Toronto, ON, Canada
M4W 1N4

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