2019 Inspiration Award Recipients

On May 6, Niagara Catholic celebrated the past and present of Catholic education in Niagara with the Celebrating Excellence Awards.

In addition to the Catch the Spirit Award recipients (photos are posted on the Board’s Facebook page), and the Distinguished Alumni Awards, Niagara Catholic also celebrated seven staff members who caught the attention of their peers for their above-and-beyond actions at work.

The 2018 Inspiration Award recipients are listed below:

Philip Jones

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Philip Jones

Philip Jones has spent his 28 of his 35-year career as a custodian with Niagara Catholic at St. Peter Catholic Elementary School. What sets Philip apart is his beyond his work ethic, it’s his whole heart and soul.

Current and past students speak about their positive interactions with both current and former students, who describe him as friendly, caring and giving.

Staff agree. No matter how busy Philip may be with his own tasks, he is ready to pitch in whenever he is needed, and goes out of his way to brighten the day of anyone who comes into the school – students, staff, parents and guests. He is also never too busy to pitch in and help whenever he is needed when called upon by staff for assistance.

Philip has rarely missed a day of work in 28 years. He is the first one there, making sure the school is safe and ready for the remainder of staff and students to start the day, and is a walking encyclopedia of the history of St. Peter Catholic Elementary School. He is always happy to share his knowledge of the school with others.

For his dedication to students and staff, his humble demeanor and his kindness to everyone who enters St. Peter Catholic Elementary School, we recognize Philip Jones with an Inspiration Award.


Amanda Lamb

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Amanda Lamb

Amanda Lamb joined the Niagara Catholic family as a teacher 13 years ago, and the Notre Dame College School family in 2013. She is a dedicated and innovative classroom teacher who puts the individual learning needs of her students first, seeks to find new ways to inspire students to reach their full potential.

She is also committed to the broader Notre Dame College Community in many ways.

Amanda leads the Notre Dame College Eco-Club, a full-year commitment, through which she leads students on school and neighbourhood clean-ups, recycling initiatives, waste reduction strategies and other activities focused on our shared responsibility for the stewardship of God’s creation. This dedication has led to Notre Dame College School receiving Gold level certification from Ontario Eco-Schools for the past eight years.

The Eco-Club also oversees the many hundreds of square feet of gardens at the schools; planting, weeding, mulching and watering, so that other students and staff have something to beautiful to enjoy. It is not unusual to see Amanda at the school on a sunny evening weekend or Saturday morning, working away in the gardens.

In addition to the many hours of personal time Amanda has given to Notre Dame through the Eco-Club, she also coaches the cross country team, moderates the social climate committee, runs the Backpacks for Hope campaign (inspired by her own trip to Guatemala with Wells of Hope), and is a member of the Faith Formation Committee.

For being a kind and compassionate community member, caring for others and our environment in a quiet, unassuming way, and for her generosity towards students and staff, we recognize Amanda Lamb with an Inspiration Award.


Scott Maxwell

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Scott Maxwell

Scott Maxwell has been a part of the Niagara Catholic family since 1992, and has been Program Chair of Social Sciences at Denis Morris Catholic High School since 1999.

Through his role at Denis Morris, Scott has led the school’s Backpacks of Hope Campaign for Wells of Hope, and is Chair of the organization. He oversees the more than 22,000 backpacks collected by schools each year, and ensures the packs are filled with school, hygiene supplies, toys and even a little sweet treat for students in Guatemala in time for Christmas.

Scott also takes students to Guatemala each year, so they can to wiitness how their participation in the Starve-a-thon, Pilgrimage and other events at the school have an impact on the lives of children thousands of kilometres away.

Closer to home, Scott has been a volunteer firefighter in his home community of Niagara-on-the-Lake for 15 years and was recently promoted to Lieutenant, and is a member of the Denis Morris Catholic High School Emergency Response Team.

For his commitment to the students and staff at Denis Morris, to the community in which he lives and the communities served by Wells of Hope in Guatemala, we recognize Scott Maxwell with an Inspiration Award.


Linda McQueen

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Linda McQueen

Linda McQueeen has been a secretary with the Niagara Catholic District School Board since 2009, and has been school secretary at St. Mary Catholic Elementary School in Niagara Falls since 2017.

“Hard to find, lucky to have,” are the words used to describe the school’s feelings about Linda, who greets staff and students each morning with a smile and ensures that the small bumps that happen throughout the day seem much less daunting.

Linda is the face and voice of St. Mary. She greets everyone with a smile, courtesy, patience and care. She is giving of her time, always willing to delve deeper into an issue in search of a solution, until staff are left wondering if there was ever even an issue at all. She is always willing to give of her time, no matter how busy with her own tasks she may be.

Linda understands that many students in our school live with adversity, and has had adversity of her own, raising her daughter as a single mother after the death of her husband early in her marriage. Despite the losses she has endured, Linda always has an air of positivity about her, and shows all of us that the pain will pass and our faith will bring us through to the other side.

For her outstanding skill and organization, for her kindness and compassion and willingness to always see the best in any situation, we recognize Linda McQueen with an Inspiration Award.


Nicole Royer

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Nicole Royer

Nicole Royer has spent 18 of her 20 years with Niagara Catholic at Denis Morris Catholic High School, where she is currently an Educational Resource Teacher.

Staff describe Nicole as the embodiment of Christian values, with all of the characteristics of a dedicated, excellent teacher. She is compassionate, innovative and driven to provide her students with the best learning experience possible. Throughout her years in the science department, Nicole helped guide many students through science fairs and into studying science in post-secondary education.

Since bringing her dedication and commitment from learning in the science department to Special Education, Nicole has recognized the importance of a compassionate approach to learning for students with special needs. She reorganized the department and implemented new processes to ensure all students are working to their full potential. Many of these processes have become best practices not only at Denis Morris, but throughout the Board.

Nicole is a member of the Safe School Team, moderator of the prefects leadership group, dance team, school Reach team and is manager of DMs Boy’s Hockey Team. In addition to all of this, Nicole as been trusted to fill in for administration as Teacher in Charge many times.

She has a strong connection to the community, and reaches out to community partners to continue to engage students in the Special Education program. She is also a busy mother of three, and she spends her evenings and weekends at the rink or dance studio with them.

For her dedication to all learners at Denis Morris Catholic High School, her commitment to student engagement through co-curricular activities and her compassion and care shown to all in the school, we recognize Nicole Royer with an Inspiration Award.


Mario Scozzafava

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Mario Scozzafava

Mario Scozzafava is a member of the Saint Michael Catholic High School community, where he has been inspiring your culinary artists for many years.

“Chef Mario,” as he is known, is always ready to lend a hand and is a go-to guy for experiential learning events, catering and special endeavours, all while continuing to teach his students with passion and precision.

He is a master at working with local partners, and when special projects require communication and coordination with the community, Mario is always there as part of the team. He is a tireless advocate for the Specialist High Skills Major program, and his Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship components for students are commended as he guides students down their pathways.

Mario has also been a key member of the Summer Camp team. His energy and enthusiasm for education and cooking were highlighted in the Master Chef program for younger students, where many students were introduced to the world of cooking for the first time.

For his commitment to student engagement, the way he shares his passion for food and for learning with his students and for his advocacy for students interested in a career in culinary arts, we recognize Mario Scozzafava with an Inspiration Award.


Deanna Williams

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Deanna Williams

Deanna Williams has been a part of the Niagara Catholic family for nearly two decades, and has been a part of the Lakeshore Catholic High School community for most of that time.

She is an active member of the school’s faith leadership committee, and often organizes faith formation activities for staff. She is a key member of the school’s Music Ministry, both as a musician at Masses and for her participation in faith-based events.

Deanna’s classroom work is rooted in the gospel values, and she teaches with the whole student in mind. As a result of this, she has created a community of compassionate students who are thriving in her program. She ensures all students know that they are valued and empowered to take risks and try new things, confident that they are supported regardless of the outcome.

Deanna has completed the Board’s Leadership Identification Program, completed both certification courses through the Catholic Principals’ Council of Ontario. She upgraded her qualifications to include Special Education, information and computer technology, and was most recently a highlighted speaker in the ConnectEd conference in Niagara Falls.

Deanna has transformed a room at Lakeshore Catholic into a 21st century learning lab, receiving more than $38,000 in funding to bring the project to life. The outdated “Blue Room” was quickly transformed into a cutting-edge learning hub where students could share their gifts in a number of areas of technology. Thanks to her efforts, students now have a recording student, can live stream, record and demonstrate their skills in technology, and graduate from Lakeshore Catholic prepared to continue their technological education whether it is through an apprenticeship, college, university or the world of work.

For her commitment to lifelong education and willingness to grow as an educator to benefit students, and her tireless efforts to seek new ways to engage students, we recognize Deanna Williams with an Inspiration Award.