2021 Distinguished Teaching Awards
Three of the province’s top teachers in the K-12 system will also receive Distinguished Teaching Awards, which are presented during the Faculty of Education portion of Convocation. Nominated by their principal and members of their student body, these awards are presented annually to teachers who have inspired students in their school to continue their education.
This year’s Distinguished Teaching Awards are being presented to Penny Dixon from Hamiota Elementary School, Kristin Harris from Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute, and Yuri Sudermann from Dufferin School.
Penny was born and raised on a farm near Boissevain. While attending Boissevain School, she was grateful for the solid education and innovative opportunities the staff provided for their students. She graduated with a Bachelor of Education from Brandon University in 1990 and began her teaching career at Hamiota Elementary School. Her first position was in Grade 1 but she has spent most of her 31 years at the school teaching Grade 3.
Working with students to build their confidence in academics has always been important, but Penny also enjoys seeing students grow as individuals and community citizens. Learning about their extra-curricular activities and interests is one of her greatest joys. Making connections and having daily conversations have made the job fun!
Penny feels fortunate to have worked with fantastic students, families and colleagues throughout the years.
Kristin is a graduate from the University of Winnipeg, where she majored in German and minored in Geography. She began her teaching career as a German teacher to Grade 2, 3 and 5 students, and then later moved to the Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute, where she began by teaching German and grade 9 Social Studies. She later moved to a Grade 7 homeroom model where she taught language arts, math, biblical studies, science, social studies and Middle School and High School German.
Kristin strives to create a safe and creative learning community in her classroom every day. She values building positive relationships with students and is inspired by her students’ kindness and hard work every day. She enjoys being involved in extra-curricular activities and seeing her students use their talents and skills outside of the classroom.
Yuri was born in the former Soviet Union Republic of Tajikistan, a small Central Asian country bordering Afghanistan and China. After graduating from University with a degree in Physical Education, he worked in Federal Military Boarding School for the boys’ ages 14-18 years old, preparing to enter Military Academies.
When civil war broke out in the country in 1992, his family had a chance to immigrate to Canada and they came to Winnipeg. After several month of working as a cabinet maker, Yuri decided to upgrade his teaching credentials at the University of Manitoba.
In 1999 he started his first full-time teaching job as a Physical Education and Health Education teacher at Faith Academy Private Christian School. In 2002 he changed his teaching assignments and began a teaching career at Dufferin School, where he is currently teaching Physical Education.
In 2018, Yuri earned a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from the U of M.
On top of his teaching, Yuri is also involved with a drop-in centre for Indigenous youth, and he organizes a variety of sports activities for local children, including hockey, soccer, Olympic wrestling, boxing, baseball and basketball.