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Purvis Primary teacher Cidalia Soares-Chan is Outstanding Teacher of the Year

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Cidalia Soares-Chan was named the Bermuda Education Network’s Outstanding Teacher of the Year (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The Bermuda Education Network has named Cidalia Soares-Chan as the 2022 Outstanding Teacher of the Year.

Ms Soares-Chan, a P5 teacher at Purvis Primary School with 27 years’ experience in the teaching profession, was described by her colleagues as “creative and inspirational”, and is known for her conscientious, rigorous and imaginative approach.

Makese Gilbert, P3 teacher and Language Arts Teacher Leader at Elliot Primary School, was named as the runner-up.

A special ceremony, attended by the Governor, Rena Lalgie, and Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, was held at Government House yesterday where the winners were unveiled and awarded.

Makese Gilbert, centre, was named as runner-up for the Bermuda Education Network’s Outstanding Teacher of the Year award. She is pictured with the Governor, Rena Lalgie, right, and Colm Singleton, head of award sponsor Allied World (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Ms Soares-Chan has a master’s degree in teaching from Simmons University in Boston and a bachelor’s degree in psychology, child and family from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada.

One of her colleagues said: “Mrs Soares-Chan is particularly creative in the way she presents her lessons and encourages her students to always try their best. The way she blends learning into everything her students do, whether gardening, riding the bus or baking a cake, particularly resonates with them.

“Throughout her own time at school, as well as during her career, she always admired the teachers who had positive relationships with their students, were knowledgeable, creative and energetic. Most importantly, they were always there for the children.

“That is just the kind of teacher Mrs Soares-Chan has become too.”

Cidalia Soares-Chan, centre, was named as the Bermuda Education Network’s Outstanding Teacher of the Year. She is pictured with the Governor, Rena Lalgie, right, and Colm Singleton, head of award sponsor Allied World (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Ms Soares-Chan said: “I want to thank everyone who has made this possible. I love teaching. I am very passionate about teaching. To have that moment to make a positive impact on a young life who will then have an impact on another life — it’s like a ripple.”

Ms Gilbert, who has two master’s degrees and a certification in early childhood, elementary education from the University of Alabama, was described as a teacher with “a love of children, books and play as well as a desire to give back and help to cultivate lifelong learners”.

A colleague said: “Ms Gilbert takes the time to get to know all of her students as individuals and spends an inordinate amount of time preparing for her lessons.

“Her classroom is a very calm and peaceful environment in which students feel valued, feel safe to take risks, ask questions and share their thoughts.”

Ms Gilbert said: “I owe the teacher that I am, and hope to be, to God, my mother, Faith, and my brother, Minton, in addition to my Elliot family.”

Becky Ausenda, founder of BEN, said all of this year’s finalists set a high-water mark for the awards.

List of finalists for the 2022 Outstanding Teacher of the Year Awards

• Alshia J. Lugo, science teacher at the Berkeley Institute

• Crystal Richardson, M2 and M3 maths teacher, Clearwater Middle School

• Donika York, M2 year head and M2 English teacher at Whitney Institute Middle School

• Rupert Holdipp, P5 teacher at Northlands Primary School

• Zolita McIntosh, physical education and health teacher at Port Royal Primary School

• Shani Smith, music teacher at Paget Primary School

• Akinyi Apopa, science teacher, Sandys Secondary Middle School

• Patreece Simons, teacher leader at Lyceum Preschool

She said: "Our winner, Ms Soares-Chan, deserves this accolade for many reasons but perhaps most because she epitomises that thirst for learning that we want to see thriving in our schools.

“She is constantly striving to expand her students’ understanding of the world around them and to make sure that they have the experiences and skills they need."

In addition to winning $2,000, Ms Soares-Chan has an option to receive a further donation of $2,000 either for her classroom or to partner with BEN during the summer on a “passion project” to create a programme or initiative to support new learning opportunities for students or the teaching profession.

All the other finalists won $1,000 each.

Mr Rabain thanked the teachers, saying: “Continue to do what you do because you are the bedrock of our country and the things you do for our children cannot be underestimated.”

Colm Singleton, head of Allied World Bermuda, a long-time sponsor of BEN's Outstanding Teacher of the Year Awards, said: "On behalf of Allied World, I would like to congratulate Ms Soares-Chan on winning this significant award.

“The role that you and your colleagues play in the education of children in Bermuda is incredible. Allied World is honoured to support Bermuda's public school teachers and the work that BEN is doing to improve education in Bermuda.”

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Published December 02, 2022 at 7:53 am (Updated December 02, 2022 at 12:52 pm)

Purvis Primary teacher Cidalia Soares-Chan is Outstanding Teacher of the Year

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