Sandra Antonutti, principal of Father Michael Goetz Catholic Secondary School.

Tara-Lee Markides Deighan, an English teacher at Father Michael Goetz Secondary School in Mississauga, Ontario, received the Ontario Teacher of the Year Award from Niagara University’s College of Education during a surprise presentation at the school on Dec. 21, 2017.

In addition to teaching English, Markides Deighan coaches the school’s cricket team and supports teacher candidates in her classroom. She is currently working on enhancements to the English program, shifting the focus from literature appreciation to literacy development.   

When Sandra Antonutti, principal of Father Michael Goetz Catholic Secondary School, asked Markides Deighan to develop a program that would impact learning across the curriculum by closing the gap in reading achievement, Markides Deighan embraced the challenge.

“Tara-Lee is always innovative, and has a passion for working with at-risk students,” noted Antonutti.

Dustin Hayward, a second-year teacher candidate in NU’s bachelor of professional studies program, said that he has learned a great deal from his placement in Markides Deighan’s classroom. “Tara has been nothing but a gracious host and mentor to me,” Hayward stated.

Oksana Kawun, Niagara University’s practicum supervisor, praised how Markides Deighan guides teacher candidates through the construction and deconstruction of unit plans, lesson plans and assessment instruments to lead them to deeper levels of understanding of professional practice. Kawun says that in recognizing Markides Deighan Niagara University is honouring “an educator who demonstrates, at the highest level, the knowledge, skills and dispositions recognized by the Ontario College of Teachers and Niagara’s College of Education.”

To learn more about Niagara University’s College of Education, please visit

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