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MONTREAL, FEBRUARY 27, 2015–   Mackay Centre School physical education teacher Bob Simpson has won the Graham Neil Excellence in Teaching Award. This is presented annually in recognition of the physical educators that go above and beyond at the elementary, secondary and CEGEP levels.

Recipients are known to serve as a positive role models within the school and surrounding community. As well, the recipient must offer a program that includes a variety of activities, as well as health and intramurals. Recipients participate in professional development activities, including sharing their expertise at local, regional, or national levels.  Mr. Simpson spends a lot of time in the swimming pool at the Mackay Centre School building on Decarie Blvd in NDG and has a special relationship with his students.

“If there is anyone that lives up to the criteria of this award it is Bob,” said Principal Patricia Ciccarelli. “He truly does go above and beyond the call of duty.”

 Mr. Simpson started teaching at Mackay in 1999. “Priority number one for Bob are the students and when your students are physically disabled, deaf and have communication disorder this becomes more of a challenge and requires that you be creative in your teaching approach,” said Ms. Ciccarelli. “Teaching students to simply catch a ball or be able to hold a ball, or kick their feet in the water or be able to follow one or two step directions to play a game seem simple, but for some of our students these tasks are extremely difficult. In there lies Bob's talent in allowing our students to experience success.”

Mr. Simpson wrote a manual in 2005 entitled Adapting Physical Education for Students with Physical Disabilities, which also has an accompanying DVD. He successfully pursued his Master’s Degree in Adapted Physical Activity and a Certificate in Inclusive Education. He organizes the students for the Défi Sportif, an annual adapted sports competition where all students with disabilities participate. Many of the Mackay students have ranked and won medals over the years. He was also the first person to help organize the Sport Adventurers Club, where some of the school’s most disabled students have the chance to experience adapted soccer, sailing, skiing, sledge hockey, kayaking and curling.

“Bob has personally accompanied some of our students to activities that he scouted to find for them, on weekends, evenings and yes, even the summer,” Ms. Ciccarelli says. “That shows you his high level of commitment.  Perhaps, Bob's most endearing trait is his humility. When he received this award he kept it very quiet. If it wasn't for his colleagues to mention it we would not have been able to honour him. He is always the first one to rise up to help students, staff and administration, yet he remains humble in what he does.”

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Michael J. Cohen
Communications and Marketing Specialist
English Montreal School Board
Tel: (514) 483-7200 ext. 7243
Fax: (514) 483-7213