Community / Press Release

EMSB Teachers Recognized For Excellence

Montreal - Monday, May 1, 2023

On the occasion of English Montreal School Board Teacher Recognition Day, four teachers were presented with special awards from the Petros Taverna restaurant group, as well as certificates on Monday, May 1 at James Lyng High School in St. Henri.  The winners were also profiled on television by promotion co-sponsor CityNews Montreal.  

Click to see the Photo Album Read the story on CityNews

The EMSB launched this ceremony a decade ago to coincide with National Teachers Day in the United States and recognize this profession towards the end of the academic year.

The EMSB received many nominations from parents for the awards. Petros Taverna, owned by Ted Drainias, has locations in Westmount, Griffintown, Little Italy, Mile End and Lachine, with a South Florida spot set to open next fall.

Petros Taverna presented $100 gift cards to Klara Bourne, an English Language Arts teacher at James Lyng High School;  Holly Commeford, a teacher at James Lyng Adult Education Centre; and Jon Stein and Lara Belinsky,  physical education teachers at Willingdon Elementary School in NDG.

The formal presentation took place in the newly refurbished James Lyng Auditorium.

Klara Bourne

Klara Bourne has been teaching for 43 years, including the last 30 at James Lyng. “Becoming a teacher was an unexpected and happy accident that changed the course of my life completely,” she said. “I was invited to replace a teacher for a few months, and the rest is history.”

Holly Commeford

Holly Commeford has been an academic teacher at James Lyng Adult Education Centre for 25 years. She teaches mainly computer based classes,  as well as social science  courses that vary from budgeting and taxation to leadership and team building skills.   

“My mother, father, aunts and uncles are all people with education backgrounds, thus I was surrounded by a great amount of insight notably the fulfillment of interacting and impacting students of diverse needs and goals,” said Ms. Commeford.

In fact, Ms. Commeford’s father Wayne was the former principal of both James Lyng High School and Adult Education Centre.

Lara Belinsky  

Lara Belinsky has been teaching since 2006, having worked at  General Vanier, Gerald McShane and internationally in Istanbul, Turkey before arriving at this school 10 years ago.  “I always enjoyed sports as a child;  I was never and still am not amazing at one specific activity, but I always enjoyed playing,” she says. “Then fitness became important through my teenage and young adult years. I pursued Kinesiology at McGill because I wasn't convinced that I would be good at teaching physical education. At McGill, one of our courses was adapted physical activity, where we had to work with children with various physical and mental different abilities. After this class, I knew I wanted to be a Phys Ed teacher and I have never looked back since.”

Jonathan Stein

Jonathan Stein has been teaching Physical Education and Health for 17 years, the last seven at Willingdon.  “Before entering the Education program at McGill University, I spent a lot of time coaching sports and working as a camp counsellor,” he said. “I always enjoyed working with children and helping them develop new skills. Therefore becoming a teacher and having the opportunity to help people learn every day seemed like a great fit. 

“When you work as a PE teacher, every day presents new challenges. I also get to help students discover new sports and physical activities.”

About the English Montreal School Board

With a youth and adult sector population of more than 35,000 students, the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) is the largest English public school board in Quebec. Established on July 1, 1998, when the province created new boards along linguistic lines, the EMSB network consists of 73 schools and centres. For more details, visit the EMSB website at

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