Manitoba Pork is Recognizing the Hard Work of Teachers Across the Province


Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers have had to pivot and adapt while still going above and beyond for their students.

To say thank you, Manitoba Pork launched “Manitoba’s Best Teacher”, a contest that gave students, parents, and fellow educators an opportunity to nominate their favourite teachers.

Out of 403 nominees, four teachers were chosen to receive extra recognition along with a $500 Visa gift card and a pork-based lunch for their school staff.

Due to a positively overwhelming response in submissions, we chose an additional four winners who were presented with $500 toward improving their school.

Thank you Manitoba Teachers for all of the hard work you have done – especially over the past 15 months. Manitoba Pork will continue to recognize and support you.

Winners of $500 Visa gift card and a pork-based lunch for all staff at the school.

  • M. Hirsch, Springfield Middle School, Oakbank
  • J. Maclennan, Royal School, Winnipeg
  • L. Creighton, Rivers Elementary School
  • C. Ziegler, Elwick Community School, Winnipeg

Winners of $500 to use towards their school.

  • P. Poudrier, École régionale Notre-Dame, Notre Dame de Lourdes
  • M. Lesiuk, Highbury School, Winnipeg
  • L. Bachewich, Erickson Elementary, Erickson
  • M. Turabian, Phoenix School, Headingly

Read the winning teachers’ heartfelt nominations


  • "I am an EA in Mrs. Creighton’s class. She has had a few, and one in particular, high needs students this year. She maintains a very high level of teaching all children, and made a huge difference in each child’s learning, despite the huge encompassment of being the safest person for a high trauma affected child. She acted at all times with the utmost kindness and love for each child in her grade 1 classroom. She kept learning fun, even with the restrictions. She was welcoming and works with every staff member who came into her classroom. She is inspirational to the younger and many first or few-year teachers in the school. She embodies professionalism with a huge heart."
    Teacher's Name: L. Creighton School Name: Rivers Elementary School
    School Location: Rivers, MB
  • "I would like to nominate Ciara Ziegler as Manitoba’s best teacher because she honestly deserves it. She is caring and the most genuine teacher who goes above and beyond for her students during a pandemic! She keeps her students safe by purchasing sanitizer, Lysol wipes, cleaning supplies, you name it from her own wallet. She always provides snacks and food for her students because they sometimes come to school hungry, and no one can work on an empty stomach. Ciara has pivoted all year back and forth to in-person learning and to remote learning from September- June. She continuously puts her students’ mental health and well-being first. Students will always remember their school year during the pandemic for years to come, and I can say whole heartedly they will have good memories because Ms. Ziegler keeps her students safe, engaged, and makes learning fun even during the most difficult times."
    Teacher's Name: C. Ziegler School Name: Elwick Community School
    School Location: Winnipeg
  • "Marissa is our school’s amazing grade 6-8 band teacher. Her school year usually starts with helping grade 6 students find "their instrument." It's unbelievably busy with band concerts, band trips, fundraisers, before school jazz band practices and lunch time one-on-one practice. She encourages and coaches kids wanting to be part of the Manitoba Honour Band and sponsors children unable to pay for band camp. This year has been unimaginably different. No instruments, no band concerts or band trips. The only thing that has remained the same is Marissa's charismatic love for kids and music. Her band class has turned into drumming classes! Each student was supplied with a set of drumsticks and a white overturned 5 gallon pail to become a drummer!! She has taught them how to use drumming skills to play along with popular prerecorded songs in an exceptional way, even making videos to share with the school! Greeting EVERY class with a boisterous "Good morning!" (no matter what time of day it is) her students come in excited to spend time with her. She teaches a minimum of 5 drumming classes a day but treats each group like they are the first! Her whole band world turned upside down this year...and being Marissa, she made drums out of it! We love you Marissa!"
    Teacher's Name: M. Hirsch School Name: Springfield Middle School
    School Location: Oakbank
  • "Whether it was teaching in class or remotely Jamie was able to keep his students engaged in their learning. This teacher had to adapt quickly because his classroom was split into two classrooms in order to maintain social distancing. Running between both classes and learning to do live stream classes meant going above and beyond of what is expected of an already exceptional teacher."
    Teacher's Name: J. Maclennan School Name: Royal School
    School Location: Winnipeg
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  • "Laurie has gone above and beyond the call of duty and demonstrated extraordinary leadership during the pandemic. To name just a couple of things she has achieved during the pandemic: she organized a parade through the three communities last spring so her staff could connect with their students, recorded videos of herself reading in costume so her students could still be read to at home, implemented the numerous changes in COVID protocols, and ensured staff and students' safety has remained priority #1. In a normal year Laurie is the type of principal who is amazing, but during the pandemic she has truly shown that kindness, caring, compassion, respect, and safety can get a school through anything. I am a teacher at the high school in the community of Erickson and what I have mentioned above only scratches the surface of what I know Laurie strives to do for her students on a daily basis. I know her staff, students, and parents would all concur that she is a humble person who deserves to be recognized for her tremendous contributions and incredible leadership."
    Teacher's Name: L. Bachewich School Name: Erickson Elementary
    School Location: Erickson
  • "Mr. Lesiuk has gone above and beyond to find innovative activities for the kids in his class to connect, meet learning objectives and care for themselves mentally during a challenging year. The kids in his class have had a safe and comfortable place to find some stability and enjoyment. Academics didn’t suffer in order for fun to be had because Mr. Lesiuk finds creative ways to engage the students in their learning. One example is the Anishinaabe village he and a team of other educators built in the Minecraft video game. The kids got to learn about indigenous culture while playing their favourite game! The kids in his class have enjoyed math contests, trivia games, and a lot of experiments this year. The whole staff at Highbury school go above and beyond every single day. It is such a terrific environment for kids to learn and grow in, and it is all thanks to the hard work of the wonderful people that work there. I would very much love for them to receive this lunch, and Mark a well-deserved gift card!"
    Teacher's Name: M. Lesiuk School Name: Highbury School
    School Location: Winnipeg
  • "Though some teachers do the bare minimum, he always goes over and beyond to make sure all his students thrive, not only at school but at life in general. He makes sure to relate to each student's needs/life so that they have a fun-filled learning experience, encouraging all his students to find their true selves. Mr. Poudrier deserves this, as all of his hard work does not go unnoticed, and as a student I appreciate everything he has done and continues to do for me."
    Teacher's Name: P. Poudrier School Name: École Régional Notre Dame
    School Location: Notre Dame de Lourdes
  • "We would like to nominate Mrs. T! Mrs. T is kind, hard-working and absolutely amazing. Throughout the entire Kindergarten year she has been a constant support for the kids she teaches. Through COVID challenges, Mrs. T would personally deliver teaching materials, books, and parent teacher material to our doorstep without hesitation to ensure Owen didn’t miss a beat. At Christmas, Mrs. T delivered a Christmas gift to every one of her students on her own time. She is truly selfless. Mrs. T goes above and beyond the call of duty and we feel so fortunate to have been a part of her class this year."
    Teacher's Name: M. Turabian School Name: Phoenix Elementary School
    School Location: Headingley
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