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TCPVA 2019 Award Winners

Leadership in Catholic Education – Teacher – Franca DiLorenzo
Franca DiLorenzo teaches at St. Bernard Catholic school. For over 30 years Franca has touched the hearts and fostered the minds of countless children. She is one of the most driven, organized and inspiring teachers who develops memorable relationships and selflessly gives herself to her students and colleagues alike.
To numerous colleagues who have worked with Franca for many years, most would describe her as resilient; a person who is always at the forefront of educational trends and newly implemented pedagogy. Franca is always willing to take risks and step out of her comfort zone to best nurture the academic, spiritual and emotional needs of the students under her care.
It is Franca DiLorenzo’s nurturing and caring persona that resonates throughout the halls of St. Bernard, making all visitors feel warm and welcomed. She truly embodies the traditional narrative of what a good teacher is and should be. She is a force whose powerful effect pulls us together and propels an infectious energy that is impossible to ignore.
Leadership in Catholic Education – Principal – Donato Di Paolo
Donato Di Paolo has been a principal with the Toronto Catholic District School Board for 8 years. He was appointed to St. Anselm in September 2017. Upon his arrival Donato recognized the difficulties of the community and began sewing the very fabric of the community together with patience, kindness, understanding, humility and equity. He demonstrated sensitivity, integrity and fairness in dealing with everyone in the school community and he made everyone feel valued and supported.  
Donato is an effective manager who uses his skills to create a secure and collaborative environment involving students, teachers, parents and pastoral staff.  He has an open-door policy and is always ready to listen to concerns. Donato supported the building of an inclusive school community where the most challenging students were able to achieve success and experience being valued and members of the school community.
Donato worked with school staff to create innovative and effective strategies and programs to meet the needs of all the children entrusted to their care.  He is always open to the ideas of others and will work with staff to ensure that a wide range of activities is available to all students. He participates actively in professional organizations and shares his expertise generously with peers. This is evident through his development of and teaching of the Special Education Course for Administrators at CPCO.  Donato is a mentor, he supports and leads with humility and compassion, expertise and understanding. A most worthy recipient!
Honorary Member - Bessie Gruppuso
Bessie served Toronto Catholic District School Board faithfully and with distinction for over 30 years, having worked in the Director’s office as well as in Field Superintendent’s offices. However, it was during her time in Human Resources, in the role of Senior Manager of Recruitment that she provided an exemplary service to our schools and our principals.
Bessie’s faith was always at the forefront of her actions, as was her concern for the personal well-being of the persons with whom she dealt. She always tried to bring out the best in the candidates and endeavored to allow them to prove that they would be not only an effective Catholic Educator, but one who would fit in well and serve the school community.
Perhaps Bessie’s greatest efforts were directed to the Administrators of the elementary and secondary schools. She was ever available to assist them with staffing and to listen to their concerns. No phone call was ever ignored or not returned in a timely manner. Bessie knew most administrators by first name and was a confidante, a person who offered not only staffing assistance but also a friendly ear to listen to the day to day concerns of running a school.
Within the HR Department, Bessie worked well with her staff, listening to them, encouraging them and helping them be the best they could be. Whatever expectations she had with them were reflected in what they saw in her daily.
Despite her busy days Bessie always found time to think of those who were not as fortunate. Gifts received by Bessie as a token of thanks from teachers, faculties and administrators were raffled off daily. The funds derived from this venture went to helping needy families at Christmas.
Bessie further extended herself to organize the events acknowledging 25 years of service with TCDSB and the End of Year Picnic. 
Bessie is living example of true Servant Leadership, a fitting candidate for Honorary Membership in TCVPA.  She is one of our own.
The 2019 TCPVA Awards will be presented at the Annual Appreciation and Awards Dinner on June 5, 2019 at Sala Caboto in Villa Colombo.