Ann Marie Vanneste

Ann Marie Vanneste: Culturally Responsible Pedagogy

Year: 2023 — Province: Ontario
Certificate of Excellence Recipient

All Saints Catholic High School
Kanata, Ontario
Grades 9,10,11,12 – Civics, Careers, Religion Learning Strategies

“I have personally witnessed the intentional progress the All Saints community has made as a result of Ann Marie’s continued interest, investment, and voice. I appreciate Ann Marie’s perspective that with every opportunity we have as a community to continue the conversation about race, we must engage and learn.”Principal

Ann Marie is a promoter for the arts, and a transformative leader focussed on providing Black students with a voice and opportunities in a large suburban school with an increasingly diverse demographic composition. She has changed the student experience and built the capacity for the teaching staff to instill a climate that allows all students to connect with their school.

Teaching Approach

The operative word to describe Ann Marie’s teaching approach is inclusion. People who are not fully part of their milieu cannot fully develop either as students or as contributing members of their community. Her work, therefore, far extends delivery of the curriculum, and touches individuals. When Ann Marie was teaching performance dance, she collaborated extensively with administration, custodial and resource staff to ensure that a student in a wheelchair could successfully achieve the course expectations of the senior dance class. Her pedagogical intention is to bring everyone on board.

She has made collaboration and communications the hallmark of her teaching practice. In this spirit, she builds meaningful relationships with all students – the basis of success if one is to successfully transmit the knowledge, and especially the life skills that will allow young people to adapt to a challenging world.

Ann Marie’s unique teaching style allows students to open up, but she also instills critical thinking. She puts this into practice with her learning strategies classes and Best Buddie program which provides her students with the tools and behavioral guidance that will serve them in the real world.

In the classroom

Ann Marie’s classroom is all about engaging her students. The objective is to support active participation, both in class and in extracurricular activities such as, coaching track and field. In her assignment “Something out of Nothing” Ann Marie will make twenty-seven brown paper bags with the same contents and students are given 45 minutes to create something. The results are mind boggling and often the students you least expect to create a masterpiece are the ones who do. This hands-on activity has impacted students in such a powerful way that they speak about this for years after. She wants students to feel that someone is rooting for them, and for their success. With this in mind, her priority is that everyone be included and be provided with the same opportunity to succeed. Culturally responsive pedagogy is critical to her teaching approach. She nurtures a sense of pride in all students, notably pride in the individual’s cultural place in the world, and awareness of individual cultural strengths.

Exceptional Achievements

Ann Marie has worked tirelessly to create and foster a school environment centered on respect and equity for Black students. Her initiative to create a Black Students Association has given birth to a positive forum where over two hundred students share, learn and practice community building. Her efforts are evident from using communication channels to share Black Joy over the PA system, to larger events such as the schoolwide birthday celebration for George Floyd where the student body was able to connect to his humanity and his family connections or ‘Walk Till Justice’ where 900 students walked to view the film Till during Black History Month. The film is based on the true story of 14-year-old Emmett Till who was murdered in 1955 in Mississippi. Emmett Till’s murder was a pivotal moment in the Civil Rights Movement. 

Her leadership has extended to supporting her school’s administrators and faculty in providing practical ways to address racial inequities and minimize the harm of inequitable situations in her school environment and in the extended community. Ann Marie is a 2023 recipient of the Director of Education award in the Ottawa Catholic School Board.

Get in touch!
All Saints Catholic High School
5115 Kanata Avenue
Kanata, ON K2K 3K5
[email protected]


Congratulations Ann Marie Vanneste! – 2023 Recipient of the Prime Minister’s Teaching Excellence Award

Article by | OCSB News

We are thrilled to congratulate Ann Marie Vanneste on receiving the 2023 Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence. Ann teaches at All Saints High School and is a devoted and supportive mentor within her school community. It’s no wonder her students affectionately describe her as a guiding pillar of empathy and resilience. Please take a moment to watch the video we put together celebrating her success.

Success is all in “The Kind of Classroom You Want to Create”

At the heart of Ann Marie’s success is her commitment to broadening her students’ worldview by emphasizing the importance of inclusion. She makes sure that every student, regardless of their background, feels essential and embraced. As a member of the All Saints Equity team, Ann Marie’s significant contributions have laid the groundwork for a number of programs and initiatives.

Two of her most notable achievements are the creation of the Black Student Association (BSA) and the Best Buddy Program. Both initiatives foster a deeper sense of unity among students from diverse backgrounds. With the support of her students in the BSA, Ann Marie has led pivotal school-wide commemorations during Black History Month. One of those pivotal events was the “Walk Till Justice” celebration, which saw over 900 students march in unity for Black History Month, braving the cold February chill. The Best Buddy Program pairs students of diverse abilities, providing support through teaching learning strategies and behavioral guidance for real-world applications. The program has sparked enduring friendships that have significantly impacted her students’ lives.

Ann Marie’s dedication shines through in every endeavor. It’s unsurprising that, in addition to the Prime Minister’s Award, she also received the Director of Education’s Award. She is an invaluable part of the OCSB community, and serves as an inspiration to us all. We are incredibly proud of her national recognition.