2022 Patricia Valeri-Tortis
The Hux-Kiteley Exemplary Justice Educator Award for 2022 is shared between 2 law teachers, each of whom went far beyond the listed requirements for the award. Both Patricia Valeri-Tortis and Peter Voight receive this year’s award.
Patricia Valeri-Tortis started teaching Law at Cathedral High School in the Hamilton Wentworth Catholic District Board of Education in 1999. As a former lawyer, she brings knowledge and understanding of the justice system to the classroom, offering her students keen insight into legal issues.
Together with the Honourable Jane Milanetti (retired SCJ), Patricia co-founded the Hamilton Justice Education Network in 2008, remaining active on the committee ever since. Currently she sits as co-chair. In this capacity, she has been instrumental in organizing a wide range of activities for students and teachers throughout Hamilton including professional development workshops for educators, annual Twitter Moots and competitive mock trial tournaments held twice a year at the John Sopinka Courthouse. These initiatives help foster important connections among students, educators and members of the region’s legal community.
She goes out of her way to find opportunities for her students to make connections with the justice sector, providing a wide range of engaging and experiential learning activities, which include:
- Competitive mock trials – her students are always well-prepared for the roles they played, and well versed in the legal issues.
- Twitter moots – her students repeatedly won the debate and received complimentary lunches with a Hamilton judge.
- and courthouse visits – she frequently reminded her students of their rights as members of the public to observe court in session and that staying on top of current events was important as Canadian citizens.
Patricia has also been a mentor to other law teachers in Hamilton, encouraging them to participate in OJEN and HJEN initiatives and providing support as they gained confidence teaching this challenging subject.