Everyday Heroes: Nicole Matthews, Lisa Heitzner, Erin O’Neill, and Elizabeth Hyde

Everyday Heroes April 19

We are honoured to present this week’s Everyday Heroes for the 2023/24 school year.

Our everyday heroes are the epitome of compassion, devotion and care, transforming everyday tasks into extraordinary impacts.

Their subtle yet powerful actions not only elevate the experiences of colleagues but also enrich the lives of the students we proudly serve. They are more than just supportive adults or empathetic peers; they are the vibrant pulse of our educational community, profoundly touching the lives of all they encounter.

Our everyday heroes come in all forms, quietly making a difference in our schools and board offices, yet very often they overlook or downplay their own actions.

This week we are celebrating Nicole Matthews, Lisa Heitzner, Erin O’Neill, and Elizabeth Hyde.

Nicole Matthews

Nicole Matthews Nicole is the Vice Principal at Holy Family CES. Tracy was nominated by a colleague, who said:

“Nicole is an exceptional person – she is admired by all our staff, as she continuously provides her help and guidance, going above and always beyond, always on a professional level all the while creating personal relationships with all her staff. In an exceptionally large school, Nicole spends her day supporting her staff by making them feel heard and important with little things like her “jolly trolley”, “mindful meditation”, and thoughtful treats for staff meetings. There is never a time she isn’t reachable and able to help you out. She sends a prayer when we need it most, gives a hug when we are stressed and most importantly she WALKS the TALK. If she says she’ll do something, she does it (usually right then and there, before you can blink an eye). She is loved by so many for her compassion, hard work and extreme dedication to her job – no one is more deserving of this than Nicole for everything she does, everyday, to keep Holy Family a family.

Lisa Heitzner

Lisa Heitzner
Lisa is the Principal at St. Joseph CES Bowmanville. Lisa was nominated by a colleague, who said:

“Lisa Heitzner is an exceptional and talented individual who embodies countless qualities that make her a true Everyday Hero. Her hard work, dedication, and sense of humour make her a delight to work with each and every day. She is patient, kind, and displays genuine care for the staff and students she has been called to serve. Lisa’s deeply rooted church and community connections have enriched the lives of students and staff on numerous occasions. As a mentor, Lisa is equitable and inclusive, always ensuring that I have opportunities to engage in the conversation and be part of the solution. From her infectious laugh to her ability to turn almost anything into a song, Lisa seeks to find the positive in every situation. She makes me strive to be a better leader everyday. These are just a few examples of why Lisa is deserving of this nomination. She is an Everyday Hero at St. Joseph’s CFIC!”

Erin O’Neill

Erin O'Neill Erin is a Teacher at St. Stephen CSS. Erin was nominated by a colleague, who said:

“Erin goes above and beyond when it comes to serving her school community. She is selfless with the students. Time is something we do not have a lot of as educators, however Erin always makes time to listen to our students. Students benefit not only from her teaching the curriculum, they also benefit from adding “herself” to the mix. She makes the lessons relevant to the students’ lives. She is honest and clear with the students. I have heard from many students of how “amazing Ms. O’Neill” is. She is able to embody the vernacular of education, but with an approach that is gentle and informative. Students know her classroom as a safe space. When it comes to contributing to the St. Stephen’s school community, Erin volunteers as much as she is able. Her work with our Terry Fox fundraising, Girls Volleyball and Student Cabinet last year was amazing. She always adds an artistic, fun touch, without drawing attention to herself. As a colleague, she is incredible. On days when I feel down and unmotivated, Erin is there. Whether it is offering me an excellent lesson plan, a coffee, or kind words, she is there. To me and more importantly the students, Erin O’Neill is “An Everyday Hero”. She exemplifies the hero; “the willingness to take risks, and make sacrifices in order to help others or achieve a noble goal.” Our school community is a better place because of her. ”

Elizabeth Hyde

Elizabeth Hyde
Elizabeth (Betsy) is the Admin Services Clerk at the CEC. Elizabeth was nominated by a colleague, who said:

“I first met Betsy at St. Peter CSS as the secretary of the Guidance Office. But Betsy was not just contained at her work station doing the paper works, documentation, filing, and everything. She is very active in the school’s choir during liturgical celebrations and volunteers to read in the liturgy. She devoted her time after school joining in the choir practices with other staff and students. When she knew that I’m new to the school, she reached out to me during lunch breaks to play some card games while sharing stories and experiences not just at work level but our personal lives. She is a good listener, for sure, not just to me but to everyone who gets along in the school. When Betsy moved to CEC for her new role, she still connects and shares about how she continues to join in the choir ministry at the board office. Betsy has a beautiful and passionate personality of doing the work in the schools with love and dedication. I’m sure that she’s doing well and great in her role as well as her dealing with others everywhere she is at.”


We would like to thank Nicole, Lisa, Erin, and Elizabeth for their commitment to creating a culture of faith, hope and love to ensure equity and well-being at our board.