MONTREAL -- Sacred Heart School of Montreal teacher Erika Rath has been awarded the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence, considered a high honour for educators in the country.

“This award belongs to everyone at the Sacred Heart School of Montreal, especially the students who make me a better educator and a better person every day," Rath said. "I am so grateful to work at a place that feels like home and to work with such a great team.”

Not only does Rath work as the school's director of student services, she also teaches a personal development course to students in grades 7 to 11.

According to the school, the course provides students with an opportunity to develop leadership skills and "helps them become agents of change in their community by highlighting the issues and causes that are important to them."

In awarding Rath with the honour, the Canadian government points out what makes her a great teacher is her ability to make sure all her students experience some sort of success.

"Her definition of student success is not based on grades or university acceptance, but rather on the belief that every student must be equipped with the tools needed to succeed beyond high school, namely confidence, determination and resilience," it states. "Erika encourages students to think differently by helping them identify their strengths and their passions, and how the two synergistically work together to help lead a purposeful life."

Her work focuses on empowering the young women in her care to know their worth and bring what they learn into the real world.

As the director of student services, Rath also spearheaded the school's virtual learning plan in response to COVID-19.

"Erika developed a weekly virtual speaker series that highlighted female leaders working in traditionally male-dominated industries, including business, politics and technology," the Canadian government notes. "This series allowed students to learn about potential new career paths and gain a better understanding of how they can use their knowledge for action to make an impact."

The Prime Minister's Awards for Teaching Excellence has honoured exceptional elementary and secondary school teachers since 1994.