Inspirational leader wins 2005 Alumni Excellence in Teaching Award

York alumna Constance E.Stella (BEd 1985) has been selected as the recipient of York’s Faculty of Education Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award for 2005.

A well known advocate for social justice and equity, Stella, the principal at Morning Star Middle School in the Peel District School Board, has developed and implemented numerous innovative programs within the schools and community. These include The Community Roots: Youth Services Project which provides literacy and numeracy instructional support, in combination with a recreation program, for children ages six to 13. She also created an entrepreneurial program – Panthers Unlimited –  for students in grades six, seven and eight which teaches students how to run a small business and equips them with important work skills. The Students for Success Grade 8 Summer Transition Pilot Program; Counting on You, an after hours remedial program, Camp I Can, and the Darcel Academic Recovery Program Initiative for students-at-risk – were also inspired and led by Stella.

Stella has been described as an “inspirational leader, who is especially effective at working with challenging students”. As one fellow educator noted in her nomination, her “communication and leadership [activities] with stakeholders at all levels of the Peel District School Board and beyond have earned Constance the respect of her colleagues, school and the Malton community.”

Honorable mention goes to runner-up Kimberley Tavares-Carter (BEd ’99), a teacher at Vaughan Secondary School in the York region District School Board. She has undertaken curriculum writing, implemented a peer tutoring program, and led a vocal music program. Most notably, she initiated the Black Inventors Museum at Vaughan Secondary School. The initiative honours and recognizes the many inventions of African Americans. She is renowned for the passion she brings to the classroom, her encouragement of individual students and for her creative teaching techniques. A former student referred to her as “one of the most amazing teachers that I have had the pleasure of knowing, who dazzles and impresses her students and colleagues alike.”

According to Paul Axelrod, dean of York’s Faculty of Education, “the selection of Constance Stella and Kimberley Tavares-Carter for winner and runner-up, respectively, represents a testament to their widely recognized contributions to their schools and communities. The Faculty of Education is proud of their numerous and continuing accomplishments.”

Sponsored by Manulife Financial, the annual Faculty of Education Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award is awarded to a graduate of York’s Faculty of Education who has demonstrated a commitment to teaching and has made a unique contribution to teacher education over time. This year’s recipient will be recognized at an awards dinner to be held on the evening of Oct. 20 at the Founders’ Assembly Hall, York University.

For further information on the Awards Dinner, visit