Faculty of Education honours outstanding alumni

York’s Faculty of Education recently hosted its first annual Alumni Awards Dinner at Founders Assembly Hall. The event attracted Faculty of Education grads from the past three decades who renewed acquaintances, struck up new friendships and participated in the presentation of the annual Faculty of Education Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award. One alumnus, Nigel Bates (BEd ‘81), travelled from Buffalo, NY, to share in the festivities. “I have a lot of fond memories of the teacher education program,” he said. “The campus has changed a lot but it’s great to be back”.

Faculty of Education Alumni Association president, Mario Soster (BEd ‘03) opened the evening with an inspirational speech about his own path to teaching. He encouraged fellow alumni to “work together to make their peers as comfortable and as well equipped as possible” in their careers as teachers. The keynote address was delivered by Mindy Pollishuke (BEd ‘75), an alumna of the first graduating class. She linked the development of her own life course and professional career to children’s stories she has used in the classroom over the years.

The evening concluded with the presentation of the annual Faculty of Education Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award to Constance Stella (BEd ‘85).

Left: Faculty of Education Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching award recipient Constance Stella speaks at the alumni awards dinner

Currently the principal at Morning Star Middle School in the Peel District School Board, she was described as an “inspirational leader, who is especially effective at working with challenging students” and as someone who is deeply committed to educational and community development in the Malton area where she has developed a number of innovative outreach programs. Ena Kaplun, manager of marketing & account management, Affinity Marketing (Manulife Financial), presented the award on behalf of Manulife Financial, which sponsors the Alumni Teaching Award. The runner up was Kimberley Tavares-Carter (BEd ‘99), a high-school teacher in the York Region District School Board. In addition to the teaching award recipients, alumni who received Faculty of Education Convocation Awards in 2005 were also recognized.

“This was a terrific event,” said Paul Axelrod, dean of the Faculty of Education. “It signifies the enormous impact that the Faculty of Education has had on educational and community life throughout Ontario, and beyond.”

The Faculty of Education Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award is given 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. Visit the Faculty of Education Alumni Association Web site for more information about the association’s upcoming activities and programs.  

This story was submitted to YFile by Anderson Coward, communications coordinator, Faculty of Education.