A celebration of excellence in education

On Wednesday, Oct. 7, the Faculty of Education and the York University Faculty of Education Alumni Association (YUFEAA) celebrated their passion for education at the Faculty’s Celebration of Excellence reception. 

The event, which took place in the Vanier College Renaissance Room, was attended by 80 guests and honoured the 2008-2009 undergraduate class award winners, the winner of the YUFEAA Excellence in Teaching Award, graduate students who received major scholarships, and faculty members for their significant research and scholarship achievements.

The main award of the evening, the Faculty of Education Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award went to Esther Terra (BA Comb. Hons. ’78), a teacher-librarian at Aurora High School in the York Region District School Board. “Mrs. Terra”, or “Madame Terra” as she is known by her many students and colleagues, was selected from among 10 nominees by a committee of educators. Impressed by her many accomplishments over her 31-year career in teaching, Terra received the award for her passionate commitment to curriculum leadership, student learning, her own professional growth, as well as her ongoing contributions to the enhancement of her colleagues’ professional lives. 

“Esther has always been a model and inspiration for lifelong learning. She is passionate and committed to her own learning as well as the learning and development of students and colleagues," said one colleague in a statement of support. "Esther Terra is the consummate teacher. After 31 years of teaching, Esther continues to touch the lives of her students and peers and her enthusiasm and passion for teaching is unwavering.”

Left: Bill Hogarth (left) presents Esther Terra with the Faculty of Education Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award

During his presentation speech to Terra, Bill Hogarth, director of education of the York Region District School Board, praised her for her long-standing commitment to student success and to the York Region District School Board.  

The Faculty also paid tribute to Hogarth, a longtime friend of the Faculty, who will be retiring at the end of the school year. He was recognized for his commitment to education and his friendship to the Faculty over his 16 years as director and prior to that, as a principal in the North York Board of Education.

Mario Soster (BA Spec. Hons. ’03, BEd ’03), the former president of the YUFEAA, was also recognized for his service to the alumni association and to the Faculty over the past five years.

Right: Hogarth with York Faculty of Education Dean Alice Pitt

Undergraduate students who completed their programs in 2009 and current graduate students were also recognized for the many awards and scholarships that they received from both the Faculty and from external donors and associations. One award winner said during the ceremony how thrilled and honoured she was to have been invited to the event and how it provided an opportunity for her to reconnect to the Faculty and to network with a number of people working within the field.

“Excellence in education means different things to different people, and changes over our lifetimes," said Alice Pitt, dean of the Faculty of Education. “Bringing together those just entering the profession with leaders, researchers and friends committed to public education ensures a lively conversation that renews and invigorates our work."

Visit the Faculty of Education Web site for more information.