The Society of Descartes Medallists

The Society of Descartes Medallists was founded in 1968 by the Rene Descartes Foundation for the Advancement of Mathematics at the University of Waterloo. The Society has met annually since 1968 to pay tribute to Ontario mathematics and computer science teachers who are worthy of special recognition. Each year the Foundation admits new members, chosen for their contribution to the noble cause of mathematics education, to life membership in the Society of Descartes Medallists.

About the Descartes Society

The Faculty of Mathematics at the University of Waterloo enjoys a close relationship with the mathematics and computer science teachers in Ontario and across the country. It is a relationship cherished by the Faculty, for it has led to a spirit of friendship experienced only rarely in other disciplines, and it has ensured that students in our schools have richer educational experiences.

Many of these teachers have laboured with no thought of personal reward, devoting themselves to the cause of mathematics education and the general well-being of their students and their profession. It would be unfortunate indeed were their efforts not recognized.

Descartes Medallists

The Descartes Medallists are sorted by the year they were inducted into the Society. The brief citations for the medallists are based on information gathered prior to their induction. An asterisk (*) beside a name indicates that the medallist is deceased.

Medal selection criteria

The selection committee is seeking nominations for candidates currently teaching mathematics or computer science in Ontario.

Candidates’ attributes will include but are not limited to:

  • proof of excellent classroom teaching
  • evidence of leadership in school activities
  • experience in board activities
  • province-wide participation in activities
  • mentorship to students and other teachers
  • contribution to problem-solving initiatives
  • enrichment development.

The committee will focus on teachers who have been teaching for at least 15 years and return to teaching for several years after receiving a medal.

Typically, three medallists are chosen each year.

Please send your nomination to:

Troy Vasiga

Chair, René Descartes Medallist Committee

Faculty of Mathematics, University of Waterloo

200 University of Waterloo

Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1

Electronic nominations can be emailed to Troy Vasiga

Historical background

The first Chair of Mathematics at the University of Waterloo, Dr. Ralph Stanton, recognized that if this fledgling institution was to attract bright students, when schools such as Toronto and McGill were already so well known, something new was necessary. With that in mind, the first comprehensive effort to bring university mathematicians in touch with secondary schools was introduced. There had been contact between university mathematicians and secondary school teachers for many years, but this was the first program involving visits by faculty members to school classrooms, visits by busloads of students to the university for Computer Science Days, and support of the high school developed Canadian Mathematics Competition.

By 1966 the relationship between the university and the teaching community was strengthening. It became apparent that the commitment of many teachers to offering strong school mathematics programs and the dedication of these people to the development of their students was worthy of recognition. But how could a university recognize the outstanding efforts of teachers?

During Ralph Stanton’s tenure at Waterloo, he brought together the team of Ken Fryer (the ideas creator), Arthur Beaumont (the person who found financial support), and Wesley Graham (the creator of computer activities). These four outstanding individuals saw the need and created the solution. The René Descartes Foundation for the Advancement of Mathematics was created to develop an undergraduate scholarship program. The Foundation’s mandate, as its name implies, included the broad area of advancing mathematics education.This included the recognition of those dedicated persons who had devoted their professional lives to the development of their students.

And so the Society of Descartes Medallists was born - an organization unique in many ways. It provides university recognition of outstanding teachers.Inclusion in the Society is based on all aspects of education involvement, but primarily on an outstanding teaching record.The result is a veritable Who’s Who of mathematics teachers, and it is not at all unusual to see new recipients overwhelmed by the sight of a room full of peers, all of whom have been recognized as giants in their field of endeavour.

The following is an exerpt from an April, 1968 letter from Dr. J.G. Hagey, President of the University of Waterloo, and Professor C.F.A. Beaumont, Chairman of the René Descartes Foundation, to the ten charter members of the Society of Descartes Medallists.

The René Descartes Foundation for the Advancement of Mathematics

At the 1968 annual meeting of the Foundation, the Board of Directors agreed to honour each year a number of non-university mathematicians who have made significant contributions to the teaching of mathematics at the secondary and/or elementary levels. It was agreed that the persons so honoured would be the recipients of Descartes Gold Medals and that the award winners would be known as the Society of Descartes Medallists. It was further agreed that ten persons be honoured in 1968, the first year of the awards, and that the selection of future recipients should incorporate the recommendations of earlier recipients.

The Descartes Gold Medal is to be awarded to a person who has made an outstanding contribution in the areas of teaching and leadership at all levels. It is with great pleasure that we inform you that you have been selected as a charter member of the Society of Descartes Medallists. The complete list of persons to be honoured this year follows:

George Rodger Allan, John Christian Egsgard, Frank Clarke Asbury, James William Fencott, Lloyd Douglas Auckland, James Chamberlain Gardner, Wilfred Russell Cunnington, Jean I.L. Leppard, John Joseph Del Grande , John Irving Robert McKnight.

The Descartes Gold Medals will be presented on Thursday May 23, 1968, at the official ceremony opening the new Mathematics and Computer Building at the University of Waterloo.

We will be most honoured by your acceptance of the Medal and we look forward to seeing you on May 23rd.

Rene Descartes biography

Rene Descartes illustrated portrait
René Descartes, the most original philosopher to appear since Aristotle, is often considered to be the father of modern philosophy. He was born on March 31, 1596 in La Haye, France (now called Descartes) to a well-to-do family.

While his father, a judge, encouraged him to continue in law after graduating, Descartes preferred instead to "pursue his thoughts", travel and dedicate his life to intellectual studies.

René was a strong contributor and significant presence in the growing intellectual and scientific activity of his time. As well as being a mathematician, he established himself in physics as the discoverer of the law of refraction in optics and in philosophy for his most famous work Meditations on First Philosophy.

In Meditations on First Philosophy, he raised problems of such radical skepticism about our knowledge of the world, that he set the agenda for epistemology (study of origins of knowledge) for the next 300 years. The only thing we can be certain of, he suggested, is our own existence.

His famous declaration, 'Cogito ergo sum' - 'I think therefore I am', is his proof of his own existence as a thinking being and the starting point for the search of certainty.

Descartes objective in the Meditations was to structure human knowledge on a solid foundation. In reviewing his own beliefs, he realized that many were conflicting, others inconsistent, and some more justified than others. He wanted to assign order to his jumble of beliefs so that as in the certainty of mathematics, the justification of one proposition could follow from another. Where would he start?

Rather than attempt the next to impossible task of examining and categorizing each belief, he decided to examine them against a method of doubt. He would do this by questioning the source of his beliefs and by asking if it was infallible. If it was not, then it was not reliable for providing the foundations of knowledge.

He also noted that many of his beliefs derived from his senses or perception, which of course, could be deceptive and misleading. For instance, a person could be hallucinating or his senses could be eluded when looking at a stick that appears bent in a stream. Based on this observation, he declared that any information obtained from the senses to be uncertain and fallible and therefore untrustworthy.

The one proposition Descartes did trust, however, was his ability to think and reason. He felt that since he is able to think, it must be the case that he exists. Likewise, he must exist in order to be able to think. The certainty that he was a thinking being gave Descartes the basis for establishing his foundation of knowledge.

From this 'Cogito' Descartes developed an argument for the existence of two distinct substances, one material and one non-material and thus created the philosophical concept of Cartesian dualism.

In Cartesian dualism the mind and body are two distinct and different substances. Minds are things which think and bodies are extended things or space-occupiers. Descartes felt that he could not doubt that he existed as a thinking substance, yet he could still doubt that he had a body. It was this point that convinced him that mind could exist independently of matter.

For Descartes the foundations of knowledge were not confined to philosophy. Mathematics for him was the model of all knowledge because its truths were undeniable. He felt that anyone seeking truth should look for the certainty equal to arithmetical or geometrical demonstration. Likewise, he relied on the human capacity of reason to perceive something 'clearly and distinctly' without reference to or dependence upon sensory experience.

Ultimately Descartes set out to show that not only is genuine knowledge possible, contrary to what the skeptics put forth, but that mathematically-based scientific knowledge of the material world is possible. He also demonstrated that we as humans have the intellectual ability to reach an understanding of the world as well as the power to make reasoned judgments about it.


The Society meets each June. The first Chair of the Society was the esteemed Dr. Ken Fryer who presided from the first meeting until his death in 1984. He was followed by Ron Dunkley, who was succeeded by Dr. Steve Brown in 1996.

In 2010 Dr. Serge D'Alessio became the fourth Chair of the Society. The Chair of the Society also acts as the Chair of the Selection Committee which consists of members from the Faculty of Mathematics at the University of Waterloo and medallists.

In 2018, Dr. Troy Vasiga became the fifth Chair of the Society and Chair of the Selection Committee.


This website represents an extension of a book that was created to record the accomplishments of the medallists.

The first edition of this book, covering biographical sketches of the Descartes Medallists for the first 35 years, from 1968 to 2002, would not have been possible without a great deal of work on the part of many dedicated people.

Don Attridge, with the assistance of Ed Anderson, Lloyd Auckland, John Del Grande, Ron Dunkley, Jack LeSage, and Norm Sharp, took the lead in collecting data for the book from the medallists, their relatives and associates. Don spent countless hours pleading, reminding and cajoling people to send him information.

With a large stack of facts, figures, dates, and anecdotes, Ed Anderson took over the task of condensing and editing the material to produce a short biographical sketch of each medallist.

Ruth Anderson, Ed’s daughter, a journalist with experience at CBC Radio and in other media, wrote the final copy. She attempted to put a human face to the medallists rather than just provide a list of schools where they taught, their committee service, and the organizations they led. Her success is evident in the pages that follow.

The final form of the first book is largely due to the efforts of Bonnie Findlay at the University of Waterloo. She did the typesetting, photograph layout and cover design with her usual flair and skill.

From 2010 to 2016 Anna Cunningham, Serge D'Alessio's stepdaughter, took on the task of writing the citations for the medallists. In 2017, Amy Aldous, who was the Director of Communications and Research Alliances for the Faculty of Mathematics at the University of Waterloo, completed the citations. In 2018 Jodi Szimanski, Director, Strategic Communications for the Faculty of Mathematics wrote the citations.


Year: 2020| 2021 | 2022 | 2023


Beverly Farahani


For the last 25 years, Beverly has served as the Head of Mathematics at Kingston Secondary School, formerly known as Kingston Collegiate and Vocational Institute. Her classroom has served as a model for exceptional instruction that promotes inquiry and problem solving. Students are excited to be in her classroom and enjoy a wide variety of rich learning tasks that are engaging, fun, and thought provoking. Students actively seek out her classes because she offers a challenging and comprehensive exploration of the subject matter. When speaking with her past students, many of them noted that her dedication to teaching beyond the basics resulted in a seamless progression to more advanced mathematical studies in their post-secondary endeavors.

Beverly has generously shared a wealth of resources with the school's faculty, which have significantly enhanced the math curriculum. Her innovative approach, including the use of cuisenaire rods, train problems, leaping frog activity, and various other techniques, have helped to fill our classroom closets with a vast array of engaging activities and manipulatives that she has developed. Whenever a teacher needs an exciting problem-solving exercise for any topic, they can simply choose from a wide range of activities that Beverly has curated over the years. Additionally, she has provided mentorship to numerous teachers within the department, and has also served as an associate teacher for teacher candidates.

Beyond her exceptional in-class instruction, Beverly has made significant contributions to extracurricular mathematics. She dedicatedly oversaw the math club for many years, providing invaluable guidance to students in preparation for competition mathematics and the Kingston Math League - a prominent local math tournament. Additionally, Beverly had a partnership with Queen's University which afforded our students the opportunity to learn about enriched mathematical topics from faculty at the university.

Lynnette Raffin


Lynnette graduated from the University of Alberta with a BSc Specialization in Computer Science with Internship after completing half of her degree in French at the Université de Sherbrooke in Québec. Her love of travel, languages and teaching led her to Monterrey, Mexico, where she taught grades 10-12 math at the Tec de Monterrey’s high school campuses. After 3 years, she returned to Canada and completed her BEd at the University of Ottawa specializing in Math and French as a Second Language. Lynnette was quickly offered a permanent teaching position in math at Immaculata High school in Ottawa and later taught programming, engineering and communications technology. She completed both her Math and Computer Studies Honours Specialists before becoming Department Head of Business Technologies in 2019.

Lynnette is passionate about technology education in the classroom. Since 2019 she has been the lead teacher of the Information Communications Technology Specialist High Skills Major (ICTSHSM) program at Immaculata. Through this government funded program, students complete technology courses and special certifications and then apply their knowledge in a co-op placement in their field of interest. To date her ICT SHSM program has been very successful with over 40 students participating each year. Prior to that, Lynnette initiated a yearly “App Launch” partnership between her grade 10 “programmers designers” and their grade 3 “clients” at Corpus Christi Elementary school to create educational video games that were uploaded to the App Store.

Over the course of her teaching career, Lynnette has made numerous contributions to her school and community. Being innovative, she exposes her students to the latest industry initiatives both inside and outside the classroom. Lynnette instills leadership, critical thinking and teamwork not only in her classes but also in her student-teacher mentors at her weekly programming club and in the teams she brings to the yearly ECOO programming competition. She has acted as the co-supervisor of the student council, chair of the grad committee, co-chair of the prom committee, co-coach of the ski team, and a ski club supervisor.

In addition to her career, Lynnette started her own part-time dance school and has been teaching Angolan dance to adults since 2012. She is a pioneer in bringing Kizomba to the Ottawa dance community and has been invited to teach at dance festivals nationally and internationally. Lynnette speaks English, French, Spanish Italian and enjoys practicing her languages during her travels. In 2021 Lynnette and her husband Mike summited Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. Together, they look forward to further developing their dance school, traveling and climbing more mountains.

Mario Soster


Mario has taught high school mathematics with the HCDSB for 20 years and has been the Department Head of Mathematics at Assumption Catholic Secondary School in Burlington since 2008.

Growing up in Hamilton, Mario attended Orchard Park Secondary School, fostering his love for mathematics through completing University of Waterloo math contests and graduating as class valedictorian. Mario pursued a B.A. Specialized Honours Degree in History while taking a multitude of electives in Mathematics discovering his true passion lies in tackling math problems and helping peers with their math classes. Mario completed his B.A. concurrently with a B.Ed. at York University and was the recipient of the OECTA award at convocation. Once in the teaching field, Mario kept his ties with York University as the President of the York University Faculty of Education Alumni Association, a position he held for 5 years. Mario completed a M.A. in Mathematics for Teachers along with a graduate diploma in Mathematics Education at York University with an academic focus on the changes of the Ontario Mathematics Curriculum from 1937 to 2007.

Mario demonstrates a passion for math, playing an integral role in the development of the Advanced Placement (AP) math program and inspiring both students and faculty members by leading school-based professional development sessions on differentiating instruction, assessment and evaluation, and technology in the classroom. Through his classroom leadership and his extracurricular activities, Mario provides a warm and welcoming environment where students feel safe and comfortable and obtain the confidence they need in their math journey.

Mario organizes the University of Waterloo Math Contests and the after school “Math Madness” program, where he coordinates teachers who help students master the fundamentals of their math courses. His influence extends beyond the Math department. He has been a teacher advisor for Assumption’s Robotics and Chess Clubs demonstrating school spirit and support for numerous school projects, fundraisers, and clubs. He has participated in the Inside Ride and The Big Bike, which raised money and awareness for Cancer, and has often volunteered to be part of special events like Christmas assemblies and Halloween initiatives. Mario is a staff representative on school council, and through this forum, brings staff voice and perspective of to the school community at large. As such, he successfully communicates and works in partnership with parents of the student body to ensure positive experiences.

Mario is a good listener who supports the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) as each student is treated with respect as a unique individual. He is an integral member of the Assumption’s arts nights and musical productions where he engages and organizes students with a digital/technical potential to participate when they would not ordinarily partake in an arts program. Along with the “Tech Crew”, Mario works with the Department Head of Technological Education to oversee the sound, lighting and special effects for each production. Mario is a self-described audiophile with a passion for jazz and vintage audio. He enjoys a good mystery, loves to swim, bike, golf and travel with his wife and daughter exploring new places with family and friends.


Edith Louie


Edith Louie earned her Bachelor of Education from McGill University in 1996 and her Master of Education from University of Toronto in 2001. She has been teaching at Branksome Hall in Toronto since 1998 and earned the TVOntario Award of Merit in 2000 for creative use of innovative teaching methods in the classroom. For the past six years, Edith has been the Instructional Leader of Mathematics at Branksome Hall. In this role, she coaches her team members on teaching, learning and assessment practices, developing students’ social-emotional learning skills, and provides mentorship to new teachers, associate teachers and math co-op students. Edith is a math club advisor and math contest coordinator. She encourages her students to extend their love of math through math enrichment, mentorship and outreach programs. Edith is a strong supporter of service learning and initiated a JUMP Math tutoring partnership between students from her school and a local elementary school.

Edith has been the President of Independent Schools of Ontario Mathematics Association (a chapter of OAME) since 2011. She enjoys coordinating professional learning and networking opportunities for math educators through the ISOMA Annual Conference, workshops and guest speakers, department leaders PDs and Chapter socials. As a member of the International Baccalaureate Educator Network, Edith frequently leads and facilitates mathematics workshops for teachers in Ontario and the United States.

Edith loves travelling, doing community service, completing jigsaw puzzles and going to the movies and theatrical productions with her husband, Doug. She also likes to spend time with her family playing card games and board games.

Vasile Radu


Vasile Radu graduated from the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Bucharest, Romania with a Bachelor Degree in Mathematics and Education. He began his mathematics teaching career in his home town where he subsequently became head of the mathematics department. He provided workshops and evaluated high school math teachers in his local county. Vasile prepared students for local, county, and national mathematics competitions.

In Canada, Vasile began teaching mathematics at Birchmount Park Collegiate Institute in Toronto. He received the Additional Qualification in Computer Science from OISE and his Honours Specialist in Mathematics from the University of Western Ontario.At the Ontario Association for Mathematics Education conference he presented sessions about incorporating technology in different types of individual assessment. For 21 years Vasile has coached BPCI students for all levels of the University of Waterloo math contests. For the past 16 years he has been a marker for the Euclid contest and for the past 8 years a member of the Canadian Team Mathematics Contest. Since 2016 he has been a guest editor of the Crux Mathematicorum publication, issued by the Canadian Mathematical Society.

With his wife, Lesley, Vasile enjoys hiking, canoeing, and traveling in Canada, and abroad.


Julie Denomme


Julie Denommé is a mathematics teacher at Bishop Alexander Carter Secondary School in Sudbury, ON. She completed a BA in mathematics and then a BEd at Laurentian University, before setting out on her teaching career. She was the recipient of the Sudbury Catholic District School Board Chairperson’s Award for 2019. Along with her department, she was also awarded the Bette Stevenson Recognition of Achievement in 2014.

Julie has completed a suite of professional development programs, with a special emphasis on assessment, technology in the classroom and team teaching. She is especially interested in new teacher training and mentorship. Julie has also tirelessly organized and fostered the various mathematics contests at Bishop Alexander and is a mainstay point-of-contact for Waterloo’s Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing.

Outside of her teaching practice, Julie and her husband Adam are the proud parents of two children, Addison and Anabelle. She loves living in the Sudbury community and is active with her church. She enjoys playing and teaching piano, biking, hiking, running and swimming. During the summers, Julie also enjoys backcountry camping, taking canoe trips and spending time with her family and friends.

Adam Gregson


Adam Gregson is originally from London, ON, where he attended Westminster Secondary School and the Wheable Centre for Adult Education, and finished high school by completing OAC calculus by correspondence. He then studied mathematics at the University of Western Ontario, graduating in 2001 with an BSc. and earning the Gold Medal for highest graduating average; he is grateful to the mathematics faculty of UWO, in particular Profs. Stuart Rankin and Seymour Ditor, for their care and commitment to his education. Adam also holds a MSc (2003) in mathematics and completed coursework and qualifying examinations for a PhD, studying commutative algebra with Ragnar Buchweitz at the University of Toronto. Following some consideration of his future employability, he left academia and attended the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), completing his BEd. in 2007.

Since the fall of 2008, Adam has taught mathematics and computer science at University of Toronto Schools (UTS). He also oversees the co-curricular mathematics program, including the UTS Math Society, competitions and teams. Adam recognizes and is grateful to his fellow UTS teachers, both current and past, and Principals Rosemary Evans and Michaele Robertson, for their continued support.

Although he wrote few contests as a student himself, he slowly became acclimated to the world of competitive mathematics after seeing many of his students get excited about the problems and events. He has been trying to get more students, both at UTS and in the wider community, involved in team contests, in the hope that that the social component of practicing and competing together builds students' resilience and enriches their understanding throughout their mathematical development.

In his spare time, Adam enjoys crosswords, logic puzzles, origami, space opera, knitting, chess, video games, staring intently at geometry problems, and trying to get his students (and his daughter) interested in all of the above.


Sheena Martin Agius


Sheena Martin Agius is a mathematics teacher at St. Roch Catholic Secondary School in Brampton, ON. She previously taught at St. Joseph Catholic Secondary School fifteen years. Sheena completed a BSc at the University of Toronto and took her education degree through the Professional Education Program at D’Youville College in Buffalo, NY.

She has completed significant professional development and is active with the Ontario Association for Mathematics Education. Sheena continues to learn and grow in the area of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and Special Education to support all learners. Along with developing her own pedagogical knowledge, Sheena is active in the training and mentorship of other teachers. Sheena’s approach to teaching is rooted in an inquiry-based model of learning and building thinking classrooms. She has seen the best classroom results when students are able to approach problems from their own experiences and through the co-construction of collective knowledge. She also finds inspiration in faith-based pedagogy, where human dignity, compassion and understanding are foundational to her teaching practice.

At home, she is a wife and mother to three sons who keep her very busy in hockey rinks, at baseball diamonds and supporting theatre productions, enjoying the hustle and bustle of it all. In her free time, Sheena enjoys travelling, cooking and reading. For more than ten years, she has been a Minister of the Word of God at St. Mary’s Parish in Brampton.

Liliana Bastianelli


Liliana Bastianelli is an innovative and exemplary math teacher who has been in the high school classroom for 30 years. Alongside her teaching, she served as department head of mathematics at St. Pius X High School in Ottawa for over 15 years. Liliana is the recipient of numerous teaching awards including the Director of Education Commendation Award, the Teaching for Student Success Award, as well as numerous nominations submitted by her students for the Capital Educator Award, the Premier Award and the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence.

She is committed to creating exciting ways to improve student engagement and outcomes through her teaching practice. Her dedication to building a culture of change in attitudes towards math has led her to present at the OAME Leadership Conference in Toronto, work as the lead coordinator of the Journey to Leadership program for aspiring department heads, as well as present at the Vice Principal Conference and the Catholic School Parent Association. She has always been an advocate for equity among students. Liliana incorporates digital literacy and communication technologies into all areas of mathematics teaching, which led to her work on the development of lesson sequences for the Ministry of Education.

Liliana and her husband are proud parents of their son, Michael, who graduated medical school and is now completing his first-year residency in radiology, and their daughter, Margherita, who has completed her fourth year of biomedical science. Liliana enjoys the outdoors and discovering the beauty that surrounds her.

Christopher Gary Ing


Christopher Gary Ing is a teacher and the interim department head in mathematics at Vincent Massey Secondary School in Windsor, ON. He graduated from the same high school at which he is currently teaching, Vincent Massey, before going on to complete a BMath with honours in combinatorics and optimization and a minor in computer science at the University of Waterloo. He completed his BEd with a specialization in mathematics and computer science at the University of Windsor and a subsequent honours specialist distinction at Queen’s University. Christopher was awarded the Edyth May Sliffe Award in 2008 from the Mathematical Association of America.

Christopher has for many years been organizing and overseeing mathematics contests, with 400-500 students participating annually. He served at a CEMC contest committee volunteer for the Canadian Mathematics Competitions, and specifically on the Cayley writing committee for 10+ years and marking for various competitions for 15+ years. He was the coach and co-organizer for the Vincent Massey and Ontario team competing at the American Regions Math League competition held at Penn State University from 2002-2014. Christopher was one of the lead organizers of the Canadian Math Society’s National Math Camp hosted at the University of Windsor from 2009-2011.

Outside of his teaching practice, Christopher is actively involved in charitable events such as community basketball tournaments, the school can drive, and as a sponsor teacher for an annual Christmas Party for less fortunate children. He also hosts an annual field trip taking students to the University of Waterloo to visit with faculty members and students, to explore fields of study and career paths in math, computer science and engineering. He is an avid board gamer, video gamer, Magic the Gathering player and recreational basketball player. He loves spending time with his children, who enjoy playing games, building LEGO and reading stories.



Year: 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009


Kathir Brabaharan

kathir brabaharan

"Dr. B" as he is affectionately called by his students, grew up in Point Pedro, a small town in northern Sri Lanka. The second of eight children, Kathir says he was lucky enough to have not only excellent math teachers, but a strong mother who taught him to work hard and dream big. After coming to Canada and completing a PhD in chemistry at Dalhousie, Kathir entered high school teaching where he has taught both chemistry and mathematics in Scarborough schools since 1988.

Kathir is Curriculum Leader for Mathematics at Sir John A. Macdonald C.I. in Scarborough where he has been a leader in improving the delivery of mathemaics education. Indeed, his students say he makes learning math fun. An outstanding problem poser and solver, Kathir has helped many students succeed in national and international contests in mathematics and chemistry. He has been a key member of the Scarborough Math League and currently serves on the Euclid Contest Problems Committee.

He enjoys listening to both eastern and western music, has played cricket, soccer and softball and loves running and travel.

K. Steve Brown


Steve Brown has been on Faculty at the University of Waterloo since 1974. Steve grew up in Orillia and attended Orillia District Collegiate and Vocational Institute where his father was a math teacher. Steve then came to UW and completed his Bachelor’s and Doctoral degrees in the Faculty of Mathematics. While Steve has never taught in the school system in Ontario, he gained early and quick exposure to the system through his participation in the infamous high school “road show” of the 1970s and 1980s, traveling to far-flung parts of the province. Steve has managed to maintain equal interests in research, in administration, and in education. On the research front, Steve describes himself as a biostatistician, specializing in studies of health behaviours such as smoking; he is currently co-Director of the Population Health Research group on campus. On the administrative side, Steve has served as Chair of the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science, Director of the CEMC and, from 2001 to the end of 2009 as Associate Dean, External Relations. There is no question of Steve’s commitment to education in Ontario and beyond, as evidenced by his involvement in the CEMC’s outreach activities, including chairing the Euclid Problems Committee for more than twenty years, and in the recent revisions of the Ontario mathematics curriculum. Steve’s sense of humour can only be described as legendary; there are few people better than he at the podium. Steve lives in Heidelberg with his wife Beth and their two dogs. They have two children, Michael and Susan.

Barry Ferguson


Barry Ferguson has been on Faculty at the University of Waterloo since 1986. Barry attended Saugeen District Secondary School in Port Elgin, and then was a student in UW’s Mathematics Teaching Option. Through the Teaching Option, Barry received his Bachelor of Mathematics from UW and his Bachelor of Education from the University of Western Ontario. During the summers of 1985 and 1986 he earned a Joint Honours Specialist Certificate in Mathematics and Computer Science. Barry began his secondary school teaching career in Ottawa in 1983. After three years of teaching, he returned to UW to join the Office of the Dean of Mathematics and the Canadian Mathematics Competition. Barry completed his Master of Mathematics degree part-time while working full-time. Over his time at UW, Barry has, at various times, been involved in just about every aspect of contest development and administration. He is the Director of the Mathematics Teaching Option, and has been Director of the Canadian Mathematics Competition, Director of the Canadian Computing Competition, and Associate Director of the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing.

In addition, he has been actively involved in developing mathematics competitions in Bermuda. Barry is keenly interested in sports, particularly golf, and is active in his church. He lives in Waterloo, and is married to Angela. They have two sons, Patrick and Ted.

Rob McLeish


Rob is a lifelong learner... of students, but claims that the more he learns the less he knows. Throughout his career, Rob has directed his efforts, with passion, at improving the learning and teaching of mathematics. Rob graduated from the University of Waterloo, and then returned to his hometown, Ottawa, where he has spent his thirty-year teaching career in the Ottawa-Carlton District School Board except for a three-year stint in Lahr, Germany. He has been Head of Mathematics and Computer Science at both A. Y. Jackson and Robert Borden High Schools. Rob is currently Instructional Coach and Secondary Mathematics Consultant at the Board.

Rob is a former President of the Carleton Ottawa Mathematics Association. He has co-authored four text books, one for each of the grades from 9 to 12, and presents regularly at conferences. He received the Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence in 1995, and the O.A.M.E. Award for Exceptional and Creative Teaching in Secondary Mathematics in 2007.

In his spare time, Rob loves to kayak, cycle, walk, ski, play guitar, and sing.

Nancy Whitty


A former student of Nancy's who is a current mathematics teacher says that Nancy Whitty is one of the best math teachers he knows. Caring and knowledgeable, she can build great rapport with any student, and she earns respect from students in classes at every level.

Nancy is currently Head of Mathematics at Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes Secondary School where she provides support and encouragement to staff and students alike. She is a leader in mathematics education in the Trillium Lakelands School Board, presenting at math symposia and participating in leadership conferences and workshops. In her school, Nancy coordinates the school mathematics contest teams, and coaches their curling teams.

Originally from Listowel, Nancy attended the University of Waterloo. She began her teaching career in Waterloo County at Preston High School and then Forest Heights Collegiate serving as Assistant Head of Mathematics in both schools.

In her spare time, Nancy sings with the Cellar Singers, a sixty-voice choir from Simcoe and Muskoka districts, and her church choir. She is Past-Chairperson of her church Executive Committee, and she curls, quilts, knits and does needlework.


Victoria Cairns


No matter what path Vicky Cairns has followed in her education career, mathematics has always been key, and she has recently moved back into the classroom to help students develop their interest and skills in the field.

After graduating from Cathedral Girls H.S. in Hamilton, Vicky attended the University of Waterloo where she graduated with a BMath in the Co–op Mathematics Teaching Program. Her teaching career began, and has continued, at Hillfield Strathallan College in Hamilton. Over the years she has taught all levels of mathematics at the college, in addition to assuming senior administrative roles.

Like so many good teachers, she has been active in extracurricular activities at the school, including coaching softball and helping her students tackle mathematics contests. She has also been a mentor to many mathematics teaching interns who have spent time in Hillfield Strathallan's classrooms.

She has been active in the community, doing volunteer work with the Big Brothers organization and helping students with fundraising for HIV/AIDS research projects.

Outside of teaching, Vicky and her husband Paul enjoy walking and travel, gardening and golf. They have two grown children.

John Galbraith


The list of superlatives about John Galbraith that accompanied his nomination is impressive. He's described as "warm", "inclusive", "caring", "tirelessly energetic" and even "impish". But one of his colleagues summarizes John's talent as a mathematician and teacher with high praise: "He is a class act who enriches the lives of everyone he comes in contact with".

John grew up in Thunder Bay, attending Lakeview H.S., and then graduated from the University of Waterloo's Mathematics Teaching Option. He has spent his career in Waterloo County high schools. He currently teaches at Sir John A. Macdonald S.S. in Waterloo. He is popular with his students and very active in a wide variety of school, church, and community activities. He is also a persuasive letter writer and wields a "mighty pen", according to one colleague, when he tackles issues related to public education.
John has been active in course development, contest preparation, and has been a long time contest marker. He is a recipient of a Stewart Award for Teacher Excellence.

John and his wife, Betty, have two sons and two daughters. Looking ahead to retirement, John says he and Betty may try to return some of the advantages he has enjoyed by going overseas to teach.

Alex Pintilie


There's a line towards the end of Alex Pintilie's CV that speaks volumes about him. He says, “I was born in Romania. I spent 40% of my life in Canada and I have been married to my wife, Melania, for 60% of my life. I guess that makes a 100% perfect life.”
Alex uses the language of mathematics with confidence after a lifetime of study and professional development. He was raised and educated in Romania, achieving brilliant marks and placing at the top of his university class. He began his teaching career in his home country, garnering considerable acclaim as a teacher of gifted mathematics students.

In the late ‘80’s Alex came to Canada and obtained his MSc in Statistics from the University of Toronto. Since 1990 he has taught in the Toronto private school system, first at Bayview Glen School and then at Crescent School. At both schools he was head of mathematics. He has continued his work with mathematics enrichment and has coached his favorite activities, soccer and chess.
Alex has been involved with OAME as a writer and a presenter. He has been on several contest committees and has been a Euclid contest marker for 10 years.

Relaxation for him is often a discussion about mathematics with Melania, who is a statistician, and his son Stefan, a Computing and Statistics graduate from the University of Waterloo.


Jeffrey Anderson


Jeffrey Anderson is described by his peers as an outstanding teacher whose love of mathematics and easy-going nature make him a role model for both students and other teachers. He is the son of another Descartes Medallist, Ed Anderson; the first father and son team to win this award.

Jeff grew up in Wingham and Kitchener. He attended Forest Heights C.I., then the University of Waterloo, graduating from the Co-op Teaching Option in 1981. Jeff taught for one year at Etobicoke C.I before moving back to F.H,C.I. where he is currently the head of the mathematics department.

Jeff's leadership talents go well beyond the classroom. He has long been involved in coaching - both with school teams and the K-W Track and Field Club. Off the field he has been a coach of math competition teams and currently chairs the Cayley Mathematics Contest Committee. He is also co-founder and president of a company developing advanced data compression.

Jeff and his wife, Donni, have three young sons. Jeff enjoys camping, hockey and golf – and claims his talent for mathematics makes him the family's best poker player and Sudoku champion.

Charlotte Danard


“Charlotte often tells her students that the 'Aha' feeling which comes when a problem is solved is something that she hopes they all can experience.” That line from a colleague of Charlotte Danard speaks volumes about her love of mathematics and her work mentoring students and other teachers.

Charlotte is a keen problem solver, a well repected teacher, and a lover of the history of mathematics. She is a teacher and mathematics department head at Toronto's Branksome Hall. She has served on contest preparation and marking committees at the University of Waterloo and has participated in a wide range of conferences.

Charlotte is a graduate of the University of Waterloo's Mathematics Faculty. She got her teaching degree at the University of Toronto, and a masters degree in mathematics from the University of Rochester. Before being hired at Branksome Hall in 1991, she taught in Toronto, Mississauga and Rochester, N.Y.

Biking and singing in a community choir are part of Charlotte's pleasures outside of mathematics. She is also a calligrapher, a mother of three grown children and is married to Don Plewes – also a Waterloo graduate.

David Shepherd


The Descartes Medals are awarded to leaders in mathematics education and “leadership” is a mantle that David Shepherd wears with ease and obvious success. He has a wonderful record of commitment to mathematics and teaching, and also to sports and outdoor education.

David was born in Etobicoke and grew up in Ontario and Quebec. He graduated from the University of Waterloo's Mathematics Faculty, Co-operative Teaching Program. After graduation he moved to the Collingwood area and Collingwood C.I. where he has taught since 1975. David has been a member of both OAME and GVMA and has, for many years been a marker and committee member for numerous Canadian Mathematics Competition contests.

David's other love is cross country running and track and field, where, as a coach, his work has also been recognized at very high levels. He is the winner of a 2006 OFSSA Leadership in School Sport Award. His work with students also includes backpacking, canoeing and curling.

David and his wife, Krysia Piorczynski, live in Ravenna on a hobby farm they share with two horses, two goats and twelve cats.


Shirley Dalrymple


After a late start in teaching, Shirley Dalrymple quickly became the kind of exemplary teacher so deserving of a Descartes Medal. Particularly telling is a comment from one of her colleagues who says that Shirley’s “love of mathematics, of learning, and of teaching are contagious” and an inspiration to the students and teachers who work with her.

Most recently, Shirley has been on leave from the York Region District School Board - working on curriculum development for the Ministry of Education. In fact, creating urriculum, courses and testing options, plus consulting on new textbooks have been an invaluable contribution by Shirley over the years. She has taken leadership roles in professional organizations, notably as president of the Ontario Association for Mathematics Education.

Shirley grew up in Penetanguishene, the second oldest of nine children. She and her husband Ian have two children and a beagle. Away from the world of education, she enjoys her Lake Nipissing cottage, gardening, sports and many crafts.

Diane Lang


Describing her own career in mathematics, Diane Lang says her accomplishments are the result of someone else opening a door, providing an opportunity or planting an idea. She has done exactly that for countless students over the years. She is known as a wonderful leader, a tireless teacher and one of those rare individuals who cares equally for students of all abilities. One of her colleagues writes, “Although she delivers the subject in a gentle, approachable way, she works at an extremely high level that is not always in evidence due to her humility”.

Diane grew up and started her career in the United States, but came to Canada in 1973 to study at the University of Toronto. She eventually joined the Scarborough Board as a teacher and mathematics head at Sir Wilfrid Laurier C.I. Since 2000, Diane has taught mathematics at University of Toronto Schools, where she is subject coordinator.

Diane has been married, as she puts it, for 3x12 years to her husband Dan. They have two grown children. Diane enjoys reading, weaving and gardening, and promises to learn duplicate bridge when she retires.

James O'Connor


The word “passion” is used much too loosely in the current culture of celebrity and hyperbole. But in a letter recommending Jim O’Connor for a Descartes Medal, it is a word clearly used in a deliberate and heartfelt way. Jim is passionate both about the teaching of mathematics and the study of it.

For more than 30 years Jim has taught mathematics in North Bay high schools - 22 years at Chippewa S. S. He took one four year break from the Near North Board to teach in West Germany. He has been a department head, a member of several professional associations and a supporter of mathematics contests. Like so many of our other medallists, Jim has always taken his enthusiasm for students beyond the classroom - as a coach and advisor for groups as divergent as the chess club and the football team.

Jim is married with three children and one granddaughter. He enjoys jogging, home renovation, and, in his own words: "writing mathematics". Without giving away too much, we can safely say that he is at an age and level of experience where he could retire, but isn't interested in leaving the classroom or the challenges of teaching mathematics.


Frank Cirone


Throughout his 33 years in the classroom, Frank Cirone has always been recognized as an outstanding teacher who set high standards for his students.

Frank attended high school at Riverdale C.I. and Monarch Park S.S. After graduating from the University of Toronto, he first taught at West Hill C.I., then at Cedarbrae C.I. where currently he is the head of mathematics.

He has consistently promoted enrichment in the classroom through his work with mathematics contests and as a coach, question writer and convener for the Scarborough Senior Mathematics League. He has been active in O.A.M.E. and S.A.M.E. and has developed course materials and written several curriculum documents for the Scarborough Board of Education.

Frank has coached high school sports teams and been a student council advisor. His personal interests include playing poker, tennis, badminton, golfing, skiing and traveling. His wife Agnes is a retired mathematics teacher.

Patrick Grew


At Frontenac S.S., Pat Grew's principal describes him as, “the Spirit of Frontenac”. As a department head he excels. His leadership has developed a department committed to instilling the desire to learn in every student.

Pat was born in Saint John, N.B., eventually moving to a small village called Cross Creek when he was in grade 7. He attended high school in Stanley, N.B., Mount Allison University, and McArthur College at Queens University. His teaching career spans 21 years at schools in Nepean and Kingston.

Pat has received both the Outstanding Service Award and Teacher of the Year Award from the Limestone Board. In addition, his department won the Kenneth D. Fryer Award from O.A.M.E. He has actively promoted mathematics competitions at both the elementary and secondary levels.

Pat loves sports, particularly hockey and basketball. Other interests include fishing, kayacking, golfing, skiing and making maple syrup the old fashioned way. He has coached high school basketball throughout his teaching career. Pat's wife Nancy is a grade 5 teacher. Their son Adrian is in grade 5 this year.

Peter O'Hara


One of Peter O'Hara's colleagues wrote, “Mathematics is Peter's passion, and helping to excite kids and colleagues about mathematics, making them better problem solvers, is a big part of his life.”

Peter's c.v. contains a long list of ways he has been involved in promoting excellence in mathematics, including service on various Canadian Mathematics Competition problems committees, working with secondary school students at the University of Western Ontario, conducting problem solving workshops, and speaking at professional development events.

Peter grew up in London, Ontario, where he attended Oakridge S.S. and the University of Western Ontario. He has taught for 27 years, the last nine at Glendale H.S. in Tillsonburg.

Apart from his work on mathematical enrichment, he has coached high school hurdles and golf, directed the school prefect organization, and served on various teacher committees in the schools. In the community he has been active in golf and curling. Peter and his wife Susan have three children, a daughter and two sons.


Garry Kiziak


Tackling new challenges has been the mark of Garry Kiziak’s career in education, particularly in computer education. He tells the story of translating Sheridan College’s microcomputer mathematics course from Commodore Pet to Apple II. It meant rewriting several hundred programs, his payment being two floppy disk drives for his own Apple II computer. He ruefully calls himself “naive” on that project, but it clearly helped lead him forward in using and teaching computer science.

His own academic career includes high school at Huron Park H. S. in Woodstock, then an undergraduate degree in Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry at the University of Toronto, followed by a Masters Degree from U. of T. in 1968. One of his favourite U. of T. professors is another Descartes Medallist, Ed Barbeau. Garry began teaching in 1971 at Burlington Central H.S. Over the years he has headed a number of departments at the school and is still there, now head of Mathematics, Science, Business and Computer Science.

A sports enthusiast at a younger age, Garry has traded skates and cleats for woodworking tools and travel brochures. When he’s not travelling or planning his latest carpentry project, he and his wife Dianne are very involved with their church.

Jack Koenka


Jack Koenka’s teaching career began in 1978 after graduating with a mathematics degree from the University of Waterloo and attending the Faculty of Education at the University of Toronto. His first teaching job was at Upper Canada College in Toronto where he ultimately became head of the mathematics department. In 1996 Jack left U.C.C. to head up the mathematics department at Havergal College in Toronto.

In recent years Jack has written a number of courses and texts for mathematics students at Havergal. He has been a marker for the Euclid and Descartes Mathematics Contests and has been a member of both the Gauss and Cayley Contest committees. He has also taken part in numerous mathematics conferences and professional associations.

Jack was born in Istanbul, but came to Canada as a toddler. He is a sports enthusiast and has been a competitive squash player for nearly twenty years. Jack has applied his love of sports to his work over the years - coaching many school teams. He is an avid traveller and has the advantage of speaking French and Spanish fluently.

Maria Plachta


A short line on Maria Plachta’s c.v. speaks volumes about her talent as a scholar. As a senior school student in her native Poland, Maria graduated with such high distinction that she won free entrance to any university program of her choice without having to write an entrance examination.

Among Maria's accomplishments in Poland, after completing University, was co-writing the Polish curriculum for computer science, an effort for which she won a Ministry of Education award.

After teaching physics, mathematics and computer science for several years in Poland, Maria came to Canada, joining the staff of Brother Andre Catholic H.S. in Markham in 1991. She moved to Woburn C.I. in Scarborough in 1993 where she currently teaches computer science and computer engineering.

During her teaching years in Toronto, Maria has encouraged her students to improve their computing skills through enrichment programs and competitions. Her students have rewarded her efforts by bringing home an impressive list of medals from international contests. She added to those challenges by co-creating and running the Woburn Collegiate Computer Contest.

Maria might be called a renaissance woman. In addition to her talent for mathematics and computer science, she is a hiker and traveller, and has a keen interest in religious studies, gardening, literature and art.


Edward Barbeau


Ed Barbeau’s lifelong love of mathematics, particularly enrichment in mathematics education, has earned him a reputation as a great “popularizer” of the subject in Ontario and across Canada. His willingness to listen to others’ ideas, his careful and deliberate way of thinking through solutions, and his desire to share his knowledge with teachers and students alike, have earned him wide respect in the school community.

Ed grew up in Toronto, attending Parkdale P.S., Parkdale C.I., and the University of Toronto. After receiving his PhD in the United Kingdom, he spent almost his entire career as a professor at U.of T.

Ed has been actively involved in a long list of organizations, including the International Mathematics Olympiad, M.A.A., C.M.S., N.C.T.M. and O.A.M.E. He has authored or co-authored seven books and numerous research papers, as well as being a frequent conference speaker. Among his awards are the David Hilbert Award for Enrichment in Mathematics and the Adrien Pouliot Award for Contributions to Mathematics Education.

Ed plays the piano and pipe organ, and enjoys cryptic crossword puzzles, reading, walking and spending time with his grandchildren.

Maureen Routhier


Maureen Routhier’s principal at Parkside C.I. in St. Thomas succinctly expressed the feelings of staff and students when she wrote, “Maureen sets the standard for academic excellence in the school. She is convinced that all students can learn and expects the same conviction from everyone in her department”.
Maureen was born and raised in St. Thomas, the youngest of five children. After graduating from Arthur Voaden S.S., where she was a Descartes Scholarship winner, she studied mathematics at the University of Waterloo, graduating in 197

She has been a leader in Elgin County in curriculum development, special programs for students, and professional development for teachers, as well as serving on numerous
planning and advisory committees. She has constantly encouraged students to participate in mathematics competitions and has been a competition marker at the University of Waterloo. In 2001 her mathematics department was the recipient of the K.D. Fryer Award for excellence in team work, classroom teaching, and for leadership in mathematics education.

Besides community work with her church and the Original Kid’s Theatre Group, Maureen enjoys travel, music, cooking, crafts and decorating.

Wally Webster


Wally Webster is well known in educational circles in Western Ontario for his wide range of interests and accomplishments in school mathematics.

He began his formal education at S.S. No.3, Dawn Township, followed by high school at Lambton Kent D.H.S. in Dresden, then went to the University of Guelph.

He taught for 26 years at South Huron D.H.S. in Exeter (the home of the white squirrel!), where he was head of the mathematics department. He is currently the Assessment and Evaluation Coordinator for the Avon Maitland School Board.

Wally has been involved in curriculum development, writing textbooks, and working on numerous other projects in education.

He is the chair of the Pascal Contest problems committee at the University of Waterloo and has been a frequent marker of Euclid and Descartes Competition papers. He has been an active speaker and organizer with associations for mathematics teachers.

Along the way he has also found time to coach basketball and baseball. His hobbies include woodworking, sports, fishing and travelling. In 2003, he and his wife Lois took their forty-first trip.


Brian Balsdon


Brian Balsdon has poured considerable energy into many pursuits, particularly his work in the field of mathematics.

Brian grew up in Kitchener-Waterloo, attending K.W. C.V.S. and later the University of Waterloo. He started his mathematics teaching career at Burnhamthrope C.I. in Etobicoke before transferring to Don Mills C.I. In 1973, Brian moved to Switzerland to teach for two years at the Canadian Junior College in Lausanne. He returned to Don Mills C.I. where he has been both assistant head and head of the mathematics department.

For many years Brian has been involved as a marker for the Canadian Mathematics Competition. He has also coached basketball, swimming and curling teams, as well as leading mathematics, bridge and music appreciation clubs.

Outside of school, music and sports remain Brian’s greatest interests. He enjoys curling, sailing, golf and bridge. He loves jazz and one of his retirement projects will be playing the trumpet.

Myrna Ingalls


Myrna Ingalls has never been afraid to tackle new challenges and new ideas. Her career in mathematics has taken some sharp turns, but never veered off course.

Myrna grew up in Brantford, attending Cainsville P.S., Agnes Hodge P.S. and Brantford C.I. Her degree is from the University of Waterloo.

Her first teaching post was at Victoria Park S.S. in Don Mills, and from there she went to Napanee H.S. for four years.
In 1973, motherhood took precedence over mathematics, and Myrna left teaching until 1977. She was lured back by another Descartes Medallist, Don Attridge, and returned to Thornlea S.S. in York Region. She later moved to Unionville H.S. where she soon became department head. Myrna retired from the classroom in 2000, but not from mathematics. She’s now with the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Branch of the Ontario Ministry of Education and has worked on a number of key mathematics projects.

Sailing is Myrna’s great leisure-time passion. She and her husband have a boat they sail on Georgian Bay, and have chartered boats in the Caribbean, in the Gulf Islands, and in Greece.

Tino Lenti


Tino Lenti’s drive for excellence was evident at a young age. He was born in Italy, but moved to Northern Ontario as a young child. Growing up in Sudbury, he received a number of academic awards, including the top student award at his high school, St. Charles College.

At the University of Windsor he was on the Dean’s list of scholars, Athlete of the Year in 1972, and a member of the C.I.A.U. championship basketball team in 1969 with the Windsor Lancers. Tino also attended the University of Western Ontario where he got his B.Ed.

Tino returned to his hometown of Sudbury to teach, first at Lively District Secondary School (department head), then at Lasalle S. S. (department head) and most recently at Lo-Ellen Park S.S. He has been a school basketball coach for many years, and helped organize the Sudbury Men’s Summer Basketball League.

Tino has also worked tirelessly with the Canadian Mathematics Competition–as a coach for his school teams, as a marker and as a member of both the Descartes and Challenge problems committees.

Mathematics is a hobby as well as a profession for Tino, but he enjoys other hobbies too: fishing, hunting, golf, cryptic crossword puzzles, wine-making and Sudbury’s Italian heritage club, the Caruso Club.


Judith Crompton


Judy Crompton has taken her commitment to mathematics from the classroom to numerous support roles and back to the classroom again.

Her teaching jobs have all been in St. Catharines–at Governor Simcoe S.S., West Park S.S. and Sir Winston Churchill S.S. However, she’s worked in several other mathematics-related positions: Mathematics Coordinator for the Lincoln Board of Education; National Mathematics Consultant for Nelson Canada; Education Officer with the Ontario Ministry of Education; and manager of a secondary school curriculum project for the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences. In addition, Judy is a Life Member of O.A.M.E. and has served as its president. She is also the recipient of a Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence.

Judy grew up in St. Catharines, attending Alexandra P.S., Queen Mary Senior P.S. and St. Catherines C.I. Her degrees are from the University of Waterloo, Brock University and the University of Western Ontario.

In her time off from teaching, Judy enjoys the three g’s….golf, gardening and, on occasion, gambling.

Brian Dunfield


Brian Dunfield is recognized for the insight he has into mathematics and his ability to create and solve problems. And for nearly thirty years Brian has served on the Canadian Mathematics Competition problems committees.

He grew up in Toronto and has spent his entire career teaching there. His own public school was John Fisher P.S. and he went to high school at North Toronto C.I. He received his degrees from the University of Toronto and York University.
Brian has taught at Jarvis C.I. since 1971 except for one year which he spent at Danforth Technical School. Twice he has interrupted his career to travel. In 1988-89 he went to Portugal, India, Nepal, China, Hong Kong and New Zealand. In 1993-94 he visited Greece, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Brian is the creator of the Mind Over Mathematics contests for grades 7 and 8 students in downtown Toronto, and has coached many students in national contests. He also wrote Fungraph, a commercial software program.

Canoeing, tennis, reading, sailing, playing guitar and working for environmental causes are some of Brian’s pastimes.

Paul Fennell


Paul Fennell has been called a first class teacher and a first class individual; a teacher with boundless energy. He has devoted countless hours to mathematics education.

He grew up in Port Credit, attending Queen Elizabeth II P.S. and Kenollie P.S., then Deer Park P.S. and Oakwood C.I. in Toronto. He went to the University of Waterloo and Althouse College.

Paul has spent much of his teaching career at Ingersoll D.C.I. where he became coordinator of mathematics and science.He also taught at College Avenue S.S. in Woodstock where he was department head, and currently teaches at Medway H.S. in London. He has also been a mathematics consultant and computer site administrator for the Oxford County Board of Education, as well as a driver education teacher.

Paul has been involved with O.S.S.T.F., G.V.M.A., O.A.M.E. and the Oxford County Mathematics Subject Council. He has taken on many roles with the Canadian Mathematics Competition. He’s been a wrestling coach, a producer of school musicals and a student council advisor.

Paul is active with his church and has been part of the Ingersoll Cheese and Wine Committee.


Douglas Irving


Doug Irving is living proof that mathematics mentors in high school can have lasting influence. In fact he says two fellow Descartes medallists, Earl Marcy and David Palmer, taught him in high school and taught him to love mathematics. Yet another Descartes medallist, Ed Baumgart, was Doug’s first department head and a significant influence on his life and career.

Doug went to elementary school in Lambton County, then Sarnia Central C.I. and the University of Waterloo.
He taught at Eastwood C.I. in Kitchener and Waterloo C.I. in Waterloo where he was department head. Doug was involved for many years with the Grand Valley Mathematics Association and worked with the Canadian Mathematics Competition on the Euclid Contest problems committee. One of his mathematics contest teams–his Descartes team–was ranked first in Canada in 1988.

Doug has many interests outside the classroom: photography, gardening, woodworking, travelling and his church. He’s also keen on several sports: bowling, squash, racquetball, and coaching basketball.

Neil Munro


Neil Munro is known for his boundless energy both as a runner and as an advocate for students, teachers, and the study of mathematics.

Neil was an itinerant student as a child. He attended five different elementary schools before graduating from grade 8 in Pakistan. He attended high schools in Niagara Falls, Toronto and North Bay before going to the University of Toronto.
Northern Ontario became his career home. He taught at Widdifield S.S. in North Bay, Northern S.S in Sturgeon Falls, and West Ferris S.S. in North Bay. He also taught part-time for the Nippissing College’s Faculty of Education, and was the full-time president of his O.S.S.T.F. district for three years.

Neil worked on marking teams for the Descartes and Euclid mathematics contests, helped develop numerous curriculum documents and participated in a number of professional organizations like O.A.M.E and N.O.M.A. He was also the president of the Nipissing and District Mathematics Council.

Neil is a dedicated runner, having completed more than 200 road races of 10 km or longer, including six marathons. He’s been a school track and cross country coach for many years. Neil is also an author, having published books on sports statistics, and has been a key member of his local Junior Chamber of Commerce.

Maureen Ricciuto


Maureen Ricciuto thanks her mother for her gift of teaching and her father for his gift of numbers. She also says the curiosity of students has helped her stay interested in the perpetual adventure of learning.

Maureen’s early learning started at St. Mary’s School in Deep River. She went to Our Lady’s H.S. in Pembroke, then St. Patrick’s College at the University of Ottawa. She has also studied at Queen’s University, the University of Toronto and the University of Waterloo.

In her first two teaching jobs, at Laurentian H.S. in Ottawa and Cedarbrae C.I. in Scarborough, Maureen taught mathematics and Latin. She later taught at Sir Adam Beck S.S. in London, College Ave. S.S, in Woodstock, and then Dunbarton H.S. in Pickering where she stayed for 28 years and was department head.

Maureen has been a curriculum writer and has been involved with O.S.S.T.F. and with O.A.M.E. She was also the first president of the Mathematics Subject Council in Durham Region. She has served on the Cayley Contest problems committee at the University of Waterloo. Her favourite areas of mathematics are Euclidean geometry and fractal geometry.

Playing the piano, bridge, painting, cycling, and cottaging along the Ottawa River are special interests for Maureen.


Year: 1990 | 1991 | 1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 |1999


Robert Lalibertac

robert laliberta

In more than thirty years as a teacher, Robert Lalibertac has been a leader in offering assistance and leadership to francophone teachers and students. He has been involved in the founding of a regional and provincial francophone association for mathematics teachers, as well as being on its executive for many years. In addition, he has worked with the Canadian Mathematics Competition, validating the French language versions of the contests.

Robert grew up in Hawkesbury and went to Ecole primaire Christ-Roi and Ecole secondaire de Hawkesbury. He went on to the University of Ottawa and Queen’s University.

His teaching career has kept him in the Ottawa area: Hawkesbury D.H.S., Ecole secondaire Champlain, Ecole secondaire publique De-La-Salle, Ecole secondaire publique Charlebois, and Ecole secondaire publique Louis-Riel. For more than 25 years he has acted as head of different mathematics departments and has been the Co-coordinator of Programming for gifted students in Ottawa. Robert has also taught in the Faculty of Education at the University of Ottawa.

Cross-country skiing, racquetball, tennis, canoeing and travelling are favourite extracurricular activities for Robert.

Robert McRoberts

robert mcroberts

There’s clearly a genetic element to Bob McRoberts’ teaching talent. His father, Mac, was a science teacher and principal, his mother, Nora, an elementary school teacher. His grandfather, Jack Knowles, was principal of the Aurora high school Bob went to and where he now teaches. Both Bob and his brother Joe are graduates of the University of Waterloo’s Co-operative Mathematics Teaching Program.

Aurora is Bob’s hometown. He attended Wells Street P.S., then Dr.G.W. Williams S.S., before going to the University of Waterloo and then York University.

He taught first at Newmarket H.S. (assistant department head), then King City S.S., Unionville H.S. (department head) and Dr.G.W.Williams S.S. (department head). Among Bob’s awards is a 1984 Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence.

Bob has been instrumental in establishing the Gauss Mathematics Contest in elementary schools in York Region, and has worked on the Gauss problems committee for many years.

Coins and non-sport cards are among Bob’s interests. He is a church choir member and soloist–and a member of the Three Stooges Fan Club.

James Schurter

james schurter

Jim Schurter was honoured with a Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence in 1994, but it’s more than just his classroom work that distinguishes his efforts on behalf of students and mathematics education.

He has been very involved with the Canadian Mathematics Competition as a marker for the Euclid and Descartes contests, and as a problems writer for the Pascal, Cayley and Fermat contests. Jim helped create Perth County’s kindergarten to grade 10 mathematics curriculum, and has had a long association with the G.V.M.A.

Jim’s teaching career was spent at Listowel D.S.S. where he headed the mathematics department and was a soccer and wrestling coach. He grew up in Bruce County, attending S.S. No. 3, Greenock Township, then Sacred Heart H.S. and Walkerton D.S.S., both in Walkerton. He then studied at Wilfred Laurier University and the University of Waterloo.

His spare time is often spent golfing, gardening, walking or working with the Knights of Columbus.


Ronald Bender

ronald bender

Ron Bender says his passion for teaching mathematics came from his University of Waterloo days and the professors he had like Ralph Stanton and Ken Fryer.

Ron grew up in northern Ontario, starting school at Joseph Kennedy P.S. in Matheson, then going to Timmins H. V.S. After graduating from the University of Waterloo, he went on to the University of Ottawa, then settled in the Ottawa area.

Ron’s career includes teaching at Merivale H.S. in Nepean, Gloucester H.S. in Ottawa, Earl of March S.S. in Kanata (department head), West Carleton S.S. in West Carleton Township (department head), plus acting as a mathematics consultant for the Carleton Board of Education and a curriculum resource teacher for the Ottawa/Carleton District School Board. Ron has also taught at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Education.

He is the winner of a Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence and an Outstanding Mathematics Teacher Award from the Carleton Board of Education Mathematics Subject Council. His department at West Carleton S.S. received the Ken Fryer Award in 1994.

Ron helped to create a much-lauded mathematics evaluation project for grade 10 and for O.A.C. calculus. He also directed a self-learning centre at West Carleton S.S.

Ron’s work with students included coaching volleyball, hockey and mathematics competition teams.

Victoria Dale

victoria dale

Vicki Dale says she feels like a proud grandmother when she sees the remarkable work of some of her former students. She cites the example of attending workshops on new curriculum given by students she taught. However, her talent is evident elsewhere as well. Vicki has coached a number of students to exceptional finishes in mathematics competitions.

Vicki describes herself as a restless, independent child whose parents let her attend a variety of schools: St. Thomas S.S. and St. Michael’s S.S. in Sudbury, Notre Dame College in Ottawa, Marymount College in Sudbury, and Loretta Abbey in Toronto. She earned her degree from the University of Windsor, then later took a variety of courses at Laurentian University, the University of Waterloo and O.I.S.E.

She taught first at Sudbury H.S., then at Vaughan Road C.I. and Runnymede C.I. in Toronto, before moving to Lo Ellen Park S.S. in Sudbury where she was department head and taught for 26 years. While at Lo Ellen, Vicki built the enriched level program in mathematics and was the coordinator of the International Baccalaureate Program.

Duplicate bridge is a recent and consuming pastime for Vicki, but she also enjoys snowshoeing, hiking, skiing, reading, cooking and travelling.

Dean Murray

dean murray

A testament to Dean Murray’s teaching skills is the tribute paid to him by a student, Chris Hadfield. Chris, one of Canada’s best-known astronauts, named Dean as an influential teacher in his life.

Dean is the head of the mathematics, science and computer studies department at Milton D.H.S. He has also taught with the Waterloo County summer school program.

Dean’s own education began in Willowdale where he went to Finch Avenue P.S., Northmount J.H.S. and Earl Haig S.S. He went on to the University of Waterloo and the University of Toronto.

In addition to the Descartes Medal, Dean is the recipient of a Descartes Foundation Teacher Recognition Award and a Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence. Dean is the co-author of a Grade 12 calculus textbook and has been very involved with the G.V.M.A, acting as chair since 1995. His other professional pursuits include working with the Canadian Mathematics Competition.

Dean enjoys golf, gardening, painting and decorating, and updating family trees.


Richard Clausi

richard clausi

An avid fisherman, Richard Clausi says he’s still waiting for that one big muskie! In other areas, though, he’s been more successful in attaining his goals.

Richard grew up in Timmins, but moved to Waterloo to get his Bachelor of Mathematics degree from the University of Waterloo. With that, Richard began a career in mathematics and computer education. He taught in several Ontario high schools: Galt C.I., Cameron Heights C.I. in Kitchener, Bramalea S.S., and Elmira D.S.S, where he is the mathematics head. In addition, Richard contributed to the University of Western Ontario’s Continuing Education computer courses.
Richard’s interests in technology and mathematics are not limited to the classroom. He has worked on problems committees for both the Canadian Computing Competition and the Canadian Mathematics Competition. He helped lead the Canadian Computing Olympiad Team to the world competition in Hungary in 1996.

In addition to receiving the Descartes Medal in 1997, Richard is a recipient of the Marshall McCluhan Award for Innovation in Technology and Excellence in Teaching (1987), and the Prime Minister’s Award in Science, Technology and Mathematics (1995).

Richard’s love of problem solving goes beyond mathematics. He has a longtime fascination with the John F. Kennedy assassination. Richard has also been deeply involved in Canadian politics, taking part in elections at several levels, and serving on various citizen advisory panels.

In his spare time, Richard enjoys new technologies along with old loves, like his trumpet.

Jean Collins


Jean Collins is an excellent teacher and a very good problem solver. Her outstanding rapport with students is evidenced by the awards she has received. Besides the Descartes Medal, she was awarded the Descartes Foundation Teacher Recognition Award and an Edith May Sliffe Award for distinguished teaching.

Her career took her to a number of schools: Chapleau H.S., Forest Hills C.I. in Toronto, Richmond Hill H.S., Thornlea S.S. in Thornhill and the University of Toronto Schools. Jean speaks fondly of Thornlea which was her neighbourhood school, and where she taught her friends’ children and her children’s friends.

Jean spent many years as a contest marker and teaching at the Canadian Mathematics Competition seminars. She also volunteered with the International Mathematics Olympiad when it was held in Toronto in 1995.
Jean’s own education took place in several schools: Pickle Crow P.S., Logan P.S. in Mulgrave, Nova Scotia, Renabie P.S. in Renabie, Ontario; St. Joseph’s College in North Bay, North Hastings H.S. in Bancroft, and later the University of Western Ontario.

Cottaging, travelling, bridge, volunteer work, and golf are among Jean’s hobbies. She can see mathematics in many things; she enjoys quilt making, calling it “applied geometry”.

Cyril Lewis

cyril lewis

Cyril Lewis was born on Union Island, one of a group of islands in the West Indies known as the Grenadines. His father was a teacher and principal, and prior to coming to Canada, Cyril taught at the high school he attended: St. Vincent Grammar School.

Once here, Cyril went to Sir George Williams University (now Concordia University) in Montreal and received a Bachelor of Science degree. He went on to get an engineering degree from McGill University. Cyril taught with the North York Board of Education for two years before going back to school for his master’s degree at Queen’s University. While there, he also taught undergraduate courses.

In 1975 he went to the Scarborough Board of Education and became assistant head of mathematics at Albert Campbell Collegiate. He has worked with mathematics leagues and many contest teams. He has been a Descartes Contest marker, a curriculum writer, and has worked with peer tutoring programs in his school. In addition, for about 20 years Cyril has taught electrical courses at Centennial College.

Cyril has won a Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Teaching plus an Edith May Sliffe award from N.C.T.M. for Distinguished High School Mathematics Teaching. He is an accomplished cricket player and an avid gardener.


Donald Curran

donald curran

Don Curran started his own education at Regiopolis School in Kingston, before moving to Toronto and St. Michael’s College School, then the University of Waterloo and York University. He subsequently obtained his PhD at the University of Waterloo.

He established his teaching career at Royal York C.I. in Etobicoke then moved to Bramalea S.S. and R.S. McLaughlin C.V.I. in Oshawa, where he was assistant department head. Don was a busy coach at school, working with basketball, volleyball, badminton, bowling and curling teams. He was also very involved with the O.S.S.T.F., and for many years has been the chair of the Descartes Contest marking team.

Don has sung in a number of choirs, coached community sports teams and loves reading, especially history, travel and mystery books. He played squash and volleyball, even playing on a volleyball team that won an intermediate provincial championship.

Todd Romiens

todd romiens

Todd Romiens has the distinction of being the youngest mathematics department head ever appointed in a Windsor high school. Windsor is his home town where he attended Victoria P.S. and Kennedy C.I. He obtained his BA at Waterloo Lutheran University and his teaching degree at the University of Windsor. He later attended Wayne State University in Michigan.

Todd returned to Windsor to teach at W.F. Herman C.I., Vincent Massey S.S. (department head) and Riverside S.S. (department head). He has also been an associate professor with the University of Windsor’s Faculty of Education and the Mathematics Coordinator for the Windsor Board of Education.

Todd’s extracurricular work includes textbook and curriculum writing, and working on provincial mathematics standards. He also was president of O.A.M.E.

Beyond mathematics, Todd is interested in golf, basketball, baseball and his church. In addition, he has an antiques business.

Jeffrey Shifrin

jeffrey shifrin

Beyond his work in the classroom, Jeff Shifrin has been deeply involved in a variety of mathematics contests. He created the C.W. Jeffreys Mathematics Contest for junior high schools and middle schools in North York. He was part of the planning committee and was Chief Invigilator for the International Mathematics Olympiad in Toronto in 1995. He has also worked with Canadian Mathematics Competition problems committees at the University of Waterloo.

Jeff’s teaching career was spent in North York at Northview Heights S.S., Westview Centennial S.S. and C.W. Jeffreys C.I. (department head). He coached basketball, soccer and mathematics contest teams. Since his retirement Jeff has taught courses at the University of Waterloo.

Jeff attended both the University of Toronto and the University of Waterloo. His earlier education was at Forest Hill C.I. in Toronto. Jeff is a devoted oenophile, with a wine cellar containing his collection of more than 500 bottles. He is also a fan of all professional and amateur sports.

Mary Storey

mary storey

From a one room schoolhouse to the latest in technology, Mary Storey always moved ahead in education. From getting computers into classrooms to organizing the Spotlight on Girls in Science and Technology Conference, Mary has been forward-thinking.

She spent her teaching career in York Region: Pottageville P.S., Kettleby P.S., Nobleton Senior P.S., Ballantrae P.S., Unionville P.S. and Central Park P.S. She also, for a time, was a computer education consultant with the York Board of Education.

The Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, and an Excellence in Education Award from York Region are among the tributes given to Mary. Outside the classroom, she was very involved with the Federation of Women Teachers Association of Ontario, and served on the board of directors of the Education Computing Organization of Ontario.
Mary worked for many years on the Gauss Mathematics Contest problems committee and she coached both school mathematics and athletic teams. Mary started school in Schomberg, then went to King City S.S., Lakeshore Teachers College and York University.

In her off time she enjoys the cottage, skiing, canoeing, swimming, hiking, photography and crafts.


Margo Johnston

margo johnston

Margo Johnston has been an enthusiastic contributor both to community causes and educational concerns. She has been an executive on the Board of Directors of the Kingston YM-YWCA, the Central Ontario Squash Association and the Ontario Ladies Golf Association (Kingston District). She has been a fundraiser for the Kingston Township Minor Hockey Association.

In addition to all that, Margo has worked with O.A.M.E., a provincial calculus review team, and the Canadian Mathematics Competition organizers.

Margo grew up in Glengarry County, Ontario, attending S.S. No. 6 Charlottenburg and Williamstown D.H.S. Her university degree is from Queens University. She taught at two high schools: Woodroffe H.S. in Ottawa and Frontenac S.S. in Kingston, where she was department head.

Kenneth McKenzie

kenneth mckenzie

Ken McKenzie considers almost every class he taught a highlight of his career, especially teaching mathematics to each of his daughters. He says one of his greatest influences was his own father, D.J. McKenzie, who taught in Woodstock for many years.

Ken grew up in Woodstock and went to Victoria P.S., Central Senior P.S. and Woodstock C.I. He received his university degree from the University of Western Ontario, and later studied at the University of Toronto and Queens University.

He taught at Downsview S.S. and Don Mills C.I. in North York, where he was department head for 28 years. He was also the Continuing Education vice-principal and principal for the North York Board of Education.
Ken was a curling coach and student council advisor. He worked on Euclid and Descartes Contest problems committees and coached his own school mathematics teams.

Ken enjoys bridge, golf, theatre, his church and curling, especially his work with charity bonspiels. He also loves travel and fondly recalls a three week trip with students to Japan and Expo in 1970.

Lawrence Rice

lawrence rice

Larry Rice’s Descartes Medal citation describes his strength as the ability to get students to achieve tremendous results without creating pressure. He imparts a clear love of mathematics.

Throughout his teaching career, Larry has worked with many students at a competitive level. He is a co-founder and coach of the Ontario All Star team in the American Regions Mathematics League, a convenor and problems creator for the Scarborough Mathematics League, and a founding convenor of the Scarborough Reach for the Top League. He has coached many national award winners of the Canadian Mathematics Competition and has served on various C.M.C. problems committees.

Larry grew up in Winnipeg and attended the University of Manitoba, then McGill University where he obtained his PhD. He has taught at several Scarborough high schools: R.H. King C.I., Stephen Leacock C.I., L’Amoreaux C.I. and Woburn C.I. where he headed the mathematics department. He is currently teaching at the University of Toronto Schools.
Larry still has a cottage in Manitoba, and enjoys gardening in his spare time.


Lorna Morrow

lorna morrow

Lorna Morrow has an extraordinary and diverse list of accomplishments in both her professional and private life. She is the only Canadian to be editor of an N.C.T.M. Yearbook, has published a “Math Idea of the Week” for elementary school teachers, co-authored textbooks, developed curricula, and worked on Gauss Contest problems committees.
She is a past president of O.A.M.E., has been Canadian Director for N.C.S.M. and been an organizer for I.C.M.E. She has been to Tanzania to teach teachers.

Even recognition for her efforts has been diverse. Lorna received a citation from the North York Board of Education recognizing her contribution to mathematics, and once had some ill-behaved boys thank her at the end of the year for keeping after them.

Lorna taught at Ernestown T.S.A. No. 2, Bayview P.S. (principal), Amherstview P.S., Three Valleys P.S., Milneford J.H.S. and Newtonbrook S.S. She taught with the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Education and was a Mathematics Program Leader and Consultant for the North York Board of Education.

Lorna’s own education began at elementary schools in Stratford and Oshawa, then continued at Oshawa C.V.I., Kingston C.V.I., Queen’s University, O.I.S.E., and the University of Toronto. She also took courses at the University of Waterloo.
Mathematics spills over into Lorna’s spare time. She is a qualified music teacher and played accordion as part of “Johnny D. and the Math Cats.” She has a private pilot’s license, and enjoys needlework, silversmithing, stained glass work, and quilting.

Paul Pogue

paul pogue

Known to educators throughout Ontario as the author of the Pogue Report, a document which made recommendations in the mid-seventies for Intermediate Division Mathematics in Ontario. Paul is also the co-author of a number of textbooks for Canadian and Australian students, and has conducted numerous workshops for teachers in Canada and the United States.

In addition to the Descartes Medal, Paul has won a Prime Ministers Award for Teaching Excellence, and has coached a number of successful mathematics competition teams. He has also served as the president of O.A.M.E.
Paul went to Barrie P.S. and Barrie C.I., then went on to Waterloo Lutheran University and McMaster University. He also studied at the University of Waterloo.

He taught at King Edward P.S. in Barrie, Silverthorne P.S. in Mississauga and Barrie North C.I. where he was department head.

Paul enjoys gardening, golf, walking, reading and writing.


David Davidson

david davidson

Dave Davidson looks back on his 35 years as a teacher and says he enjoyed every one of them. He considers helping students to understand and enjoy mathematics a highlight of his teaching career.

Dave’s education began in Edgecombe P.S., a one-room country school. He went to Milverton H.S., Stratford Teachers’ College and the University of Western Ontario. He has also studied at the University of Waterloo. His first teaching jobs were in Guelph at Central Senior P.S. and John Ross C.V.I. He later went to Collingwood C.I. where he was department head and acting vice-principal.

During his years teaching, Dave coached volleyball and mathematics contest teams. He spent many years on the G.V.M.A. Council, and was President and a life member of O.A.M.E. Outside the classroom he’s been involved with his church and the Kinsmen, and enjoys travel, golf, hockey and skiing. He would never turn down the chance to sample some fine Scottish single malt whisky.

Since retiring from teaching, Dave has started a new career in financial planning.

Brian McCudden

brian mccudden

Brian McCudden’s Descartes Medal citation recognizes “his major contribution in the reshaping of mathematics education in the huge, sprawling Metro Separate School Board.” He is also described as “a highly successful teacher and motivator of students.”

Brian grew up in Ireland. His primary school was in Ballyclare, Northern Ireland, his secondary school and post secondary schools were both in Belfast. He taught at Christian Brothers Secondary School in Belfast before coming to Canada.

Brian holds a number of degrees, having furthered his education at York University, O.I.S.E., the University of Toronto, McMaster University and the University of Western Ontario. His Canadian teaching career was spent in the Toronto area: St Anthony/J.J. McGrand, St. Clare, Holy Rosary, St. Benedict, St. John Vianney, and Monsignor John Corrigan Schools. He was vice-principal at the first two of those schools, and principal at the rest. He was the Mathematics Program Coordinator for the Metro Separate School Board. Brian has been involved with O.A.M.E. and O.M.C.A. and the Ontario Mathematics Olympics. In addition, he has worked as a mathematics consultant and writer for McGraw Hill Ryerson, the provincial government, and the Institute of Catholic Education.

Brian coached a number of school sports teams and in his spare time enjoys golfing, hiking, reading, travel and music.


Charles Ledger

charles ledger

Charles Ledger’s Descartes Medal citation sums up his unique approach to mathematics education: “Charles is an advocate of teaching methods somewhat at variance with current trends – using intensive drill and pressure-cooking problem solving.”

He is the creator and principal of Spirit of Math Schools in Toronto – a program for junior high school students which has proved both popular and successful in helping younger students tackle mathematics.

Charles taught at Beverley Heights Jr. H.S. and Zion Heights Jr. H.S. in North York, the Academy for Gifted Children in Richmond Hill, Bishop Tucker Theological College in Uganda, as well as two teacher training schools in that country.
His own education included elementary and high school in Winnipeg, the University of Manitoba, Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto, Union Seminary in New York, and teachers college at Columbia University.

Charles maintains a close affiliation with the Anglican Church and is involved in many aspects of church life.

Jeri Lunney


Jeri Lunney has tackled a vast array of projects related to mathematics education and has gathered many admirers along the way for her excellent efforts.

Jeri grew up in Eastern Ontario, attending S.S. No. 4 in Pakenham, Almonte H.S., St. Patrick’s College at the University of Ottawa, and the University of Waterloo.

She taught in the Ottawa area at Merrivale H.S., Laurentian H.S., the H.S. of Commerce, Sir Robert Borden H.S., Confederation H.S and St. Paul’s H.S. where she was department head and vice-principal. She has also worked with the Faculty of Education at the University of Ottawa and the Carleton Board of Education.

Jeri has been awarded a Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence, the Don Attridge Award, the Royal Bank Fellowship, the Director’s Award from the Carleton Roman Catholic Board of Education, and an Outstanding Teacher Award from the Carleton Board.

Jeri’s professional affiliations include O.A.M.E. (for which she served as President), N.C.T.M., C.O.M.A., O.E.C.T.A., and O.S.S.T.F. She co-authored a number of textbooks, has travelled across Canada to give workshops in mathematics, and organized the first Ontario Mathematics Olympics for grade 7 and 8 students.

Jeri’s long experience with the University of Waterloo is a highlight for her: taking courses, working with contest organizers and coaching contest entrants.


Walker Schofield

 walker schofield

During more than 25 years as a high school department head, Walker Schofield found many ways to encourage mathematics education. He is the co-author of a series of textbooks for grades 9 to 12, is a founding member of W.O.M.A., a life member of O.A.M.E., and has been a teachers’ federation representative. He has also worked on Canadian Mathematics Competition problems committees. Besides the Descartes Medal, Walker is a recipient of the Bishop Townsend Award for teaching excellence.

Hamilton is Walker’s home town. He went to Memorial P.S., Delta S.S and McMaster University. He also studied at the University of Toronto.

During his career he taught at Nelson H.S. in Burlington, and in London at Oakridge S.S. and Banting S.S. He was mathematics department head at both London schools. His participation in school life included producing school shows, advising the student council and year book committees, leading mathematics contest teams, and coaching basketball.

Walker has also taught at Althouse College at the University of Western Ontario.

Pail Zolis

pail zolis

Paul Zolis has found many avenues within the mathematics teaching profession to assist students who love the subject. He has co-written mathematics textbooks, assisted with mathematics contests, and been involved with programs for gifted students at both the high school and grade eight levels.

Bruce P.S. in Toronto was Paul’s elementary school, followed by Riverdale C.I., York University and the University of Toronto. He has stayed in the Toronto area throughout his career. He taught first at Midland Avenue C.I., then West Hill C.I., Leacock C.I. and Woburn C.I. (department head) all in Scarborough. Paul has worked with the Faculty of Education at York University and has been the Coordinator of Mathematics for the Scarborough Board of Education. He was actively involved in the University of Waterloo Co-operative Mathematics Teaching Program.

Paul received an Excellence in Teaching Award from O.S.S.T.F. and a Community Service Award from the Markham Soccer Club.

He enjoys reading and travelling, and has been active with the Boy Scouts and in his church.


Enzo Carli

enzo carli

Recently, Enzo Carli received a copy of a PhD thesis from one of his former students with a note saying how much Enzo had influenced his career choice and made a difference in his life. That kind of recognition from a student is a highlight for Enzo, but there have been other honours as well.

Enzo was raised in Toronto and went to both the University of Toronto and York University. He taught at Sir Sanford Fleming S.S. and Westview C.I., both in North York, and Forest Heights C.I. in Kitchener. He was mathematics head at both Westview C.I. and F.H.C.I. During his career Enzo received significant recognition from his peers. He was awarded the Descartes Medal in 1990, the same year he won the Stewart Award for Teacher Excellence in Waterloo County. He also won a Prime Minister’s Award in 1996.

Enzo has long enjoyed the chance to stretch his mathematical muscles. He has co-written textbooks and worked on the preparation of the Canadian Mathematics Competition. As a coach, Enzo worked with students competing in mathematics, football and soccer.

Enzo likes to be on the move: walking, biking, running, travelling. He’s also involved with his church and volunteers with the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

Radford de Peiza

radford de peiza

Wherever he has taught, Rad de Peiza has been a leader in providing enriched mathematics programs for students. He established mathematics leagues and camps in Scarborough, and has long been involved with the Canadian Mathematics Competition as a marker, problems creator, and as a tutor and lecturer at the contest seminars.

Rad grew up in Trinidad and attended the University of the West Indies before starting his teaching career on the island. He later attended the University of Toronto and became a teacher in the Toronto area, first at East York C.I. and then at Wexford C.I. in Scarborough, where he was the department head. Rad has been a course director for the teacher’s Honours Specialist course at York University, and is currently head of mathematics at Upper Canada College in Toronto.

He is the co-author of a textbook on Finite Mathematics and is often asked to speak on creative problem solving.

Rad has a large personal library, and is particularly interested in tropical plants.


Year: 1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983 | 1984 | 1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989


Dominic DiFelice

dominic difelic

Renaissance man would be an apt description of Dominic DiFelice.His talents are both diverse and numerous. Dominic grew up in the Hamilton area, going to school at St Brigid’s and Cathedral Boys H.S., before heading to Waterloo to attend the University of Waterloo. He was department head and vice-principal at Overlea S.S. in Scarborough (which has since been re-named Marc Garneau C.I.). He was principal of the Adult Learning Centre in Scarborough, principal of East York C.I., and is now a Supervisory Officer with the East York and Toronto District School Boards.

Over the years Dominic coached some high-ranking mathematics competition teams, and the Overlea S.S. mathematics department has received the K.D. Fryer Award from O.A.M.E. In addition, Dominic is the author of an O.A.C. textbook and he won a National Research Council Fellowship to do his masters degree at the University of Waterloo.

Beyond the world of mathematics, his pursuits are remarkable. He has been a nationally ranked Life Master bridge player and is an avid book collector with more than 3000 volumes on many subjects. Dominic enjoys golf, tennis and travel and even relishes the domestic arts: ironing, washing, cooking and doing dishes.

Frank Rachich

frank rachich

In the late sixties, Frank Rachich was invited to join the Junior Mathematics Contest problems committee for three years. That three year term lasted more than 25 years, as has his dedication to mathematics enrichment for students.

Frank grew up in Kirkland Lake and attended school at Queen Elizabeth P.S. and Kirkland Lake C.V.I. before going to the University of Waterloo. His teaching career took him first to the town of St. Marys and St. Marys C.I. then to Deep River H.S. He later settled at Ingersoll C.I. where he taught and was mathematics department head.

Frank initiated a mathematics enrichment program for grade 9, 10 and 11 students in Oxford County and helped establish the Gauss Mathematics Contest in elementary schools in the county. He coached many mathematics contest entrants, particularly those interested in the Descartes Contest. Frank also co-authored an algebra and geometry textbook, and received a Teacher Recognition Award from the Descartes Foundation at the University of Waterloo.

In his spare time, Frank has served on the board of directors and as president of both the golf and curling clubs in Ingersoll.


David Skoyles

david skoyles

David Skoyles’ legacy in mathematics is his quiet involvement in everything mathematical in the city of Windsor, an effort which constantly helped solve the problems and concerns of teachers there.

He was raised in Windsor, attending Prince Edward P.S. and Kennedy C.I. After high school he went to the University of Western Ontario and to the University of Toronto. David taught first in Toronto at Lawrence Park C.I. before moving home to Forster S.S., where he was mathematics department head. He also taught at Althouse College, was the Coordinator of Mathematics and Pure and Applied Science for the Windsor Board of Education, and was vice-principal of his alma mater, Kennedy C.I.

David’s professional associations includes O.M.C.A., O.M.C., N.C.T.M., S.W.O.A.M.E. and O.A.M.E.

Outdoor living is high on David’s list. He’s a camper, golfer and traveller, especially enjoying winters in Florida.

Norman Viirre

norman viirre

Involvement is a watchword for Norm Viirre both within his home community and the mathematics community in Ontario.

Home base for many years for Norm has been Orillia, where he taught and was mathematics department head at Orillia D.C. V.I. Prior to that he taught at Lawrence Park C.I. in Toronto and at Frontier College, Island Lake, Chapleau.
Norm had significant success with his Descartes Contest teams, and has worked with Descartes organizers as a contest marker. He is a founder of the Simcoe County Mathematics Heads Association and has been active with O.A.M.E. and O.A.T.M.

His community contributions include work with the Y’s Mens movement, notably as local President and District Governor. Norm is a sports enthusiast; golf, hockey, basketball, tennis and downhill skiing. He has organized leagues and tournaments, and been involved as a player too.

Norm grew up in Timmins attending Mattagami P.S., Central Intermediate School and Timmins H. V.S. He obtained his university degrees at the University of Toronto and the University of Waterloo.

Last, but not least, Norm describes himself as a graduate of a self-taught, hands-on course in honours grandparenting.


Edwin Anderson

edwin anderson

Looking for better ways to encourage students to tackle mathematics problem solving led Ed Anderson into a brainstorming session with a group of other teachers in 1963. That historic conversation led to the creation of the Junior Mathematics Contest and ultimately the Canadian Mathematics Competition, both of which Ed has helped guide for nearly 40 years.

He is also a founder of the Waterloo Mathematics Foundation - an organization he has served with for many years. In addition to the Descartes Medal, he is the recipient of a Pouliot Award from the Canadian Mathematics Society for contributions to school mathematics in Canada. He is the co-author of an OAC algebra and geometry textbook, and
co-author or editor of numerous problems books related to the Canadian Mathematics Competition.

Ed grew up in Damascus, Ontario, attending S.S. No. 6 West Luther Township and Arthur H.S. Before getting his degree at McMaster University, he was an electrician. His first teaching job was at Drayton D.H.S. From there he went to F.E. Madill S.S. in Wingham where he was department head, and later to the Faculty of Mathematics at the University of Waterloo. He was very involved with Waterloo’s Co-operative Mathematics Teaching Program, often visiting and coaching new teachers. In addition, he frequently spoke to groups of students and teachers about contests and problem solving.

Ed defines life-long learning. He served for nine years with the 21st Field Artillery Regiment. He has held a private pilots’ licence, been an enthusiastic sailor, and enjoys coin collecting and home renovation. He recently took on a new challenge – becoming a tour guide at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum.

Peter Crippin

peter crippin

Peter Crippin is credited with encouraging both students and colleagues to sustain a vibrant interest in mathematics problem solving.

As a high school teacher, Peter developed materials for mathematics leagues in Scarborough, and was frequently a senior tutor and lecturer at the University of Waterloo’s mathematics contest seminars. He won a Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence and the Robinson Award for outstanding contributions to O.S.S.T.F.

Peter grew up in Scarborough, attending Buchanan P.S. then Winston Churchill S.S. His post-secondary education was at the University of Toronto. Peter’s teaching career kept him in the Toronto area at York Memorial C.I., Vaughn Road C.I., West Hill C.I., Woburn C.I. (where he was department head), and Upper Canada College. While at Woburn his teams won frequent national and individual awards in mathematics contests. He also coached school hockey and football teams.

Currently Peter is at the University of Waterloo where he is Chairman of the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing, and is largely responsible for running the Canadian Mathematics Competition.

Woodworking, travelling and reading often occupy his spare time.

Ronald Dunkley


Ron Dunkley’s commitment to mathematics education has been recognized at the highest levels in Canada. In 1996 he was named a Member of the Order of Canada for his work in developing mathematics contests in Canada. In addition, he received the Pouliot Award from the Canadian Mathematics Society in 1998 for his contributions to school mathematics.

Much of Ron’s career has been spent at the University of Waterloo where he became Associate Dean in the Faculty of Mathematics. He also founded the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing at Waterloo. Prior to that, he taught at Kingsville D.H.S. and St. Marys D.C.V.S where he was department head.

Ron was one of the four teachers who, along with Ken Fryer and Ralph Stanton, started the Junior Mathematics Contest in 1963. Later he became Director of the Canadian Mathematics Competition and held that position for 30 years. He is also a founding member of the World Federation of National Mathematics Competitions, has served as its president, and is a recipient of the Erdös Award from the Federation.

Ron went to high school at Patterson C.I. in Windsor, and attended the University of Western Ontario. Music has been a big part of Ron’s life. He has played brass instruments since he was a young boy and has been chairman of the board of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra.

Donald Roberts

donald roberts

Don Roberts’ pastimes and education illustrate the range of his interests, but it was mathematics that guided his career.

Don grew up and went to elementary schools in Toronto and Grimsby, then attended Wexford C.I. in Toronto. He received his university education at Assumption University in Windsor and State University of New York in Buffalo. He later studied at the University of Waterloo, McMaster University and the University of Toronto, where he obtained his Diploma in Theology.

Pembroke H.S. was Don’s first teaching position, followed by Neil McNeil H.S. in Toronto, Beamsville D.S.S., where he was the department head, and Governor Simcoe S.S. in St. Catherines, where, again, he headed up the mathematics department.

Along the way Don worked as a placement officer for St. John’s Training School, was a professional development officer for the O.S.S.T.F., and was involved with O.A.M.E.

Beyond mathematics education, Don has worked as a gold assayer for a summer, enjoys sports, drawing and painting, and has been active with the Knights of Columbus.

Ronald Scoins

ronald scoins

Evidence of Ron Scoin’s remarkable contributions to mathematics education in Canada can be found in the list of awards he has received. Besides the Descartes Medal, Ron has received the University of Waterloo Distinguished Teaching Award, the Adrian Pouliot Award from the Canadian Mathematics Society for contributions to school mathematics, and an award for teaching excellence from the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations.

Ron grew up in Seaforth attending the public and high schools there. He also studied at the University of Western Ontario and at the University of Waterloo.

His influence on education was felt in many ways during his forty year teaching career. He taught in a number of schools in the Kitchener-Waterloo area: Kitchener C.I., Waterloo C.I., Forest Heights C.I. (department head), and Bluevale C.I. (division chair). He went on to teach at the University of Waterloo, becoming both the Director of the Co-operative Mathematics Teaching Program, and the Associate Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics.

Ron has been part of the Canadian Mathematics Competition since 1965, was the founding president of the G.V.M.A. and is a founding member of the Waterloo Mathematics Foundation. He is also the editor and co-author of an O.A.C. calculus textbook.

Ron has been active in coaching sports, playing hockey, and in his church.


Thomas Griffiths

thomas griffiths

Tom Griffiths spent the early part of his teaching career in England. Upon moving to Canada he rapidly became a leader in mathematics enrichment.

He attended Hounslow College in Middlesex, Imperial College at the University of London and the University of Durham in Newcastle. Later on he continued his education at the University of Waterloo and the University of Western Ontario.

Tom began teaching at the Newcastle England School for Blind Children, then went to a school in Crawley, West Sussex. In Ontario he taught at North Lambton S.S. in Forest (department head). He also taught at A.B. Lucas S.S. in London, Ontario, at the University of Western Ontario, and at Althouse College. Tom has made valuable contributions to a number of mathematics competitions - notably the U.S.A. Olympiad, the Descartes Contest, andf the International Mathematics Olympiad in Finland in 1985, at which he was the Canadian team's deputy leader. He has written textbooks and provincial curricula, has played important roles with W.O.M.A., and was president of O.A.M.E. in 1976-77

In 1996, after his retirement, Tom set up the Mathematics Challenge Program at the University of Western Ontario - and in 2000 was given the honorary title of Mathematics Co-ordinator for Western's mathematics department.

Tom is involved in Morris and Playford dancing, model ship-building, music and travel.

Andrac Ladouceur

andran ladouceur

Andrac Ladouceur is distinguished for making many opportunities in mathematics available to French-speaking students.

As chair of the French committee for the Canadian Mathematics Competition, he has been responsible for the translation and preparation of the French version of all contests. He has also been on the Euclid Contest problems committee. In addition, he has been an executive member of the Association des matheux de l'est de l'Ontario and the Association française pour l'enseignement des mathematiques en Ontario. Andrac is the author of a textbook: mathematiques discrates.

Andrac has been a leader in the development of class materials in French. He was awarded a Prime Minister's Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Ottawa has always been home base for Andrac. He grew up and went to school there - eventually attending the University of Ottawa. He stayed in Ottawa once he started to teach: first at Ridgemont H.S., then Academie de la Salle, Ecole Secondaire de la Salle (department head), Ecole Secondaire Charlebois, and the University of Ottawa.


Alan Flemin

alan flemin

Al Fleming had the opportunity to stick very close to home in a teaching career, which he describes as a rewarding experience throughout.

Al grew up in Toronto, attending Whitney P.S., the University of Toronto Schools, and the University of Toronto.

He taught at Harbord C.I. before returning to his alma mater, University of Toronto Schools, where he became both assistant principal and principal. While there he was active in helping to raise $15 million dollars for bursaries at the school.

Al taught Mathematics Specialist courses at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Education. He finished his career at the Alabama School of Mathematics and Science in Mobile, Alabama, and speaks fondly of the chance he had there to teach a different set of students and courses in a new culture. He also enjoyed working on contest preparation and marking for the Canadian Mathematcs Competition at the University of Waterloo.

His work with young people included sports: he has coached hockey, baseball, softball, basketball and tennis. He also helped to create a Boys and Girls Club in Toronto.

Al still speaks of the inspiration he got from Bruce MacLean who was one of his high school mathematics teachers. Al's students would undoubtedly feel the same way about him. In fact eleven of them have gone on to become Rhodes Scholars.

Russell Garrett

russell garrett

Russ Garrett enjoys problem solving, and that pleasure in his work has rubbed off on his students - many of whom have done very well in mathematics contests.

Russ grew up in Pembroke, attending Centre Ward P.S. and Pembroke C. V.I. He went on to both Queen's and Lakehead universities.

Teaching took Russ to Orillia D.C.V.I., Fort William C.I., Hillcrest H.S. in Thunder Bay and the Faculty of Education at Lakehead University. Russ has been a Superintendant of Education for the Ministry of Education as well as the Director of an Independent Learning Centre. He helped author a calculus textbook and ran a mathematics league for Northwestern Ontario elementary schools.

Russ keeps active with windsurfing, camping, canoeing and furniture refinishing. And he knows how to go the distance - cycling from Thunder Bay to Halifax in 1997!


Gordon Nicholls

gordon nicholls

Gord Nicholls describes himself as an “unrepentant jock” and his sense of teamwork has been an asset both inside the classroom and out of it. He has had considerable success with mathematics contest teams, including a Descartes Contest team in 1989 that placed fifth in Canada.

Gord taught mathematics at Etobicoke C.I., Ayelstone Secondary Modern in London, England, Northview Heights C.I. in Toronto and Preston H.S. He was departmental head at both Northview and Preston. Gord also spent a year teaching with the Faculty of Education at the University of Toronto, and has been Managing Director of the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing at the University of Waterloo. Along the way, Gord co-founded the North York Scholarship Program in Mathematics and Science, and helped to introduce the teaching of computer science in Ontario high schools.

Gord got his early education in Toronto at Keele Street P.S. and Humberside C.I. He went on to Queen's University and the University of Toronto.

He is a keen alpine skier and managed teams for many years at Chicopee Ski Club in Kitchener. Gord also likes to hike, canoe, bike, sail and swim.

Maurice Poirier

maurice poirier

In addition to his skills in mathematics, Maurice Poirier's gift for languages has made him invaluable as a teacher and consultant. Being bilingual has helped his work at many levels of education in Ontario.

Moe grew up in Cornwall, Ontario, attending St. Albert Elementary School and Cornwall Classical College. He went on to the University of Ottawa, the University of Waterloo and Queen's University.

Moe worked for eleven years with the Carleton Board of Education as a teacher, department head and consultant. He also taught summer school at the University of Ottawa for five years.

During fifteen years with the Ontario Ministry of Education, Moe was involved in some of the biggest changes in education in Ontario. He introduced province-wide testing in language and mathematics, and laid the groundwork for new curricula in all subjects, at all grade levels.

He has been an enthusiastic coach for the University of Waterloo mathematics contests, and for “Genies en Herbe”, the French language “Reach for the Top” competition. He has been involved with C.O.M.A., O.A.M.E. and C.E.A.

Since his retirement Moe has become president of M. Poirier and Associates, a project management and consulting company.


Laco Sauvac

laco sauva

It was once said of Laco Sauvac that no one was as innovative or as successful in creating an educational method of reaching students and peers solely by the written word. Jerri Lunney notes that Leo was “an unbelievably wonderful teacher.”

Laco co-created Eureka (Crux Mathematicorum), a monthly mathematics problem-solving journal which gained an international reputation. He was also its editor for eleven years. He received tributes from renowed problem solvers such as Martin Gardner, Murray Klamkin, Howard Eves, Donald Coxeter, and others.

Laco got his post-secondary education at the University of Ottawa. He taught at St. Patrick's College and at Algonquin College of Arts and Technology, both in Ottawa.

John Toye

john toye

Jack Toye enjoyed working with keen mathematics students, helping them to make the most of their mathematics studies in high school. Under his tutelage the mathematics contest teams at Nelson High School in Burlington established a strong reputation for the school within Ontario.

Besides Nelson H.S., Jack taught at St Andrew's College in Aurora.

His own education was at the University of Toronto. He became a professional engineer as well as a teacher. In addition, he served overseas with the Royal Navy and the Royal Canadian Navy as a radar officer from 1942 until 1945.


David Alexander

david alexander

David Alexander has taken a very active role in professional organizations and mathematics curriculum development in Ontario. He taught at Bloor C.I. in Toronto, the University of Toronto Schools and the Faculty of Education at the University of Toronto, where he was also chair of the Mathematics Education Department.

In addition, David was on secondment for two years as an Educational Officer with the Ministry of Education. In that capacity he worked on mathematics curriculum for grades 7 to O.A.C., and on a teacher in-service program for calculus.
David has held a number of executive positions including President of O.A.T.M. and first President, then later, Executive Director, of O.A.M.E. He was on the Senate of O.E.A. and is the co-author of a number of textbooks for secondary school students.

David attended Bedford Park P.S. and Lawrence Park C.I. in Toronto. He got his post-secondary education at the University of Toronto and at State University of New York in Buffalo.

David’s hobbies include curling, golf, boating and gardening.

Arthur Beaumont

arthur beaumont

Arthur Beaumont knew the value of supporting high school mathematics and consistently did that during his years at the University of Waterloo.

Arthur taught at St. Andrew’s College in Aurora and at the Royal Military College in Kingston. He became the Chair of Applied Mathematics, and the Associate Dean of Mathematics at the University of Waterloo. While there, he introduced the Accounting and Business Programmes into the Mathematics Faculty. He was a strong supporter of the Canadian Mathematics Competition, was Chair of the Rene Descartes Foundation for many years, and along with two other Descartes Medalists, Ken Fryer and John Del Grande, initiated the hiring of co-operative mathematics teaching students on work terms into Ontario high schools.

Arthur grew up on a farm in Carlisle, Ontario. He went to Waterdown H.S. and then McMaster University. Farming was always a hobby, and he returned to his family farm in his later years. Colleagues remember him pulling into the University parking lot with a pickup truck full of vegetables!

Another colleague remembers him this way: “He was a goer and a doer–an individual.”

Thomas Corner

thomas corner

Tom Corner is used to being in the limelight, having excelled in many pursuits.

Tom grew up in Toronto, attending Forest Hill Village schools from kindergarten through grade 13. He went on to the University of Toronto, and eventually took more courses at Queen’s University, the University of Guelph and at the University of Waterloo.

He took up teaching at Linwell H.S. in Thorold, then moved to Peel County, teaching at Brampton H.S., Bramalea S.S. and Brampton Centennial C.I. He was department head at Bramalea and Centennial.

Tom was a member of the Canadian Mathematics Competition problems committees, and eventually chaired the Pascal Contest problems committee.

Beyond mathematics, Tom is an accomplished curler and bird carver. And he is an elite horseshoe player in Canada, having won numerous competitions at the provincial and national levels.

Kenneth Fryer

kenneth fryer

Ken Fryer was a powerhouse in mathematics education in Ontario. A citation from the G.V.M.A. said that he had “revolutionized the modern day relationships between the universities and the secondary schools.” Further evidence of Ken’s influence is the Kenneth D. Fryer Award instituted by O.A.M.E. and given annually to a mathematics department which fosters team work, excellent classroom teaching, the overall development of students, and leadership in the mathematics education community.

All those attributes applied to Ken. He taught first at the University of Toronto, then at the Royal Military College in Kingston. From there he went to the University of Waterloo in 1959 where he became the Associate Dean of Mathematics. He was a founder of the Canadian Mathematics Competition and co-authored ten textbooks. He was awarded a Distinguished Teacher Award from the University of Waterloo in1984.

Ken was well known by mathematics teachers all across Ontario for the liaison work he did with secondary schools. He had a great sense of humour and his talks to students and teachers were always memorable.

He grew up in St. Thomas, attending Scott Street P.S. and St. Thomas C.I. He was a gold medallist at the University of Western Ontario and got his PhD at the University of Toronto. Ken enjoyed squash and tennis, and was a great fan of university sports teams. He was very involved with his church and enjoyed camping and cottaging.

Wesley Graham

Wesley Graham

A former University of Waterloo president, Doug Wright, called Wes Graham “a humble computing pioneer who gave the University of Waterloo a worldwide reputation. He had enormous influence–he was a great teacher and a great leader and did more than any one person to put Waterloo on the map in computing.”
Wes began his career as a systems engineer with IBM Canada in electronics. He went to Waterloo in 1959 to teach Statistics in the Department of Mathematics. He subsequently served as Head of the Computer Science Department. Wes built the software system WATFOR to increase speed and minimize error problems. That work helped make the University of Waterloo the leading computer science school for undergraduates in Canada.

He was also a leader in bringing computer science programs to high school students, and he was instrumental in the growth of Waterloo’s mathematics contests, ensuring they could be marked by computer, and helping to get financial support from IBM.
Wes pioneered the development of spin-off companies, and his software ideas have been used around the world.

Wes was born and raised in Copper Cliff where he attended elementary and high school. He got his university degrees from the University of Toronto.

He was active with his family in water-skiing; was president of the Canadian Water Ski Association; and received a builder award from Water Ski Canada.

At the University of Waterloo he was awarded a Distinguished Teacher Award. In addition, the university has established the J.W. Graham Medal in Computing and Innovation.

Three days before his death in 1999, Wes was invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada at a private ceremony at his home.


William Bisset


Walter Bany

walter bany

During a teaching career that spanned three provinces, Walter Bany earned a reputation as a teacher who could establish exceptional rapport with his students.

Walter grew up in Porcupine Plain, Saskatchewan, and went to the University of Saskatchewan. Later he took post-graduate courses at the University of Toronto, Queen’s University, and the University of Waterloo.

His start in teaching was working with children in grades 1 to 10 in a remote northern area of Saskatchewan. Later he was vice-principal at Punnichy H.S. in Saskatchewan, before moving to Alberta and Rocky Mountain House H.S. From there Walter went east to the Toronto area: Western Technical School, Toronto; Kipling C.I., Etobicoke; Mimico H.S.; Central Peel S.S., Brampton; and Mayfield S.S., Brampton. He was department head in the last three schools.

Athletics have always been a significant part of Walter’s life. He has enjoyed playing and coaching hockey and curling, and is an outstanding tennis player. He still competes in tennis at club, provincial and national levels in the senior age category.

Bruce White

bruce white

When Bruce White taught at Kennedy C.I. in Windsor, parents used to line up early in the morning to try to get their children into his classes. When he moved to Vincent Massey S.S., the lineups continued!

Bruce has an extraordinary ability to bring out the best mathematical abilities in students. Pupils from his schools consistently won prizes in mathematics competitions and his school teams have won top prizes provincially and nationally.

Bruce’s efforts put him in the winner’s circle too. In addition to the Descartes Medal, he won the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence (1993), and two Edith May Sliffe Awards (from M.A.A.).

Windsor is Bruce’s home town. He went to Victoria P.S. and Kennedy C.I., then on to the University of Toronto and the University of Windsor. He became the mathematics department head at both Kennedy C.I. and Massey S.S.

Bruce created a computer science contest in Windsor, and still works with the Windsor Mathematics Enrichment Program which he started in 1986 to help kids work on problem solving skills. He continues to sponsor a Christmas party for inner city students in Kindergarten to grade 3.

Bruce taught many pupils who went on to successful careers in mathematics related fields, but his fondest memories of students are reserved for his own kids, Sue and James.


Year: 1970 | 1971 | 1972 | 1973 | 1974 | 1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979


Edwin Baumgart

edwin baumgart

Ed Baumgart is known as a great teacher who has always been very active in school and community activities. Besides the Descartes Medal, Ed is the recipient of The Stewart Award for Teacher Excellence (Waterloo County), and the Eastwood Student Parliamentary Award for outstanding extracurricular support.

Ed grew up in Kitchener-Waterloo, attending King Edward P.S., Elizabeth Ziegler P.S. and Kitchener-Waterloo C.I. V.S. His university days were spent at McMaster and the University of Toronto.

Back in K-W, Ed taught at Waterloo C.I. and Eastwood C.I. where he was department head. He coached a number of school sports teams and mathematics contest teams.

Ed is a co-founder of the Waterloo County Mathematics League and the Grand Valley Mathematics Association. He later wrote a 25 year history of the G.V.M.A. He worked for many years with the Canadian Mathematics Competition problems committees, and has been a contest marker. He taught Althouse College students and also lectured at Ministry of Education summer courses for teachers.

Minor baseball, gardening, woodworking, curling and his church are other important parts of Ed’s life.

Jim Boyd

jim boyd

Jim Boyd is remembered for bringing mathematics to life for thousands of students during his 47 years in teaching, and that skill was recognized with a number of awards, including the Descartes Medal.

Jim grew up in Kingston, attending Victoria P.S., Kingston C.I. and then Queen’s University. He began his career at Fort William C.I., then taught at Queen Elizabeth C.I. and Loyalist C.I. He was department head at the last two schools. From 1984 until 1997 Jim taught mathematics at Queen’s University and at the Royal Military College.

In 1976 Jim was named Teacher of the Year by the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario, and in 1997 he was awarded R.M.C.’s Teaching Excellence Award.

His love for his community was evident in his extracurricular activities. Jim served for many years on the Kingston Library Board, was Commodore of the Kingston Yacht Club, and was the first president of the Q.S.L.M.A.


Roma Acheson

roma acheson

Roma Acheson attended small elementary schools at Fordwich and Kippen in western Ontario, high school at Parkhill S.S., and the University of Western Ontario, where Lloyd Auckland and Ken Fryer were two of her classmates.

She taught at Dundalk D.H.S., Flesherton H.S., and Grey Highlands S.S. where she was department head.

Her son Ted says that “next to her family, mathematics was the love of her life". He also said that receiving the Descartes Medal in 1978 was very therapeutic for her during her battle with cancer. Roma died on Nov. 24, 1979.

Robert McNeil

robert mcneil

High praise for Bob McNeil comes from former students who regarded him as a master teacher who knew his material perfectly, always showed enthusiasm, and set high, but reasonable standards.

Bob grew up in Toronto and attended General Mercer P.S. and Oakwood C.I. His university education took him to both Queen’s and McMaster Universities.

Bob taught at Meaford D.H.S. and Beamsville D.H.S., where he was the mathematics department head. He served on the mathematics contest problems committees at the University of Waterloo for twenty years, and worked with the Mathematics Heads Council of Lincoln County for many years.

Bob coached football, and worked with the drama and chess clubs at school. Outside of school, he was an avid golfer.


Donald Kaye

donald kaye

Don Kaye grew up and went to elementary school in Stamford Township, Ontario. He attended Stamford C.I. in Welland, before going on to the Royal Military College, Queen’s University and the Canadian Army Staff College in Kingston.

He taught at Saltfleet H.S. in Stoney Creek, and at MacKenzie H.S. in Deep River, where he was department head.
Don was active in school life, supervising the Junior Mathematics Contest teams, helping with the Reach for the Top program, and coaching soccer and bowling teams.

Don’s community involvement included work with the Anglican Church in Deep River and being a member of the town’s Planning Board.

Brock Rachar

brock rachar

Brock Rachar still remembers the names of some of the students who made teaching mathematics so enjoyable for him: Brian Calvert who won the Canadian Junior Mathematics Contest; Jessie Sarazen who successfully figured out algebra in Grade 12 after two earlier tries; and Jim Hunter, a grade five student, who showed Brock there’s a link between doing well in mathematics and loving dogs!

Brock grew up in London, Ontario, attending Victoria P.S., Wortley P.S. and Empress P.S. and London South C.I. He went on to study at the University of Western Ontario and at the University of Waterloo.

He returned to London to teach at Princess Elizabeth P.S., G.A. Wheable S.S. where he was department head, and also at Althouse College of Education. Brock was the K-13 Mathematics Coordinator for London, and the Program Supervisor for Pure and Applied Sciences in the city.

Brock was part of many professional organizations related to mathematics including O.A.M.E. However, outside the classroom he’s best known for his great love of music. He produced high school musicals, performed for many years in Bach Festivals, was a tenor soloist for 30 years, and has been an adjudicator of West Lorne Kiwanis Club Music Festivals for more than 40 years.


Arnold Harris

arnold harris

Arn Harris likes to say he has “survived” a lot of changes in education in Ontario during his career: the Hope Commission, the Porter Plan and the Roberts Plan, to name a few.

Arn’s teaching career began at Lawrence Park C.I. in Toronto. He went on to become department head and vice-principal at Kirkland Lake C.V.I., before moving to London. There he taught at Central C.I. and then helped to open G.A. Wheable C.V.I. where he headed up the mathematics department, was vice-principal and acting principal.

Arn was the first mathematics head at Althouse College at the University of Western Ontario and was a mathematics inspector for the Ontario Department of Education. While at Althouse he played an active role in helping to develop the joint Co-operative Mathematics Teaching Program with the University of Waterloo. He was also the editor of the O.A.M.E. Gazette and is a past president of S.W.O.A.M.E.

Arn grew up in Middlesex County and went to high school in Strathroy. He got his university education at the University of Western Ontario and at the University of London. He returned to his rural roots after retirement, indulging his interest in farming. He’s also quite active in his church and is a big fan of mystery novels.

Paul Shrek

paul shrek

Paul Sherk grew up on a farm in Waterloo County and has returned to live on a farm in his retirement, but in between established an excellent reputation as a mathematics teacher.

After university at Queen’s University, Paul began teaching in 1943 at an annual salary of $1500! His career in education took him to a number of locations: Port Colborne H.S., Merriton H.S., Stouffville H.S., Smiths Falls H.S. (department head), Athens H.S. (principal), and Cedarbrae C.I. in Scarborough (department head). He was also the principal of the Scarborough Summer School.

Paul coached mathematics contest teams, worked to promote interschool mathematics competitions and co-authored a number of mathematics textbooks. He also actively promoted the University of Waterloo’s Cooperative Mathematics Teaching Programme in the Scarborough School Board.

Paul enjoys photography, woodworking, gardening and making maple syrup.


Duff Butterill

duff butterill

Long before winning awards for mathematics, Duff Butterill was recognized for his work in another scientific field. In 1943 he received the M.B.E. in the King’s Honour List for meritorious service while serving as a meteorological officer at an airforce training school in Dunnville, Ontario. Duff worked there, and at Malton, as a forecaster during the Second World War, and taught aircrews about weather.

Duff went to elementary school in Toronto and London, then high school at Humberside C.I. in Toronto. He attended both the University of Western Ontario and the University of Toronto.

Teaching took him to Ottawa: Ottawa Technical H.S., Lisgar C.I., Woodroffe H.S., and Laurentian H.S. He was department head at both Woodroffe and Laurentian.

Duff served with the Ottawa School Board as a master teacher, mathematics consultant, and coordinator of Pure Sciences. He was involved with O.A.T.M. and O.A.M.E., and was a school trustee in Nepean.

Beyond his worklife, Duff had many interests: curling, a teachers’ band, driving courses for seniors. He also loved wordworking, and built the house he and his wife lived in together for more than 50 years.

Robert Jackson

robert jackson

Bob Jackson had a number of notable students, but his exemplary work benefitted thousands of students whose names have never made headlines.

Bob taught at Lakehead T.I. (the forerunner of Lakehead University), Delta C.I. in Hamilton, Pickering D.H.S. and Etobicoke C.I. He was department head in Pickering and Etobicoke, and was teacher of the year in 1966 in Etobicoke high schools. His students include Peter McCreath, who became a cabinet minister in the Mulroney government, and the hockey star, Ken Dryden.

Bob was co-author of several high school textbooks, was active in O.A.T.M. P., was Associate Managing Editor of the Ontario Mathematics Gazette, and chaired the marking of Upper School Mathematics exams for the province.

In addition to his mathematics work, Bob held a specialist certificate in physical education. In fact, he was a medallist in high school track and field in his home town of Petrolia. He received his university education at the University of Western Ontario and at the University of Chicago. He loved many sports, woodworking and gardening, and travelled to numerous parts of the world.


Donald Attridge

donald attridge

There’s a little wanderlust in Don Attridge - and it’s taken him and his teaching career far from his hometown of Midland, Ontario.

Don attended the University of Western Ontario, the University of Toronto and York University. He has taught at Orangeville D.H.S., Bayview S.S. in Richmond Hill, Thornhill and Thornlea Secondary Schools in Thornhill, Cedarbrae C.I. in Scarborough, Markham D.H.S. and Unionville H.S. In most of those schools, Don was the mathematics department head or assistant head.

Don has also taught abroad at Neuchatel Junior College in Switzerland, and Lahr S.S. in Germany. He was Mathematics Consultant with the York Region School Board.

Don is one of the founders of the University of Waterloo Mathematics Contests. He has been awarded the Adrian Pouliot Award from the Canadian Mathematics Society. He was president of O.A.T.M. in 1972-73 and Executive Director and a Life Member of O.A.M.E.

Don is an inveterate traveller, and a “noteworthy” singer.

Wilfred Miller

wilfred miller

It is sometimes affectionately said of Fred Miller that he didn’t know when to quit. He retired three times during a career that spanned forty years and saw him involved in many facets of mathematics education.

Fred served as a teacher and principal at Englehart H.S. in Northern Ontario and at Thistletown High School in Etobicoke. He later became a lecturer and assistant to the Dean of Mathematics at the University of Waterloo. While at Waterloo, he edited the Ontario Secondary School Mathematics Bulletin, and wrote a popular problems page for it called “Oldies but Goldies”. Fred’s favourite problems concerned Euclidean geometry and trigonometry.

Fred was a sports enthusiast, active for many years in curling and golf.

Joan Routledge

joan routledge

It’s not just the complexity of mathematics itself that Joan Routledge feels compelled to tackle, but also the challenge of opening minds to the pursuit of mathematics.

Joan speaks proudly of those triumphs: watching students become excited by something in mathematics, or finally understanding a difficult concept. Similarly, she has enjoyed coaxing “math-phobic” teachers into an appreciation of mathematics that will ultimately help students. That leadership is evident through Joan’s career.

She was born and raised in Toronto, and attended Queen’s University. Joan taught at Brandy Lake P.S. in Muskoka and at Whitney P.S. in Toronto, before becoming a mathematics supervisor and consultant for school boards in Richmond Hill and York Region. Along the way she also co-authored two series of textbooks.

Joan has long been active in associations of mathematics professionals, notably as president of O.A.M.E.

Beyond mathematics, Joan is enthusiastic about genealogy and loves the cottage life her family enjoys at their island in Parry Sound.

Geoffrey Steel

geoffrey steel

Geoffrey Steel needed a strong foundation in mathematics, and in teaching, long before he ever hit a high school classroom.

Geoffrey was raised in England and later attended McMaster University. He served with the British Royal Army Service Corps in France,was evacuated from Dunkirk, then transferred to the RAF. He took fighter pilot instruction in Kingston, then trained in Goderich as a navigation instructor. There, and as an instructor at Mount Hope until 1944, applied mathematics was key. At the end of the war Geoffrey was sent to England as a Flight Captain for bomber aircraft.

Despite all that training and experience, Geoffrey says he really learned to teach once he got into classrooms filled with returning veterans after the war. His Ontario career took him to Hillfield School (later Hillfield Strathallan College) in Hamilton. He also worked with University of Waterloo mathematics contest problems committees, and was a marker for Grade 13 departmental exams.

Geoffrey’s other pursuits include cadets, coaching, drama and music. He has been an integral part of a wide selection of theatre and choral projects in Hamilton over the years.


Robert Behan

robert behan

For Bob Behan, a career in mathematics followed other professional pursuits.

Bob attended Pembroke Elementary School, then Oakwood C.I. in Toronto. He worked as an underground miner in the Kirkland Lake area before joining the air force in 1942. Bob trained as a navigator, was posted to an RAF bomber squadron in England, and flew bombing missions over Europe.

In 1949 Bob graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in Mining Engineering and worked in the mining industry until 1960. At the age of 40 he became a teacher and taught for 25 years in Ottawa high schools: Eastview H.S., Ridgemont H.S., Lisgar C.I. (where he was mathematics department head) and Hillcrest H.S.

“Mathematics in Space Travel”, a 1970 project Bob originally presented at a mathematics conference, ultimately became a television program.

Besides the Descartes Medal, Bob is the recipient of an Association of Professional Engineers Award (1974).

Eugene Durrant

eugene durrant

Gene Durrant’s mathematics legacy lives on, notably in the classic analytic geometry textbook he co-wrote with Dr. Harold Kingston from the University of Western Ontario. It was used in Ontario for at least 30 years, and for 35 years in its French translation. It is still valued today as a reference tool.

Gene’s writing and teaching career went back to the1930’s. He taught at Oshawa C.I. and Guelph C.I., where he was mathematics department head. He was the principal of Etobicoke C.I., and was a Mathematics Inspector for the Ontario Department of Education. He also held administrative positions with the province and the Etobicoke Board of Education.

Gene was president of O.A.T.M.P., belonged to O.M.C., and was a life member of O.E.A.

David Palmer

david palmer

Mathematics came naturally to David Palmer, but he knows that isn’t true of many students. He is recognized for the work he’s done to help the kids who struggle.

David grew up and went to school in Sarnia, then attended the University of Western Ontario and Michigan State University. His teaching career has taken him to several high schools: Hamilton Central C.I., Sarnia C.I.T.S. (his alma mater) and Sarnia Central C.I.

In London, David taught at A. B. Lucas H.S., Oakridge C.I., Laurier S.S., Saunders C.I. and H.B. Beal S.S. where he was the department head.

David created a “rescue” course for students of average ability who reached high school with little grasp of mathematics basics. He also worked with student mathematics clubs and provided inservice training for teachers. He was an Inspector of Mathematics for the provincial government, and the Mathematics Coordinator for the London Board of Education.

David’s been involved with the Children’s International Summer Villages, and enjoys hobbies like woodworking, building and travel.


Donald Fox

donald fox

Don Fox was involved in many ways in the field of mathematics education in the province of Ontario. He was a teacher, a consultant and superintendant with the ministry, a consultant for textbook publishers, and a representative to many professional organizations.

Don grew up in Brockville and attended Douglas Haig P.S., Victoria P.S. and Brockville C.I. V.S. He got his post-secondary education at Queen’s University and at the University of Ottawa.

Don taught at Kennedy C.I. in Windsor and Bell H.S. in Nepean, where he was department head, vice-principal and principal. He became the Superintendant of Education for the Ottawa Board of Education and was Superintendant of Education for the Ministry of Education in Ottawa.

Don was active with O.S.S.T.F., was a founder of the Carleton-Ottawa chapter of O.A.M.E., was President of O.A.T.M., and President of Phi Delta Kappa at the University of Ottawa.

Don also enjoyed sailing, skiing, his cottage, and playing the piano.

Martha Gartrell

martha gartrell

One of Martha Gartrell’s former students remembers Martha as “a person who demonstrated each day a love of life and learning.” That student, Sharon Irving, was inspired and encouraged enough by Martha to study mathematics and eventually become a teacher herself.

Martha taught in the Port Arthur/Fort William area, chiefly at Fort William C.I., where she was the mathematics department head. During her tenure there she worked hard to bring computer studies to the school. She helped to create the Northwestern Ontario chapter of O.A.M.E. She was also a strong supporter of the Canadian Mathematics Competition.

She was born in New York City, but moved to Selkirk, Ontario, at the age of eight. Two years later she moved to Hamilton where she completed her elementary and secondary education. After graduating from McMaster University, she taught elementary school for several years in Hamilton, moving to Fort William in 1946.

Martha shared her love of teaching with her husband who taught mathematics at the same school.

Douglas Henderson

douglas henderson

Doug Henderson will tell you that an academic background is important, but not the only thing a teacher needs to be successful. Doug fondly recalls high school teachers he had - and not just mathematics teachers - who taught him how to encourage and relate to students.

Doug describes his good fortune while at St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto, where he had Ralph Stanton as a professor. Doug recognized Ralph’s talent for making complex ideas seem simple and dull material seem interesting. Those experiences encouraged Doug to take up teaching.

After getting a mathematics degree, and then a masters degree in statistics, Doug returned to his home town of Thunder Bay to teach at Port Arthur Collegiate. Subsequently he moved to Sudbury as Master Teacher of Mathematics; he taught at Lo Ellen Park S.S. and worked with new teachers. While teaching in the north, Doug helped create the Northern Ontario Mathematics Association - a chapter of O.A.M.E.

Eventually Doug moved to Waterloo to teach at Kitchener-Waterloo Collegiate. Shortly afterwards he became mathematics head at St. David S.S., where he stayed until his retirement.


John LeSage

john lesage

Jack LeSage speaks fondly of the number of former students who came to his retirement roast. That tribute is just one example of Jack’s success in promoting mathematics throughout his career.

Jack grew up in Tweed, Ontario and went to St. Michael’s University in Toronto. He taught at St. Michael’s College in Toronto, Kapuskasing H.S., Base Borden H.S., Barrie North C.I. (department head) and Barrie Eastview C.I. (assistant department head). He also taught with the Faculty of Education at the University of Toronto and worked with the Ministry of Education.

Jack is recognized for the textbooks he has co-authored for a number of publishers. He was an editor of the O.A.M.E. Gazette and is a life member of O.E.A., O.A.M.E. and O.A.T.M. He is also a Shell Merit Fellow.

Jack’s career wasn’t confined just to the field of education. You could also often find him on the rugby field, where he was a championship-winning coach for many years. He is also a charter member of the Barrie City Rugby Club

Earl Marcy

earl marcy

Earl Marcy leads his own mathematics dynasty. Both his son Ronald and his grandson Brian followed in Earl’s footsteps and became mathematics teachers.

Earl’s first classroom experience was the one-room elementary school he went to at Valens in Beverley Township. He later went to high school in Galt, and then to the University of Toronto.
Earl’s teaching career took him to North Bay C.I. V.S., Strathroy C.I., Sarnia C.I. V.S. and Ancaster H. V.S. He was department head in each location.

Besides the Descartes Medal, Earl has been honoured with the Panabaker Award from the mayor of Ancaster, two O.S.S.T.F. Awards of Merit, the Professional Engineers Association Award, and bronze, silver and gold volunteer pins from the Provincial Ministry of Citizenship and Culture. In addition, there is a scholarship in Earl’s name at Ancaster H. V.S. Earl has been involved with O.S.S.T.F. and the O.T.F.; he authored a correspondence course in Grade 9 mathematics for the province; and wrote and taught a course for engineers in Sarnia.

Earl has a impressive list of volunteer accomplishments, notably with the Anglican Church and the Ancaster Information Centre.

Besides his son and grandson, Earl is proud to claim a University of Waterloo president and two other Descartes Medallists as his students.

Harold Minielly

harold minielly

Harold Minielly has always loved both intellectual pursuits and practical endeavours. In his spare time he has been an avid woodworker, a stamp collector and a traveller. Throughout his teaching career he was involved with a wide variety of student projects.

However, it’s his devotion to mathematics that leads so many to remember him as the grand old man of mathematics teachers in Waterloo County.

Harold went to grade school in Plympton Ontario, then high school in Petrolia and the University of Western Ontario. He taught at Appleby Boys School in Oakville, Claremont H.S., Beamsville H.S. and Kitchener-Waterloo C. V.S.
Harold was a mentor to many aspiring mathematics teachers and computer science students, and took pleasure in reading about the successes of his former students.

Throughout his career he collected a number of valuable mathematics instruments and calculating machines, which he later donated to the University of Waterloo.

Gladys Tunks

gladys tunks

A native of London, Ontario, Gladys Tunks attended Brick St. P.S., London South C.I., and the University of Western Ontario. She taught at Walkerville C.I. and at W.F. Herman C.I. in Windsor, where she was mathematics department head.

Gladys was a dedicated, conscientious teacher with a sincere interest in her students. She was loyal to her staff and motivated them to excel.

Gladys was a very good athlete. She competed nationally in swimming and was an excellent golfer.


Henry Dearborn

henry dearborn

Henry Dearborn’s interests were diverse, but his interest in mathematics was a constant. Henry grew up in Peterborough, then attended both McMaster University and the University of Toronto.

During W.W. II, Henry did meteorological forecasting for the RCAF in several Canadian locations.

Weather forecasting gave way, though, to a mathematics teaching career. Henry taught at Runnymede C.I. in Toronto and Burnamthorpe C.I. in Etobicoke, where he was department head. He chaired both the Grade 13 Trigonometry and Algebra departmental examination committees, and he spent many years working with the Canadian Mathematics Competition, mainly on the Descartes problems committee.

Henry had a number of interesting pastimes. He was a keen lawn bowler and competed internationally. He enjoyed collecting stamps and loved fishing, especially at his cottage between Mindon and Haliburton.

Jerome Lowden

jerome lowden

Jerry Lowden’s daughter Joyce describes him as a modest man whose “sincere and encouraging manner inspired self confidence and perseverance.” High praise-especially since Joyce was also one of his students.

Jerry spent a great deal of time outside the classroom helping young mathematics students. He created a problem solving program and competition for his Grade 9 students called “There Must be a Better Way”. He was chair and head marker for the Grade 13 trigonometry section of Ontario departmental mathematics examinations. He also served on the O.M.C.

Jerry went to school in Woodstock and at McMaster University before taking up teaching at Kennedy C.I. in Windsor and at Walkerville C.I. where he was department head and vice-principal.

Jerry enjoyed golf and bowling, the challenges of bridge, and making stone jewellery and driftwood creations.

Marion McKinley

marion mckinley

Amongst her successes, Marion McKinley brought mathematics to students in new ways. She was a dedicated teacher known for her fairness and leadership. She put a lot of work into designing, developing and implementing new courses, and provided mathematics programming on videotape for students.

Marion was born in China, where her parents were missionaries. She graduated from the University of Toronto, then taught mathematics and physics at Petrolia H.S. She also taught RCAF men about radar during W.W. II.

Marion loved music–singing with choirs and helping with operetta and musical performances. She also loved to travel, and returned to China late in life. She was very active in her church and enjoyed flowers and gardening.


Year: 1968 | 1969


James Dean*

James Dean

Jim Dean grew up in St. Thomas, attending St. Thomas C.I. After graduation from university, he spent many years at Central Technical School in Toronto, serving as director of mathematics and later as principal.

Along with J.T. Crawford and W.A. Jackson, he wrote a middle school algebra textbook that was widely used in Ontario for many years. He was also co-author of the “Dean and Moore” mathematics textbooks for general level students. In fact, his co-author was his wife, Gertrude Moore.

Jean McRobert*

Jean McRobert

Friends of Jean McRobert say she never liked the limelight, but her accomplishments as a teacher put her in it.

Jean taught at London South C.I., where she was also department head. She had a reputation for being a great teacher who was a stickler for detail, particularly in geometric proofs. It’s noteworthy that two of her students who have had impressive careers are Dr. Ralph Stanton, and Brock Rachar, another Descartes medallist.

Norman Sharp*

Normann Sharp

It’s often been said about Norm, “Sharp by name, Sharp by nature”. And that acuity is obvious in the marked influence he’s had on mathematics education in Ontario.

Norm was raised in Wynyard, Saskatchewan, and later attended the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Wisconsin and the University of Toronto. He taught navigation in the RCAF during WW II. For 25 years, Norm taught and was mathematics department head at Upper Canada College in Toronto. He also spent 15 years as the mathematics coordinator for the Etobicoke Board of Education.

Norm helped usher in some of the biggest changes to mathematics teaching in this province. He introduced and evaluated “New Math” programs provincially, and was responsible for bringing calculators and the metric system to mathematics classes in Etobicoke schools.

Norm is the co-author of a number of textbooks. He has been president of numerous professional organizations: O.A.T.M., Private School Mathematics Teachers Association, and O.M.C.
Norm is the recipient of two National Science Foundation Fellowships, and the Teacher of the Year Award presented by the Association of Professional Engineers. He has worked with the Canadian Mathematics Competition committees at the University of Waterloo, and is a founder of the O.M.C.A.

Norm also spent five years as superintendent of the midway at the Canadian National Exhibition and has been active with the Toronto Hockey League.


Rodger Allan*

allan rodger

Looking over Rodger Allan’s life, you get a sense of an exceptionally vital and powerful man.

As a youngster, he attended G.B. Allan Elementary School in Hamilton, a school named for his grandfather. He stayed in Hamilton to get his degree at McMaster, then went on to a teaching career at Capreol H.S., Earl Haig S.S. in North York and Kirkland Lake C.V.I. – where he was principal. Along the way he taught math to Angus Kerr Lawson who ultimately joined the Mathematics Faculty at the University of Waterloo, and Frank Rachich who later joined Rodger as a Descartes medallist.

Rodger was one of the best known mathematics educators in the province of Ontario. He was a superintendent for the Ministry of Education and Director of Education for two school boards, in Sudbury and Lincoln County. He never lost touch with his Hamilton roots, remaining a Tiger Cats fan all his life. Rodger coached football, and enjoyed curling, golf and bridge.

He was also very active in his community–lending his quick wit and talents to organizations such as the John Howard Society, the Niagara Child Development Centre, and the Alzheimer’s Society.

Frank Asbury*

frank asbury

Frank Asbury was born in Toronto and attended Queen Victoria P.S. and Parkdale C.I. He graduated from the University of Toronto in 1911.

Frank taught at Ridgetown H.S., Harbord C.I. and Sarnia C.T.S. where he was principal from 1925 until 1945. He was also a senior mathematics inspector for the Ontario Department of Education. He served as president of the mathematics and physics section of O.E.A. in 1929, was a Life Member of O.E.A., and an O.M.C. representative to the O.A.T.M./O.M.C. amalgamation. He wrote the first history of O.A.T.M. for the period 1891-1960.

Ross Honsberger recalls some of the elegant solutions he submitted to problems in the Ontario Secondary School Mathematics Bulletin.

Lloyd Auckland*

Lloyd Auckland

You wouldn’t think that 55 years after graduating from the University of Western Ontario, Lloyd Auckland would still be hitting the books–but he still loves learning mathematics.

Lloyd was raised on a farm in Elgin County and went to high school in St. Thomas. He later taught at St. Thomas C.I., Central Elgin C.I., Parkside C.I. and Arthur Voaden S.S. He was mathematics head at St. Thomas C.I., and vice-principal at both Central and Parkside.

Lloyd has served on several curriculum committees for the Ontario Ministry of Education. He was an early member of the Junior Mathematics Contest Committee, and has continued his work with the Canadian Mathematics Competition. He served as president of the O.A.T.M. in 1967-68, and as a member of the O.M.C.

Lloyd enjoys the special honour of being one of the recipients of the Descartes Medal in its inaugural year.

Despite such distinguished achievements, Lloyd says his greatest thrill in teaching has been getting to know his students and watching them develop. He has encouraged thousands of students, not just in mathematics classes, but as a football and basketball coach and student council advisor. Lloyd was a founder of the minor baseball league in St. Thomas, has taught church school, and led cadets.

Lloyd’s vision comes, sometimes, with the aid of his binoculars. He is an enthusiastic bird watcher, and has been president of both the St. Thomas and Kitchener-Waterloo Field Naturalists.

Wilfred Cunnington*

wilfred cunnington

Wilf Cunnington took on several important roles in mathematics education in Ontario during his career. He taught at York Mills C.I. in Toronto and at the University of Toronto Schools. He also served as a mathematics inspector for the Ontario Department of Education, and as president of O.A.T.M. in 1964-65.

Wilf’s dedication to his profession can be found, too, in the textbooks he wrote for Copp Clark Publishing.

John Del Grande*

John del grande

The license plate on John Del Grande’s Corvette spoke volumes about his life: MATH4U.

John grew up and went to school in Toronto, but his teaching career took him to Kitchener-Waterloo C.I.,St. Andrew’s College in Aurora, Newmarket H.S. and O.I.S.E. He was also coordinator of mathematics for the North York Board of Education. His dedication to mathematics reaches into thousands of classrooms through the many textbooks he wrote or edited.

Growing up in Toronto, John remembered teachers who were lifelong role models for him. John, himself, was recognized as just such a role model, through a number of awards. Besides the Descartes Medal, John was the first medallist, and only Canadian recipient, of the Gilbert Medal from the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics. In 2001, an annual entrance scholarship to the Faculty of Education at the University of Toronto was named the John Del Grande Award.

John was active in many associations of mathematics professionals, and was a research assistant at the National Research Council and Canadian General Electric.

John found a new place in the classroom after his retirement, earning a PhD in mathematics education.

John Egsgard*

john egsgard

John Egsgard can boast of a unique honour within the fraternity of North American mathematics teachers. He was the first, and only, Canadian ever elected president of N.C.T.M. He served in that position from 1976-78. He was also the first president of C.A.M.T., and president of O.A.T.M. and O.A.M.E.

Those leadership roles, however, do not eclipse his impressive classroom career. John taught for 47 years, and in many locations: Aquinas Institute, Rochester, N.Y.; St. Michael’s College School (his alma mater); Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, N.H.; Twin Lake S.S. and Patrick Fogarty S.S. in Orillia; and at the International School of Geneva in Switzerland.
In 1993 John won the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Mathematics Teaching. An example of that excellence: one of his students, Don Curran, followed in John’s footsteps by also winning a Descartes Medal.

John has a number of mathematics textbooks to his credit, and has been editor of the O.A.M.E. Gazette.

Sports, like skiing and hiking, along with parish work, take up John’s spare hours.

James Fencott*

James fencott

Jim Fencott’s commitment to the international community may have stemmed from his childhood. Jim was born in Malaya, Borneo (now Malaysia) and went to school in Burma (now Myanmar), including the University of Rangoon.
Jim’s teaching career was primarily in Ontario–at Uxbridge H.S. and at R.H. King S.S. and Stephen Leacock C.I. in Scarborough. He was mathematics department head in both Scarborough schools. In fact he leaves an important legacy in that borough.

Jim was a founder of the Scarborough Association of Mathematics Educators and originated the Scarborough Mathematics League. The “Jim Fencott Award” is presented annually to a graduating student in Scarborough who has made a significant improvement in mathematics.

Jim was active in promoting the University of Waterloo’s Co-operative Mathematics Teaching Program, and was a life member of O.E.A.

After his retirement, Jim spent parts of several years training teachers in The Gambia. He died while working as a volunteer teacher in Togo, in 1987.

James Gardner

James gardner

Jim Gardner is known for going the extra mile–in more ways than one.

Jim taught experimental courses in “New Math” in the early 1960’s, worked on a provincial curriculum committee, belonged to O.M.C. and co-authored several secondary school mathematics textbooks.

He was a strong proponent of the University of Waterloo’s Co-operative Mathematics Teaching Program at the Carleton Board of Education.

Ottawa is home for Jim. He went to elementary and high school there, before getting his degrees at the University of Toronto. He taught at Peterborough C.I., and then at a number of Ottawa schools: Fisher Park C.I., Woodroffe H.S. and Bell H.S. At both Bell and Woodroffe, Jim was vice-principal and principal. He also taught sessional courses at Carleton and Queens Universities, and was a supervisory officer with the Carleton board.

Jim has been a volunteer with the National Gallery of Canada, has sung in various choirs and plays the bass violin.

He is also a running enthusiast, going that extra mile to complete the National Capital Marathon three times.

Jean Leppard*

Jean leppard

Jean Leppard sometimes had unconventional ideas, but she was much admired for them, and for her career in education in general.

Jean had a great talent for arousing enthusiasm for mathematics in her students. She once handed out “magic pencils” to her more timid grade 13’s before they wrote their final exams.

Jean was the second woman president of O.A.T.M. and ran meetings with great style. Instead of asking for volunteers to do tasks, she’d decide in advance who would do the job best - then ask that person to volunteer. And no one refused.

Jean grew up near Cayuga, Ontario, and went to a one-room schoolhouse in Decewsville. Her degree was from the University of Toronto. She taught, and was department head, at Fergus H.S. and at Vaughan Road C.I. in Toronto. In the lean job years of the 1930’s, she was chosen for the Fergus job ahead of 400 other applicants.

Jean helped organize the N.C.T.M. convention in Toronto in 1981. She spent many hours doing lesson preparation and travelling from Toronto to the University of Waterloo for lectures on “New Math”. She always enjoyed helping students in a host of extracurricular programs.

John McKnight*

 john mcknight

Jack McKnight’s life was full of diverse interests and responsibilities, both within the mathematics profession and outside of it.

Jack grew up in Toronto and attended Winchester P.S., Jarvis C.I., and the University of Toronto.
He taught and was department head at Scarborough C.I., but interrupted his teaching career to serve in the Royal Canadian Air Force from 1941-45.

From 1965-1972, Jack was the Mathematics Coordinator for the Borough of Scarborough. He was also involved with O.M.C.A., was an O.E.A. Life Member, and helped organize an N.C.T.M. convention in Toronto.

Jack was an ardent canoeist who ran an outdoor education program in Scarborough, and wrote a course on canoeing. He also loved model trains and singing in his church choir.