Life Members

In 1998 the TESL Canada Honourary Life Member Award was established to honour TESL Canada members who have made exemplary contributions to TESL in Canada.  These individuals have provided outstanding service over a period of not less than 20 years.  They have shown leadership in both the workplace and the community in such areas of involvement as academic, vocational, sociocultural and linguistic instruction, cross cultural counseling, labour market access training, citizenship training and multicultural liaison.   


Carol Doucette

Carol Doucette has been a dedicated member of TESL NB since coming to New Brunswick over 20 years ago. She has worked tirelessly for newcomers to our province and to our schools and has brought this dedication to advocacy to our organization. Carol’s expertise in teaching ESL and her collaborative nature were an asset to our organization. In addition to contributing to general work and discussions of TESL NB, she has helped to organize conferences and brought issues of concern to the table. She has been a well-respected contributor to our organization and her empathy, kindness and caring spirit have been an inspiration to her TESL NB colleagues.

Ruth Epstein

Ruth Epstein is a past President and past Accreditation Chair of SCENES (currently TESL Saskatchewan), and one of the educators who participated in the creating of SCENES in its early years. She has also served as SCENES newsletter editor, provincial conference organizer and part of the organizing team for TESL Canada national conferences. From 1999 to 2012, she was a member of the TESL Canada Journal Editorial Review Committee and from 2003 to 2005 she chaired and was a committee member of the TESL Canada Teacher Training Program Recognition Committee.

Barbara Krukowski

Barb's commitment and dedication to our profession is unsurpassed.  For  over 25 years she not only held a variety of TESL Ontario board positions but also served on sister organizations such as TESL Canada and the Canadian Centre for Language Benchmarks, as well as working with community partners and on Ministry Advisory Committees.  Barb is viewed as a role model and an inspiration for all of us here in Ontario, helping to raise the profile and maintaining the integrity of our profession.

Michael Galli

BC TEAL Board nominates Michael Galli in recognition of his dedication and commitment to TEAL in BC and Ontario. Michael has been instrumental in strengthening and renewing BC TEAL. Under his leadership, membership has increased significantly and now includes the active involvement of all regions of the province. He inspired and led the Board to bring forward new initiatives to encourage more active involvement in professional development for EAL educators across BC.

Carolyn Cohen

Carolyn has contributed considerable and varied service to TESL Ontario, other not-for profit organization and of course to the ESL profession over a period of more than 20 years.  She served as a TESL Ontario Board member, was a CESBA representative to TESL Ontario, and was the Co-Chair of the Ontario Region LNC Advisory Committee (ORLAC), an initiative of CIC.   She served on Advisory Committees and as Project Manager for an untold number of projects.

Anna DeLuca

To be extraordinary in a dynamic field you must be able to connect, inspire and ignite the curiosity of those who surround you. Anna DeLuca is extraordinary. Her career embodies the essence of the TESL Canada Honorary Life Membership, and her legacy will benefit ATESL for many years to come. 

Dr. William McMichael 

Bill has been a visionary and a leader for both B.C.TEAL and TESL Canada. He has created innovation – TEAL charitable Foundation, Canadian Benchmarks and Teacher certification. At other times he has supported the innovation-Tri-TESOL, TESOL ’92 in Vancouver and The Westcoast Reader. He fully deserves this national honour.

Margaret Meyer

For 30 years Margaret Meyer has contributed her considerable expertise, passion, experience and empathy to assist ESL students and instructors, immigrants, and refugees. She advocates for disadvantaged citizens through participation in church committees, community programs and organizations, TESL Kingston and TESL Ontario. Her unassuming dedication elicits the best from all.

Hanna Cabaj

Over the years, TESL Ontario has benefited from Hanna’s in-depth understanding of the issues critical to the field of English as a Second Language teaching and learning. Hanna is a key member of federal and provincial groups where she conveys significant issues to the funders and other stakeholders.   

Ester Chassé

TESL Yukon would not exist without Ester. In addition to providing leadership to the organization for nearly a decade, Ester has been a mentor, instructor and catalyst in ESL services in the Yukon for thirty years. Her service is based on her commitments to students, colleagues, life long learning and professional excellence.  

Dr. Marian Rossiter

Marian Rossiter has consistently given her own time for the betterment of her profession - for teachers and ESL students alike. She has made both formal and informal commitments that have made a difference both directly, and through changes to curriculum and policy. She is an educator whose dedication is priceless.

Bob Courchêne

Bob's commitment and dedication to the field of ESL and to TESL Ontario in particular is unsurpassed. He served on the TESL Ontario Board for 6 years, including as President, and has worked with and mentored ESL in Ontario , helping the profession to become better informed and recognized.

Tara Holmes

Has been a leader in TESL, not only in Alberta but also on a national scale. For almost 30 years she has actively supported ESL/LINC instructor training and development, immigrant education and settlement. These and numerous other contributions to the field make her an ideal candidate for a TESL Canada Honourary Life Membership Award.

Maureen Sargent

Is worthy of this Award not only because of her long dedication to TESL NS and TESL Canada, but also because of her experience, personality, intellect and talents. She is the epitome of the ESL teacher, TESL professor, and administrator. Her energy, expertise and cheerfulness are beacons guiding others in their TESL professional development.

Jennifer Pearson Terell

Has been the driving force behind teacher training on Canada's West coast, establishing numerous TESOL programs, whether comprehensive postgraduate, one-month intensive, face-to-face, distance, local or international programs. With everlasting energy Jennifer has contributed significantly to the growth of professional organizations such as BC TEAL and TESL Canada.

Catherine Eddy

Nominated by TESL Nova Scotia and introduced by Sandee Thomson. For her outstanding dedication to learners of English as an additional language and for her many years of tireless service to the professions of second language teaching and immigrant settlement, TESL Nova Scotia is pleased and honoured to nominated Catherine Eddy for the TESL Canada Honouary Life Membership Award.

Margaret (Peggy) Frederikse

Nominated by TESL Ontario and introduced by Shailja Verma. In recognition of her years of service, dedication, and contribution to the field of adult English as a Second Language and the settlement of immigrants in the province of Ontario , TESL Ontario is pleased to nominate Margaret (Peggy) Frederikse for the TESL Canad Life Membership Award.

Gail Kingwell

Nominated by ATESL and introduced by Christine Land. Gail Kingwell has provided exemplary leadership in the field of E.S.L. over the past 25 years. Those of us across the country who have had the opportunity to work with Gail are inspired by the wisdom and creativity she brings to anything she undertakes. She listens with her mind and her heart, she asks insightful questions and she responds with intelligence and authenticity. She has brought these qualities to her roles of ESL teacher, program supervisor, curriculum and materials developer, consultant, and teacher educator. She has made a significant contribution to our profession through the many positions she has taken on in ATESL and TESL Canada, and she continues to advocate for ESL learners through her many volunteer commitments in community organizations. Gail is an outstanding ESL educator deserving of a TESL Canada Honorary Life Member Award.

Grace Mossop

Nominated by TESL Yukon and accepted on her behalf by Karen Walker. Over two decades, Grace Mossop has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of newcomers to Canada . Through language instruction, advocacy, and plain hard work, Grace has inspired her colleagues. All have noticed her quiet dedication and unwavering professionalism, reflected in the accomplishments of her students, now productive, secure, Yukon citizens. She has contributed to TESL Canada by grafting on a new branch. The members of TESL Yukon are proud to nominate Grace Mossop for a TESL Canada Honourary Life Membership.

Tracey Derwing (as introduced by Anna LeLuca)

While teaching ESL, Tracey was simultaneously pursuing an academic career in TESL and in 1994 became an associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Alberta. Since 1999 Tracey has been a professor in the same department and since 2001 Tracey divides her time equally between her duties as professor and those of being the co-director of the Prairie Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Integration, also at the U of A.

Dr. Derwing’s accomplishments are many. She has been the co-editor of two professional journals – the Canadian Modern Language Review and the TESL Canada Journal. She has given over 100 presentations as both an invited speaker and a conference presenter, not only in North America, but in places as far away as Barcelona and St. Petersburg (many at ATESL and TESL Canada). She is the co-author of four books, over 40 articles and a number of chapters in books. Since 1999, Tracey has been successful in securing over three million dollars in research funds. Her research on pronunciation is internationally recognized, highly respected and spans over two decades and has made a direct contribution to the TESL field. Although she says she doesn't’t call herself an expert on immigration, her work at the Prairie Centre over the past nine years has turned her into an expert on what happens to immigrants when they come to Canada. In 1997 Tracey received the ATESL Lifetime Membership Award.

These are a few of the highlights of the impressive accomplishments and contributions that Tracey has made to the TESL field. But what I think people know and admire most about Tracey is her strong commitment to community service. She served as ATESL President in the early 90’s and during her tenure ATESL developed a strong voice of advocacy for ESL students. She was instrumental in organizing a large demonstration that saw ESL teachers and students marching to the Alberta Legislature and petitioning the Alberta government to stop the cuts.

Carol May (as introduced by Bill McMichael)

For Carol, her position with TESL Canada was much more than a job, it was a practice. She has been the most consummate of professionals, consistently true to her beliefs, reflective, creative, open and absolutely honest. A forward thinker, she has been always eager for advice and feedback on how to improve the lives of TESL Canadians. We sometimes trip over that T in our name, but Carol never did – the learners whom we aim to benefit were always uppermost in her mind. Nobody in our organization has worked harder on their behalf.

When Carol leaves she will take with her a treasure trove of memories, including the most comprehensive corporate memory of all and it will be an enormous challenge for us to find another who can even begin to fill her shoes. We will not find another Carol. The best we can hope for is that we find someone who has some of the intelligence, the grace and character, the love of people, the integrity and the sense of humour that have been emblematic of Carol’s time with us.

David Mendelsohn

David is a Professor of Applied linguistics and ESL and the Director of Graduate Programme in Theoretical and Applied Linguistics at York University. He educational background includes ~ Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Edinburgh (1977) ~ M.A. in Applied Linguistics from the University of Wales (1070) ~ Postgraduate Diploma in ESOL from the Hebrew University (1966).

David has given two Plenary addresses at TESOL International Conferences; presented frequently at TESL Ontario, and its affiliates as well as TESL Canada, TEAL, TESL Nova Scotia and TESL Ottawa. He has held editorial positions with TESL Canada Journal as Contributing Editor and co-editor and is a member of the review board with Asian Journal of ELT. David has also served as Consultant to Canadian Language Benchmarks Textbook Development Project, Pearson Publishers and to Project yielding Canadian Language Benchmarks 2000: A guide in Implementation. He has also published 7 books )5 authored) and has written 7 book chapters, 23 articles in refereed journals and 3 published tests.

In addition, David has been a member of various TESOL committees: Member of Committee on Examiners of the TOEFL Test, ETS, Princeton 1991-1994 and 2004-2008; Member, TESOL International Nominating Committee (2202-2003); Member TESOL International Professional Development Committee (1996-2001); Member Steering Committee on Speech and Pronunciation Interest Section, TESOL International (1997-2003). His contributions to the field of ESL span over four decades.

Alison Norman (as introduced by Jennifer Pearson Terell)

For many of the ESL teachers in British Columbia, Alison personifies excellence and commitment to our profession of English language instruction. Alison began her career as in EFL instructor and teacher trainer in Thailand in 1969. It was during her 11 year commitment to teaching English in South East Asia that she became fluent in Thai and learned to speak Lao. From 1978 until the present time Alison has supported a small rural primary school in Phoum Steung. Her efforts have resulted in a two room school for over 200 kids from grade 1 to grade 6.

For the past 25 years, Alison has pursued her career at Vancouver Community College - first as an ESL instructor, and later as an administrator and teacher trainer. Some of her accomplishments include ~ completing her Masters in Curriculum and Instruction ~ serving as the BC/Yukon Representative at the Centre of Canadian Language Benchmarks from 1998-2002 ~ serving as President of ELSANET in BC from 2002-2003 ~ serving as BC representative to the National Network for LINC/MIIP at the same time being a member of the BC ESL Articulation Committee for English Access and Community-based Programs. ~ as the Department Head of the ELSA (LINC) Dept. at VCC, Alison coordinated up to 600 students and over 50 faculty members. In recognition, Alison was nominated and selected for the Excellence in Leadership Award in 2004. And earlier this year, Alison was selected as the new Dean of Language Studies, ASL, DHH and Assessment at VCC.

Virginia Christopher

Virginia's career in education has included teaching secondary students and adults, program and curricular design and development, program, student and teacher assessment, and all areas of program management. She is also very well known for her volunteer work within the ESL profession. She has spent many years on the Executive of B.C. TEAL, was a member-at-large on the TESOL Board of Directors and Chair of a TESOL Committee. She has also served as B.C. TEAL representative on the TESL Canada board and was TESL Canada President for 2003-2005.

Virginia has worked diligently over the past decade on the creation and implementation of the TESL Canada National Recognition Standards, and in the development of Institutional Standards. This ground-breaking work continues to receive provincial, national and international attention.

Virginia has always been involved in volunteering in the ESL profession and has found it very rewarding. In her own words..."I really enjoy working with other professionals to improve the teaching and learning of ESL in our country and internationally."

Esther Podoliak (as introduced by Shailja Verma)

From 1967 to 1996 Esther worked with the Ministry of Citizenship in various roles related to language or orientation for immigrants. She was part of the team that participated in the inaugural meeting of TESL Ontario in 1972; she was the Editor of TESL Talk; she co-authored Welcome to Canadian English and an Introduction to Canadian English Book 2; and she facilitated TESL training workshops and negotiated with Board of Education around the province of Ontario to co-sponsor TESL training courses.

In the '70's she facilitated and supervised the Ministry of Education AQ ESL certificate courses. In addition, Esther was the government rep on the TESL Ontario Board for 11 years, until the Ministry closed its Language Training Unit.

Over the years, Esther has made numerous presentations at provincial and affiliate conferences, written articles for newsletters and professional journals and chaired or participated in a variety of advisory committees. Today, Esther continues to facilitate teacher-training workshops and teach part time pronunciation classes.

It is evident that to Esther this was not a job but rather a love and she has given her heart and soul to it. The ESL profession has been greatly enriched by her work and words of wisdom. Her countless hours have been devoted not only to helping and bettering the life of newcomers, but also to raising the profile of ESL and maintaining the integrity of the profession.

Virginia Sauve (as introduced by Shaheen Murji)

Virginia, an honourary lifetime member of ATESL, is considered by the ESL profession in Alberta to be a treasure. Her name is recognized by most ESL professionals in Alberta, and many professionals and educators in Canada and in the United States. This is because Virginia has consistently contributed to the profession in the past thirty years.

Virginia Sauve was the first conference Chair for ATESL and shortly after, served as the President of ATESL. She was one of a group of dedicated individuals which came up with a body of principles to govern ESL. She was only of the three key individuals who initially worked on the content on participatory research, which traditionally has been community based, to bring it into the classroom. Her commitment to participatory education has had a major impact on ESL instruction across Canada and the USA. The English in the Workplace and the employment preparation programs for adult immigrant learners that she has developed serve as models across North America. She has not only served as the Chair of the Policy and Action Committee for TESL Canada, but organized the symposium on ethics for the TESL Canada 2002 conference in REgina. She has been a frequent and an inspiring plenary speaker at many conferences. ESL teachers and students use her textbooks, and her work is cited widely in both the ESL and literacy fields.

Dr. Virginia Savué's creed has been, and continues to be, 'dedication to the professional and one another'.

Joan Acosta (as introduced by Catherine Eddy)

Some people have a dream, and Joan Acosta is one of these people.

Several years after beginning her ESL teaching career at Capilano College in North Vancouver, she started the Westcoast Reader in 1982.  The Westcoast Reader is an ESL source of local, national and international news stories for adults and teens who are improving their English reading skills.  At least that is the target group.  In reality, learners who have difficulty reading, reluctant readers and learners with specialized learning needs have been introduced to the Westcoast Reader, and it has also helped them to learn to read.  Today, the newspaper's distribution is over 100,000.

Joan's expertise and innovative ideas have been emulated worldwide.  In addition to the Westcoast Reader, Joan has published an extensive array of materials for beginning adult ESL and Literacy students. Her more recent works include "A Guide to Benefits and Services for Seniors", "Canada Coast to Coast" and "Community Success Stories".

Joan has made presentations at a variety of conferences, and has been involved in the planning of the two TESOL conferences held in Vancouver.  She is currently on the Advisory Committee to the British Columbia Institute on Family Violence, helping to create a video and curricular material on parenting and discipline issues for immigrants and refugees.

TESL Canada is not the first organization to honour Joan for her work.  She received the Innovations in Teaching Award from the Association of Community Colleges in 1988, an Award of Excellence, Women in the Medial from the Association of Canadian Journalists in 1991, and was appointed to the Order of British Columbiain 1994.  The Order represents the highest form of recognition the Province can extend to its citizens.

Elizabeth Coelho

Through language acquisition new families to Canada enrich our tapestry.

TESL organizations throughout Canada honour those individuals who help these families adjust to become productive and empowered members of our society.  TESL Ontario would like to honour such an individual who has provided such a service to the ESL community in Ontario at the elementary and secondary school levels - Elizabeth Coelho.  She is renowned in her advocacy roles and has been a strong and determined champion of ESL and ELD in the province of Ontario.  It is by her efforts that ESL and ELD courses, although they may not be mandated nor considered teachable subjects, are no longer dismissed as being the "poor cousins of English".  She has fought hard and long on our behalf to be recognized as professionals.  In her ethnocultural equity and antiracist education role she has also fought for the rights of our students and their families.  She is renowned in this province as a trainer, administrator and teacher of ESL/ELD.  Any teacher who teaches in the elementary or secondary panel is all too familiar with her publications and curriculum development.  Her most recent projects include resource guides for modified courses for ESL/ELD students.  Known best to us is her role as team leader and writer for the Ontario curriculum guidelines for grades 9 to 12 in ESL and ELD.

It is her efforts that tied ESL/ELD to levels and not age.

Harlan Weidenhammer (as introduced by John Lingard) 

Harlan is passionate, precise and engaged.  He's involved in so much.  He can be measured partly by those visible benchmarks of a career which I will try to sketch out now, but we need to go further.  Let me begin by giving a few snapshots of his influence:

He's a dedicated and scholarly teacher, valued and respected by students and colleagues.  He's an innovator in curriculum both in high school and university.  He's a tireless advocate for learners and their families - vocal when necessary.  He's a committed participant in many voluntary organizations, such as SODS.  He's been a vigorous member of SCENES executive since its inception.  He's had a long-term involvement with the TESL Canada board as SCENES and Learners rep.  If not the originator, he's certainly the most significant non-learner in the learners' network.  He's a sought-after opinion on many school board and government committees.  He's a prime mover in offering language support to aboriginal high school students.  He's interested and involved in English as a Second Dialect issues.  He's a generous giver of his time to causes and projects such as Kids Not In School.

The visible benchmarks of his career that I've just hinted at are only part of the measure of Harlan's achievements.  Another way to assess his career is by the influence he's had on so many people in such a wide range of environments.  As a result of his actions, Harlan has helped people become better learners, better teachers, better children, better parents, better people.

Mary Ashworth (as introduced by Catherine Eddy)

Although British born, Mary chose to make Canada her home.  In fact, Mary arrived at Pier 21 in Halifax in April 1949.  She was and is ~ a teacher, to us all ~ a course and program developer, creating the first ESL training course at U.B.C. ~ administrator, ~ team player ~ team builder ~ ESL visionary - Mary has that unique ability to articulate the global view while simultaneously ensuring that each individual sees his/her role within ~ member of and leader in organizations (BCTF, BCTEAL, TESL Canada and TESOL) ~ award recipient - she has received 9 awards, the first going back to 1980 ~ consultant ~ committee chair and member ~ editor ~ referee for grant applications ~ workshop presenter - too many times to mention ~ media personality ~ researcher ~ volunteer ~ author - of 11 books and over 90 articles ~ grant proposal writer ~ contributor to books and journals ~ keynote speaker - including TESOL 2000, at which there were over 8,500 delegates ~ technical report writer ~ book reviewer ~ friend ~ supporter of ESL ~ mentor ~ advocate ~ inspiration - for us all to look beyond ourselves and to see the world as it should be and can be.  Mary is an icon of ESL in Canada, and beyond.

Elizabeth Taborek (as introduced by Jim Jones)

Elizabeth Taborek worked in the field of ESL from 1976 to 1999.  During that time she volunteered, was a classroom teacher, an administrator, TESL trainer and reviewer for the University of Toronto's TESL training program.  

In her spare time Elizabeth also was a key player in raising the profile of ESL and maintaining the integrity of the profession.  She was a member of the National Working Group for the development of the Canadian Language Benchmarks from 1993 to 1996 and continued as a member of the Board of Directors for the Canadian Centre for Language Benchmarks until 1998.

She served on the executive of TESL Ontario from 1992 to 1997 as President-elect, President and Past-President.  During her term as Past-President, she acted as President as the incumbent had become very ill.  It was at this time that Elizabeth became involved in addressing the need for recognition of teachers who worked in the field of Adult ESL and the TESL Ontario Certification project was put into place in 1993.  Elizabeth worked on this area until 1997.  Today, with much thanks to her dedication, foresight and efforts, TESL Ontario is in the final stages of this endeavour.

Elizabeth was also part of the ESL Resource Committee for the province of Ontario.  Her role was to advise the Ministry of Education on policy to mandate ESL in elementary and secondary schools.  

In addition to all of this, Elizabeth still managed to deliver workshops and papers across Canada and at TESOL.  She also published papers in the TESL Canada Journal and Ontario's TESL Talk.

Although Elizabeth is officially retired she continues to be a consultant for the Ontario LINC Advisory Committee and is still on the Board of Directors for AlphaPlus.  Her contributions to the field of ESL will leave their mark for years to come.

More personally, I will always remember Elizabeth for her quiet dignity and impeccable integrity.  Her intelligence and wisdom in ESL matters are unparalleled.  She possesses the unique combination of diplomacy and persistence.

Patricia Wakefield (as introduced by Bill McMichael)

It is a special treat for me, as a charter member of the Pat Wakefield Fan Club, to be here tonight so that I can tell you what a warm and wacky, wise and witty, wonderful person she is.  Pat has been a teacher all of her life, since the last century in fact, and an inspiration to many of us who have followed her lead in the second language training business.  Here is what she has done.

In the late 60s and early 70s all was darkness and chaos in the language training world out there on the west coast of Canada.  No LINC, no benchmarks, no teacher training, no nothing.  New Canadians were essentially plopped down in Vancouver and left to their own sociolinguistic devices.  Certain infamous British Columbians used their own immigrant language learning experience, mostly self-inflicted, to justify their continued non-support for language training programs.

A few smart people, principally Pat and her best pal Mary Ashworth, knew better.  These two had the bright idea of forming a teacher's organization and calling it by the best acronym ever, TEAL - Teachers of English as an Additional Language. 

Pat's interest in ESL learners went beyond the adult learners with whom she started to include both K-12 ESL learners as well as preschool learners.  She was a founding member of PRESL, Pre-School ESL, a group that mounted workshops, provided direct help in pre-school settings and organized a training course at Vancouver Community College.  

She became the first President of BC TEAL and then she became the first person to graduate from the University of British Columbia with a Masters degree in TESL.  Then she was a teacher trainer at UBC for years and years, turning out just about everybody of a certain generation in the ESL field today.  Then she became ESL consultant for the Vancouver School District, a position that enabled her to spread the good news throughout the district that ESL was here to stay.  I would say that there is nobody in the ESL game in BC who doesn't know her name and respect her deeply for what she has done.  Pat is a superb role model for us all.

Eleanor Rogers

Eleanor has served as TESL Ontario President, Past-President, TESL Canada Representative and Action Committee Chair.  She was also Chair of the 1986 TESL Ontario Conference.

Eleanor's service to TESL Canada includes President, Past-President and Treasurer.  She also organized the 1992 TESL Canada Learners' Conference and during the period 1988 -95 was an Editorial reader of the TESL Canada Journal.

Eleanor is representing TESL Ontario on the Boards of Alpha Plus, National Working Group on Language Benchmarks, College Standards and Accreditation Council, the Council of Second language Programs of Canada, Humanities Association of Canada and is a member and Canadian editor of TESOL Matters of TESOL International.

Eleanor's contribution to TESL Canada and to the ESL profession in general has been outstanding.  All the countless hours of volunteer services were given to TESL Ontario, TESL Canada, like-minded organizations and the profession in general while holding down, since 1974, the full-time responsibility of Director of Queen's University School of English.

TESL Canada is grateful to Eleanor Rogers' efforts on behalf of TESL Canadians at both the provincial and national level and is delighted that she is the first recipient of this new award.

(some of the presentations have been edited for brevity)