October 21, 2014


The Margaret Sinclair Memorial Award
Recognizing Innovation and Excellence in Mathematics Education

The Margaret Sinclair Memorial Award recognizes an educator in Canada who has demonstrated innovation and excellence in promoting mathematics education at the elementary, secondary, college or university level. This annual award will be administered by the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences and comprises a $5000 prize and inscription of the winnerís name on a plaque to be installed at the Fields Institute recognizing the recipients.

Candidates for the award will have shown an enthusiasm for enhancing the learning environment and displaying novel ideas, methods or devices for teaching mathematics. They will also have supporting evidence of providing an opportunity for students to achieve, observe, and experience mathematics in a thoughtful and significant way.

Creative leadership is also an important factor. Candidates must have served as a role model for other teachers and had an inspirational influence on students and/or colleagues. This may have been displayed through meaningful classroom teaching, directing mathematical forums, encouraging rational and critical discussions while using accurate data to support oneís position, fostering teamwork, writing effectual curriculum support materials, contributing to mathematics education journals, or being involved as an organizer or speaker at mathematics education meetings or conferences.

Candidates for the award may nominate themselves or be nominated by others. A complete nomination packages consists of:

  • A nomination letter of no more than 1000 words demonstrating alignment with The Margaret Sinclair Memorial Award
  • A recent curriculum vitae
  • Three (3) letters from armís length referees

Nominations for the 2015 Margaret Sinclair Memorial Award must be received electronically by the Fields Institute by December 15, 2014. Send to deputydirector(PUT_AT_SIGN_HERE)fields.utoronto.ca
** Nominations for the Margaret Sinclair Award will be kept under consideration for two additional years following the initial submission.**

Announcement of the recipient will be made in February, 2015 and the award will be presented at the Fields Institute Annual General Meeting. Within six (12) months of accepting this award, the winner is expected to present a talk at the Fields Institute.

Organizing Committee: Matheus Grasselli, Gila Hanna, Franke James, Donna Kotsopoulos, Dragana Martinovic, Larry Sinclair, Walter Whiteley (chair)


Margaret Sinclair passed away on her 62nd birthday, February 21, 2012 after a brave struggle with a rare form of cancer. Until then she was a tenured professor in the Faculty of Education, Graduate Program in Education, York University.

A vibrant, creative and versatile woman, Margaret followed a rather untraditional path to her impressive accomplishments in life. After graduating high school with a 99% average she began studying economics as a scholarship student at the University of Toronto, but after one year she left to join the work force. Margaret had met Larry Sinclair in Grade 7 and in 1968, when she was 18, they were married. In 1969 she attended Toronto Teacher's College, and after graduation began teaching at the elementary level. Between then and 1974 she also completed five courses by correspondence at the University of Toronto.

By 1975, when Margaret and Larry had two children, she decided to stay home full-time to care for them and then the three more they had by 1982. During that time Margaret also decided to pursue a bachelorís degree in mathematics by correspondence from the University of Waterloo. Excelling in that effort, she completed her undergraduate degree in 1988 and began teaching mathematics at the secondary level. Over the next several years Margaret combined full-time work with further part-time studies. In 1995 she earned a masters degree in the Mathematics for Teachers program from York University. Then in 2001, at age 51, after six years of studies, while still a mathematics department head and then a vice-principal, Margaret completed her PhD, receiving her doctorate in education through O.I.SE. In July of that year, she began her new career at York University where she worked as Associate Professor of Education and co-director of the York-Seneca Institute for Mathematics, Science and Technology.

Although she was driven by mathematics, Margaretís passion was learning and sharing her knowledge and expertise with others through teaching, research and writing. She loved educating prospective teachers, using innovative ways to inspire them and their students. As a contributing author of curriculum materials and textbooks, she also strongly advocated presenting mathematics as an important component of everyday life, incorporating whenever she could practical applications of the mathematics involved in such things as designing and building stairs and calculating the numbers of squares of shingles needed for a roofing project. As well, much of her research involved exploring ways to help learners Ė teachers and students alike Ė visualize mathematics concepts.

Margaret balanced her life as wife, mother, student and teacher with precision and extraordinary energy. Her greatest attribute was her unselfishness with her time and talents, and her willingness to share these with family, friends and even strangers. She was always ready, willing and able to get involved, offer advice, and be there for people. And her talents went far beyond academia. She loved cooking, knitting, genealogy, ballroom dancing, golfing, gardening, furniture refinishing and renovating.

Margaret Sinclair was inducted as a Fellow of the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences at its annual general meeting on June 27, 2012, the first time the Institute had ever posthumously recognized an individualís outstanding contributions. On the same evening, Margaret's loving husband, Larry, their family and friends were proud to announce the creation of the The Margaret Sinclair Memorial Award Recognizing Innovation and Excellence in Mathematics Education.