Esther Starkman is a lifelong educator. Born in Edmonton, She began her educational journey in Edmonton Public Schools and continued her studies at the University of Alberta. A teacher by profession, she taught for over 30 years. The first half of her career with Edmonton Public Schools, the second half teaching adults at what is now Norquest College. Esther also served on the Edmonton Public Schools Board of Trustees from 1989 to 1995, which included a term as Board Chair. Esther has and continues to be an advocate of lifelong learning and is a strong supporter of quality public education.
Mrs. Starkman was the driving force behind the creation of READ IN Week in 1990. This city-wide annual event, held the first week of October, will be celebrating its 28th anniversary this year with Esther acting as its Honourary Chair. READ IN Week’s purpose is to cultivate a greater awareness of the importance of reading and to promote both the school systems and post-secondary institutions as important places for the development of lifelong literacy.
Esther has made great contributions to the community as a member of a multitude of community boards and organizations, including the Citadel Theatre, Cancer Board, CASA Foundation and a National Advisory Board on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. She is a recipient of The Alberta Centennial Medal, an honour bestowed upon those who have made a notable contribution to fellow citizens, the community and the province. She also received a Literacy Volunteer Award from the Government of Canada in 1990; a Commemorative Medal in 1993 “in recognition of outstanding contribution to the social well-being of your community in particular through your work in education” as well as the Queen’s Golden Jubilee medal in 2005.
In 1996, The Minister of National Defense appointed Esther to serve as the sponsor for HMCS Edmonton, one of Canada’s Costal Defense Vessels. This honourary position in naval tradition is always bestowed upon a prominent female in the namesake city and is a life time designation.
A K-9 school in Terwillegar has been named “The Esther Starkman School” in recognition of Esther’s lifelong association with education, literacy awareness and community service is clearly evident, as is the significant impact she has made on our city.