2015 Contest Judges

A big thank you to the 2015 story judges. Teachers across the province help foster a love of reading and writing, and their contribution to the contest make it a positive experience for young writers.


Kim Hacker

Kim Hacker always knew she would be an English teacher. Her passion for books and reading began at an early age and led her on a winding path towards her inevitable destination. As an undergraduate, Kim studied English Literature, Native Studies and Women’s Studies at Trent University, followed by a B.Ed. and teaching certification at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Her professional teaching career began at Rosseau Lake College in Muskoka, followed by Greenwood College School in Toronto. She is currently Principal at Blyth Academy in Whitby.

Lyndsay Hoekstra

Lyndsay Hoekstra has been teaching secondary English for eight years—including the course she loves the most: Grade 12 Writer’s Craft! She loves to read and write (some of her favourite books are Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, Orwell’s 1984, Lamb’s She’s Come Undone and Atwood’s Oryx & Crake). Aside from teaching, some of her hobbies include attending concerts, coaching and playing volleyball, and cheering on the Toronto Blue Jays!

Sarah Hudson

Sarah Hudson graduated from Cardiff University, Wales, in 2002 with a B.A. Hons. in English Literature. She then focused on her love of Canadian literature at Nottingham University in 2003, where she completed her Master’s degree in American Studies and Canadian Literature and enjoyed placements at Harvard and the University of Toronto. After completing a Post-Graduate Education Master’s course, graduating with distinction, at Cardiff University, Mrs. Hudson worked for two years at a large independent boys’ boarding school in South Wales.

Mrs. Hudson moved to Canada in 2008 to work at The Country Day School where she teaches Senior School English.

Michelle Kuepfer

Michelle Kuepfer teaches high school English with the Avon Maitland District School Board and reads “student submissions” almost every day.  She lives on a farm west of Waterloo, with her husband and three young daughters.   


On youth literature, she says: “It is fascinating to witness how writers mature throughout their years in high school but I still have a hard time to convince them that writing is truly a process.”

Tena Laing

Tena Laing is a writer who teaches and a teacher who writes in Toronto, a twin from Newfoundland, and a periodic trophy wife in Texas; an alum of the Humber School for Writers and the Banff Centre, currently working on 3 or 4 of her first novels and the occasional short story. 

Nancy Rockarts

Nancy Rockarts has been teaching for 28 years in Mississauga. She loves her profession, and her favourite subjects are English and Science. An advocate of the arts in general, Ms. Rockarts shares her passion for theatre through organizing school musical productions. Teachers, parents and students alike love the performing arts!

Outside of the classroom, her hobbies include reading, going to theatre, and seeing rock shows.

Sandeep Sanghera

Sandeep Sanghera teaches English and Creative Writing at the University of Toronto Schools. She previously taught in Mexico and Japan. She is a published poet and is currently working on a draft of her first novel. She has recently discovered the work of Karl Ove Knausgaard and Alejandro Zambra.



Thanks to Randy Boyagoda, Danielle Ganley, Alan MacInnis, Jenny Sampirisi, and Patricia Westerhof, the teachers who volunteered as story judges in 2014.


How Judging Works

After the December 4, 2015 deadline, Alpha Textbooks will sort and distribute submissions. When all stories are checked for anonymity, they will be assigned to judges. Each judge will pick the top three in both categories from his or her batch of submissions. These compiled choices become the shortlist. The judges will then review all shortlisted stories and rank them; this is how winners are collectively chosen.

Please contact Alpha’s communications manager Cris Costa to get involved in future contests.

If you can't be a judge this year, participate by letting your students know about the contest. We can't wait to see all the great stories roll in!

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