After 40 years of teaching, beloved Ecole Margaret Jenkins School teacher Steven Toleikis is retiring on Dec. 31.

Mr. T. hangs up his tie

Beloved Victoria teacher with Oak Bay ties retires after 40 years of teaching

After 40 years of teaching, beloved Ecole Margaret Jenkins School teacher Steven Toleikis is retiring on Dec. 31.

Toleikis, who students refer to as Mr.T, has been a favorite with both students and teachers alike. The popular educator, famous for his colourful neckties, has received hundreds of letters and cards over the years from children and families letting him know that he has changed their lives. Former students keep in touch and often make return visits to his classroom. To his colleagues, Toleikis has been a model of support, professionalism and integrity.

Originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Toleikis graduated in 1972 from Temple University with a Bachelor of Science in Communications & Theatre. After immigrating to Canada, he first worked as a child care worker with special needs children. Later, Toleikis enrolled in the Faculty of Education at UVic, graduating with a Dip. Ed. (specializing in Primary education) in May, 1977. He began his teaching career with SD #61 that same month in a class of children with communication and sensory integration disorders at Sir James Douglas School. Since then his career has taken him to teach diverse populations in schools all over the District. Later, he returned to UVic part time, graduating with an MA in Educational Psychology in 1991. From 1991 to 2006 he taught at Monterey Elementary School. In 2006, when Monterey became a middle school, Toleikis moved the few blocks to Margaret Jenkins Elementary where he has continued to teach the children of South Oak Bay and Fairfield.

A highlight of Toleikis’ career was winning first prize in an essay contest for teachers. He wrote about how to teach science by harnessing children’s wonder and hunger to know. He won an all expenses paid trip to the Canadian Space Agency in Montreal. He received cutting edge science instruction, learned about the Canadarm and met astronauts. A photograph of him taken with Astronaut Chris Hadfield remains one of his great treasures.

Toleikis has also had an active volunteer life in the community. He served on the Oak Bay Centennial Committee – his name appears among those on the Oak Bay Centennial Clock on Oak Bay Avenue.

There will be a retirement celebration held at Margaret Jenkins School on Thursday, Dec. 7. If you are interested in attending or have any stories or memories to share, please contact Ashley Frketich afrketich@sd61.bc.ca by Dec. 1.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police closed McNeill Avenue after a workplace death Oct. 20, 2020. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Tree-pruning community gathers in Oak Bay after tragic death

Crews met in solidarity at site of Tuesday incident

A bear similar to this black bear was spotted on Elk Lake Drive again on Oct. 21 and is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Search continues for bear wandering through Saanich

Bear spotted eating garbage near Elk Lake Wednesday, B.C. Conservation says

Some 30 people including a dozen youth participated in North Saanich’s first ever Fridays for Future protest outside of municipal hall on Mills Road Friday, according to organizers. (Anne-Marie Daniel/Submitted)
Fridays for Future plans second event for North Saanich after inaugural protest

Some 30 people attended first protest on Oct. 9 with a second one scheduled for Oct. 23

A Saanich police officer in an unmarked vehicle stopped a driver going 70 km/h over the speed limit in front of the police department. (Saanich Police Traffic Safety Unit/Twitter)
Driver caught going 70 km/h over the speed limit in front of the Saanich Police Department

Officer in unmarked car issues $483 ticket, week-long vehicle impound

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Members of the Sipekne’katik First Nation load lobster traps on the wharf in Saulnierville, N.S., after launching its own self-regulated fishery on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Vancouver Island First Nations back Nova Scotia’s Indigenous lobster fishermen

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council calls for action before lives are lost

Skiers line up to start the Royal LePage Comox Valley Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race. Photo by Tim Penney
Popular Comox Valley adventure race cancelled for 2021

COVID forces Comox Valley Royal LePage Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race cancellation again

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

(Pixabay)
Vancouver teacher suspended after swearing, touching students and complimenting underwear

McCabe touched students, including rubbing their backs and necks, touching their hair and hugging them

Most Read