Panellist Biographies

Webinar 5
Streaming in Schooling
April 21, 2021 |  7 – 8:30 pm


Speaker Bios:

Alison Gaymes San Vicente
Alison Gaymes San Vicente works to disrupt educational practices that continue to disadvantage historically marginalized/underserved students. Her passion for equity and justice has led to a secondment at York University’s Faculty of Education and her current position as a Centrally Assigned Principal of a Virtual School with 12, 000 students and prior to this a Centrally Assigned Principal for Principal Coaching, Equity & School Improvement with the Toronto District School Board.  Alison is the recipient of the Queen Diamond Jubilee Award (2014) as well as one of Canada’s Outstanding Principals in 2016. In addition to being a member of the provincial writing team for the Principal’s Qualification Program (2017), she is also an author in “Our Schools, Ourselves - Community Watch: Marginal At Best, A Narrative on Streaming in Public Education”(2016); “Restacking the Deck: Streaming by class, race and gender in Ontario schools (2014); “Rhymes to Re-education: A Hip Hop Curriculum Resource Guide for Educators with Social Justice Activities” (2014); The Leader Reader (2018); RSEKN  Streaming and Educational Pathways (Equity Podcast Series, 2019); VoicEd Radio Interview  Schooling for Equity During and Beyond COVID-19 (2019); and her latest publication Schooling for Equity During and Beyond COVID-19 (2019).

 

Gillian Parekh
Dr. Gillian Parekh is an Assistant Professor and Canada Research Chair in Inclusion, Disability and Education within the Faculty of Education at York. As a previous teacher in special education and research coordinator with the Toronto District School Board, Gillian has conducted extensive system and school-based research in Toronto in the areas of structural equity, special education, and academic streaming. In particular, her work explores how schools construct and respond to disability as well as how students are organized across programs and systems.

 

 

 

 

Monday Gala
Monday Gala has been an educator in classrooms from elementary to university almost 36 years, with six years in Nigeria and 30 years in Canada.  He earned a BSc from the University of Maiduguri and an MSc in physics from The University of Ibadan, Nigeria.    He had the distinct privilege of completing his PhD at Western University in Canada with the support of the Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship.  This is one of the most prestigious scholarships in the world.  He has been the recipient of many academic and performance awards including the Federal Government of Nigerian Merit Scholarship, the University of Maiduguri Chancellor’s Award for the best graduating average, Western University Teaching Assistantship Excellence Award, Toronto District School Board (TDSB) Excellence Award, and The Learning Partnership Canada’s Outstanding Principals Award.  As principal of C W Jefferys Collegiate Institute, Monday led pioneering work to tackle a major systemic learning barrier for students by destreaming curriculum in grades 9 and 10.  Monday then collaborated with community organizations and academia to share the amazing results of this work with Ontario Ministry of Education, academics & student teachers, staff in the TDSB and several other Ontario school boards, and community stakeholders.  The success of this work has led the TDSB to mandate destreaming by 2021/2022 and the Ontario Ministry of Education to destream mathematics in grade 9 beginning next school year.  Monday is currently principal at Westview Centennial Secondary School where he continues to inspire students to learn to the best of their abilities.

 

Jason To
Jason To is currently the Coordinator of Secondary Mathematics and Academic Pathways for the Toronto District School Board, where he works with K-12 staff to tackle academic streaming and shift towards more equitable, inclusive and culturally responsive teaching. As a former high school math department head, he began challenging streaming in 2015 by eliminating applied math classes and teaching inclusive Grade 9 Academic math, leading to significant gains for students identified with special education needs. Jason has presented at provincial math conferences and worked with school boards across Ontario with destreaming, and was also part of the Ministry of Education writing team for the new destreamed Grade 9 math curriculum. Finally, Jason is also a member of the steering committee for the Coalition for Alternatives to Streaming in Education.

 

 

Kaydeen Bankasingh
Kaydeen Bankasingh is a mother, community organizer, facilitator and advocate in North York, who has successfully put her daughter through the public school system. She is advocating intensely for her son in the elementary public system.

Kaydeen has led parent engagement initiatives for many years through school council, model schools initiatives and community partnerships. Supporting parents and families to support their children's success at school is her priority.

She is passionate about equity, anti-black, anti-indigenous racism in the school system and the impacts on all racialized children at having healthy learning experiences.

Kaydeen has been a community representative with CASE since 2020.

 

Moderator:

Sultan Rana
Sultan has been an educator for 13 years, and would best describe himself as a person who is “under construction”. Working for the vast majority of his career in the elementary panel with the York Region District School Board, Sultan has also taught in both the secondary classroom and on university campuses in Malaysia and the United States. Holding an MEd in Digital Technologies, Sultan worked as a Digital Literacy Consultant for YRDSB for a couple of years, and attempts to be a leader at integrating digital technologies both in his practice as a K-12 educator, and in his current position as a seconded instructor at York University’s Faculty of Education. Sultan has written resources, conducted workshops, and supported educators (candidates and seasoned) on topics related to modern learning, CRRP, equity, inclusion, anti-racism, and Islamophobia for a number of schools, conferences, symposiums, and organization, both in-person and online for the past decade.

In addition to moderating this session, Sultan is also the co-chair of the York University Faculty of Education Summer Institute (FESI) series, with Sayema Chowdhury.




Webinar 4
The Education of Black Youth:
A National Conversation with Educators
February 24, 2021 | 7:00 – 9:00 pm
7:00 – 8:30 pm (Panel Discussion) | 8:30 – 9:00 p.m. (Q&A)


Moderator:

Camille Williams-Taylor

Over a thirty year career, Camille Williams-Taylor has worked in education settings from Winnipeg to Montreal, with the better part of her career spent in schools and education systems in Ontario. A graduate of the University of Manitoba and McGill University, Camille is currently serving as the Director of Education for the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board which is a district of 147 schools and over 75,000 students.  Her previous experiences in education include roles at the Ministry of Education, York University's Faculty of Education and at a number of school districts including Durham, Toronto and Peel.  While her experiences are varied, Camille's commitment to student achievement through teaching excellence and equitable opportunities has been and continues to be the common thread.

Panellists:

Lethisha Andrews
Lethisha Andrews has been an educator at Pearson Adult and Career Center for the last ten years. She completed a Bachelor of Science degree at McGill University and acquired her Master of Arts degree in Teaching and Learning. She is passionate about molding young minds and promotes alternative perspectives in science by deconstructing the hegemonic constraints that exclude anyone deemed as "other." She strives to create a learning environment that fosters inclusivity among her diverse learners as well as awareness about the social and political aspects of society that influence science education.

 


Beth Applewhite

Beth Applewhite is a District Vice-Principal of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion with the Burnaby School District. B.C. Beth is a bi-racial educator of Trinidadian and Scottish heritages who has been unrelenting in her determination to challenge the status quo and create equitable learning experiences that acknowledge racism and celebrate personal and cultural identities. For over two decades, she has been strongly advocating for educators and school communities to actively acknowledge Black History and Truth and Reconciliation. She believes that racism is one of the most serious problems facing schools today. She advocates for honest discourse, student and community voice, increased awareness of systemic racism in education, and the need to deal with racial bias amongst educators. In her new role, she has been providing Anti-Racism presentations and training for Students, Staff, Administrators, Senior Management and Trustees across a few Districts in the Lower Mainland.


Karen Hudson

Karen Hudson is an educator and currently the Principal of Auburn Drive High School in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia.  She has been in the field of education for the past 25 years. She is from the Preston Area and was raised in the community of Cherry Brook/Lake Loon. Karen is passionate and dedicated to addressing issues of inequities, social justice, cultural awareness and educational disparities. She has a Bachelor of Education, Masters of Education in Curriculum Studies, Masters in Literacy, Masters of Administration Leadership and a Masters of Environmental Studies where her thesis addresses A Question of Environmental Racism within the Preston Area, Nova Scotia.

She is the Interim President Black Educators Association (BEA); Co-chair of Africentric Learning Institute (ALI); Co-founder of the Freedom School; Co-founder of the Nova Scotia Black Women’s Alliance; member of Black History Month Committee; Indigenous and Mi’kmaq Initiative (IBM); Cherry Brook United Baptist Church; and the African Nova Scotian Representative for the Public School Administrators Association of Nova Scotia (PSAANS). She was one of the founders of Peer tutors of Preston and was instrumental in developing the Africentric Cohort at Auburn Drive High. Karen was recognized in 2012 for her outstanding work in the school and community and was presented the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee. In 2019, she was recognized as one of Canada’s Outstanding Principals.


Ainsworth Morgan

Following a career as a professional football player, including a stint with the Toronto Argonauts, Ainsworth Morgan pursued a career in education, obtaining his Bachelor of Education and Master of Education at the Ontario Institute for Students in Education. This was in addition to his Bachelor of Science in Criminology that he received from the University of Toledo prior to entering the Canadian Football League. Upon completing his BEd, Ainsworth returned to Regent Park, where he had spent his childhood. There, he began his education career as a teacher with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) in September 2000.

Facilitating equitable access to education is at the core of Ainsworth Morgan’s approach to teaching. It was with that in mind that he accepted a secondment as the Academic Coordinator with the Pathways To Education Program (Regent Park) – a charitable organization created to reduce poverty and increase access to post-secondary education among disadvantaged youth in Canada.

In 2012, Ainsworth co-founded the 100 Strong Foundation – a mentoring and advocacy group for Black boys between the ages of 11 to 14.  He is a former Board of Directors for White Ribbon Canada – an organization that engages men and boys in the prevention of gender-based violence by promoting equity and transforming social norms. Ainsworth was appointed to the Toronto Police Services Board in January 2020 and the Province of Ontario-Premier’s Council on Equity of Opportunity in July of 2020.


Gail-Ann Wilson

Gail-Ann Wilson is a Social Studies Curriculum Resource Writer and teacher with eighteen years of senior high experience for Edmonton Public Schools. She is a diversity, equity and social justice educator, professional development presenter, and a member of the Black Teachers Association of Alberta. Gail-Ann specializes in antiracism and intercultural education initiatives and pedagogy for equitable learning environments. She is a contributing editor and freelance writer for the Alberta Teachers Association Magazine, serving as a consultant and content expert on antiBlack racism in Alberta schools. Gail-Ann continues to advocate for racial equity in education by Chairing her Local’s Professional Development Committee, as well as serving on the Diversity Equity and Human Rights Committee, and the Edmonton Public Schools Multiculturalism and Cultural Diversity Policy Review Advisory Committee. Gail-Ann’s focus on diversity education stems from her own experience as an Afro-Caribbean immigrant. She authentically resonates with racial marginalization in education due to the distinct underrepresentation of Black female teachers at the senior high level in Alberta schools.

 




Webinar 3
Decolonizing Mental Health and Well-being
November 25, 2020 | 7:00 – 8:30 pm


Cheryl Woolnough Biography:
Cheryl Woolnough has been teaching for several years around the world. She has taught in the UK, the Caribbean, Asia, and now, here in Canada, with the Peel District School Board. She has taught several grades and secured leadership positions over the years. Currently, Cheryl is educator with the Peel District School Board, working with a wonderful bunch of curious and beautiful minds. Outside of her work hours, Cheryl, supports a high school boys’ group as a teacher-mentor within the Peel Board. She also collaborates with Peel teachers at her local ETFO union known as AREC, the union's AntiRacism and Equity Committee, focusing on issues related to anti-racism, anti-oppressive practices, equity and inclusion. Cheryl also provides professional and social development for parents, students and staff, via workshops and presentations within the school board and the wider community. In addition to these items, Cheryl is a board member of the Ontario Alliance of Black School Educators (ONABSE), where she is an active and enthusiastic member in charge of the Mental Health and WellBeing Commission. Cheryl is an advocate and community activist who is passionate about the success of Black and marginalized students, firmly believing that all children can succeed with time, care, patience and careful programming through a race-equity lens. At home, Cheryl loves cooking and creating a variety of international dishes for her family and friends. More than anything, she loves spending time with her children, family and friends in order to create beautiful memories.

Jennifer Mullan Biography:
Jennifer Mullan (Pronouns: She/ Her) creates spaces for people and organizations to heal. She believes that it is essential to create dialogue to address how mental health is deeply affected by systemic inequities and the trauma of oppression, particularly the well-being of Queer Indigenous Black Brown People of Color (QIBPOC).

Mullan has earned her Doctorate of Psychology (Psy.D) in Clinical Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies; a Master’s in Counseling & Community Agencies from New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education; and her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and Elementary Education, from New Jersey City University. She notes that her dissertation: “Slavery and the Intergenerational Transmission of Trauma in Inner City African American Male Youth: From the Cotton Fields to the Concrete Jungle,” has been a primary foundation for her current work in furthering emotional wellness on a larger collective scale for communities of color.

Currently she is a full-time Psychologist at New Jersey City University’s Counseling Center, facilitator for the campus LGBTQIA+ Support group, Coordinator of the University’s nationally recognized Peer Education program (Peers Educating Peers), Instructor for Graduate Counseling courses, and a proud LGBTQIA+ Gothic Knight Ally Safe Zone Trainer.

She has almost 15 years of experience in clinical practice, higher education, teaching, and grant writing. She is passionately committed to solidarity work that effectively addresses inequities based on race, gender, class, ability, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Her professional research and clinical interests include complex and intergenerational trauma, group psychotherapy, LGBTQIA wellness, spirituality & mindfulness practices, racism as trauma, healing in therapeutic settings, self-love as a revolutionary act, and the process of decolonizing mental health.

Social Media has been a primary platform for Dr. Mullan’s current work in politicizing therapy and emotional health on a larger collective scale, with over 53K followers on Instagram. In 2019, she founded Decolonizing Psychology, LLC. They seek to create spaces to “call mental health professions IN” (rather than call people out). Dr. Mullan believes it is essential to ask mental health professionals to reassess their education, “whom they are serving? “and begin to question the relatability of the mental health industrial complex to the People they serve. It is her belief that we can tend to our emotional/ mental health AND hold systemic oppression accountable. You can frequently hear Dr. Mullan stating, “Everything is political!”

Dr. Mullan also centralizes Historical and Intergenerational Trauma, which she identifies as Ancestral Trauma, at the crux of decolonization work. Through the movement of Decolonizing Therapy, Dr. Mullan can be found providing international keynotes, holding Radicalizing Rage workshops, doing Coaching sessions while un-training mental health

Sayema Chowdury Biography:
Sayema is a life-long learner and educator currently seconded to the Faculty of Education at York University where she teaches a variety of subjects, with a focus on Diverse and Equitable Classrooms. She is one of the co-chairs of FESI2020. Sayema has an interest in supporting mental health and wellbeing from a community and anti-racist perspective, participates widely in diversity and equity initiatives throughout Ontario and is committed to anti-oppressive education and learning. Sayema’s home board is the Peel District School Board, and prior to secondment, held the central role of Climate for Learning and Working Resource Teacher, science department head and teacher. Sayema is a member of the board of MENO (The Muslim Educator’s Network of Ontario), and a certified Restorative Practices trainer.

 




Webinar 2
What does the journey towards Anti-Racist, Anti-Oppressive practice look like in a child welfare agency?
October 21, 2020 | 7:00 – 8:30 pm


Carol Wade is a social worker and educator. She has over 20 years of experience in the child welfare sector, and she is also a sessional instructor in the school of social work at the University of Windsor. Carol completed her Ph.D. at the University of Toronto with a focus on using a historical trauma lens to understand modern-day parenting. Carol has co-facilitated ABR training with YouthRex Research and Evaluation Design at York University. Her main area of focus is in using critical theories and pedagogies to deconstruct and challenge oppressive practices to families and young people.

Kate Schumaker is the Manager of Quality Assurance & Outcome Measurement at the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto. She has worked for over 20 years in child welfare and children’s mental health, including front-line clinical positions and 10 years producing and implementing child welfare policy for the provincial government. She is passionate about creating a socially just child welfare system. Her areas of practice and research interest include poverty, neglect and child welfare decision-making.

Priscilla Manful is the Manager of Intake Services at the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto. She has worked in child welfare for more than 12 years, holding various front-line and managerial positions. She is currently leading the full-scale implementation of CCAS’s Africentric Wraparound model at the frontend of service. Priscilla holds an MSW degree and has background in law. She is interested in how the legal profession; law enforcement and child welfare can work better together to empower families rather than oppress them.

Vanessa Cocco is Chief Social Worker at the Toronto Catholic District School Board. With over 15 years of direct service experience, Vanessa is dedicated to advocacy and well-being promotion for children, youth and families. Vanessa is privileged to work alongside partners in Education, Child Welfare, Children’s Mental Health and School Mental Health Ontario.

 

Moderators

Carl E. James holds the  Jean Augustine Chair in Education, Community and Diaspora in the Faculty of Education at York University and is the Senior Advisor on Equity and Representation at York University, as part of the Division of Equity, People and Culture. He is Professor in the Faculty of Education and holds cross-appointments in the Graduate Programs in Sociology, Social and Political Thought, and Social Work. He was the Director of the York Centre on Education & Community (2008-2016) which he founded, and was one of six Advisors to the Ontario Minister of Education and Premier (2017-2018). His research interests include the examination of issues of access, equity, and inclusion for racialized individuals in terms of their education and employment opportunities, school retention and achievements. James is widely recognized for his research contributions in the areas of intersectionality of race, ethnicity, gender, class and citizenship as they shape identification/identity; the ways in which accessible and equitable opportunities in education and employment account for the lived experiences marginalized community members; and the complementary and contradictory nature of sports in the schooling and educational attainments of racialized students. In advocating on education for change, James documents the struggles, contradictions and paradoxes in the experiences of racialized students at all levels of the education system.

http://fesi.blog.yorku.ca/files/2019/07/Screen-Shot-2019-07-02-at-9.48.54-PM-1-187x300.png?x69327Jack Nigro is currently Superintendent of Elementary Curriculum, Durham DSB, and recently served as Superintendent of Indigenous Education and Equity at the Kawartha Pine Ridge DSB. He is the past Superintendent of Curriculum at the Halton Catholic DSB, which included responsibilities in Equity and Inclusive Education, Newcomer Students, New Teacher Induction, and Kindergarten. He is also the past co-chair of the TARO Equity and Inclusive Education Network and was both a local and provincial EIE lead for the Ministry of Education in his previous role as Education Officer at the Toronto and Area Regional Office. Jack has held portfolios in Parent Engagement, Leadership Development, and NTIP for the Ministry of Education, and also served as a Private Schools Inspector, inspecting over 80 schools both in Ontario and China. Previous roles also include a teacher with the Toronto Catholic DSB, a curriculum developer and administrator with the Independent Learning Centre, and the Director of the School-University Partnerships Office in the B.Ed. program at OISE/UT. Jack was recently also on a Canadian team engaged by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago that was working on the renewal of their Kindergarten and Early Childhood Education program. He is very proud to be an Adjunct Professor at York University.

 




Webinar 1
Designing for/with Criticality and Community
August 19, 2020 | 7:00 – 8:30 pm


Kimberley Tavares

Kimberley is an Education Officer, cross-appointed to the Education Equity Secretariat and the System Evidence and Design Branch, in the Ontario Ministry of Education. She serves as an Educational Policy & Systems Advisor and the Equity and Literacy Lead, respectively. Kimberley has been seconded from a vice-principalship in the York Region District School Board, and prior to this was an Equity Officer in the York Region Board serving students of African and Caribbean heritage. Much of Kimberley's work in the Ministry is to develop innovative tools and resources that work to dismantle the systemic barriers faced by many students in the Ontario education system.

As a result of her graduate work in Anti-Black racism, leadership and equity, Kimberley’s current appointments center on developing and supporting anti-oppression, anti-Black racism and equity policy and practice initiatives for the ministry. As an educator with over 20 years’ experience, she is most proud of her doctoral work with marginalized and racialized youth who find themselves disenfranchised by schooling practices. In other words, Kimberley believes that the real work of equity is to work with students, families, communities, school and system leaders to uncover and then address the systemic barriers limiting the opportunities and successes of marginalized learners.


Elizabeth Tunstall

Elizabeth (Dori) Tunstall is a design anthropologist, public intellectual, and design advocate who works at the intersections of critical theory, culture, and design. As Dean of Design at Ontario College of Art and Design University, she is the first Black and Black female Dean of a Faculty of Design. She leads the Cultures-Based Innovation Initiative focused on using old ways of knowing to drive innovation processes that directly benefit communities.

With a global career, Dori served as Associate Professor of Design Anthropology and Associate Dean at Swinburne University in Australia. She wrote the biweekly column Un-Design for The Conversation Australia. In the U.S., she taught at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She organized the U.S. National Design Policy Initiative and served as a director of Design for Democracy. Industry positions included UX strategists for Sapient Corporation and Arc Worldwide. Dori holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Stanford University and a BA in Anthropology from Bryn Mawr College.


Natalie Wood

Natalie is a Professor in the Service Work Program (SSW) at George Brown College (GBC) who often describes herself as wearing 3 kinds of bowties; She is a social innovation specialist, co-founder of the GBC Social Innovation Hub who designs and performs change within institutions and communities;  A PhD student using her research time to challenge the devastating impact of anti-Black racism through documenting and developing Afro-Caribbean diasporic-inspired community organizations and models of empowerment, healing and inclusion; and she is an award-winning visual and multi-media artist.

Selected awards include a Black Leadership Award from the Black Student Success Network at GBC 2017, Community Based Research Award of Merit, from the Centre for Urban Health Initiatives & the Wellesley Institute 2007, the New Pioneers Award for contribution to Arts and Culture 2006, and the City of York Civic Recognition Award for using the Arts to support marginalized communities 1997 and numerous grants and awards from Toronto, Ontario and Canada arts council.

http://iamnataliewood.com

https://socialinnovationhub.wordpress.com


Dr. Vidya Shah is an educator, scholar and activist committed to issues of equity and racial justice. She is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at York University and her research explores anti-racist approaches to educational leadership and school district reform. Dr. Shah has worked in the Model Schools for Inner Cities Program in the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) and was a teacher in the TDSB. She is also actively involved in community initiatives.