Daniela Bascuñán is an elementary school teacher in Toronto and a PhD candidate at OISE. She has experience in curriculum design and development and workshop facilitation, as well as almost 19 years of classroom teaching experience. Daniela constructs learning experiences that are arts-infused and literacy-based. Her related research areas are in the intersections of decolonization and the integration of Indigenous Knowledges in classrooms.
Mohini Athia is Director of Communications at COPA, offering schools in Ontario a range of unique programs and resources focusing on bullying prevention and equity and inclusion. Mohini is also a secondary school teacher, specializing in business studies and special education. She has been seconded/on leave from the Toronto District School Board. Mohini’s long-standing commitment to social justice and the injection of this perspective into all realms of her teaching life drew her to COPA's unique and remarkable rights-based approach to fostering 'safe, strong and free' schools and communities. Her personal interests include travelling, training for triathalons and volunteering at Toronto's Native Canadian Centre.
Sarah Evis was born in Toronto, and is of Irish, English, and French heritage. She teaches grade 7 & 8 at Delta Senior Alternative School. Sarah is a founding member of the Toronto Writing Project, and is in the third year of a collaborative research and curriculum development project with Professor Rob Simon, OISE MT students, and Delta students, called Addressing Injustices. She is a political activist, visual artist, and proud mother of two adult sons. Sarah is very excited to be starting her Masters in Curriculum, Teaching and Learning at OISE in the fall of 2017. She is deeply honoured to be a part of the Kimaacihtoomin e-Anishinaabek kikinoo'amaakeyak: Learning to Teach in Indigenous Ways Conference.
Laryssa Gorecki is a TCDSB English and FNMI Studies teacher. Laryssa developed a strong interest in teaching Indigenous literature in 2013 after being given the opportunity to develop and teach a compulsory course— “NBE3C: Contemporary Indigenous Voices”. She has taught this section numerous times, and has presented her teaching strategies and creative use of resources at various academic conferences. Laryssa has also been interviewed for “Listen and Learn”, a monthly newsletter for educators wanting to connect around teaching Indigenous Education. Laryssa takes an arts-based approach to engage her Grade 11 students to help them arrive at an understanding of the complex themes found in several narratives about Reconciliation.
Melissa Larkin is a skilled vocalist and songwriter. She has toured and performed for over 10 years, and worked as an arts educator since 2010. In 2007 she created The Forgotten Tour, which brought live music to people and places abandoned by mainstream touring acts. She toured 36 cities in Canada and the western United States facilitating song-writing workshops for at-risk youth, homeless shelters, old age facilities and more. Throughout her career she has used song writing to facilitate engaging educational programs. In 2012, she trained as an arts educator through the Royal Conservatory of Music. Following this, Melissa created and launched Darkspark with creative partner, D'Ari Lisle, to educate and empower students. Melissa graduated with an honours degree from the University of Western Ontario in literature and social justice studies.
Angela Nardozi is a guest on Turtle Island, with both sides of her family originating in Italy. She is a certified teacher and received her Ph.D. from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education in 2016. Her passion for working alongside Indigenous communities began in 2008, after living and working in a Treaty Three First Nation. After completing her MA research with that community, she returned to Toronto to work with her own community - non-Indigenous educators. From 2011 to 2016 she was the Project Manager of the Deepening Knowledge Project, where she delivered workshops to over 6000 teacher candidates about Indigenous histories and current communities, and the responsibilities of Settler educators in teaching this content. Angela is an engaging speaker and has almost a decade of experience communicating to a vast array of audiences about Indigenous-Canadian issues and research. She has been invited to speak to community and religious groups and has extensive experience with academic audiences as a keynote, invited and peer-reviewed speaker. Angela has delivered hundreds of workshops to students from kindergarten to graduate level. She has channeled some of what she has learned from these experiences into Listen & Learn, a monthly newsletter for educators interested in teaching issues and resources related to Indigenous topics.
Deb St. Amant
Deb St. Amant's father was Métis and her mother is Ojibwa. She was the first and, thus far, only Indigenous person elected to ETFO’s provincial executive. She has been a governor of the Ontario Teachers’ Federation and has served on the Canadian Teachers’ Federation’s Aboriginal Issues Committee. In 2011, Deb represented Canadian Teachers of Aboriginal ancestry at Education International in Cape Town, South Africa. After 30 years of teaching French, she retired in 2012. Deb still enjoys guest speaking about Aboriginal issues and other equity themes. She is recognized by the Ontario Arts Council as an Aboriginal Artist in the Classroom. In 2014, Deb wrote a book for Pearson Education aimed at teacher candidates. It is entitled First Nations, Métis and Inuit Student Success. She continues to write and to edit books. Most recently, she edited ETFO’s online Aboriginal Book Club lessons and also edited an ETFO collaboration with Right to Play called Engaging the Aboriginal Learner. She is the lead consultant with COPA and the Ontario Teachers’ Federation on the Joining the Circle resource for educators.