We are excited to announce our keynote speakers for The Quest: Indigenous Education and Equity.
Check back as we continue to update our keynote speaker lineup. Click on each image to learn more.
Born and raised in Northern Saskatchewan, Gabrielle is a proud member of the Hatchet Lake First Nation. She has studied international business and policy in Australasia, Asia, the Americas and Europe. In addition, Gabrielle became the youngest Associate accepted into one of Canada’s most competitive post-graduate finance programs.
That same year Gabrielle co-founded the Aboriginal Professional Association of Canada. The organization is of its kind in the Greater Toronto Area and offers services and programming to First Nations, Métis and Inuit professionals.
Gabrielle is the first First Nations representative to be selected for the honour in Canada’s history. Gabrielle is passionate about diversity, leadership and innovation. As the first in her family to pursue post-secondary education and travel the globe, she is a believer in what hard work and a positive attitude can accomplish.
Most recently, Renu was recognized by Canadian Lawyer magazine as one of Canada’s most influential lawyers for her advocacy related to solitary confinement.
Dr. Niigaanwewidam Sinclair
Kike Ojo-Thompson is the founder and principal consultant of Kojo Institute. An award-winning expert on equity, inclusion and diversity, Kike specializes in developing, facilitating and implementing innovative solutions for creating equity at an institutional level. A dynamic speaker and educator who artfully balances tact and honesty, Kike has over 20 years of experience leading engaging and effective workshops, lectures, mediations, and trainings for a broad range of organizations eager to create equitable outcomes for their staff and clients.
In addition to her equity work with Kojo Institute, Kike is a member of the Ontario Human Rights Community Advisory Committee, was formerly the senior facilitator for the province of Ontario’s carding review team, and formerly the project lead for One Vision One Voice, a first-of-its-kind initiative tasked with addressing anti-Black racism in the child welfare system. Of particular note, Kike is a former secondary school teacher and has since supported a number of Boards of Education throughout Ontario.
Jesse is Ojibwe, and his family comes from Chicago and the Serpent River First Nation in Ontario. He is an advocate for Aboriginal Arts, most notably on screen. He draws attention to the imagery used by Hollywood in portrayals of indigenous peoples and stresses the need for a culture to have influence on their own depiction. His pieces on The Revenant, Beyonce and sports mascots were among the most shared on CBC.ca
In 2017 Jesse was appointed to the Canada Council for the Arts.
Dr. Debbie Donsky
Dr Debbie Donsky is currently the Coordinating Principal for School Effectiveness in the Peel District School Board. Throughout her 25 years in education, she has worked in several boards in the Toronto area and at the Ministry of Education both in eLearning and Student Achievement. She has taught all levels in the elementary panel and has been a school administrator for the last fifteen years. Debbie has worked with the Ontario Principals’ Council as a PQP instructor, online instructor and workshop presenter on various aspects of leadership including Equitable and Inclusive Leadership. Debbie’s doctoral thesis focused on Knowledge Building in an Antiracist Classroom. Debbie continues to examine how power and pedagogy intersect in our classrooms, schools and education systems through her blogging, presenting and leadership practices.
Debbie has made a career focused on creating spaces of possibility–whether as an advocate, leader, speaker or writer. If you want to learn more, check out her website at www.debbiedonsky.com and follow her on Twitter @DebbieDonsky.
Quest 2019 Co-Hosts
I love working alongside and in service of our youth and I am committed to being a strong advocate and accomplice for them.
Dr. Avis Glaze
Dr. Avis Glaze
For Avis, excellence and equity must go hand in hand. Variables such as poverty, gender, race, social class of postal code should not truncate the life chances of students, narrow their career choices, nor determine their destiny in any way. She focusses on teaching both hard- and soft skills and on the research-informed strategies that are known to be effective in school and system improvement efforts. She believes that educators have both the will and the skills to improve their systems and that parents, community and business partnerships play an essential role in education reform. She urges educators to build upon their successes and redouble their efforts to ensure that all children achieve success in our schools. We must prepare them to think critically and analytically, feel deeply and empathically, and act wisely and ethically. For her, graduates of our schools must become solution finders – confident, productive and engaged citizens of character –who contribute to nation building. There can be no ‘throw-away-kids,’ she asserts.
Dr. Glaze has worked with educators in some 50 jurisdictions across the globe. She knows what world class education systems look like. She served as Adviser to the Minister of Education in Ontario and New Zealand and was engaged to reform the administrative governance system in Nova Scotia. Currently, she is working as consultant to the review of the Manitoba education system and is also serving as one of the International Education Advisers working with the First Minister of Scotland on their mandate to improve their education system.
Visit her website at: www.avisglaze.ca