My name is Nayab Abid (pronouns she/her). I am a refugee from Pakistan living on stolen land from Mississaugas of the New Credit. The territory of the Anishinabek, Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee (Iroquois), the territory of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation. I am currently working as a special education teacher in a school board in Ontario.
I am passionate about creating inclusive spaces for all and work to make sure that everyone has a voice at the table by dismantling oppressive policies and practices. I graduated with a double major in English and History from the University of Toronto, Bachelor of Education is from York University (Primary/Junior) and my M.Ed from the University of Western Ontario in Education Policy and Leadership.
My name is Caroline Lusiche (she/her). I am a Black African and certified coach, educator and activist. I would like to begin by acknowledging that Ottawa is located on Unseeded and Un-surrendered Territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation. We extend our respect to all First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples for their valuable past and present contributions to this land. We also recognize and respect the cultural diversity that First Nations, Inuit and Métis people bring to the City of Ottawa. I believe in the importance of teaching and learning Black History by Black Educators as history, through the arts, through performing arts, through poetry and through storytelling. This not only brings value and effective teaching, but it also provides relevance to all students in their learning, development and in building a sense of identity. For Teachers and parents looking for resources on Black Education, this group of Educators, will endeavour to deliver content using a range of modes such as teaching History, Arts, Performing Arts, Storytelling and Poetry. I would like our system of Education to include a Curriculum that not only reflects the diversity of the students in our schools, but that which includes Black Educators teaching black students about their history and culture all year round . Amongst the many core objectives of Teaching Beyond The Surface, the main fundamental purpose is to empower and create tomorrow’s leaders.
My name is Kisrene (pronouns she/her). I am a Black Canadian, anti-racist-feminist educator, who teaches grade 8 homeroom. I was born in Jamaica but raised in Toronto most of my life. My lived experiences of being Black, female, immigrant, the eldest of 4 children to a single mother, and now a parent to a young man on the Autism spectrum, has inspired my passion and activism for equity and social justice. I knew I wanted to become an educator when I had my first Black teacher, Mr. Jamil Kalim, in grade 11 at Oakwood Collegiate, and took his senior history course, “African Civilizations”. Mr. Kalim really inspired and motivated me and all the Black students in his class to have high expectations for ourselves, to speak truth to power, and be proud of our rich pre-colonial African heritage. Therefore, it is my belief that an Africentric education should be mandatory for all Black students so they are equipped with the knowledge of self and the critical consciousness to challenge anti-Black racism.
I was brought to Teaching Beyond the Surface after networking with a group of like-minded women educators who share the same passions and critical perspectives on education. My current activism involves collaborating with my colleagues and parents on initiatives to dismantle anti-Black racism in my school community. I have a M.A. degree in Sociology & Equity Studies in Education from OISE and wrote my thesis on “Multiculturalism and the de-politicization of Blackness in Canada: the case of FLOW 93.5 FM”. I have a B.A. (Hons.) in Sociology from York University, and a B.Ed. from OISE.
My name is Gurpreet Rai (pronouns she, her). I am an East Indian woman born in Canada, and raised in India during my primary years. Sikhism is one of many layers of who I am. I am married with two very busy boys. I am currently working for an Ontario Board of Education and am so incredibly glad to be a part of this amazing work. I have learned so much personally and professionally through my union involvement, locally and provincially. I have been blessed to work with amazing leaders who inspire, challenge and motivate me to be the best version of my authentic self. More recently, I have been open about my journey with mental health and hope to continue this conversation with others. Through my personal and professional interactions, I have been able to continue to learn, unlearn and work collaboratively with like minded colleagues that are at different places in our respective journeys. I am looking forward to speaking our truth, inspiring others to do the same and most importantly advocating for what is right and Beyond the Surface in some of the most challenging times in society and the world of education. I recently created www.ketopreet.com in order to support other educators with free lessons.
I am Danielle Robertson (She, Her). I am a Black Canadian educator who works for an Ontario school board. I have had many union and professionally-related experiences as I work to dismantle anti-black racism in the education system. A time such as this is a critical time in history and I am excited to embark on the journey to change and inspire lives. From joining equity committees, to facilitating book talks, and the willingness to have critically conscious conversation I use my voice to make sure that our black and marginalized students are seen and valued in their school communities. Teaching Beyond the Surface is a place to grow as both an educator and member of society. It allows me the opportunity to think deeply and be reflective of who I am as a person, shaping me to be the best version of myself. I look forward to continuing to share knowledge and engage in important and relevant conversation.
My name is Tamla (she/her). I am an educator, writer and mother from Toronto, Canada. I am a jack-of-all-trades and am on a journey of self-mastery. I am passionate about public education, critical consciousness and social justice issues. I believe education to be a powerful tool in dismantling systems of oppression both systemically and internally. I currently teach Grade 1 and enjoy looking beyond the surface with my students.
I've graduated with a B.A. Hons in Fine Arts Cultural Studies from York University, a Bachelor of Education from the University of Windsor and recently received a M.Ed in Social Justice Education from The University of Toronto, OISE .