As a candidate for the Trustee position, people have asked for information about my backgroundas a way of checking me out, so I have decided to simply tell you a few things that may help.
Ward 14 is very diverse and I would bet that its students and parents can relate to the difficulties I experienced as a minority youth identified as being Aboriginal, but having grown up in Toronto I find that I am the better for the experience because I am able to act asa bridge to the mainstream.
A lifelong interest in education keeps drawing me back school. It took me to the University of Toronto at age 51 to study Studio Art and Art History. That led to the MA in Fine Art History at York University and ultimately to the completion of a PhD in Indigenous Studies at Trent University.
Strongly drawn to education in my early twenties I taught English as a Second Language to grade 8 students in a recognized school board in northern Quebec. Later, for three years I ran the DeVilbiss Technical Training School teaching finishing to adults for the company that manufactured spray painting equipment. Along the way, I became a Safety Consultant with the Industrial Accident Prevention Association of Ontario and later on of Quebec helping management solve accident problems to keep employees safe. The administrative experience that positions like that provided allowed me to act as a Property Manager for some 25 years with some of the buildings located at Church and Wellesley.
The buildings allowed me to attend university making it possible at York and Trent Universities to serve for some seven years as a Teaching Assistant. That led to the presentation of a number lectures at OCAD and today I spend a great deal of time in TDSB schools with the KAIROS Blanket Exercise Educational Program and the Royal Conservatory of Music’s Learning Through The Arts Program.
When I completed my MA at York, I was invited to host the AVR Arts Review Show on Aboriginal Voices Radio as a volunteer interviewing community members. That allowed me for over ten years to meet each week with many of our outstanding leaders like Norval Morrisseau, for example. As it happens, I am very contemporary and urban, but I retain a connection to my own culture in the same manner as our immigrant populations do as they become proud Canadians while continuing to hold their own values and heritage dear. My traditional connection to the land may be seen in my hobby of building my own kayaks and paddling them around the lake.
As a child I grew up with the understanding that I was no different than anything else in the world. The animals, the birds and the creatures that swim in the lake are all my equals, as are all other human beings. It is not surprising, therefore, that as an adult I speak a number of languages and have great respect for my neighbours. The fundamental inclusiveness that is a basic part of Aboriginal culture ensures that as a TDSB Trustee, I would represent all cultures and ways of life equally in my efforts to ensure happy, successful students.
The photographs feature me in class at a time when my hair was still black.