Members

 

Gabrielle Blais (Chair) has served as the vice president of Parents partenaires en éducation, the provincial organization of francophone parents, and has been involved in school councils in the public francophone system since their inception. Gabrielle has also served on the Ontario Parent Council Transition Team. Since 1995, she has played an integral role in a variety of curriculum-development initiatives by the Ministry of Education and early years initiatives of the Ministry of Community and Social Services. She previously served on the Ontario Parent Council. Gabrielle lives in Orléans and has three children.

Alimamy Bangura is the founder and the Executive Director of the Muslim Educational Network. Prior to that, he was the Project Coordinator of the Literacy Program at the West Scarborough Neighbourhood Community Centre and an instructor with the Ryerson University Department of Social Work. Alimamy has volunteered and worked with parent organizations and equity-seeking groups and school boards and has particular expertise in helping immigrant and refugee parents and children transition to the Ontario school system. He lives in Toronto and is active with parent groups operating within the Toronto District School Board.

Penny Boyce Chester is a founder and co-chair for the Greater Toronto Catholic Parent Network. She also serves as chair for the Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School Advisory Council. She has been a parent volunteer and advocate for parental involvement in publicly funded Catholic Education for more than seven years. Penny is well known in Toronto for her advocacy work related to school closure and school building renewal.

Denis Constantineau is currently the executive director of Sudbury Family Service. Denis has taught law, commerce and entrepreneurship courses at Laurentian University and Collège Boréal and previously was the head of Adult Education at Collège Boréal. He has been a member of the school council at École publique Jean-Éthier-Blais in Sudbury since 1996. He has also been a director of Parents partenaires en éducation since 1999. Denis currently serves on six boards of directors and is an active member of the francophone community. He is married and has two children.

Gregg Dame is a father of three children and has been involved with his children’s school since 1997 in a number of roles and responsibilities including chair of the playground fund raising committee, chair of Oakwood Elementary Home & School Committee, parent representative for the secondary panel on the DSBN School Council Liaison Committee, and parent representative on the Port Colborne High School parent council. He is committed to ensuring that the school board delivers an equitable quality education for all students. He is also involved with the Regional Niagara Bicycle Committee and the City of Port Colborne Bike & Trailways Committee and is hoping to get students more involved with cycling and trail usage.

Cathy Dandy is the spokesperson for the Toronto Parent Network, a role in which she does speaking engagements with school community councils, Toronto District School Board Ward Councils, and a variety of other community groups. She has also been involved as the co-chair for the Campaign for Public Education and was a member of the steering committee for People for Education. Cathy is committed to deepening the engagement of the broader community and education stakeholders in publicly funded education. She lives in Toronto with her three children.

Tammy Gillespie established a parent advisory group at Holy Saviour School. She has served as the chairperson for the network of school council chairs for the Superior North District Catholic School Board and regional director for the Ontario Association of Parents in Catholic Education. She is also a member of the Superior North Special Education Advisory Committee.

Elizabeth Haynes has served as a representative on various committees for the Greater Essex County DSB, including the Early Years Review Committee, the Board Improvement Plan Committee and the Accommodations Committee. She currently serves as the Secretary for the School Council Chairs Network.

Brenda Hopkins began her involvement at Harris Heights School Council in 1996 and continues to lead that school council. She is the current chair of the Thames Valley District School Board School Council network, a position she has held for several years. She has also participated in a number of special committees and councils, including the Rural Schools Strategy, the Effective Schools Task Force, Ministry of Education School Council Forum and she was part of Rozanski’s Education Task Force. Brenda lives in Salford, near Ingersoll.

Gord Kerr is Executive Director of the Ontario School Council Support Centre. He writes and speaks extensively on school council issues in his own board, York Region District School Board, and operates workshops for parents and administrators across the province. Gord has been actively involved in school councils at both Denne Public School and Whitchurch Highlands Public School, and served on the Transition Team for Denne Public School. He has also served as a co-chair of the York Region District School Board’s Community Building Team and the board’s school council policy and procedure review committee. Gord lives in Gormley and has two sons.

Annie Kidder became involved in education through the Home and School Association at her children’s school. In February 1996, she helped found People for Education, an organization dedicated to guaranteeing every child access to the education that meets his or her needs. Since 1999, Annie has worked full time for People for Education, speaking to parent and education groups around Southern Ontario and on numerous provincial and national radio and television programs. She is the mother of two children.

Manon Lemonde began her involvement as the Chairperson at l’École St-Denis in Sudbury. She is currently the secretary of the school council at l’École St-Charles Garnier in Whitby and was elected President of Parents partenaires en éducation. Manon is the mother of one daughter.

Nancy Lewington has been providing leadership to a School Council Study Committee at the Hamilton-Wentworth DSB over the past 10 years. Nancy also developed and delivered school council training sessions. She has been extensively involved in community health programs and has been a lecturer, workshop leader and public speaker. She is passionate about improving communications and accountability of the education system to parents. She is a member of the Community Editorial Board of theHamilton Spectator and writes primarily on education issues. She lives in Hamilton and is the mother of two children.

Lamar Mason is actively involved with the Ottawa-Carleton Assembly of School Councils and currently serves as the co-chair of the board’s Special Education Advisory Committee. She has been active in local school councils for over a decade and is experienced in leading workshops for parents on special education issues and helping them to operate effective school councils. Her work has been recognized by the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, the City of Ottawa and the Ottawa United Way.

Laurie Philip was the Chairperson for the Moose Cree Education Authority Board of Directors and served as the Director of Education for the board on an acting basis. She was chair of the Delores D. Echum Composite School Council. She is currently a member of the Child Care Parents Council, a member of the Native Advisory Committee for TVO and is chair of the Ontario Ecotourism Society. She is also he General Manager of the Moose Factory Tourism Association, where she lives.

Michele Piccini is the President of the Ontario Association of Parents in Catholic Education, a provincial organization that represents parents and guardians with children in publicly funded Catholic education. Michele is co-chair of the Regional School Council at the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Council and has served as chair and member of her local school councils for years. She is also a vice president of the Canadian National Autism Foundation and has advocated for autistic children to attend schools with fully inclusionary environments. Michele is a past member of the Ontario Parent Council and lives in Dundas.

Lesley Schuurs is the past president of the Ontario Federation of Home and School Associations and has volunteered in schools for 14 years. She has been the president of the Oxford County Council of Home and School Associations and has had a variety of experiences in involving parents in education, such as organizing events, setting up conferences and workshops, helping parents understand processes and making connections between educators, politicians and parents. She is on the board of the Thames Valley Education Foundation. Lesley and her husband live on a farm near Ingersoll with their two children.

Claude Séguin has been involved in organizing and leading school councils since 1995, both in the English and French-language school boards in the Ottawa area. Previously, he served two terms as chair of the Ottawa-Carleton Catholic School Board and served on several advisory committees including the board’s Budget and French-as-a-Second-Language committee. He has also served external organizations such as the Institute of Catholic Education. He recently co-chaired the first joint parent conference “Parents Voice in Education”, which was organized by the Ottawa-Carleton Assembly of School Councils and the Catholic School Parent Association. Claude is the father of four children.

Anita Srinivasan has been an advocate for integrating newcomer students into the education system. She has worked at the school council level and through specific projects such as Making Our Voices Count, which provided training for newcomer parents. She also serves on the board for People for Education. Anita lives in Mississauga and is the mother of two children.

Dale Thomson has been working to encourage and promote parental involvement in education since the early 1990s. He chaired a school council for five years and worked to organize consultation sessions that resulted in the formation of the Algoma District School Board’s School Councils Coordinating Committee. He is currently serving his fourth term as chair. Dale has also organized school council workshops and presented workshops on a variety of school-council related topics for the past seven years. He previously served on the Ontario Parent Council, special education advisory committees and a number of other education-related committees. Dale is the father of three children.