Meet the Speakers

Featured Speakers

Dr. Pamela Adams – Keynote Speaker

Associate Professor, University of Lethbridge. Author of “The Essential Equation: A Handbook for School Improvement” with David Townsend.

Presentation: “Business as Usual? The Potential for the Principal Leadership Quality Standard to Impact Teaching and Learning”

Description: Eight years after the first draft of Alberta Education’s Principal Quality Practice Guideline was crafted, school authorities have implemented its contents to varying extents and in different ways. The Standard’s competencies offer an opportunity to re-imagine how school leadership can be actualized. Yet, in the absence of a systemic, coordinated, and comprehensive plan that integrates theories of inquiry-based professional learning, instructional leadership, and adult learning, the Standard runs the risk of minimally impacting teaching practices or stude learning. 

Bio: Dr. Adams is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Lethbridge. She has taught at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels since 1996, served as an Assistant Dean in the faculty, and was a key liaison for the Alberta Initiative for School Improvement (AISI). Over the past five years, she has conducted collaborative inquiry research in over 120 schools, investigating themes of site and system leadership, teacher effectiveness, inquiry-based teacher preparation, and essential conditions for professional learning.

 

Dr. Sabre Cherkowski – Plenary Speaker

Associate Professor and Director of Centre for Mindful Engagement, Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus

Presentation: “School Improvement from a Positive Organizational Perspective: Noticing, Nurturing and Sustaining Flourishing" 

Description: What if the work of teaching, leading and learning in schools were to encourage and support wellbeing for self and all others in the learning community? This question has been at the heart of a three-year research project designed to examine what it means to flourish in schools using a positive organizational perspective. In this session Dr. Sabre Cherkowski will provide an overview of this research and offer recommendations for how to notice, nurture and sustain a sense of flourishing in schools.

Bio: Dr Sabre Cherkowski, PhD, is an associate professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan. She is the Director of the Centre for Mindful Engagement. She teaches and researches in the areas of leadership in learning communities, professional development and collaboration, mentoring and coaching, moral agency and educational leadership, and diversity and education. She is currently engaged in a multi-year research project examining flourishing in schools from a positive organizational perspective.

 

Dr. Jennifer Tupper – Plenary Speaker

Jennifer Tupper - PhotoDean, Faculty of Education, University of Alberta

Presentation: “Leading Educational Change in a Time of Truth and Reconciliation”

Description: Justice Murray Sinclair, Chief Commissioner of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission has stated that “education holds the key to reconciliation. It is where our country will heal itself.”  Given the significant role of schools, teachers and school divisions in shaping the educational experiences of learners, this talk will focus on educational leadership in a time of truth and reconciliation and the ethical imperative of creating classrooms that can be sites of truth telling and of reconciliatory action.

Bio: Dr. Jennifer Tupper is the new Dean in the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta. She was the Dean and Associate Professor of social studies and curriculum theory in the Faculty of Education at the University of Regina. She received her PhD from the University of Alberta in 2005, her masters degree from the University of British Columbia in 1998, and a Bachelor of Education with Distinction from the University of Alberta in 1994. Dr. Tupper has published and presented her research and scholarship extensively, and is often invited to speak nationally and internationally about her work in Treaty Education, critical citizenship education, and truth and reconciliation. She has two daughters, Alise (9 yrs) and Ayla (15 yrs).

 

Ron Wigglesworth – Plenary Speaker

Doctoral student in Secondary Education, Faculty of Education, University of Alberta, Graduate Teaching Award recipient and acclaimed artist

Presentation: Fostering Ownership of Learning: Empowering Individuals’ Voices to Nurture A Creative School Community

Description: How do we empower teachers and students to shape their school’s creative space and learning environment? By listening to student ‘voice,’ teachers can draw out a student’s curiosity, foster creative inquiry, and encourage them to take ownership of their own learning. Leading from behind, empowered teachers and students alike become the engine of an evolving creative school community

Bio: Ron Wigglesworth is a Doctoral Student in Education at the U of A. He received SSHRC and GRA Rice scholarships and the 2016 Graduate Student Teaching Award. An internationally acclaimed 36-year teacher, he is also an artist who has shown in over 80 local, national and international exhibitions. 

  

Dr. Edgar Schmidt – Closing Keynote Speaker

Dean and Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education, Concordia University of Edmonton, former Superintendent of Edmonton Public School Board

Presentation: “Community School Relationships: Understanding and Responding to the Larger Societal Context”

Description: How do we understand the contexts of school and society? We will examine a school leader’s responsibility for understanding and managing relationships in the community and beyond.

Bio: Dr. Edgar Schmidt is currently the Dean of the Faculty of Education at Concordia University of Edmonton. He is the former Superintendent of Edmonton Public Schools. He has been a teacher and principal. He has conducted interdisciplinary research on government rhetoric related to school – community collaboration and is particularly interested in critical discourse studies and mixed methods research.

 

 

 

Concurrent Sessions

So You Are/Gonna Be a School Leader…Let’s Chat!

Panel Members: Sandra Ciurysek, Joyce de Gooijer, Russell Hunter and Greg Meeker

Calling all current and aspiring school leaders! Join a panel of former and current school leaders who will share their insights into the role, what they do to be successful, things they think will be helpful if you are new to the role or considering the role, what to do (or not do) on the first day of school, and what is the best part of this professional experience.  

Bios: 

Sandra Ciurysek 
Sandra is a longtime resident of the Peace Country and lives in Berwyn, Alberta. She holds a Master’s Degree in Education from University of Lethbridge and a Bachelor’s of Education Degree from the University of Alberta. Sandra has an experienced background in K-12, teacher professional development and is an advocate for lifelong learning. Her professional background includes teaching in Living Water's School Division (Whitecourt), and 19 years as teacher, assistant principal, and principal for Holy Family School Division (Peace River).

Joyce de Gooijer  
de Gooijer spent over 20 years in schools in Saskatchewan and in international schools as a teacher and principal. She completed a Master’s of Education at the University of Saskatchewan. Her research focused on the role of the principal in small rural schools.

Russell Hunter
Russell was born and raised on the Whitefish Lake 128 First Nation. He has many rewarding years of teaching and administration in various settings. In 2003, he accepted a position as Principal of the Prince Charles School in Edmonton. He returned home after three years. He still regards this experience as one of the most significant in his career. In 2011, Russell completed the Masters in Education in the Educational Studies program. He returned to a principal position in his home community, a two year assignment as FNMI Coordinator in a nearby school division, and Project Manager for a tribal organization in the First Nation Student Success Program. Changing assignments was never an issue. Currently, he is the principal of the school in his home community where he hopes to complete his career.

Greg Meeker
Greg currently spends 85% of his time as an Assistant Principal at Ross Sheppard High School.  The other 15% of his time is spent as the Board Chair of the Alberta Teachers' Retirement Fund.  He has worked for EPSB for 20 years as a teacher, Department Head, and Assistant Principal.  He was awarded a Master of Education degree from the University of Alberta in 2012, and a Bachelor of Education degree in 1989.  His research interests focus on school leadership development and leadership recruitment and selection.

 

Technology and Ethics

Dr. Cathy Adams - Associate Professor, Department of Secondary Education, University of Alberta

Digital technologies are transforming how we teach and learn, what we know, and how we understand and live in the world around us. In the wake of widespread technology integration in classrooms, new ethical issues have surfaced such as information security, privacy, electronic surveillance, and cyberbullying. In this seminar, we will reflect on these and other ethical questions concerning technology that school leaders are facing today.

Bio: Dr. Cathy Adams is an Associate Professor in the Department of Secondary Education, University of Alberta. Her qualitative research investigates digital technology integration across K-12 classrooms and beyond, from PowerPoint to MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). Coming from a computing science background, Cathy is also a strong advocate for K-12 Computing Science curriculum, popularly known as coding or computational thinking.

 

ABCs of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Dr. Heather Brown - Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Psychology, University of Alberta

This presentation will give an overview of the characteristics of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder and how these differences lead to difficulties learning at school. She will then describe some strategies of how to support the academic achievement of students with ASD.

Bio: Dr. Heather Brown is an Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Educational Psychology at the University of Alberta. Heather began her career as an elementary school teacher in Ontario. She then completed her graduate work in Educational Psychology and Speech and Language Sciences at the University of Western Ontario. Her research focuses on the academic achievement of students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). In Ontario, she served as the President of the Autism Ontario - London Chapter and she has delivered numerous professional development sessions about teaching students with ASD throughout school boards in both Ontario and Alberta.

 

Learning to Flourish in Schools: Placing Wellbeing at the Heart of Educational Leadership

Dr. Sabre Cherkowski - Associate Professor and Director of Centre for Mindful Engagement, Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus

How can school leaders develop the habits of mind and heart necessary to foster and support wellbeing in self and others as a foundation for growing adaptive, responsive and innovative learning communities? Building on research in educational leadership, systems thinking and mindfulness, this interactive session will provide an opportunity to inquire into various processes and practices for attending to wellbeing as a central tenet of school leadership.

Bio: Dr Sabre Cherkowski, PhD, is an associate professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan. She is the Director of the Centre for Mindful Engagement. She teaches and researches in the areas of leadership in learning communities, professional development and collaboration, mentoring and coaching, moral agency and educational leadership, and diversity and education. She is currently engaged in a multi-year research project examining flourishing in schools from a positive organizational perspective.

 

Understanding Teacher Negligence

Dr. José da Costa - Professor, University of Alberta

Session explores legislation and precedent-setting cases for understanding teacher negligence from school leaders' perspectives. Participants in this session will understand the analyses used by the courts to establish and attribute responsibility for negligence. (Leadership Dimension (draft 2016): Understanding and Responding to the larger Societal Context - legal frameworks and policies)

Bio: Joe earned his B.Ed. (Industrial Education) and his Ed.D. (Educational Administration) from the University of British Columbia and his M.A. (Technology Education) from the California Polytechnic State University (San Luis Obispo). Joe taught high school automotives at Atascadero High School in California in the mid to late 1980s before starting his doctoral work at U.B.C. As a faculty member at the University of Alberta since 1993, Joe has taught courses in educational administration and leadership, generally, and supervision of instruction, specifically. He has also taught a variety of introductory and advanced research methods courses.

 

Student Motivation and Emotions: Elusive Concepts or Tangible Outcomes?

Dr. Lia Daniels - Associate Professor, Department of Educational Psychology, Faculty of Education, University of Alberta

This session is designed to balance theoretical perspectives on student motivation and emotions with tangible evidence-based practices that repeatedly prove to enhance these areas. Participants will be expected to share their experiences related to student and classroom motivation and reflect on their responsibility for supporting adaptive motivation and emotions.

Bio: Lia Daniels is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology. She directs the Alberta Consortium for Motivation and Emotion, which supports research in these areas. In all endeavours she is committed to empowering pre-service and practicing teachers to cultivate adaptive motivation and emotions for themselves and their students.

  

Using Research Evidence to Guide Decision Making in the Context of Youth Sport

Colin Deal, PhD student, Child & Adolescent Sport & Activity (CASA) Lab, University of Alberta

This presentation will focus on the development of a knowledge translation initiative based on the concept of positive youth development (PYD) through sport. The initiative, known as PYDSportNET, is intended to create a network of leaders and practitioners that facilitate the use of research knowledge for guiding practice in order to maximize the benefits of sport participation (including school sport). During my presentation I will highlight research findings that mat be put into practice and discuss stakeholder engagement and network development.

Bio: Colin Deal is a PhD student in the Child & Adolescent Sport & Activity (CASA) Lab at the University of Alberta under the supervision of Dr. Nick Holt. His research focuses on sport as context for youth development and encouraging young athletes' engagement in the broader community.

 

Supporting the Language and Literacy Development of English Language Learners

Dr. William Dunn - Associate Dean of Teacher Education, and Professor in the Department of Secondary Education, University of Alberta

This session presents findings from a recent needs assessment conducted in Edmonton-area schools. The findings offer a research-based means to develop a whole-school approach for supporting the language and literacy development of English language learners. The session focuses on how school leaders can foster the success of English language learners.

Bio: Dr. William Dunn is the Associate Dean of Teacher Education at the University of Alberta. He is also a Professor in the Department of Secondary Education, specializing in the field of language education. He received his PhD from Cornell University in 2002 and began working at the University of Alberta in 2003. 

 

New Developments in Assessment and Implications for Educators

Dr. Mark Gierl - Professor of Educational Psychology and Canada Research Chair, Faculty of Education, University of Alberta

Educational measurement is undergoing profound changes, as developments in mathematical statistics, educational psychology, the learning sciences, and computer technology are permeating the testing field. In particular, the influence of the computer technology on educational measurement, which began as a trickle over 10 years ago, has become a torrent of activity contributing to many of the ideas and innovations in the assessment field. The purpose of this presentation will be to discuss how recent developments in technology and assessment can affect school and classroom assessment practices.

Bio: Dr. Mark J. Gierl is professor of Educational Psychology and the director of the Centre for Research in Applied Measurement and Evaluation (CRAME) at the University of Alberta. His specialization is educational and psychological testing, with an emphasis on the application of educational technology to assessment practices. Professor Gierl’s current research is focused on automatic item generation and automated essay scoring. His research is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Dr. Gierl holds the TIER I Canada Research Chair in Educational Measurement.

 

The Edmonton Queer History App: Using Technology to Build Inclusive Classrooms

Dr. Jason M. Harley - Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Psychology, Educational Technology Program, University of Alberta

This presentation will share best practices for facilitating effective applications of technology for 21st century learners, including examples of how technology can be used to foster inclusive classrooms.

Bio: Dr. Harley teaches courses at the University of Alberta about the selection, implementation, and evaluation of educational technology. His federally-funded research has examined applications of mobile augmented reality, simulations, and artificial intelligence in education, and he is an editorial board member of the international journal, Educational Technology Research and Development. His research and teaching have led to appearances on Global News, CBC Radio, the Edmonton Journal, and other media. One of his current SSHRC grants examines the design and evaluation of a mobile AR app able to foster historical reasoning, empathy, and hope for and toward sexual and gender minorities.

 

Alberta School Audits for Safe and Caring Schools: Purposes and Processes

Amber Hester and Leslie Ronaldson

In 2015, the Alberta government passed into law a requirement that schools create safe, caring, welcoming and respectful learning environments for all students. This session will describe audit objectives and processes in schools, and will provide rubric criteria and other instruments for school leaders to meet this requirement.

Bios:

Amber Hester
Amber Hester is Assistant Superintendent of Wolf Creek Public Schools. She oversees all inclusive education services in the school district.

Leslie Ronaldson
Leslie Ronaldson is Executive Director of the Society for Safe and Caring Schools and Communities. Her background includes communications and planning roles for the Alberta Public Service and for the Premier's Office.

 

A Vision for All – The Role of the School Leader in Visionary Leadership

Dr. Randy Hetherington - Assistant Professor, University of Portland

Being visionary and being a visionary leader are distinct qualities. This session will articulate the school leader’s role in developing a shared vision that engages staff and inspires true collaboration. Diversity, innovation and continuous improvement are possible in this student-centred and data driven visioning process under the direction of a visionary leader.

Bio: Randy Hetherington is Assistant Professor of Education at the University of Portland. He teaches foundations, Individual and Organizational Group Dynamics and Adult Education in the doctoral program for Leading and Learning, School Leadership in the M.Ed program and is actively engaged in research concerning the quality of teacher preparation programs and the school superintendency. Randy served as a principal in Alberta schools for 17 years and is a recipient of the CSL Distinguished Leadership Award.

 

Understanding Refugee Experiences and Building Partnership with Families and Communities

Dr. Anna Kirova - Professor, Department of Elementary Education, Faculty of Education, University of Alberta

Refugee learners usually have interrupted schooling or limited formal education and face myriad of challenges upon settlement in their new home country. Education system can play a pivotal role in facilitating adaptation and integration into Canadian society for these newcomers only when working in partnership with families and communities.

Bio: Anna Kirova is professor in the Faculty of Education, University of Alberta. She has served as Education Domain Leader and Children, Family and Youth Research Domain Leader with the Prairie Metropolis Centre of Excellence in Research on Immigration, Integration, and Diversity, and on the Board of Governors of Immigration Research West (IRW). ​ Currently, she is serving as a Co-Director, Centre for Global Citizenship Education & Research. Her research focuses on the need for understanding culturally and linguistically diverse families with young children’s experiences in school, and the possibility such an understanding offers for culturally responsive pedagogy. Her international work in this area has resulted in the book, Global migration and education: Schools, children and families (2007) and Culture and practice in Early Childhood Teacher Education in Canada, Colombia, and Namibia (2016).

 

The Lifecycle of Trust in Educational Leadership

Dr. Benjamin Kutsyuruba - Associate Professor of Educational Policy and Leadership, and Associate Director, Social Program Evaluation Group, Queen's University

As establishing and fostering trust are imperative activities for school leaders, cognizance of the fundamental importance of trust is essential for the leader’s moral agency and ethical decision-making. This session will use an ecological perspective to uncover the dynamics of the lifecycle of trust as evident from research leadership in general and educational leadership and principalship in particular. Upon describing the role of trust in leadership and moral agency, it will outline the importance of trust in school organizations and describe the lifecycle stages (most often overlapping and without any set boundaries) of establishing, maintaining, sustaining, breaking and restoring trust in educational settings. Understanding the dynamic nature and ecological lifecycle of trust is an important undertaking for school leaders because they, as moral agents, are called to model and mediate the pervasive trust-related processes in schools.

Bio: Benjamin Kutsyuruba is an assistant professor in Educational Policy and Leadership, and associate director of Social Program Evaluation Group (SPEG) in the Faculty of Education, Queen’s University at Kingston, Ontario. His teaching and research areas include school law, educational policy-making, educational leadership, mentorship, trust and moral agency, international education, school safety/climate and educational change. Throughout his career, he has worked as a teacher, researcher, manager and professor in the field of education in Ukraine and Canada.

 

Developing Your Leadership Identity

Cynthia Munro - Learning and Development Consultant, University of Alberta - MEd Candidate

Effective leadership development balances technical skill development with helping leaders and aspiring leaders to build a resilient mindset for dealing with adaptive challenges. This session will enable participants to build leadership identity through storytelling and metaphor, to understand their own leadership styles and the culture within which they work.

Bio: Cynthia Munro is an adult educator, with over 20 years of experience in the public sector.  In her role at the University of Alberta, she designs and delivers leadership development for academic leaders, facilitates team enhancement activities, and conducts research on the impact of professional development programming. Cynthia is in the final stages of her MEd in Adult, Community and Higher Education, with her thesis research focusing on the experiences of women transitioning into academic leadership roles. 

 

The Role of Supervision and Evaluation in Support of Teaching Excellence

Dr. Terry Pearson: B.A., B.Ed., M.Ed., Ed. D. - Wetaskiwin Regional Public School

The actions, judgments and decisions of teachers must be in the best educational interests of students to ensure optimum learning.  Teacher supervision and evaluation should therefore focus on the quality of the service provided and student learning.  Effective supervision and evaluation contributes to excellence in performance and the growth teachers. 

Bio: Terry has 34 years of school based and central office administrative experience.  He was superintendent of two rural school divisions, Director of one urban school district, and Director of Zone 5 for Alberta Education.  Terry has taught in elementary, junior and senior high schools. He earned his doctorate at the University of Alberta.

 

Supporting Aboriginal Students in the Child Welfare System

Kelsey Reed - Doctoral Student, University of Alberta

In this presentation, I will share my experiences working with high-risk Aboriginal youth in the Child Welfare system and homeless Aboriginal youth in the inner city. I will share my experiences of the realities these youth are living with, as well as ways the educational system can support them.

Bio: I am a first year Doctoral student with the University of Alberta, Educational Policy Studies Department in the Indigenous Peoples Education specialization. My research interests include the development of urban Aboriginal identity and Child Welfare policy.

  

ECI: What is it? And what should school leaders know about it?

Elizabeth Shen - Principal, Lynnwood School; PhD Candidate, Department of Educational Policy Studies, University of Alberta

Given the ever increasing diversity that exists in today’s classrooms and schools, it is essential for school leaders to understand the importance of building student (and staff) ethnocultural identity in order to create a safe and caring school environment for all its members. This presentation will look at Shen’s current research data and its application for today’s schools.

Bio: Elizabeth Shen is a PhD candidate in Educational Administration and Leadership. As a recipient of the University of Alberta Doctoral Recruitment Scholarship, Shen has been researching the development of positive ethnocultural identity development in minority youth. Shen currently works as a principal with Edmonton Public Schools and has 25 years of experience working as a teacher and principal in rural and urban districts from kindergarten to Grade 12.

 

First Nation Students, some Considerations for School Leaders

Dr. Noella Steinhauer - Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Policy Studies, University of Alberta

This session will present the key issues that a group of First Nation students have identified as factors that affect achievement.   It will also provide some insights into how these issues manifest themselves and the possible roles school leaders have in changing the future.

Bio: Noella Steinhauer is Plains Cree from Saddle Lake First Nation in northeastern Alberta she spent more than 10 years as a secondary school teacher in First Nation schools.   Noella has also been a principal in both First Nation and public school contexts.   Most recently she spent six years as the vice-president of a national Indigenous charity.   Her research interest include; leadership in First Nation schools, Indigenous ways of knowing and leadership development.

 

Project, Place, and Service Learning to Support Youth Transitions 

Dr. Bonita Watt - Professor, University of Alberta

How can educators help young people transition from high school to actively participate in paid employment, post-secondary education, and/or engage in volunteer, community, and leisure activities. Drawing on research data from an Alberta study, this presentation explores how a community-based approach (i.e., project, place, and service) can positively support youth transitions.

Bio: Dr. Bonnie Watt is a Professor at the University of Alberta in the Department of Secondary Education. Her teaching and research interests include Career and Technology Studies (CTS) and vocational education and training (VET) program development, curriculum, pedagogy, and teacher education; youth and adult school to work/school transitions; dual credit and high school to post-secondary articulation policies, programs, and practice; apprenticeships; and policies related to education, training, and work.

 

Mind the Gap - Analogue and Digital Learning

Ron Wigglesworth - Doctoral student in Secondary Education, Faculty of Education, University of Alberta, Graduate Teaching Award recipient and acclaimed artist

In our exponentially-expanding digital world, classrooms teem with digital screens. Digital screens communicate visually, yet we are hardwired to learn with all our senses. While visual literacy is critical, we can augment screen-learning by reintegrating touch, smell, hearing and taste into the learning environment to bridge the digital-analogue learning gap. 

Bio: Ron Wigglesworth is a Doctoral Student in Education at the U of A. He received SSHRC and GRA Rice scholarships and the 2016 Graduate Student Teaching Award. An internationally acclaimed 36-year teacher, he is also an artist who has shown in over 80 local, national and international exhibitions.