BEd Student Fatima Ahmed Awarded Ontario College of Teachers Scholarship

Congratulations to Fatima Ahmed (BEd teacher candidate, Orillia), who has been recognized by the Ontario College of Teachers 2019 Scholarship Program for her excellence in teacher education.

As noted on the OCT website, this award is granted to individuals who “demonstrate a high level of preparedness for teacher education through examples of community involvement, background and life experiences.” Fatima has fulfilled these criteria in numerous ways, including her work as an Organizational Development Advisor for HIV/AIDS Chief Strategy Officers in Botswana (2013-2015); her work as an Executive Director for a youth centre for at-risk youth in Inuvik, NWT (2009-2010); and her work as an IT trainer and a Women’s Development Officer for the provincial government in Vanuatu, South Pacific (2007). 

Fatima notes that these international life experiences, along with many others – including the fact she speaks multiple languages and has lived, worked, or studied in 5 continental areas – were tremendous growth experiences that pushed her toward the field of teaching. She adds thanks to those who have supported her throughout her educational journey:

“During my acceptance speech at the OCT council meeting, I mentioned that getting this award would not have been possible without the help of mentors and allies. I had a few odds against me, including a challenging financial situation and an undiagnosed disability, which prevented me from excelling during my first undergraduate degree. But, through the help of mentors and allies who continued to believe in me, I was able to keep pushing in academic and non-academic fields. I’m grateful because this award says that people can excel in spite of some obstacles.”  

Congratulations, Fatima, on this notable award!

Alumna Rachel Mishenene Wins Indspire Award

Educator, curriculum developer, and writer Rachel Mishenene (BEd, 2003; MEd, 2012) has won a 2018 Indspire Guiding the Journey: Indigenous Educator Award. The award recognizes the achievements of outstanding educators of Indigenous students who are leading the positive systemic change to education.

Rachel, a member of the Eabametoong First Nation, is currently an Executive Assistant in First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education at the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario. For her demonstrated commitment to K-12 students over the span of a long career in education, she has won the award in the category of Community Service.

Rachel will be presented with the award in November, at the 2018 National Gathering for Indigenous Education ceremony in Edmonton, where hundreds of educators and supporters of Indigenous education from across Canada will gather to celebrate the award recipients.

“I’m very humbled and honoured to receive this award. My work is a responsibility to my ancestors, Indigenous Peoples, and to classroom teachers who are working to creating culturally responsive learning environments,” she says.

Indspire is a national Indigenous organization that invests in the education of Indigenous people by connecting educators of K-12 Indigenous students with programs, resources, and a professional learning community to improve educational outcomes, increase high school completion rates, and support sustained systemic change.

Alumna Dr. Sarah Pash Elected as Chairperson of Cree School Board

Alumna Dr. Sarah Pash (MEd, 2005; PhD, 2014) has been elected as Chairperson of the Cree School Board. 

“I am honoured that the people of our territory have given me the opportunity to help shape their children’s educational experience,” she explained on the Cree School Board website. “This will be an era in which we will not just make student success our priority, but also continually measure our own success, and adjust our course as necessary.”

Dr. Pash, from the Cree Nation of Chisasibi, has a background in First Nations education, education and language research, culture, and language maintenance. She has experience in Eeyou and Indigenous Education as a teacher, University instructor, education consultant, researcher, and author.

She explains that the “voices of students, parents, communities, and our regional entities are equally important and must be engaged in a meaningful process as we continue to develop the Cree School Board.”

September Issue of Education Exchange Newsletter Published

We are pleased to announce that the September issue of our Education Exchange newsletter has been published. This newsletter brings our current and former students as well as our educational partners together to share news, successes, and innovations.

To access our Education Exchange newsletter, click the following link:

Education Exchange Newsletter (September 2019)

To see previous issues of the newsletter, visit the newsletter archives.


Master of Education Student Jackie Chan Wins 3M Fellowship Award

Master of Education student Jackie Chan was awarded the prestigious 3M National Student Leadership Fellowship – an award from the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education that recognizes students who demonstrate outstanding leadership in their lives, at their post-secondary institution.

Jackie is the first Lakehead University student to win this award, which recognizes his many notable leadership and mentorship initiatives relating to social justice for youth, and his passionate commitment to building relationships across culture, class, and race.

One of these initiatives was Jackie’s involvement in running a land-based, well-being camp at Kingfisher Outdoor Education Centre last March. At the camp he worked with 18 Indigenous high school students as part of his research into play-based, laughter-based community building and mental health leadership.

“Before we deal with this issue of decolonizing, we have to build relationships of trust, and that can be done through laughter and play,” he explained in a recent news article.

The Kingfisher camp was part of his work with the Tikkun Indigenous Youth Project, a SSHRC-funded project out the University of Windsor exploring how young people are contributing to social healing and change.

This summer, Jackie took one of the Indigenous youth from the Kingfisher camp to Camp Arowhon, a private summer camp in Algonquin Park where he works. He also started a penpal program between Jamaican youth and elementary students at the inner-city Ogden Community Public School in Thunder Bay, and he is co-founder and director of Zen's Outdoor Leadership Camp for Youth, an NGO where he leads groups to Jamaica and Nepal to facilitate volunteer-driven service learning programs.

Dr. Lisa Korteweg is Jackie’s MEd research supervisor.

Jackie says that receiving the 3M award is “validation and motivation for me to continue on the path I am on.”

Dr. Ann Kajander’s Mathematics Research Supported through Fields Institute Grant

Dr. Ann Kajander, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education, is an Expert Panel member of the Mathematics Knowledge Network, hosted by the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences.

The Fields Institute was recently awarded a five-year grant from the Ministry of Education to host the Mathematics Knowledge Network for Ontario. Within the larger network are four Communities of Practice. Dr. Kajander's project, entitled Transitions in Grade 9 Mathematics, is contained within the Critical Transitions Community of Practice.

Dr. Kajander explains that this grant will enable her to continue her research projects in conjunction with the Mathematics Knowledge Network, with a special focus on Grade 9 transitions and locally developed math courses.

"The Locally Developed courses are not evaluated by EQAO, and hence often fall outside the funding sources for school improvement. These courses, taken by some of our very neediest students, serve 7% of Grade 9 students provincially, with a slightly higher percentage locally. It's time these students' needs become more of a focus,” she explains.

The Mathematics Knowledge Network brings together diverse mathematics education stakeholders from across Ontario to mobilize evidence from research and professional practice and facilitate the use of evidence-based practices for mathematics instruction, to support improved educational achievement.

SSHRC Partnership Development Grant Awarded: Advancing Sustainability in the Lake Superior Watershed

Dr. Charles Levkoe, Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Food Systems, Associate Professor in Health Sciences, and Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Education, is leading a partnership that will receive $188,106 over the next three years.

The research project is entitled Lake Superior Living Labs Network: Enhancing Capacity for Regenerative Social-Ecological Systems. Co-investigators include Faculty of Education professors Dr. Constance Russell and Dr. David Greenwood. 

This research will explore how postsecondary institutions might play a stronger role in advancing sustainability goals (including health and social and environmental justice) in the Lake Superior Watershed by turning higher education institutions into hubs for interdisciplinary “living laboratories” that integrate teaching, research, place-based experiential learning, and community engagement.

The project brings together four universities to serve as hubs (Lakehead University, University of Minnesota Duluth, Algoma University, Lake Superior College - Duluth) and numerous community organizations and First Nations as partners through the new Lake Superior Living Labs Network. More information is available at

Pictured below: Dr. Charles Levkoe, Dr. Constance Russell, and Dr. David Greenwood.

SSHRC Partnership Development Grant Award: Research on Self-Regulation and Literacy Development

Congratulations to Dr. Sonia Mastrangelo, Associate Professor (Orillia) and co-investigator Dr. Meridith Lovell-Johnston (Assistant Professor, Orillia), who are receiving $196,268 to spend three years using research methods that have been selected in consultation with a partner organization (Kwayaciiwin Education Resource Centre) and Indigenous community members.

Their research is entitled Supporting the Development of Young Children's Self-Regulation Capacities and Literacy Skills in Ontario's Northern Communities: Engaging Families and Educators.

Self-regulation is crucial to healthy child development including mental health, learning, resilience, and caring relationships in families, schools and communities. When self-regulation is compromised, so is literacy development.

Literacy rates in the north are lower than provincial averages and there are a rising number of students dealing with mental health challenges that impact academic achievement. This project will investigate whether promoting self-regulation through culturally appropriate techniques such as storytelling will help to improve well-being, literacy outcomes and overall school success. The research study adopts a holistic approach, engaging teachers, children and community members.

Pictured below: Dr. Sonia Mastrangelo and Dr. Meridith Lovell-Johnston

Congratulations to Tesa Fiddler, named Outstanding Indigenous Educator

Congratulations to Tesa Fiddler (MEd, 2012), a teacher with the Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board, who was recently named the 2019 Outstanding Indigenous Educator by the Canadian Teachers’ Federation.  

Tesa is a member of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (Big Trout Lake First Nation) with family connections to Onigaming and Muskrat Dam First Nations. She has worked as an Indigenous Education Resource Teacher for the Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board since 2011.

From 2011 to 2016, Tesa was a co-instructor with Dr. Lisa Korteweg in the course “Indigenizing Perspectives and Practices in Education,” at Lakehead University, among other classes.

She also taught at Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School, Oshki-Pimache-O-Win Education Institute, and York University.     

Pictured below: Tesa Fiddler, right, received a certificate from CTF President Shelley Morse after being named the 2019 Outstanding Indigenous Educator by the Canadian Teacher's Federation.


Master of Education Student Robin Faye’s Artwork Featured in Public Show

Robin Faye, a visual artist and Master of Education student with a focus on Environmental and Sustainability Education, has created an art piece (see below) currently on display at the “Breaking Ground” exhibition at the Baggage Building Arts Centre in Thunder Bay.

The artwork is an interactive piece about pedagogical learning spaces. Robin created it as part of an arts-integrated research project conducted by Dr. Pauline Sameshima, her thesis supervisor. The artwork invites viewers to gently move inside it and sit on a meditation cushion to contemplate.

Robin explains that Dr. Sameshima worked with yoga teachers in her research, inviting the participants to write about their training process and respond to art she had created. Robin then read what the participants had written, and responded with the creation of her own piece, which deliberately remains untitled.

“My artwork is my impression of the yoga teachers’ experiences,” she explains. “Viewers will have their own interpretations of it, but some themes include contemplation, personal growth, and internal experiences. It references a snake skin, as one of the participants described her experience of growing as a yoga teacher to be like shedding her skin, like a snake.”

Robin adds that arts-integrated research is a dialogic process between artist and participant, with a goal of authentic expression. It’s a fluid process that can change according to context – much like one’s impressions of art.

Robin’s artwork was selected as the cover art for the show, which is a spring exhibition of multidisciplinary works by 20 artists. It is on view until June 29th at the Baggage Building Arts Centre in Thunder Bay.

Her work is also exhibited online at Lakehead University's Arts Integrated Studies Virtual Gallery, which is curated by a jury coordinated by Dr. Sameshima.