Sessions and Presenters

Monday July 3

Elders Blessing and Welcome
8:30 am

Elder Theresa Strawberry
ASBA Indigenous Advisory Council Member

Theresa Strawberry is an Elder advisor from the O’chiese First Nation.  She provides cultural awareness education to the public.  She shares her personal and professional experience to send a strong message of empowerment.  The past, present and future can be measured in the strength of our resilience to move forward.

“Time to let go and embrace on the true power of teachings.”

Providing an overall connection to communities with Cultural education, programs and services, she is the founder of the “Kis Sai Wah Toe Tat Towin Society”.  Her vision is to be the model of connectivity used for all communities to break down barriers, to come together, understand each other in First Nations, Cities, Provinces, Countries and the World.  “To join, heal, honor, to celebrate the birth of a new spirit coming to life.”  She is a very powerful speaker with a wealth of knowledge.  Speaker to Conferences, Elder Strawberry was honored with the Culture Award at the 2015 Esquao Awards.

Currently, Theresa plays a key role as an Elder Liaison providing counselling, ceremonies for healing, along with other Elder duties at the Edmonton Institution for Women.  Her work is very meaningful, as she draws a very special connection with many.

Elder Charlie Fox
ASBA Indigenous Advisory Council Member

Charlie Fox, is a member of Kainai Nation, of the Blackfoot confederacy.  Piita tonnistah is an Elder for the tribe’s sacred Horn Society as he was under the tutelage of the late Dan Weasel Moccasin Sr. where he assisted in many sacred pipe bundle ceremonies for over twelve years.

Piita tonnistah believes in the revival of the Blackfoot language, traditional indigenous customs, and other aspects of traditional culture and indigenous spirituality.  He believes they are to be shared with everyone with strong focus on the youth to aid and assist them with skills and knowledge to assist them throughout their lives.

Dr. Leroy Little Bear

Leroy Little Bear was born and raised on the Blood Indian Reserve (Kainai First Nation), approximately 70 km west of Lethbridge, Alberta. One of the first Native students to complete a program of study at the University of Lethbridge, Little Bear graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1971. He continued his education at the College of Law, University of Utah, in Salt Lake City, completing a Juris Doctor Degree in 1975.

Following his graduation, Little Bear returned to his alma mater as a founding member of Canada’s first Native American Studies department. He remained at the University of Lethbridge as a researcher, faculty member and department chair until his official retirement in 1997.

9:35 am


Naheed Nenshi
“A Not Very Political Life… but Everything is Political” 

How can we help the next generation of kids continue to achieve success in a world that seems stacked against them? Naheed Nenshi went from being a poor first-generation kid in Northeast Calgary to attending Harvard, working at McKinsey, speaking in front of the World Economic Forum in Davos, and being named a World Mayor. It’s an extraordinary story, made all the more interesting and inspirational because of how ordinary it is.

Concurrent sessions
11:00 am – 12:15 pm

Collecting Student Demographic Data: What Should You Think About and Where Might you Start
In this interactive session, participants will learn about Edmonton Public Schools’ experience in establishing a Board Motion to support the collection of additional student demographic data in support of anti-racism and equity, and the work of Senior Administration to action this motion. Focus will be on key activities over the division’s two-year journey, covering a range of criticalfactors to consider when moving to collect additional student demographic data.This school division’s efforts to create a greater sense of belonging and be responsive to needs of all students can assist other school divisions to take evidence-informed steps towards fostering greater equity and inclusion for all. 

Trisha Estabrooks, Board Chair, Edmonton Public Schools
Nancy Petersen, Managing Director, Strategic Division Supports and Co-Chair Anti-Racism and Equity Steering Committee
Kent Pharis, Assistant Superintendent of Schools and Co-Chair Anti-Racism and Equity Steering Committee 

Engaging Stakeholders When Making Difficult Decisions
This interactive session will offer first-hand experience of how Trustees leverage the engagement component of the Assurance Framework in making tough decisions. The presentation will outline the distinct but connected aspects of governance and operations that are required for success. Presenters will demonstrate how Engagement enables authentic and relevant stakeholder input; strategic planning and direction; policy development; and management of fiscal resources. Key takeaways from this session will include realistic and relevant examples and ideas for other Boards to reference and use.  

Dr. Lorraine Stewart, Board Chair, Parkland School Division
Jill Osborne, Vice-Chair
Trustees: Aileen Wagner, Aimee Hennig, Anne Montgomery, Eric Cameron
Shauna Boyce, Superintendent of Parkland School Division 

Indigenous Voice and Choice in School Board Governance
This interactive session will focus on first-hand experience of collaboratively developing structures and processes with Indigenous rightsholders in Wetaskiwin Regional Public Schools. A panel discussion will explore what education for reconciliation means in action and as a governance structure. Respecting the oral traditions of four Nations, participants will hear about lessons learned, honouring the Truth, teaching the Truth and reflecting honestly on “then” and “now” journey towards Truth and Reconciliation. With Indigenous voice at the governance table, the Board of Trustees are committing to strengthening partnerships with four Nations, finding solutions to language revitalization and removing barriers in pursuit of a land-based education approach.  The interactive panel conversation will allow for the audience to engage and reflect on their own journeys towards Truth and Reconciliation.  

Joline Mearon-Bull, Indigenous Trustee
GC WL, Chief
Karen Becker, Board Chair
Mike Wake, Superintendent
Jordan Tinney, Governance Consultant 

Concurrent sessions
1:30 pm – 2:45 pm

Equity, Diversity, inclusion and Anti-Racism in Edmonton Catholic Schools
This workshop will tell the story of Edmonton Catholic Schools’ journey towards Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism and connections to Truth and Reconciliation. Participants will learn about experiences, lessons learned and intentional actions in listening to and honouring the diverse voices of the school board community through engagement, professional learning/training and qualitative/quantitative research. Results of this extensive work have helped to identify areas for continued growth and inform strategic planning and other key equity programs and initiatives. Participants in this session will be invited to reflect on their personal journeys and that of their school division towards Truth and Reconciliation, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism. 

Donita Large, 4 Directions Wellness Specialist, Indigenous Learning Services, Edmonton Catholic Schools
Gina Daus, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism Manager, Learning Services, Edmonton Catholic Schools 

From Grief to Medicine
In this interactive session, participants will learn about the significant steps British Columbia has taken in their collective learning journey towards reconciliation. The BCSTA will share materials and resources on BC’s DRIPA Action Plan, the new 3-credit Indigenous-focus graduation requirement, and the MoU with the First Nations Education Steering Committee to assist boards in understanding the truths about our history and the ongoing commitment to reconciliation. The team will share their collaborative approach to creating the April 2022 Indigenous Days of Learning entitled “From Grief to Medicine, Moving Forward with Good Hearts”. Participants will learn about key initiatives to consider in their own journeys of reconciliation.

Carolyn Broady, Vice-President, CSBA; President, BCSTA; Board Chair, SD45 West Vancouver
Dr. John Chenoweth, Director, BCSTA; Vice-President, Nicola Valley Institute of Technology
Gordon Li, Director Education Services, BCSTA 

Rebel Governance: Challenging Perceived Boundaries
In this interactive workshop, the Foothills School Division Board of Trustees in partnership with their Superintendent will explore with participants their journey in intentionally challenging perceived governance boundaries. The discussion will delve into the complexities and nuances of school board governance with specific focus onnavigating the ‘grey zone’ of governance andoperations, designing and implementing structures that support goodgovernance, andapproaching visioning forward by looking past current perceivedboundaries.Participants will leave with concrete examples of innovativegovernance practices and be inspired to consider how these practices might be implemented intheir own local contexts. 

Foothills School Division Board of Trustees:
Theresa Letendre, Trustee – Board Chair
John Evans, Trustee – Vice Chair
Jack Molyneux, Trustee
Sharon Nichols, Trustee 
Lisa Penzo, Trustee 
Phil Irwin, Trustee
Dr. Christopher Fuzessy, Superintendent  

6:00 – 7:00 pm

Since 1998, HOJA has energized and entertained over 3,000 audiences nationwide with their unique style of acappella-comedy and their ability to tailor their show to appeal to different audience ages and tastes. From doo-wop to rock, disco to country, no music genre is safe from Canada’s acappella heroes. HOJA’s wonderful harmonies, funny stage banter, great audience interaction, favorite songs to sing along with, fun & energy ensure your guests have an experience they’ll never forget.

Based out of Calgary, AB, HOJA is a professional, auditioned group managed by Fat Cat Productions. 31 talented young performers have been members of the group over the past 17 years.

Tuesday, July 4

9:35 am

The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean 

Michaëlle Jean was born in 1957 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. She was eleven years old when Canada offered political asylum to her parents, who were fleeing repression from the dictatorial regime in their home country. As Francophones, the family settled in Quebec. Her family experienced the ordeal of a forced exile and, like all refugees, the immense challenge of rebuilding their life elsewhere, starting from scratch, mustering all their strength and their life experiences, motivated by the desire to contribute as full citizens to the development of their host country.

At the Université de Montréal, after earning a Bachelor of Arts in modern literature and languages (Italian and Spanish), she completed her Master’s in Comparative Literature. Scholarships allowed her to pursue her studies at the University of Perugia, the University of Florence, and the Catholic University of Milan. Michaëlle Jean is fluent in five languages: French, Haitian Creole, English, Italian, Spanish, and she reads Portuguese.

From 1988 to 2005, Michaëlle Jean enjoyed an outstanding career as a journalist, presenter and news anchor on Canadian public television, both French and English networks. She also took part in documentary films produced by her husband, filmmaker, essayist and philosopher Jean Daniel Lafond.

In 2005, she is appointed Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, the first Black woman to reach the highest constitutional office in the country, a function she served with extraordinary dedication, for a five-year term.

At the end of this mandate, on October 1, 2010, the United Nations immediately called upon her, as UNESCO Special Envoy, to support reconstruction efforts in Haiti, her native country devastated that same year by a brutal earthquake. She also served as Chancellor of the University of Ottawa from 2011 to 2014.

In 2014, Michaëlle Jean was elected Secretary General of La Francophonie, the first woman to lead this multilateral organization comprising 88 states and governments on 5 continents.

A seasoned stateswoman and diplomat, her words serve to convene goodwill everywhere in the multilateral sphere, in every UN forum, from New York to Geneva, all the way to the Security Council, as well as within the European Union, the European Parliament, the OECD, the African Union. She is best known and appreciated for her convictions, her deep sense of universal humanistic values, the principles and rules of democracy, the rule of law, justice, fundamental human rights and freedoms, which she never betrays.

Together with her husband Jean-Daniel Lafond, she has co-chaired the Michaëlle Jean Foundation since 2010, whose programs help support platforms and civic initiatives alongside some of the most vulnerable and disenfranchised—yet eager and creative—young people in Canada, for vigorous collective action against exclusion. Michaëlle Jean currently serves as Chancellor of St. Paul’s University College in Waterloo, and Chancellor of the African Development University in Niamey, Niger.


Concurrent sessions
10:50 am – 12:00 pm

Coming Together
This interactive workshop will demonstrate how a systematic change in Medicine Hat Public Schools’ approach has led to nearly 65% growth in the number of students who self-identify within the school division and how the largest high school in the school division in transitioning away from cultural appropriation. Presenters will show how they have set the stage through a variety of classroom presentations, staff professional learning and a series of partnerships to pursue the Calls to Action. This presentation will provide a map of the journey the growing team has taken and share plans for their future ambitious goals.  With the support of the Board of Trustees and their commitment to deepening the system understanding of Truth and Reconciliation, they are making a difference in the outcomes for our First Nation, Metis and Inuit youth and helping the community become a more accepting place.

Shirley Boomer, First Nations, Metis & Inuit Support Worker, Medicine Hat Public Schools
Courtney Lagasse, First Nations, Metis & Inuit Support Worker, Medicine Hat Public Schools
Darrell Willier, First Nations, Metis & Inuit Education Coordinator, Medicine Hat Public Schools

Leading Change: Working Towards Racial equity in Canadian Classrooms
This session will share how the CSBA, in partnership with the University of Regina, has committed to leading work in school boards across Canada as part of its Anti-Racism commitment. In this interactive workshop, school board trustees, K-12 educational leaders and policy makers will be invited to imagine and commit to a more racially just Canada. The workshop will provide participants opportunities to engage with, evaluate, and advance key ideas and actions in support of anti-racism. Through a series of interactive exercises, participants will explore the urgency for anti-racist action in Canadian classrooms, barriers to anti-racist work in schools, and ways an anti-racist lens changes (for the better) influences how we see students. The workshop will be participatory, interactive, and informal, utilizing small group discussions, anonymous feedback loops, and mini lecture presentations to gauge self-awareness of bias and privilege, introduce and evaluate buzzwords around anti-racism, and further opportunities for participants to explore and build on thinking and commitments to end racial prejudice in Canadian school systems.

Donna H. Swapp, PhD, Assistant Professor, Educational Leadership, University of Regina
Michael Cappello, PhD, Associate Dean (Acting), Student Services and Undergraduate Programs, University of Regina
Kamogelo Amanda Matebekwane, Ph.D. Student, Centre for Educational Research, Collaboration, and Development, University of Regina

Leveraging Game-Based Learning and Community Connection
This interactive session will showcase the Calgary Board of Education’s partnership with Microsoft Education Canada and the City of Calgary to engage students in future planning through community design. The “Level Up, Calgary!” challenge has revealed the true power of digital citizenship to inspire students to move beyond screens and help solve complex problems in their communities. Participants will learn about the playbook design allowing school boards to leverage free game-based technology and key considerations for building purposeful partnerships with community. Participants will also be provided the opportunity to consider the strategic use of resources and key partnerships to build purposeful student connections with their local communities.

Joanne Pitman, Superintendent of School Improvement, Calgary Board of Education

1:15 pm

Dr. Shelly Niemi
Weaving the Braid of Culturally Responsive Leadership and Governance

In this Session participants will explore with Dr. Niemi what is Culturally Responsive Leadership and Governance. What are the foundational Key characteristics of Culturally Responsive Leadership and how do these characteristics impact one personally within their own Leadership practice, and as a

collective through the governance structures that are found at all levels of an Education system.  Dr. Niemi will examine with participants what a Cultural Safety Continuum looks like for education and some of the Cultural Safety considerations for the Board, Senior Staff, and Education Partners before a decision is made to move towards using Culturally Responsive Governance and Leadership Frameworks. This session is intended to be disruptive as we examine personal and professional Bias and what movement towards Culturally Responsive Leadership and Governance frameworks within an education system might look like and feel like. Research in this session will reference: Indigenous Anti Racism, the 5R’s of Indigenous Pedagogy, Cultural Safety, Personal and Structural Bias and the phenomenon and characteristics of White Fragility.

Wednesday, July 5

9:00 am

Riaz Meghji
Every Conversation Counts: How to Build Extraordinary Relationships

Long before the year of social distancing, loneliness was a pandemic in our society. In an age of polarization, disconnection, and shallow substitutes for real relationships, every professional needs to know how to build and maintain genuine relationships with clients and colleagues alike. Audiences will leave this keynote with “Five Habits of Human Connection” that offer practical tools to combat isolation and build deeper relationships.