Conference Organizers & Presenters

Jody Alexander

Jody Alexander, a First Nation Algonquin, is from the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan. She is currently the system Vice Principal of Indigenous Education with the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board. Prior to this she had 13 years of teaching experience in the Renfrew County District School Board where she was a classroom teacher, Indigenous Education Resource teacher and lead for Indigenous Education. Jody is committed to ensuring Indigenous Education, through history, perspectives and knowledge, is infused in all classrooms and in all subjects across the province.

Some of her most impactful teaching came from working with Dr. Ruth Beatty, Danielle Blair, the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation, and the staff of Eganville District Public School where they investigated, and implemented Indigenous Ways of Knowing in Mathematics.

Jody believes all students benefit from learning Indigenous knowledge and that it is through this new knowledge we will create a better Canada for generations to come.

Colinda Clyne

Colinda Clyne is Anishinaabe kwe, a member of Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, and Curriculum Lead for First Nations, Métis and Inuit education in Ontario. An educator for 29 years, Colinda has been leading and facilitating professional development for over 20 years. In her current role, Colinda leads the system-wide action plan for First Nations, Métis and Inuit education in her board, building capacity in staff, connecting Elders and knowledge keepers with educators and students, and implementing strategies to improve Indigenous student well being and success. This work is grounded in relationships and she works hard every day to build and strengthen relationships within her local community, school communities and beyond. Colinda also works as a writer and Indigenous content consultant for a number of Canadian publishers. She is founder and host of the podcast Anti-Racist Educator Reads.

Elliott Cromarty

Elliott Cromarty is the Indigenous Heritage Program Coordinator at Fort William Historical Park. He began his journey learning about Anishinaabe culture and history as a student working at the Fort and has had the good fortune of developing skills in birch craft, drum and rattle making, snowshoe weaving, among others, over the years. Elliott works with school boards, community groups, and agencies to develop and host Indigenous education programs, special events, and workshops. He teaches the interpretive staff about Anishinaabe life during the fur trade and how to interact with visitors, encouraging them to share the culture to people from many walks of life.

Anika Guthrie

Anika is Anishinaabe kwe living in Thunder Bay, ON. Her ancestors come from Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve, and she remains connected to the beautiful shores of Lake Simcoe (Barrie, ON) where she was raised. She is a wife, mother of two amazing little humans, educator and life-long learner. She is currently on leave from her role as the Indigenous Education Resource Teacher with Lakehead District School Board to pursue her Master of Education degree, specializing in Indigenous Education. As part of her studies, Anika took the leadership role for the research team in Thunder Bay and has worked with multiple stakeholders including members of a number of northern communities who have tuition agreements with the Lakehead District School Board, artists from Fort William Historical Park, and school board administrators and teachers. Anika was part of the team who presented the work on the mathematics of birch bark basket making at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Ontario Association of Mathematics Education in Toronto. Anika is honoured to work for the children in this time of Truth & Reconciliation in Canada.

Leslie Anne Muma

Leslie's Métis ancestry is from the west in Manitoba and Pembina ND. She was born in Halifax, NS but raised for a little time in Fort Frances, ON. It was here that her grandfather, without uttering a word about their heritage, taught Leslie and her siblings. As time goes by her grandfather's teachings have started to make sense, as Leslie has learned more about her Métis culture and roots. Searching for her heritage and history she has discovered that her relatives include Uncle Cuthbert Grant Jr., Uncle Gabriel Dumont, and cousin Louis Riel. Leslie was raised mainly in Nunavut on Baffin Island and the Northwest Territories where she attended residential school in Fort Smith & Inuvik. Leslie enjoys going into schools all over the Grand River Council area. Grand River Council citizens are teaching Métis history, music, dance & culture to all ages. Leslie is firm in her belief of the importance that we, as a community, learn what we can of our own history and culture and share it with our youth. Leslie began attending the Grand River Métis Council events in Guelph around 2005. She was elected to GRMC as Secretary/Treasurer in 2014. Today she still holds the Treasurer position.

Jennifer Parkinson

Jennifer was born in Ottawa and raised in Ottawa, Toronto & Guelph. She is married with three adult children and two grandchildren. Exploring her Métis heritage has been very exciting. She has found many extended family and a few historical figures along the way. Her traditional homelands include Pembina, North Dakota and Red River, Manitoba. Says Jennifer, "My hope is to continue learning more about my Métis heritage and contribute through being an active participant of the Métis Nation of Ontario." Jennifer sought to learn more about her Métis roots so she started attending Grand River Métis Council (GRMC) events with her husband and three children in 2010. In February 2012, GRMC welcomed Jennifer as their new Interim Chair. Jennifer was eager to learn Métis history, culture and the political environment of the Nation. She became very active in the community, in schools and the Nation. In October of 2014, Jennifer was elected as GRMC's President. Since 2010, Jennifer has expanded and shared her knowledge with thousands of children each year by going into schools, colleges and universities. Today, Jennifer is very active politically, meeting with various proponents, government officials and government ministries, all in the pursuit of solidifying Métis citizens' rights in Canada. Jennifer continues to enjoy her journey and support the Métis Nation.

Christina Ruddy

As a proud Algonquin woman of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation, Christina has spent the majority of her career working to empower Indigenous youth through education, language and capacity-building. She has worked in grass roots movements such as Friendship Centres, in post-secondary institutions such as Georgian College in Barrie, Ontario and with Lakehead University in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Education. Christina is a successful alumnus of the first graduating class of the Native Community and Social Development program from Georgian College and in 2012 received the Board of Governor's award of Excellence - Distinguished Alumni for her work with Indigenous people. Christina's invaluable work in the promotion of Anishnaabemowin has added to efforts to preserve this endangered language both within her own community and provincially. She has worked to bring about change in Indigenous education and to make schooling more inclusive and Indigenous-focused through the Indigenous mathematics research study with Ontario teachers to incorporate Indigenous ways of teaching into the Ontario mathematics curriculum. She has collaborated with educators and administrators from the Renfrew County District School Board, and has worked as a mentor with Indigenous artists in other communities who have been part of this work. Christina has shared her experiences as an Algonquin artist researcher at a number of conferences, included four presentations at the Ontario Association of Mathematics Education annual conference. In 2018 Christina, along with Dr. Ruth Beatty, was awarded the Indigenous Partnership Research Award during Lakehead University's Research and Innovation awards ceremony as a testament to her leadership in this project. Christina's dedication to the celebration of Indigenous culture has resulted in many successful events and projects. Through empowering Indigenous youth to celebrate their identity, language and culture made visible in their daily lives, she embodies the tradition of passing on culture and the skills needed to preserve it to the younger generations.

Naomi Smith

Naomi is a First Nation Artisan and Educator. She is actively involved in educating others about the ways of the First Nations people of the Woodlands and Northeastern area from a historical and contemporary perspective often through the story of beads. Her work embraces ancestral designs in the form of bags, adornment and traditional accessories. Naomi's work has been shown across Canada and internationally. She has exhibited at the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) in Washington DC, Vancouver 2010 Olympics and participates in numerous events throughout the year.

"Honouring our traditions is my voice within and beyond my Culture and Community. Traditionally there is no word for 'art' in Native languages yet artistry and visual expression are critical in defining who we are as First Nations people. It is this path I wish to exemplify through my teachings and my work."

Ruth Beatty

Dr. Ruth Beatty is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at Lakehead University in Orillia. As a mathematics education researcher, Ruth's focus has been how children learn complex math concepts, and the alignment of instruction with developmental trajectories of understanding. She is also interested in multiple representations of mathematical concepts, particularly visual representations. Since 2012 she has collaborated with members of Anishinaabe and Métis communities, and educators from Ontario school boards, to research the connections between Anishinaabe and Métis ways of knowing mathematics and the Western mathematics found in provincial curricula. The goal of this research, funded by a number of grants including a SSHRC Insight Development Grant, two SSHRC Connection Grants, a SSHRC Indigenous Research Capacity and Reconciliation Connection Grant and an Indigenous Research Capacity Development Grant, is to collaboratively design culturally responsive mathematics instruction and to learn from and incorporate Indigenous pedagogical perspectives in inclusive classroom settings. This work resulted in the Ontario Premier's Award for Safe and Accepting Schools in 2017, the 2018 Lakehead University Indigenous Partnership Research Award, and the 2020 Lakehead University Community Engaged Research Award. In 2021 Ruth was inducted into the Royal Society of Canada College of New Scholars, Artists, and Scientists.

Danielle Blair

Danielle Blair is currently on contract with the Council of Ontario Directors of Education (CODE) and serving as Provincial Mathematics Lead with the Ministry of Education. In addition to supporting Ontario Boards of Education in Mathematics and Leadership, she has been involved in research projects related to the teaching and learning of Mathematics K to 12 and the facilitation of professional learning for educators for over 15 years. This year marks the seventh-year Danielle has been involved in the Indigenous mathematics project with Dr. Ruth Beatty, Lakehead University, and several Ontario Boards of Education and First Nations communities. Working as a research partner, Danielle reaches out to First Nation community and educational partners and supports the engagement and development of respectful reciprocal relationships. This work has included community gatherings, sharing sessions, as well as cultural awareness and learning sessions. This ensures that community voice and leadership guide each of the projects.

Mike Fitzmaurice

Mike has been a teacher at Eganville District Public School for 15 years and has been involved in the Indigenous mathematics research project for the past seven years. Mike is passionate about teaching mathematics and has presented with our team at the Ontario Association of Mathematics Education conference. As a classroom teacher at the Eganville public school, he witnessed the struggle to build meaningful, trusting relationships with the children and families from the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation. Through the Indigenous mathematics education research project, he has had an opportunity to build relationships with Elders, artisans, and Community Members that never previously existed. He has learned things about the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation that were never discussed in school further highlighting the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Heather Lett

Heather Lett has been a classroom teacher of grades 2-5 for 28 years with the Renfrew County District School Board. She is passionate about making connections between the lives, culture and traditions of her students from the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation and the subjects and events taught in her classroom and at the school. She has been a collaborator in the Indigenous mathematics research project for over five years and has presented with the team at three OAME conferences. She is excited to share and learn with others who are interested in more inclusive, holistic approaches to teaching because she has seen first hand the gains all students make when they extend their "ways of knowing" mathematics as they experience a meaningful connection between their learning and their culture.

Kris Sandberg

Kris has been a teacher at McKellar Park Central School for 5 years. For the past 3 years he has taken part in Birch Bark Basket and traditional Anishinaabe techniques and their connections to western mathematics. Through this journey both Kris and his students have come to understand and appreciate the technique and design that was used to create a Makak. Also, connecting the process to big ideas in math such as surface area and volume have also helped Kris and his students have a deeper understanding on how dimensions impact the amount a basket can hold. When Kris is not making baskets, he is a father to three awesome children. There is great value when we sit down and listen to one another speak.

Bonnie Sears

Bonnie is an Instructional Coach with the Upper Grand District School Board (UGDSB) supporting teachers and students in the area of math instruction. She has over 20 years experience teaching at a variety of grade levels and specialties from K-8, including 6 years in remote First Nations communities. Bonnie's most important work was inspired by First Nations Math Voices, bringing Indigenous Knowledge and Math together in a collaborative project with local Indigenous community artists, consultants, teachers and students. Through a focus on building relationships and reciprocity, students are engaged in important cultural and mathematics teachings. She enjoys sharing her own learning journey about the importance of allyship and how to do this work in "a good way" at conferences both inside and outside the UGDSB.

Brenda Sherry

Brenda is an educational consultant with an M.Ed., in Curriculum Teaching and Learning from OISE/UT, currently working with two of TakingITGlobal's projects: Code To Learn and Connected North. After 32 years in public education as a teacher, instructional coach, vice-principal and education officer with the Ontario Ministry of Education's 21st Century Learning Unit, Brenda finds that collaborating virtually and f2f with educators in the service of students continues to bring her great joy and continual learning. She is passionate about empowering all learners and exploring emerging learning models that critically challenge existing practices and this led to the co-founding of the Minds On Media model of professional learning.

Brenda is honoured to be recognized by the International Society for Technology in Education with the Making IT Happen Award, and by the YMCA/YWCA of Guelph's Women of Distinction Award for her accomplishments in transforming learning environments and leading teacher professional learning leveraged by power of technology. She chronicles her learning journey semi-regularly on her blog/website called Learning Zone - and on social media - mostly on twitter @brendasherry.

Peter Skillen

Peter Skillen is currently Project Manager & Curriculum Leader for Code To Learn - a federally funded Taking IT Global project that introduces computational thinking and coding to educators and students Canada-wide. His particular passion is to 'draw' students into 'being mathematicians' through the use of turtle graphics - an artistic aspect of the coding platform (Lynx) he has helped develop.

Peter, an Ontario educator, holds a Masters of Education from OISE/UT with a focus in cognitive science related to educational technology. He has been involved in technology supported, project-based learning since the late 1970s, has traveled and spoken extensively in many countries, and continues to explore and support knowledge-building environments for learners. He was a founding teacher and leader at the YMCA Academy - a secondary school serving youth who prefer an alternative approach.

Peter has co-developed courses for TeachOntario, has been a Global Ambassador with the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), and develops and supports both face-to-face and online learning for the Ontario Teachers' Federation. Peter is also co-founder of the Minds On Media model of professional learning which truly reflects how he wishes classrooms to be.

Website & Blog -
Twitter - @peterskillen