Speaker Bios

The speakers chosen to present at Lakehead University's 2018 self-regulation spring institute include:

Pamela Toulouse - Dr. Pamela Rose Toulouse is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education (Concurrent English Language) at Laurentian University. She has taught Primary/Junior Methods, Junior/Intermediate Methods, Indigenous Studies as a Teachable, English as a Teachable, Primary/Junior Literacy, Junior/Intermediate Literacy, Introduction to Social Work & Native Social Welfare, Indigenous Ways of Learning, Indigenous Relations in Community Contexts (Masters Level) and Independent Studies/Field Courses (PhD Level). Her areas of specialty are inclusive education, classroom management, lesson planning, learning cycles, assessment/evaluation, technology, differentiated instruction, Indigenous Education and social justice collaborations. She is a National 3M Teaching Excellence Award Fellow and has also been cited in previous editions of Maclean's magazine as one of LU's favourite professors. Dr. Pamela Rose Toulouse is originally from the community of Sagamok First Nation. She is a proud Ojibwe/Odawa woman that comes from a long line of educators. Dr. Toulouse celebrates many years of activity (entering her 24th year) in the formal educational setting, beginning as an elementary school teacher and then finding herself in the role of colleague within the university system. She is well known for her contributions in Indigenous Education. Dr. Toulouse has published well over 50 resources which include books, chapters in books, curriculum pieces, articles, videos and other key selections.

Norah Fryer - Norah Fryer, as an advocate for teachers, children, and families, continues to put retirement on hold to embrace her interests in life-long learning; seeing the importance of trusting relationships within safe and secure environments.  For over forty years she has been a member of teaching teams who have collectively had the courage to think differently, imagine, invent and try out different ways of supporting learners. Norah has discovered that the true meaning of ‘holistic development’ is to value the uniqueness in everyone.  When collaborative people create and share new experiences, it opens up many interdisciplinary opportunities, not only to enhance and support individual learning, but to encourage us all to embark on our own exciting life-long journeys of discovery. Norah Fryer currently resides in Auckland, New Zealand and has spent many years working as a Professor at Rangi Ruru Early Childhood Education College, in Christchurch, NZ.

Cornelia "Connie" GaleConnie Gale has been an educator for 49 years in the United States and Canada. She has held positions as a teacher, consultant, vice principal, and principal in Massachusetts, USA and Mississauga, Canada. She is an adjunct faculty member at Fitchburg State University in the Graduate and Continuing Education Department. Connie has vast experience as a seminar and professional development presenter in Canada and The United States. She is also an international consultant, having presented in Korea and Bahrain. Connie currently resides with her husband Roy in Streestville, Ontario where she is a recently retired elementary school principal. Connie’s avocations include travelling, playing the piano, writing raps and designing educational learning games. Many of her game ideas can be found in her book, “Games to Grab”.

Stuart Shanker - Stuart Shanker, D Phil (Oxon), is a Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Psychology at York University and the CEO of the MEHRIT Centre, Ltd. (www.self-reg.ca). His most recent book, Self-Reg: How to Help Your Child (And You) Break the Stress Cycle and Successfully Engage With Life, has garnered glowing reviews around the world being published in Canada, the US, the UK, South Korea, Poland, Germany, China, The Czech Republic and The Netherlands, with further translations and foreign editions in the works. Over the past decade, Stuart Shanker has served as an advisor on early child development to government organizations across Canada and the United States, and in countries around the world. During this period, he became increasingly interested in the impact of excessive stress on child development and behaviour.  Stuart Shanker’s five-step Self-Reg model -- The Shanker MethodTM-- is a powerful process for understanding and managing stress in children, youth and adults. In 2012 he founded The MEHRIT Centre as a Self-Reg learning and information centre. Stuart commits considerable time to bringing the research and science of Self-Reg to parents, early childhood educators, teachers, educational leaders, health practitioners and communities through presentations, master classes, online courses, webinars, publications, social media and a blog entitled, “The Self-Reg View”.

Susan Hopkins - A passionate advocate for children, families, schools and communities, Dr. Susan Hopkins has been leading Dr. Stuart Shanker's organization, The MEHRIT Centre (TMC) as Executive Director, since 2014. As a one-time at-risk youth who quit high school twice, Susan went on to complete four degrees. Over the course of Susan’s career, she has worked in every area of education from the early years to post-secondary and across contexts from Italy to the Northwest Territories. Susan led the territorial implementation of the Early Development Instrument (EDI), co-authored the Government’s Early Childhood Framework and developed the NWT play and culture-based kindergarten curriculum. She went on to lead the Planning, Research, and Evaluation division for the Department of Education before relocating to Edmonton to head up the Society of Safe and Caring Schools and Communities. Under Susan’s leadership, The MEHRIT Centre has grown and developed into a highly respected, accessible, and successful centre of teaching and learning. In addition, Susan brings her skills to Stuart's self-regulation research centre (SRI) as the lead researcher for SRI's fourth area of focus: The Practice of Self-Reg.

Brenda Smith-Chant - Brenda Smith-Chant is an Associate Professor with the Psychology Department at Trent University and Senior Research & Advisor for the Self-Regulation Institute. In the past, she served as Co-ordinator of the Developmental Section of the Canadian Psychological Society and a Senior Researcher with the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services. Her research interests are in the area of Self-Reg development and how Self-Reg is influenced by parents, educators, service providers, and social policies. Her past research includes Nurturing the Next Generation, a CIHR Knowledge Synthesis Grant in partnership with Peel Public Health (and the subsequent Parent Experiences Study); the evaluation of the Community Aboriginal Recreation Activator project (a Healthy Communities project for the Ministry of Health & Long Term Care); and Count Me In and Count Me In Too longitudinal studies on children’s early learning of numeracy (funded by SSHRC). Her current research includes community-based studies of how Self-Reg principles are applied to learning environments; reframing procrastination, and supporting educational transitions. Brenda is also a grandma, foster-grandma, and supports her Self-Reg by cooking and camping.

Lisa Bayrami - Dr. Lisa Bayrami is the Executive Director of the Self-Regulation Institute (SRI).  Lisa is passionate about fostering wellbeing among children, youth, families, and communities.  As former Director of Research at Roots of Empathy, a large non-for-profit organization, Lisa oversaw all aspects of research globally.   Lisa trained as a developmental psychologist under Dr. Stuart Shanker and Dr. Stanley Greenspan and continued her journey as Senior Scientist at the Milton and Ethel Harris Research Initiative (MEHRI) at York University where she designed and led multiple school-based research initiatives and worked with children with special needs and their families.  She has instructed as a Professor of Psychology in the School of Liberal Arts and Academic Partnerships at Seneca at York.  Lisa also consults internationally, supporting children, educators, parents, and governments with the central focus of cultivating wellbeing. In addition, Lisa is on the Advisory Committee for Measuring What Matters (People for Education) and the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Holistic Early Learning and Development.  Previously, she has served as a member of the Babies and Preschool Working Groups as part of the National Reading campaign. Lisa believes that Self-Reg is foundational to changing the landscape of wellbeing for all and is excited to bring her vision and enthusiasm to lead SRI into the future.

Jean Clinton - Dr Jean Clinton is a Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster, division of Child Psychiatry. She is on staff at McMaster Children’s Hospital with cross appointments in Pediatrics and Family Medicine, and an Associate in the Department of Child Psychiatry, University of Toronto and Sick Children’s Hospital.  She is a senior scientist at the INCH (Infant Child Health) Lab at McMaster University. In addition she is a Zeroto Three Fellow and a Fellow of the Child Trauma Academy. She has been a consultant to children and youth mental health programs, child welfare, and primary care for almost 30 years. Dr Clinton was recently appointed as an education advisor to the Premier of Ontario and the Minister of Education. Dr Clinton is renowned locally, provincially, nationally, and more recently internationally as an advocate for children’s issues. Her special interest lies in brain development, and the crucial role relationships and connectedness play therein. Jean champions the development of a national, comprehensive child well-being strategy including a system of early learning and care for all young children and their families. She is equally committed to ensuring that children’s and youths’ needs and voices are heard and respected.

Lucita Gonsalves - Lucita, as an ASD consultant, has been working with adults and children living with developmental disabilities for over 20 years. In the last 15 years Lucita has specialized in providing clinical services to individuals on the autism spectrum. Her experience spans many different countries from India to the Middle East, and currently in Canada. This diversity of cultural and societal experience gives her a unique perspective while working in this field. Lucita is also a certified yoga instructor in classic Hatha Yoga and is currently working on a research proposal to support the practice of yoga reducing anxiety and stress among individuals on the autism spectrum, and their care givers.

Christina Menel - Christina Menel has been learning from people with autism and their families, and other disabilities, for almost 20 years. Starting off working in family homes and in the community, Christina has worked with individuals across the lifespan. Currently, working as an Autism Consultant at Surrey Place Centre, Christina gets to enjoy the experience of learning from young children with autism in their Intensive Behavioural Intervention setting and helping to transition them to their school classroom. All along, Christina has been aware of the importance of self-regulation for herself and all those around her. In 2016 Christina became a certified yoga teacher with Yoga Therapy Toronto and has since volunteered to teach at her local food bank and community centre. Wanting to have a better understanding of self-regulation in children, Christina also completed additional training for teaching children’s yoga in 2017. With her knowledge of autism and yoga, Christina is always looking for ways to incorporate them.

Cathy Lethbridge - Cathy has been an elementary educator for 33 years with the Simcoe County DSB, the past 14 years as a principal. She actively applies Shanker Self-Reg in both her personal and professional life and believes in the power of Self-Reg to change trajectories no matter a person’s age or stage in life. Cathy is the Principal of Well-being K-12 for the board and frequently offers workshops for staff, students, parents and the community inspired by Dr. Shanker’s work.

Sue McHardy - Sue McHardy is a Caledon based Personal Trainer, Fitness Instructor, Registered Holistic Nutritionist, and owner/operator of “Ignite Fitness for Women”- an intimate women’s fitness studio. She has worked in the fitness industry with adults and children alike for over 22 years. Sue loves sharing her passion for fitness and health through adult fitness classes (Tabata, HIIT, Circuit, Matrix) and youth events (Fitness for Teens, Dryland Training, Pre/Post Sport Nutrition sessions). Sue holds designations as a CanfitPro FIS/PTS, Reebok Spin Instructor, two TRX Certifications, 200 hour Yoga Instructor, Pilates, 3 Kettlebell designations, RHN designation with CSNN and is a WOW Holistic Weight Loss Coach. Sue has also developed a 10 Day Super Cleanse for her clients as a metabolic reboot. As a mother of four, Sue puts a priority on life balance through exercise, proper nutrition, time with family and loved ones, and stress management techniques. Sue firmly believes that it is an honor and privilege to move our bodies every day and that “movement is medicine”.

Angie Rosati - Angie has been a Professor of Early Childhood Education for 12 years and is currently a PhD student in Education at York University in Toronto. Angie has been interested in the impact of the early schooling experience on the developmental pathways of children for as long as she can remember. Based on her MA in Educational Psychology, Angie received federal funding to develop instructional videos for parents and early childhood educators on the importance of the early years to subsequent development and since that time, she has written feature articles and presented to educators and community leaders on the topics of Brain Development, Self-Regulation, Temperament and the Biology of Behaviour. Angie has received formal recognition for excellence in teaching from both the University of Western Ontario and Sheridan College. As a student, professor and TMC Self –Regulation Consultant, Angie is working toward the day when the science of self-regulation becomes an embodied aspect of education and is hopeful that when all children are viewed through a self-reg lens by the important people in their life, they will be freed to experience the promise of their potential.

Casey Burgess- Casey has worked as a clinician for children with autism spectrum disorders and their families for over 20 years.  Currently living in Sault Ste Marie, ON, she is an adjunct faculty member at Algoma University (Psychology) and Sault College (Social Sciences), as well as a PhD student focusing on self-regulation.  She is the mother of two teenaged girls, and the partner of a very understanding man. Casey loves to include yoga, meditation, laughs with good friends, playing guitar, and hiking in the forest in her personal self-regulation process.

Crystal Carbino - Crystal Carbino, as a Registered Early Childhood Educator with a passion for inspiring powerful positive relationships, is dedicated to sharing the impact of self-regulation on academic achievement and overall well-being. Currently the Early Years Facilitator for the Simcoe County District School Board, Crystal has gained an enormous amount of experience facilitating professional development for educators. Crystal is proud to call herself a Self-Reg Champion having completed Foundations in Self-Regulation Certification through The MEHRIT Centre (TMC), and is currently studying with Susan Hopkins to complete the TMC trainer/facilitator program.

Gail Molenaar - Gail is a passionate educator who connects nature and self-regulation.  She is a practicing Forest and Nature School Practitioner, facilitator of nature learning and Shanker Self-Reg™️ consultant. Self-Reg isn’t a program, it’s a paradigm revolution! She graduated with honours in ECE from Georgian College and has an undergraduate in psychology from Lakehead University. Gail is a facilitator of ‘Roots of Empathy’ and Restorative Practices, an occasional blogger, and an independent Early Years consultant/presenter. She also works as a Kindergarten educator and is a member of the CCCF, the ORA, the AECEO, COEO and is passionate about all things Early Years. She is inspired by Malaguzzi, Hawkins, Dr. Peter Gray and Dr. Stuart Shanker, but mostly by Mother Nature and children themselves!

Erin Valenzuela - Erin Valenzuela is currently enrolled in the Lakehead University Bachelor of Education two year program. She comes to the program with a background as an Early Childhood Educator, Resource Teacher who has worked with preschool services in Toronto, York Region, and Simcoe County, and who is the mother of four beautiful boys. Most recently she worked with the Children’s Treatment Network in York and Simcoe as a Service Navigator. After many years of experience working with children and families helping them prepare for school, she has been inspired to go back to school to bring her experiences into the classroom.

Anton Czachor - Anton Czachor is currently enrolled in the Concurrent Education program at Lakehead University. He is in his fourth year and finishing his interdisciplinary degree in Geography and Political Science. Next year he will be entering his final year of the B.Ed program and the following year will be spent doing his masters of education. Anton's life goal is to teach high school in New Zealand, while preforming professional talks during his time off. Anton has spent the past year working on a multidisciplinary thesis centered on the question, what is depression and is it inherent in human beings? His drive is primarily led by his fascination with the human condition and helping people realize their potential in life.

Kathy Janelle - Kathy will be graduating in the spring of 2018 from Lakehead University with her Bachelor of Arts and Science, and with her interdisciplinary degree in psychology and Education. Kathy is trained in the Mindfulness Base Stress Reduction program and is also a yoga instructor at The Breathing Tree in Muskoka. She is committed to creating a healthy, respectful, stimulating, and mindful learning classroom.  Energetic, uplifting, present, and caring, Kathy encourages her students to ground themselves to their mat and connect with their true selves. Fostering self-compassion reminds her to be kind, caring, and non-judgmental in her actions and thoughts. Teaching compassion and self-compassion to students provides them with the tools to see the world around them in each unfolding moment and to be kind to themselves. Kathy was able to establish a healthy relationship within herself by letting her practice create the space that allows restoration of the body and mind. With her mindfulness and yoga practice, Kathy will guide you to find your own edge, inner energy, strength, and focus to be present in each unfolding moment. Root down and branch out…

Chris Taylor - Chris Taylor lives in the small town of Holland Landing, Newmarket. From a very young age he knew his passion was working with children. In 2007 Chris completed his diploma at Seneca College in Early Childhood Education. He then completed his degree in Child Development at Seneca York. Chris has been working in the early years sector for the last decade as a camp counsellor, before and after child care worker, early years center worker and most recently as DECE in the Simcoe County District School Board. Currently Chris is in his first year of the 2 year Bachelors of Education program at Lakehead University.