I am Eastern-European Jewish and British by descent. I grew up in the US and have lived in beautiful Victoria, BC, on the traditional lands of the Lekwungen-speaking peoples, for 15 years. I am an educator, curriculum developer, facilitator, writer, project manager, researcher, and more. A common theme in my work is enabling transformative change--personal, organizational, and societal. I enjoy supporting individuals to engage in learning that is personally significant, and organizations to engage in learning that will have meaningful impacts on the way they do business. I also believe that individual and organizational learning can bring about greater societal change to support justice, equity, and respect.
As a consultant, my approach is to provide clients with a range of customized, interconnected services to help them identify and meet their goals. One of my greatest strengths is supporting people every step of the way as they explore and realize their vision. I am thorough, collaborative, highly organized, and responsive to the needs of individuals and organizations. I love working with people and learning new things.
Work Experience Summary
Much of my career has been spent working with Indigenous communities and organizations. As a White person, I always strive to humbly navigate how I can best work with Indigenous peoples in a respectful, supportive way, and I am constantly learning from other Indigenous and non-Indigenous colleagues and clients. One of my passions is supporting people to develop awareness of privilege, oppression, impacts of colonization and their own agency in regards to these systems. I am also interested in how systems and institutions can better incorporate Indigenous ways of knowing and being, and how people can gain understanding of Indigenous perspectives and act to support reconciliation and anti-racism.
My first experience with Indigenous communities was in Moshi, Tanzania, where I worked with two organizations to develop and teach a health education and life skills program in English and Kiswahili. It was in Tanzania that I first started grant-writing, and since then, I have written many successful funding proposals and have become skilled at helping organizations to match their goals to donor priorities.
After Tanzania, I began working for the British Columbia Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres. As the Youth Program Coordinator, I travelled all over British Columbia and worked with urban Indigenous youth to help them and their adult allies to develop and sustain meaningful youth engagement practices. After this extremely rewarding work, I moved on to working with the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, where I supported Indigenous youth from a variety of organizations to work together with each other and with government, with the objectives of breaking down barriers between Indigenous youth of different backgrounds, promoting leadership opportunities and bringing Indigenous youth voice to government.
I next worked with the Ministry of Health in the Indigenous health team, supporting government and Indigenous communities to work together to address mental health issues, reduce substance use, and improve maternal and child health. Through my work with Indigenous organizations and communities, I have been extremely fortunate to learn a lot about Indigenous cultures and what it means to work in a way that respectfully supports Indigenous peoples. This work has also helped me to develop a strong awareness of privilege, social justice, equity, and the impacts of colonization.
The other major focus of my career has been education. My educational philosophy is focused on learner-centred approaches that respond to the needs and interests of individuals, and on holistic learning that includes social, emotional, intellectual and physical development.
My own educational background was very innovative. I attended Brown University, where I had the opportunity to develop my own inter-disciplinary major in the emerging field of Science Studies, which seeks to understand how science operates in society. My research focused on the relationship between science and religion as methods for creating truth and fulfillment in people’s lives. I did my Masters Degree in Education at Vermont College, where I was able to develop a personalized curriculum that allowed me to focus on my main interests: social justice issues, freedom in education, Indigenous education, and non-traditional educational approaches. I have since taught in many different settings, from ages 10-years-old to adult.
In 2013 I helped to start a new high school, the Pacific School of Innovation and Inquiry, which emphasizes personalized, inquiry-based, and interdisciplinary learning. I chose to work as a teacher at this school because it is leading change in the field of education towards a vision of more learner-centered, engaging and meaningful education for a 21st century world. In my work as an educator, I put into practice my belief that young people have important contributions to make and benefit from being given the freedom and respect to make their own choices. I have seen impressive outcomes when learners are free to explore thier own ideas--there is a high level of creativity and engagement that stems from the joy of learning something you care about. I believe in this approach to learning, and that's why I am working to support educators and learning institutions that are interested in adopting inquiry-based practices in their own settings.
In the past few years, I have combined my background in education and my experience with Indigenous organizations to develop curriculum that is culturally-grounded. In some cases this is curriculum for Indigenous learners that conveys important topics through an Indigenous approach and context. In other cases this is curriculum that supports reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, or helps organizations to have a better understanding of Indigenous ways of knowing and a more respectful approach to working with Indigenous peoples. This is exciting work for me, and I hope to continue on this learning journey with the friends, colleagues and clients I have met along the way.
For more details about my work experience, please see my resume.
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