Andrée E Gacoin
Director of Research — BC Teachers Federation
Dr. Andrée Gacoin is Director of the Division of Information, Research and International Solidarity at the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation. Her research focuses on developing a unique, in-depth and contextualized exploration of education in BC from the perspective of teachers. She has a wide range of experience leading educational research and program activities in diverse communities, including work in Gabon and South Africa. Her work foregrounds research as advocacy to uphold and strengthen an inclusive public education system.
Executive Director — Executive Director of the Family Support Institute of BC
Angela Clancy has been the Executive Director of the Family Support Institute of BC for 20 years. In her role at FSIBC she has been able to maximize her long history of experience and education with families who face the ongoing challenges and celebrations that come with having a family member with a disability. Angela has vast experience in trauma informed practice, cultural competency and safety, and mental health challenges and applies these skills to all her work with families.
Anti-Ableism Working Group
A subcommittee of BCEdAccess, with the purpose of advancing awareness of ableism within our systems and community, as well as promoting anti-ableism in policies, procedures, pedagogy and curriculum within the BC education system.
Kim Block has a BA in Human Relations (human systems) and Family Life Education, certificate in Human Resource Management, and a degree as a Developmental Service Worker. She has been involved in the stuttering community for over twenty years as an advocate, presenter, keynote speaker, President of BCAPS, support group facilitator, guest lecturer, author of 6 books, and she also manages a Facebook group for parents and family members of children who stutter.
Kaori Lau is a cisgender female, first-generation Chinese Canadian. She knew from a young age that she loved working with children, and achieved her goals of obtaining a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies and a B.Ed. in Elementary Education. Kaori has two young daughters, one of whom is disabled. Since becoming a parent of a child with complex medical needs, she has learned all she can about advocating for her child. Part of this journey continues to involve unlearning her own biased views of ability and disability. Kaori is thrilled to be part of something actionable that will help to normalize disability and promote real inclusion in BC education.
Levonne is a second-generation Filipina-Canadian. With over 20 years of experience as an educator and leader in education and community health, she aims to foster positive, systemic transformation within organizations through supporting their achievement of strategic objectives, enhancing leadership capability and initiating culture change. She is passionate about social justice, specifically anti-ableism and anti-racism and continues to be an advocate with her multi-ethnic autistic son.
Jenn Scharf has worked as an educator, learning designer, program facilitator and educational change advocate for over 20 years. As a late-diagnosed autistic adult and parent to an autistic child, Jenn brings first hand perspective and experience around advocacy in the education system. Jenn’s current projects include collecting and publishing Stories of Exclusion in the BC education system. When not at work, you will likely find Jenn out on her SUP somewhere in the Sea-to-Sky corridor with her son and two dogs.
Chantelle Morvay-Adams is a neurodivergent, passionate advocate for equity & inclusion. Her journey started over 11 years ago with the birth of her first son. A life full of detours, this new one in her life catapulted her into the role of activist and advocate. This led her to create an inclusion sub-committee at her children’s school to foster a mindset of Inclusion. Then she took up the role of DPAC co-chair for the Mission School District, whereby she helped start an inclusion committee there as well. She also won honorable mention for her CIVL 101.7 show, All in, at the National community Radio Awards, delving into what Inclusion means to individuals and society as a whole. She now resides, with deep gratitude, with her little family on the unceded Territory of the Snuneymuxw First Nations, where she is Secretary on the Board of Directors for BCEdAccess.
Jo-Anne Gauthier has been advocating for inclusion and accessibility rights for people in BC for over 20 years. She is the current President of BC People First, a provincial organization run BY self-advocates FOR self-advocates. As President, Jo-Anne is an integral part of the BCPF Advocacy, Fundraising, and Plain Language Committees – she is a tireless volunteer who leads by example and always prioritizes kindness. She has also worked on community projects for PosAbilities, Inclusion BC, and the UBC Centre for Inclusion & Citizenship. Jo-Anne spends her free time enjoying life on the south coast with her husband, getting outdoors to enjoy nature, and travelling as much as possible.
Research and Reconciliation Coordinator — First Nations Child & Family Caring Society
Brittany (she/her) is Michif and a member of the Métis Nation of Alberta. Her family more recently comes from St. Paul, Alberta with ancestry from St. Francois Xavier, Manitoba. She grew up in the Bow Valley of Alberta and moved to Ottawa to pursue an undergraduate degree at the University of Ottawa. Brittany is passionate about the role kinship and family plays in the empowerment of Indigenous women and communities. She is dedicated to elevating the stories and contemporary realities of Indigenous peoples through community organizing and creative outlets.
Heidi is a parent to 5 children. Besides advocating for her own children, she works very hard behind the scenes to support families and strengthen inclusion both in her local school district, and also province-wide through her work as one of the members of the advisory board of the BCEdAccess Society. Even in her public role as conference emcee, her whole job is to support and elevate the voices of others.
Inclusion Committee Panel
The Inclusion Committee Panel is made up of folks from all around the province who have gone on the journey of creating their own Inclusion Committee at all different levels of the school system. They will bring their various experiences and knowledge on the pros and cons of different methods and delivery, to explain what worked/what didn’t work, and will be answering questions from those curious about starting their own, or even changing what they currently do. Some panelists include: Mandy Young, SD44 North Vancouver, Alicia and Lexie, SD75 Mission, Heidi Smit Vinois, SD34 Abbotsford, and Amanda Grimson, SD36 Surrey.
Jodie Wickens is a parent and a non profit community leader working and living in the ancestral and unceeded territory of the Kwikwetlem First Nation. She is a previous member of the legislative assembly for the provincial riding of Coquitlam Burke Mountain and started her journey in politics because of her passion for equitable access to an appropriate education for all. Jodie’s first attempt at running for office was in the 2014 civic election for school board trustee. Since 2014 she has run in 2 other elections and gained a wealth of knowledge on being a candidate and what makes a campaign successful. She has a strong desire to pass along that knowledge so that other parents of children with disabilities can successfully run for office.
Education Advocacy Co-Lead — Moms Against Racism (Canada)
Karissa Crawley is white presenting, White/Cherokee mother to two biracial, black presenting children ages 7 and 8. She has been a teacher on the lands of the Lekwungen speaking people working for the Greater Victoria School district since 2011 and has primarily worked in a middle school with a high Indigenous population as well as many refugee and immigrant families. She has worked as a learning support teacher for most of her career.
Executive Director — Inclusion BC
Karla Verschoor has been with Inclusion BC since 2006, when she joined the organization as a volunteer coordinator. Over the years, Karla has worked in various leadership roles as an advocate, strategic planner and now as Executive Director. Karla has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Alberta where she studied Political Science and Government and a Certificate in Dialogue and Civic Engagement from Simon Fraser University. Karla lives in Vancouver with her husband and daughter. When she’s not working Karla enjoys volunteering at her daughter’s school and with her local neighbourhood house.
Partner — Moore Edgar Lyster LLP
Lindsay (she/her) is a partner at Moore Edgar Lyster LLP where she practices human rights, labour, administrative, constitutional and professional regulatory law. She acts for individuals, public and private sector unions and professional regulators on a wide variety of matters. Among other things, Lindsay and her firm often act for families of children with disabilities in human rights cases against school districts.
Suzanne is a mother of 3 and a Langley School District Trustee. She has worked as a school Administrator, an SEA and a TEDx speaker. She is a Youth & Woman’s Counsellor, a public speaker and a passionate advocate. She works alongside educators & parents creating positive changes for children and their families in areas of Inclusion, wellness, leadership, motivation and parent engagement. Her primary focus is the success of the student by virtue of bridging educators and parents.
Sue Sterling-Bur is from the Nlakap’mux and Sto:Lo Nations and is the Associate Vice President of Students and the Registrar for the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology, which is the only Indigenous public post-secondary in B.C. Sue is a PhD Candidate at The University of British Columbia Okanagan Campus and working with Dr. Jeannette Armstrong and Dr. Rachelle Hole. Sue’s doctoral research will provide an Indigenous perspective on the systems of belief for giftedness in children with disabilities. She will base her research on the Nlakap’mux Spilahem stories to identify the ethics, values, and beliefs that will guide and direct working with and supporting Indigenous people with disabilities.
Healthcare Advocacy Team Co-Lead — Moms Against Racism (Canada)
Symbia Barnaby is an Indigenous person of Mi’kmaq and Haida decent who lives in Northern British Columbia. She is a solo parent to 6 children (5 of which have exceptionalities). She is a Practical nurse, a Birth/Postpartum Doula, a Community Inclusion Advocate, a Film Maker, a Story Teller and a Wisdom Translator.
Founder and Chair — BCEdAccess Society
Tracy has ADHD and is a parent to three amazing children with disabilities. An entrepreneur in her business life, she has also been an active volunteer in BC schools for over 20 years and was awarded the 2019 Victoria Community Leadership Award in Lifelong Learning for her work as the founder and chair of the BCEdAccess Society, advocating for equitable access to education for children and youth with disabilities.
Wiyé.nox (Luke Dandurand)
Aboriginal Support Worker — Kwantlen First Nation
Wiyé.nox ‐ the man of sound. A name earned and gifted from the Elders of Kwantlen First Nation and his hereditary chief Marilyn Gabriel, for his extensive background in music and capabilities of public speaking. Part of my goal and what I currently do for work full-time is let people know about the success, pride and passion of my Kwantlen family and what has been accomplished through our community.