Wonder Women: Inspiring Female Educators

Wonder Women: Inspiring Female Educators

by Laura Sciarpelletti
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In 2009 I moved to Nanaimo, B.C. to attend Vancouver Island University. A book worm since I could read and a general lover of the written/spoken word, I enthusiastically joined as many writing and English courses as I could fit into my fall semester. On my first day I sat in the front row of my “Introduction to Fiction Writing” class. A smiling blonde woman sat at the front with a laptop and a pile of outlines on her desk. As she introduced us to the material and addressed what we could expect that semester, I kept repeating her name over and over again in my head. “Susan Juby…Susan Juby. Where have I heard that name before?” As she discussed term paper deadlines, I Googled her name—and couldn’t believe what I saw. Juby was the author of the preteen Canadian hit novel Alice, I Think and its sequels. This was a series that myself and nearly every girl I had gone to school with had read in either middle or high school. It eventually became a CBC television series, and implanted in my mind an early understanding of the importance of Canadian authors. Having this woman who—like me—was BC grown and able to make a living as a writer, filled me with such admiration and ambition. I knew right then that if I worked hard enough and got good enough, I could be published.

Since then I have met many amazing and inspiring female educators, as I’m sure you have as well. Here are some famous female educators teaching in Canada:

Adele Diamond

Known to be one of the pioneers in the field of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, Diamond has been extremely influential in research focused on the executive functions of prefrontal cortex and interrelated brain. Much of her study focuses on children. She is the Tier 1 Canadian Research Chair Professor of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. (www.ranker.com)

June Larkin

Larkin attended university late, balancing her undergrad with a primary-school teaching job. Now she is a lecturer in Women and Gender Studies and Equity Studies as well as vice-principal of New College at the University of Toronto. Her main focus is pushing her students to community outreach; combining class with the field. (www.macleans.ca)

Mary-Lou Donnelly

Donnelly is the president of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation, and served as teacher for thirty years in Halifax. Previous to being appointed as president of the CTF, Donnelly was president of the Nova Scotia Teachers’ Union. A trailblazer, she was a founding member of Nova Scotia’s Coalition Against Workplace Violence, She has since received the Canadian Progress Club Women of Excellence award. (www.financialpost.com)

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