About Me

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I have been an elementary and secondary school teacher and administrator. Currently, I am a faculty member in the Faculty of Education at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. My M.Ed. and Ph.D. had a focus on the educational and linguistic experiences of children who moved from other countries to Canada.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Supporting Social Innovation in Haiti: Laurier Haiti Networking Trip October 2014

Building a network of partners in Haiti is an evolving process.

My original work in Haiti started10 years ago as a result of a meeting with a few key educational leaders who wanted to see change occur in Haiti. It has been amazing to see that network expand to dozens of key people and organizations across Haiti. I have worked with well over 1,000 school principals as a result of those initial meetings.

The work that we have been doing in the North Department of Haiti is a direct result of those early networking meetings. In research, we talk about "snowball sampling" where we ask key people about who they see as a key leader in a geographic region or subject area. I have been doing the same to build our network in northern Haiti.

This has led us to the Director of the Ministry of National Education for the region, top school principals, university presidents, and directors of Haitian NGOs. We are now planning a trip for Oct. 14-19, 2014 that will solidify this network as we consider ways we can work together for the next 3-5 years.

Two groups will be the focus of the fall trip:

1. Elementary and secondary educational leaders. We are going to have two days of meetings with a variety of school principals and the Ministry of National Education to discuss ways we can support the work they are doing. An example of this is the special education needs assessment that was completed as part of our May assignment. Bruce Alexander from the Waterloo Region District School Board led an extensive review of the special education needs and services of a school in Cap-Haitien. He will deliver two days of workshops to help this school, and others, develop a "Haitian-made" framework for special education. These are the kinds of projects we want to continue to partner on.

2. Higher education leaders. One of the exciting new partnerships we have is with the State University of Haiti at the Limonade campus (near Cap-Haitien). We will be having next step meetings with the president of the council of the university, Dr. Jean-Marie Théodat, when we return in October. Our successful English language program, which we developed with the Public University of the North, will be replicated at the State University. As well, there is significant interest at the university to develop a "social incubator" where faculty, businesses, and civil society organizations can support students' ideas for innovation and entrepreneurship.

I am excited about a number of Canadian and US organizations and institutions who are considering joining us as part of this networking opportunity. More details to come!