People for Education is a unique organization in Canada: independent, non-partisan, and fuelled by a belief in the power and promise of public education. We create evidence, instigate dialogue, and build links so that people can see — and act on — the connection between public education and a fair and prosperous society.
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People for Education is seeking an Advancement Director
To help lead the conversation about the power and the promise of public education in Canada, People for Education is creating a new role in the organization. The Advancement Director will be responsible for communicating People for Education’s brand and evidence, building partnerships, promoting the organization, and ensuring it has a broad range of support.
This is an ongoing search.
Office & Operations Manager
Ruvani is the Office & Operations Manager at PFE. With over 25 years of experience, many in the non-profit sector where Ruvani has been a key player in developing and implementing Administrative systems and procedures. She specializes in Office Management in small and large non-profit sectors and has worked for the Employers Federation in Fiji, Commonwealth of Learning in Vancouver and Springboard in Toronto.
Currently the Office & Operations Manager at PFE, Ruvani is responsible for HR, IT, Finance & Accounting and Office Operations.
Ruvani has a major in Information Technology and Web programming. She also has a diploma in Computerized Business Marketing & Sales.
Ruvani is a firm believer in a team which supports initiatives for positive change in the education space and has a longstanding personal commitment to education-based organizations.
Christine Corso is the Research Manager at People for Education. She is a former teacher from Edmonton, Alberta and earned her Masters at OISE at the University of Toronto, where her research focused on assessment in K-12 education. She is currently working towards her PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy Program at OISE/UT. Christine’s research interests include policy, knowledge mobilization, and assessment and motivation in the K-12 school system.
Email: [email protected]
Communications & Research Coordinator
Summer Cowley is Communications and Research Coordinator at People for Education. Summer is a full-time PhD student at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto. Her research in her doctoral program focuses on educational pathways of university presidents in Canada and the United States.
Outside of her graduate schooling, Summer’s work in education in the last decade has been aimed at primary, secondary, and post-secondary education. Having worked as an Early Childhood Educator, English as a Second Language instructor in the college/university sector, and in Math and English education for students in K-12, Summer has been engaged in education across many contexts. These diverse experiences, along with her work experience in education publishing, give Summer a broad perspective on the many facets of education.
Annie Kidder is the Executive Director and a founder of People for Education. Formerly a theatre director, Kidder became involved in public education in Ontario in the late 1990’s and since then has become an expert on policy education policy and funding. She regularly provides advice to policy-makers and government, and her writing on education has been published in a range of media. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Ontario Principals’ Council 2004 Outstanding Contribution to Education Award, the Canadian Teachers’ Federation 2005 Public Education Advocacy Award, and in 2018, an honourary doctorate from York University. She has spoken at conferences in Canada, the United States, Europe, Africa and South America. She is regularly quoted in the media as an expert on education issues. She lives in Toronto.
Email: [email protected]
Asia (Joanna) is an educator and researcher who completed her Masters of Teaching at OISE at the University of Toronto. Her research focused on language curriculum and policy related to Indigenous language revitalization and immersion programs. She believes in the power of language learning as a tool for intercultural understanding and flexible thinking, particularly in 21st century learning. Through her love of languages, she also studied French-English translation and spent two years in France teaching English as a foreign language.
Research Program Director
Eloise is the Research Program Director at People for Education, leading our long-term research strategy and direction. She brings over a decade of experience working in education, and has worn many professional hats over the years. Intersectionality, equity, and inclusion are central to how she approaches research, policy, and engagement whether in her role as an equity educator, research manager, lecturer, or policy advisor.
She earned her PhD in Educational Studies from McGill University, where her research explored perceptions of learning and schooling in youth outside of the formal school system. During her time at McGill, the Canadian Educational Research Association (CERA) awarded her with the David Bateson New Scholar Award for excellence in qualitative research.
Prior to joining People for Education, Eloise worked at Ontario’s Council for Articulation and Transfer (ONCAT) and ORION, Ontario’s research and innovation network. Within these organisations she led and contributed to research and stakeholder engagement initiatives that involved participation from a diversity of post-secondary institutions. She also worked in Irish higher education for five years, in the areas of curriculum reform, teaching and learning, and education policy. Her time in Ireland makes her partial to a cup of tea and a good scone.
She lives in Toronto with her husband and two kids. She is active in the community, volunteering with the Loran Scholars Foundation, of which she is an alumna, contributing to the co-op she lives in, and creating Mama Stay Woke, a social justice meet up group.
Elyse K. Watkins
Policy and Research Manager
Elyse K. Watkins is the Policy and Research Manager at People for Education. She has dedicated much of her professional life to working with both national and provincial governing bodies to enhance public education and has contributed research on measuring the transferable skills students need to lead successful personal and professional lives.
Elyse’s prior experiences encompass both K-12 and postsecondary education, where she led numerous projects on the assessment of student learning outcomes and improving access to quality education. She earned her Master’s Degree in International Education Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) and holds a Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours) from McMaster University. Elyse’s previous work at the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) and People for Education have shaped her research interests in education policy, skill development, and equity in public education.
Danielle is the Administrative Coordinator at People for Education. She is a Special Event Management graduate and has earned experience through her internships, both of which were in the non-profit sector. Through these internships, Danielle has gained hands-on experience with marketing, communications and events. She is well versed in creative platforms and has created annual reports, website mock-ups, blog posts, and other digital marketing collateral in her roles as an intern in the past.
Danielle strongly believes in keeping the arts & culture alive in the education system and strives to help create a colourful future for newer generations.
She lives in Toronto with her family. Over the weekends she often spends her time writing, reading, painting or exploring Toronto practising her photography.
Claire’s experience spans the private and charity sectors, beginning with a 12 year career at KPMG in Toronto and the UK in audit and human resources. For over twenty years Claire’s professional training as an accountant has provided her with the opportunity to work, in a voluntary capacity, with a variety of charities and not-for-profits, in both Toronto and the UK across a variety of sectors including education, health, social services and the arts. Claire’s passion for working with these organizations led her to obtain her Masters in Charity Accounting and Financial Management at Cass Business School in London. Claire has returned to the Board of People for Education after 6 years living in the U.K. and continues to support the ongoing work and expanding reach of the organization and it’s mandate to ensure that public education is a pillar of Canadian society.
Vincent is currently leading revenue strategy and business development for a bespoke digital marketing agency in Toronto, Ontario. Prior to this, Vincent started Canada’s largest financial literacy education organization, which taught tens of thousands of students across the country about the basics of personal finance, and conducted national research on outlying gaps in Ontario’s public education curriculum. In 2017, the company was acquired for its reach across the country and Vincent joined the acquiring firm to support new user acquisition strategy. Vincent chairs the NextGen committee of People for Education’s Board of Directors, which sources feedback and perspective from young professionals on the charity’s vision and initiatives.
Helen Davies is currently Vice President Talent Management for TD Bank. Prior to moving to Canada in 2013, Helen was Vice President, Human Resources, TD Wealth International in the UK, where she led the HR, Learning, Communications, and Corporate and Social Responsibilities programs.
Helen holds a BA in Human Resources from the University of Stirling, Scotland and has a Diploma in Employment Law. She lives with her husband and their two young children in Toronto. Helen is an active contributor with ACCES employment, mentoring professionals who are new to Canada, helping them to find employment in their professional field.
Mirka Macalik says, “We are fortunate to have an independent organization working not only to guide Ontario parents through the issues in the public system, but also one who’s research on education is internationally recognized. Students need a strong foundation, People for Education is helping build it.” Mirka has been a member of the Board of Directors since 2014. After several years working in Capital Markets for various financial institutions she has been actively involved in her local community schools and more recently with People for Education.
Scott Nowlan joined the Board in 2015 and did so because he believed that “the work that PFE is doing is critical. As a strong and independent voice that provides invaluable research and priorities for policy makers and citizens, PFE must continue to be a strong advocate for public education – it is a much needed and valued voice for everyone who believes that public education is one of the pillars of our community”. Scott has three children in the public system. He has been a volunteer with other community organizations for many years. Scott is the founder and President of The Saunus Network, an Ottawa-based management consulting firm.
Alexis is Director of Health and Human Services for Sidewalk Labs and is based in the Toronto office. Most recently, Alexis worked at MaRS, North America’s largest urban innovation hub, where she lead the Centre for Impact Investing’s health practice and supported the Health Systems Innovation team.
Born and raised in Toronto, Alexis is an experienced management consultant. Alexis has first-hand experience as an entrepreneur in her role as co-founder of a Canadian employee support and education company. Alexis has also worked as a civil servant in the role of Pricing Strategy Lead for Monitor, the regulators for the National Health Service in England.
Alexis is a graduate of the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario and completed her MBA at London Business School, both with distinction. She is also a proud mother to three awesome kids. In her free time, Alexis enjoys downhill skiing, yoga, and exploring new places and cities.
The NextGeneration committee provides advice to the PFE Board of Directors on strategic issues and educational matters issues through the lens of a younger generation. As part of its mandate, the committee:
- advocates for initiatives geared at engaging a younger audience and gathering their opinions.
- provides input and feedback on fundraising activities, including ideas for broader engagement, awareness building, and how to make current events more effective.
- brings new ideas forward that work to advance the mandate of the organization.
Herleen Arora (She/Her) is a Career Educator at Ryerson University, Researcher/Consultant, and Co-Founder of Womxn Offering Wisdom. She is an Ontario Certified Teacher with a Masters of Education in Social Justice from OISE and a Bachelor of Health Sciences from Western University. Herleen has over ten years of experience in the non-profit and education sector, where she has managed and coordinated projects focusing on education, employment, and community health across the GTA.
Camille is a Franco-Ontarian student in OISE’s department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning, who will be studying the inclusion of marginalized groups in French language schools in Ontario for her masters’ thesis. Her past experiences include teaching history, French, English and religion, and giving a lot of tours of Parliament. She aspires to bring positive change to our society through improving public education, and to pet as many cute dogs as possible!
Jillian is currently in the final year of her studies, completing an Honours Bachelor in Conflict Studies and Human Rights at the University of Ottawa. Passionate about advocacy and student engagement, Jillian previously held the position of Student Trustee in the Trillium Lakelands District School Board, and has participated in initiatives such as the WUSC uOttawa local committee’s sponsorship of refugee students. She is thrilled to be working with People for Education to ensure that all students are empowered within the public school system, and is looking forward to what this coming year will bring.
Brittany is an experienced community development specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the civic &social organization industry. Brittany utilizes her lived and learned experiences in the social work field to inform how she amplifies the voices from the Region of Waterloo. Currently, she works at Carizon Family and Community Services in the Pathways to Education program where she utilizes a community development approach to provide wrap around support to young people and their families. Additionally, she sits as the Chair of the Premier’s Council on Youth Opportunities and provides advice to various ministries on policy development from a youth serving lens.
Joshua Miller is an avid writer and mental health advocate focusing on youth engagement principles applied in mental health research. Having earned his BA (hons) in Arts Management at the University of Toronto, he has gone on to study in the post-graduate publishing program at Centennial College. Joshua previously led an arts-focused youth organization for almost 6 years aimed at providing a safe space for young artists struggling with mental illness or bullying. For his work in the arts and mental health he was named a Canada’s Top 20 Under 20 in 2013.
Gerri Nakirigya Lutaaya
Through her academic, professional and lived experience, Gerri has developed a spirited zest and commitment to education, particularly the power and potential among young people, and its use as a tool to spark action for social change. With a Master of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership degree from Carleton University, Gerri is committed to Nelson Mandela’s challenge that “a degree means nothing unless you go out into the community to prove yourself.” In addition to her focus on building awareness and strengthening relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, Gerri works closely with CivicAction’s Emerging Leaders Network to engage and connect rising leaders across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area. Canadian by birth with strong ties to her Ugandan heritage, Gerri belongs to the Ngonge clan within the Buganda kingdom.
Filip is a management consultant at Accenture with an interest in financial services, emerging technology, and societal governance. As a previous executive member at the Queen’s Commerce Society at Queen’s University’s Smith School of Business, and prior to that, a Student Trustee at the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, Filip has advocated for 21st century education that will prepare Canadians for a modern workforce.
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For more information, contact Ruvani Ameresekere at 416-534-0100 or
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Our strategic plan
To strengthen a universal public education system that graduates all young people with the skills and competencies they need to contribute to a fair and prosperous society, and to live happy, healthy, economically secure, civically engaged lives.
Our strategic priorities
People for Education will:
- Instigate a dialogue, both in Ontario and nationally, about the purpose, value, and future of public education.
- Build links among key constituencies both inside and outside the education sector to enhance a shared understanding of goals for public education.
- Provide evidence and use research to advance public education’s promise, and to ensure that all young people have an equitable chance for long-term success.
People for Education is a registered charity. We are funded through generous donations and grants from individuals, corporations and foundations.
Thank you to the many individuals and organizations who support our work.