Silvia Argentina Arauz is a Nicaraguan born Latina with African and Indigenous roots. During her years in Toronto, she has directly and vicariously experiences the impacts of institutional racism and other forms of oppression. In order to eradicate systemic barriers against herself and others, she has dedicated much of her youth and adult life to the incubation and amplification of pro-liberation models coming out of grassroots organizing and connecting them with institutional supports. As Director of Education and Programs for a national not-for-profit, she created a Youth Social Infrastructure Administrative and Mentorship Shared Platform model, providing over 100 youth from marginalized communities supports to secure funding for their ideas without compromising ownership of their intellectual property. Silvia-Argentina then worked as Executive Director for an Africentric not-for-profit and presently works as a consultant in the role of Co-Director at LAEN- The Latinx, Afro-Latin-America, Abya Yala Education Network. At LAEN, she coordinates large volunteer-led hubs of over 500 supporters and pro-liberation programs such as the Educators Knowledge-Exchange Series committed to sustained culturally responsive and reflective learning and teaching spaces for BIPOC communities. She also works with Ma’at Legal Services as the Director for The PLUG Program, advocating for families of African descent that are facing anti-Black racism within education through punitive disciplinary practices. Silvia Argentina is an Ontario Certified Junior-Intermediate Teacher and has over 10 years of experience in developing, implementing and assessing resources from African / Caribbean /Indigenous/ Latinx diasporic perspectives as per community consultation results. She is also a TDSB Student Equity Program Advisor and is a Co-Founder of Education Not Incarceration.
Karrin Huynh has spent the last two years teaching Grade 3/4 at Nelson Mandela Park Public School In Regent Park. She graduated from York University’s Urban Diversity Teachers College Program that focused on Equity and Social Justice Education. As an educator and community advocate, she uses the power of storytelling to mitigate stereotypes and nurture perspective-taking in students. Having also worked as a school garden facilitator, Karrin is passionate about food security and agriculture.
I am originally from Jamaica and migrated to Canada in 2007 via the United States where I started university. I am trained in Primary Education in Jamaica and have a degree in Sociology and a Masters in Sociology of Education. I have additional qualifications in Drama, Native Studies and Special Education. I have been with the TDSB for 4 years. I am excited and looking forward to teach and learn more about Freedom school. I love food and meeting new people.
My name is Terri-ann. I was born and raised in Toronto but identify as a Black Scotian from my mother’s side. My father is Antiguan. I am a proud single mother of two beautiful daughters and grandmother of a very sweet grandson. I decided to fulfill my dream of teaching at 40 years old. I went to The Ontario Institute of Studies in Education while raising my children alone. It was challenging but I found creative ways to successfully juggle all my responsibilities. I had a dream and despite the odds against me, my awareness of societal expectations made me fought back. Societal expectations for Black me started back in several elementary schools . I believed and internalized the lie that I am not capable or worthy. My late step-mom unpacked those lies for me. In turn, I unpack the same for my children and grandson. Your children are very capable, and worthy of a positive experience in our school system that encourages and is supportive of academic achievement and the realization of their dreams.
I am presently a grade 6-8 Teacher at Lawrence Heights Middle School. I began my career with the TDSB in 1989 at Flemington Rd Elementary school, then moved to Lawrence Heights Middle School in 1999 -2007. I have been a Course Director at York University’s Faculty of Education for teacher education from 2007 -2010 working at the Regent Park Social Justice Site and the Fine Arts Site at the Keele St Campus. I moved to the Africentric Alternative School in September 2010 and spent 3 years teaching grades 1-8 in literacy/numeracy and Drama/Dance. I returned to Lawrence Height Middle School in 2014 where I presently teach Language Arts, Social Studies and Drama/Dance.
Emmanuel M Gakuba Rutayisire is foremost a curious dreamer. He is an educator, caregiver, artist and student. He is currently a French teacher with the TDSB and pursuing his Masters of Education. He is Rwandan and queer. He believes education should be accessible to all students and to achieve that he constantly re-imagines how we can approach education and re-thinking the role of a teacher. He is grateful and excited to be a part of the Freedom School this year and can’t wait to see the magic the students and their community will cook up this year.
Welcome to the Rose Avenue Freedom School program! My name is Ms. Fatima Syeda and I am one of the teachers of the Freedom School program. I am extremely excited and honoured to be part of this wonderful experience. I plan on working closely with you and your child so that together we can make it a special, memorable and a rewarding experience for your child. I graduated with my Honours Bachelor of Science degree and my Master of Arts in Child Study and Education degree from the University of Toronto. Ever since then, I have been working for the Toronto District School Board as a homeroom teacher to a split class of Grade 3/4 students. Before working as a public school teacher, I worked as a Special Needs Instructor (SNI) for a private clinic in Mississauga. I have also worked as an Applied Behavioural Therapist as well as a Language, Math and Science teacher to many private and public school programs. Rose Avenue Public School has a special place in my heart because this is where I first started my teaching journey as a student teacher. Ever since then, Rose Avenue has become my second home and I keep coming back to teach whenever I can! Some of you may also recognize me as one of the Saturday Club teachers and March Break Program teachers for Rose Avenue Public School. However, this will be my first time teaching a summer school program for Rose Avenue and I am so thrilled that it is for the Freedom School program. Through this program, I hope to enrich your child’s concept of identity as well as his/her learning experiences of Black history. My goal for the end of this school program is to have your child leave this program feeling like their potential is limitless and that they are competent young individuals who can do whatever they set their minds to. I hope to introduce and educate them about the diversity that lies within Black and other minority cultures. As a Muslim and a South Asian woman, I understand the importance of representation and belongingness and I will ensure that your child, regardless of their ethnicity and background, see themselves being reflected in what they will learn for this school program.
Mr. Cecil Dwyer has been an educator with the TDSB for the past 12 years. He currently teaches at Nelson Mandela Park P.S. He is very excited to be at Rose Avenue teaching 1st grade at Freedom school. Mr. Dwyer is an avid basketball fan and a strong believer in using social justice as a guide for education. He is also a parent with two young children (1 boy and 1 girl).