Surrey Teachers' Association

2021 STA Convention

 May 7, 2021

Thank you for attending the 2021 STA Convention.  


We are excited to host Dr. Gabor Maté as our keynote speaker this year, as well as a panel on Equity and Diversity.

DR. GABOR MATÉ - Maintaining Equilibrium During COVID and Beyond

Gabor Maté is a retired physician who, after 20 years of family practice and palliative care experience, worked for over a decade in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side with patients challenged by drug addiction and mental illness. The bestselling author of four books published in twenty-five languages, Gabor is an internationally renowned speaker highly sought after for his expertise on addiction, trauma, childhood development, and the relationship between stress and illness. His book on addiction received the Hubert Evans Prize for literary non-fiction. For his groundbreaking medical work and writing, he has been awarded the Order of Canada, his country’s highest civilian distinction, and the Civic Merit Award from his hometown, Vancouver. His books include In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction; When the Body Says No; The Cost of Hidden Stress; Scattered Minds: The Origins and Healing of Attention Deficit Disorder; and (with Gordon Neufeld) Hold on to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers.

Dr. Maté will also be facilitating a Q&A session as a workshop after his keynote address. If you have a question that you would like Dr. Maté to answer please submit it here.



Join moderator Annie Ohana from LA Matheson Secondary and our knowledgeable panelists SFU’s Amrit Cojocaru and June Francis, BCTF’s Starleigh Grass, Mante Molepo from Parents for Diversity, and education influencer Ken Shelton for a conversation about what we, as educators, need to do for our IBPOC students and families. What is the role of educators in fostering equity and diversity in our classrooms? How can educators take a productive role in supporting our IBPOC students and families that isn’t merely performative? How can educators center IBPOC history, experiences, knowledge, and successes into our work? See you there to hear the answers to these questions and more.

AMRIT COJOCARU is currently a Ph.D. student in the Educational Theory and Practice (eTAP) program at SFU with a focus on Equity Studies. She previously worked as a Faculty Associate teaching the Inclusive Education Graduate Program at SFU. Prior to working with in-service teachers, she worked as a classroom teacher, Learning Support Team teacher, and Social Development Teacher in the Surrey School District. She holds and an MEd from SFU and a BEd in Special Education from UBC.  

JUNE FRANCIS' extensive experience spans the private sector, as an entrepreneur, with civil society on governance boards and as an academic. Her research and practice focus on diversity, interculturality, leadership, and participatory engagement approaches with vulnerable and excluded groups. She works with governments, industry, and civil society, to advance diversity and inclusion in governance and economic opportunities, across a wide range of formal and informal sectors. An award-winning teacher, she was named to Chatelaine Trailblazing List of Black Canadians Making Change Now. In 2019, June was recognized by the Province of British Columbia and the National Congress of Black Women as a Trailblazer. The City of Vancouver also recognized her for her contributions to education and to the City, and she is also the recipient of a Service Award from the Beedie School of Business for her contributions to the community. 

STARLEIGH GRASS is a member of the Tŝilhqot’in Nation. Starleigh currently works as Assistant Director, Generalist in the Field Service Division of the B.C. Teachers’ Federation. In 2019 she was a member of and supported the BCTF bargaining team for provincial bargaining. In 2013, Starleigh provided a public statement to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on behalf of the First Nations Education Steering Committee. Her TedxWestVancouver talk, Reconciliation and Education, is available on YouTube. Starleigh taught secondary school in public schools in Lytton and Lillooet. 

MANTE MOLEPO is an equity and anti-racism advisor, founding member, and Director of Parents for Diversity. She works on anti-racism in education, including developing provincial guidelines for teaching anti-Black racism. As a Director for Amnesty International Canada and the Parkdale Food Centre, Mante works with organizations to address racism and other forms of oppression. In 2020, Mante was recognized as a Community Builder by the United Way and in 2018, she was recognized as one of Canada’s 100 Accomplished Black Women.  

Parents for Diversity is committed to advocating for equitable and inclusive learning environments that allow children to fulfill their full potential. We engage schools and families to promote and implement equity and inclusive education and to take meaningful steps to protect human rights for all in the education system. 

KEN SHELTON has worked as an Educator for over 20 years and most recently taught technology at the Middle School level. He regularly gives keynotes and presentations, consults, and leads workshops covering a wide variety of Educational Technology, Equity and Inclusion, Multimedia Literacy, Cultural Relevance, Visual Storytelling, and Instructional Design topics. Ken is the ISTE Digital Equity PLN 2018 Excellence Award winner. He currently holds an M.A. in Education with a specialization in Educational Technology as well as New Media Design and Production. 

MODERATOR:  ANNIE OHANA is Aboriginal Dept Head and an Anti-Oppression Educator at LA Matheson Secondary. She is a teacher activist with a Masters Degree in Equity Studies. Within both her education and community work she is a curriculum specialist who aims to create policy, praxis, and curriculum that is focused on inclusion, decolonization, and liberation. 


For technical support please email or text +1 (844) 281-4804