Commission on Inclusive Education Named

Education and Early Childhood Development

March 24, 2017 2:40 PM

NOTE: Biographical information about the three commission members follows this release.

Three experts who will examine the model of inclusive education in Nova Scotia have been chosen for the Commission on Inclusive Education.

Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Karen Casey announced the commission members today, March 24. They are:
--Dr. Sarah Shea, independent chair, co-appointed by government and the Nova Scotia Teachers Union
--Monica Williams, appointed by government
--Adela Njie, appointed by the Nova Scotia Teachers Union

Ms. Williams and Ms. Njie will begin their work immediately. Dr. Shea will join the commission by June 1.

"The work of this commission, along with the Council to Improve Classroom Conditions, is the direct result of what we have heard from teachers and parents - that changes are needed,” said Ms. Casey. “This is another example of our commitment to work with teachers and other experts to improve classrooms. We must ensure the right supports are in place for all students in our classrooms. This expert panel will examine our current approach and compare it to best practices elsewhere."

The commission will examine the model of inclusion for students. It will review current practice and policy and develop a plan that will include recommendations on improvements and goals. The recommendations will address funding, resources, professional development, and improving teaching and learning conditions.

It will engage front-line teachers, parents, students, and associations, and review best practices across Canada.

The commission will issue an interim report by June 30 with a final report within one year of its appointment.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

     Three experts who will examine the model of inclusive

education in Nova Scotia have been chosen. They are Dr. Sarah

Shea, who will serve as independent chair, Monica Williams, and

Adela Njie.

     Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Karen

Casey says the work of this commission, along with the Council

to Improve Classroom Conditions, is the direct result of what

government has heard from teachers and parents - that changes

are needed.

     The commission will examine the model of inclusion for

students. It will review current practice and policy and develop

a plan that will include recommendations on improvements and

goals. The recommendations will address funding, resources,

professional development, and improving teaching and learning

conditions.

     The commission will issue an interim report by June 30 with

a final report within one year of its appointment.

-30-

Media Contact: Heather Fairbairn
        Cell: 902-717-2151
        Email: Heather.Fairbairn@novascotia.ca

Committee member biographies:
--Sarah Shea is a medical doctor and a professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Dalhousie University. She formerly served as physician leader of clinical neuroscience and eye care teams and as head of the division of developmental pediatrics at the IWK Health Centre. Dr. Shea has served in an advisory capacity with Autism Nova Scotia, the Nova Scotia Provincial Early Years Partnership, the Nova Scotia Early Intensive Intervention Services project, and the Alström Society.

--Monica Williams has masters’ degrees in speech language pathology and educational administration, and is completing a doctorate in educational leadership with research on leadership for inclusion. She has experience as a classroom teacher, administrator, and has worked as an elementary reading specialist, resource teacher, itinerant teacher of the visually impaired, and clinical speech language pathologist. Ms. Williams previously served as an executive director with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.

--Adela Njie has a master's degree in education (French Immersion Cohort) and is currently employed in the Faculty of Education at St. Francis Xavier University. She has a master's degree in Curriculum and Resource and is completing a master's in Educational Leadership and Administration with St. Francis Xavier University. She has taught both English and French at the elementary, junior high and high school levels this province. She has experience as a classroom teacher, resource teacher, and student services consultant. She previously served as an executive staff officer with the Nova Scotia Teachers Union.