Junior Kindergarten / Kindergarten Consultant
Danielle Aylward is originally from Newfoundland, a descendant of settler Irish, French and Qalipu Mi’kmaq families. Danielle first came to live and work in the Northwest Territories in 2017, where she taught JK/Kindergarten for two years in Ulukhaktok on the lands of the Inuvialuit people.
In 2018, she began consulting with the Beaufort Delta Divisional Education Council and currently works at the regional office in Inuvik as the Junior Kindergarten/Kindergarten Consultant. Her 11-year career in education has ranged from JK to Grade 7 with a majority focus in the early years, including positions in Newfoundland, London (UK), and the NWT, and training opportunities locally and internationally. Danielle’s educational background includes a B.Sc. (Psych), B.Ed. (Primary/Elementary), and she is currently completing a Masters of Professional Education in Early Childhood Education at Western University.
Danielle is passionate about the unique nature of learning in the early years, with a focus on the power of attending to play and learning in relationship with each other, our environment, and our communities. She enjoys working collaboratively with teachers to recognize the many ways young children show their learning and strengths, and listening to the many stories they share along the way.
Literacy Consultant & Instructional Coach Coordinator
If you have been in the Beaufort Delta Divisional Education Council (BDDEC) in the last 8+ years, it is likely that you have heard an impassioned speech by Julie Donohue-Kpolugbo about literacy and our collective moral imperative to do what is best for all children. Julie currently serves as the Literacy Consultant and Instructional Coach Coordinator in BDDEC including a more recent focused work in Grades 1-6 ELA supports. She has been with us at the BDDEC office since August 2016, after 3 years working at Mangilaluk School in Tuktoyaktuk.
Over the last 20 years, Julie has worked in a variety of locations in North America, South America and Africa serving in varying capacities including classroom teacher, instructional leader, program support teacher, coach, and literacy consultant. In 2011, she won the VIF International Educator of the Year Award in Atlanta, Georgia.
Julie’s work is rooted in her passion for literacy and improving pedagogical practice, which now also includes the ongoing development, implementation and support of the BDDEC Instructional Coaching program. She is not only known for her enthusiasm, but also for her advocacy and compassion for children, work ethic, organization, willingness to collaborate, perspectives on diversity, and inspiring others in their own journey.
Julie holds a Master of Arts degree with a focus on elementary pedagogy as well as a certification in International Development with an emphasis on program planning for sustainability. Most recently, Julie graduated as a member of the Learning Forward Academy Class of 2019 with specific concentration on supporting BDDEC toward a future that highlights some of the best teaching and student success in the Northwest Territories.
Regional Inclusive Schooling Coordinator
From 2010 to 2015, while completing a Bachelor of Education in Primary Studies and Bachelor of Arts in Child and Family Studies, I worked as an Early Childhood Educator and Life Skills Coach, where I supported students with both intellectual and physical disabilities aged 3-21. I worked in a supporting role for students with Asperger’s Syndrome, Chromosome 9 – Trisomy 9p, and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, developing and implementing activities that supported and promoted healthy development, promoted appropriate social and communication skills, fostered healthy relationships, and developed a sense of independence.
From 2015-2018, I worked with students in Shenzhen, China utilizing the International Baccalaureate curricula as a Primary Years Program Teacher, while completing two Advanced Graduate Certifications from the University of Calgary in Inclusive Education and Advancing Health and Socially Just Schools and Communities, and a Masters of Education. In 2018, I joined the community of Ulukhaktok as a Program Support Teacher, where I led weekly collaborative meetings between staff, advocated for technology and support for students, and scheduled interventions.
In 2021, I was invited to join the BDDEC Regional Office as the Regional Inclusive Schooling Coordinator. The Regional Inclusive Schooling Coordinator (RISC) holds the central coordination role at the district level. Reporting directly to the Assistant Superintendent, the RISC supports school-based staff and serves as a liaison between the school and community agencies and other stakeholder groups. The RISC works directly with school principals and PSTs to ensure that school staff know about and use effective inclusive schooling practices.
Indigenizing Education and Inquiry Consultant
Erica Thompson is a settler Canadian who comes to us from Nova Scotia. With teaching experience in Manitoba, Nunavut, and 9 years in the Beaufort Delta Region she is honored to live and teach on the traditional lands of the Gwich’in and Inuvialuit people. Erica has a Masters of Education in Land-Based Indigenous Studies from the University of Saskatchewan. She has spent a great deal of time teaching in multi-grade contexts in small remote Indigenous communities and has organized frequent land trips with Elders and students from across this region. She draws on the knowledge and wisdom shared with her during her teaching years in the Delta as the Indigenizing Education Coordinator with BDDEC.
Erica’s educational philosophy weaves the foundational importance of community traditions, knowledge and worldview with curricular learning experiences and resources, always celebrating individual talents, and encouraging teachers to instill leadership and build resiliency in students so that they may navigate the realities of walking in two worlds. In addition to working closely with the Regional Indigenous Languages and Education Consultant (RILE), Erica is also the Literacy 7-12 Coordinator for BDDEC. The integration of these two portfolios is a unique and valuable feature of BDDEC programs.
Regional Indigenous Language Educator
As a school administrator, Velma explains her view on the future of schools in the North, citing a strong need to include more culture within the school system. Understanding that Canadian schools are Eurocentric in nature, Velma offers several ways that culture can be integrated into schools respectfully through consultation with elders, community leaders, and educational professionals. Originally from Aklavik, Velma has been a pioneer for culturally based education in Northern Canada. She continues to challenge the status quo by making positive changes to support all of the students in her school. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx
Math and Science Consultant
In 2019, I became the Math and Science consultant for BDDEC. My BDDEC journey began in 2010 when I left Nova Scotia and headed to Ulukhaktok for my first teaching position. My time in Ulukhaktok provided me the opportunity to teach almost all the NWT math curricula; grades 2 to 12 along with various other subjects. I am grateful for the countless friends, experiences, and perspectives gained from living in Ulukhaktok.
My educational background includes a M.Ed. in Curriculum Studies, a B.Ed. in Secondary Math and Sciences, and a B.Sc. in Mathematics and Statistics from Acadia University in Wolfville NS. I am currently working on a M. Ed. in Teaching and Learning Mathematics in Community from UBC.
Regional Inclusive Schooling Coordinator
Sonia Gregory is a settler Canadian whose grandparents were Ukrainian and French-Canadian. Sonia joined the Beaufort Delta Education Council in 2008 as a Program Support Teacher at Chief Julius School in Fort McPherson on the traditional lands of the Tetlit Gwich’in. In 2015, she left Fort McPherson to become the principal at Chief Paul Niditchie School in Tsiigehtchic on the traditional lands of the Gwichya Gwich’in. Sonia joined the Regional office in 2020 supporting Inclusive Schooling. Prior to moving to the Northwest Territories, Sonia worked in her home province of Saskatchewan for 14 years as a classroom teacher, inclusive education teacher, and a school administrator. Sonia completed her education in Saskatchewan and holds degrees in Education, Inclusive Education, and Land-based Indigenous Education. Sonia’s experience ranges from small, multi-graded JK-9 schools with 20 students, to high schools with 500 students.
Sonia’s educational philosophy is grounded in creating inclusive environments for students that reflect the values, norms, and traditions of their families, communities, and culture. Sonia believes in educational programming that is based on the goals and aspirations of children and their families, and that recognizes, honours, and develops the child’s unique gifts and talents. Sonia enjoys engaging and working collaboratively with communities and being involved in community activities. In her free time, Sonia enjoys baking, cooking, and going for walks on the land.
Online Blended Learning Coordinator
Born and raised in Stephenville, Newfoundland where I attended Memorial University of Newfoundland and graduated with a bachelor or Physical Education (2006) and Bachelor of Education (Intermediate/Secondary) with conjoint diploma in Technology Education (2007). From there I moved to Akavik, NWT with my wife and two children and took a position as the jr. high and high school teacher. In 2011 my third son was born, and by 2013, I was given the opportunity to fulfill the role of vice-principal and high school teacher and began working towards my master’s degree in education. April 2017 we made the move to Inuvik, where I taught shop and trades CTS courses at East Three Secondary School. From there I began teaching math in face to face classes and as part of the Northern Distance Learning (NDL) program in 2018. April of 2020 I graduated from Memorial University once more with a
Master’s of Education (Information Technology) focusing on research in transitioning from face to face learning to online and blended learning environments. This is where I moved into my current role as coordinator of the NDL program, where I manage the day to day operations of NDL as well as consulting the NDL teachers in August of 2020. Outside of work I enjoy snowmobiling, hunting and camping with my family. I also run the Kuzuri Judo Club in Inuvik as head Sensei and sit on the board of directors for the NWT Judo Association as Vice President.