Jennifer E. Lawson, PhD, is the creator of the Hands-On books published by Portage & Main Press. As senior writer and editor for the series, she has contributed to more than 50 publications for teachers and students. Jennifer provides professional development workshops for educators locally, nationally, and virtually, and is a Workplace Wellness Advisor. Her most recent book is a collective effort called Teacher, Take Care: A Guide to Well-Being and Workplace Wellness for Educators. She is also one of the founders of Mission to Mexico, an organization that supports schools in some of the most impoverished communities in Puerto Vallarta. Throughout her extensive career in education, Jennifer has worked as a classroom teacher, resource and special education teacher, consultant, principal, university instructor, and school trustee. She lives with her family in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Shannon Gander, BPE, CAC, CM, is the founder and director of Life Work Wellness, a company committed to individual and organizational well-being. Shannon has an academic background in corporate wellness, mental health, and conflict resolution, and has worked in the mental health community as a therapist and trainer since the early 1990s. For many years, she travelled Manitoba as part of the Balance team, bringing mental health program resources to educators. Shannon advocates for leaders to create systems for psychological health and safety for employees at all organizational levels. Her bliss is her family, nature, and a hot cup of coffee on a Saturday morning.
Knowledge Keeper and writer Richelle North Star Scott (Giiwedinong Anong) says Aniin! I am of Anishinaabe and Métis descent, and my Ancestors are from St Peter's Reserve. I am the mother of three beautiful daughters: Amanda, Tehya, and Riel. I am a KooKoo of a fabulous grandson named Darius, but I call him Noozhis (which means grandchild). I am the Coordinator of Indigenous Inclusion Education for the St James-Assiniboia School Division. I am a Mide woman, Pipe Carrier, Water Carrier, and Sundancer. I have completed my mystery* in land-based education. (*I don't use "master's" as it is a gender-binary word.)
Elder Stanley Kipling, Dip FNCW, BSW, MSW, RSW, is a proud First Nation individual. He is the director of Indigenous Partnerships and Services at the Canadian Mental Health Association. Stan has extensive experience in areas related to Indigenous diversity, healthcare issues in Indigenous populations, improving Indigenous cultural awareness, spiritual care, suicide prevention, addictions, anger management, family violence prevention, life skills, and personal development. Stan was raised on the trap line, hunting, commercial fishing, and living on the land. Stan is also a Sun Dancer and pipe carrier, a traditional harvester of animals and plants, and has held Sweat Lodges.
Cher Brasok is the founder of Connect to your Calm. When stress destroyed her health, Cher's recovery was dependent on learning how to better cope. Her path back to health included studying and putting into practice what she learned from experts in positive psychology, Western medicine, Eastern medicine, naturopathic medicine, and mindfulness. Now that she is a successful entrepreneur, stress still happens, but she deals with it differently. Cher is on a mission to share what she knows about wellness and coping with stress, all in the spirit of helping people develop healthy habits for their physical and emotional well-being.
Monika Cichosz Rosney, BA, BEd, is a Polish-born settler with more than a decade of experience teaching students of all ages, from infants to adults. Navigating multiple cultures from childhood and learning about her privilege, place, intergenerational stories, and resilience informs Monika's wellness journey. Teaching relationships shaped Monika's change of focus from academics to healing and social justice. Now, working on her Master of Marriage and Family Therapy, she supports culturally congruent community care as a powerful foundation for self-care, equity, and wellness. Monika is grateful for continued spiritual development as a relational therapist, new parent, and contributing author. She lives in Winnipeg on Treaty 1 territory with her spouse and child.
Laura Doney is a Certified Canadian Counsellor and currently works as a therapist in Calgary, Alberta. Laura has worked in school districts for seven years in multiple roles. She completed a master of counselling degree and focused her graduate thesis on teacher mental health. Her passion for personal development and well-being is rooted in her own personal work and the belief that we are all here to learn and grow. She has presented at numerous educational conferences and conventions about the importance of personal and systemic well-being.
Dana Fulwiler Volk, BEd, MEd, MAPP, is a learner, educator, consultant, and co-founder of a well-being podcast and professional learning platform called Teacher Fan Club. Dana's experience spans public education, non-profit, and post-secondary, including roles as a classroom teacher, system leader, and instructor with the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary and the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Dana's current work is focused on helping individuals, workplaces, and organizational systems infuse research-informed, inclusive, and sustainable well-being practices.
Jackie Gagné is a vice principal in the St. James-Assiniboia School Division in Winnipeg. She is an enthusiastic supporter of arts programming in public schools and believes that all children should be immersed in engaging arts-based experiences throughout their education. Jackie is a former arts and integrated arts coordinator for the division. She enjoys time with family, playing piano and guitar, painting, listening to music, live events, and long drives in the countryside.
Megan Hunter, BKin, BEd, MSc (candidate), founder and social innovator at Peak + Prairie Co. Health Promotion, is on a mission to connect, create community, and collaborate with organizations, communities, and businesses to develop psychologically safe and healthy places where we play, live, and work. Megan credits her shift to psychological health promotion to her experience as a workplace wellness liaison with the Alberta School Employee Benefit Plan and many experiences shared with fellow education-sector employees. These days you can find Megan playing in the mountains on bikes and boards with her husband, Jon, and their newborn son.
Kelsey McDonald's career in public education spans 20-plus years as classroom teacher, resource teacher, school counsellor, and principal. Most recently, she was seconded as the Provincial Consultant for Guidance and Counselling with the Inclusion Support Branch of Manitoba's Department of Education. Having professional experiences from a variety of vantage points has provided Kelsey with a unique perspective on our educational systems. Kelsey holds a BEd and a PBDE from the University of Manitoba, where she is currently enrolled in the MEd Counselling Psychology program. She lives in Winnipeg with her husband, Scott, and sons, Owen and Griffin.
Keith Macpherson, BEd, author, speaker, and certified professional co-active life coach through the Co-Active Training Institute, is a global leader in improving overall mental health and wellness. In his bestselling book, Making Sense of Mindfulness, Keith introduces his five-step framework for practically integrating this powerful practice into daily life. Keith is also known for his work as a professional musician, most notably being a top finalist on the hit television series Canadian Idol. Keith is active on social media and inspires thousands of people around the world with his "daily intentions."
Lisa Dumas Neufeld is a Métis-Mennonite educator from Winnipeg, Manitoba. She currently teaches in an alternative high school, at an adult education centre, and in the Faculty of Education at the University of Winnipeg. She is a mother, a writer, and a local-national-international speaker. Lisa uses her personal and professional experiences to serve and share in the areas of Indigenous education, trauma, addiction and recovery, transformation, and reconciliation.
Sandra Pacheco Melo, PBDE, MEd, has been an educator for more than 28 years in the public school system in Manitoba. She is currently principal at a French immersion early years school. Sandra speaks Portuguese, English, and French. She is a former classroom, resource and divisional support teacher in K to 12. Sandra lives with her husband, John, and daughters Mattias and Allysia.
Joyce Sunada has more than 30 years' experience as an educator. During that time she was a teacher, an administrator, and provincial leader who helped create and support healthy school communities. She was also an instructor with the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary. Joyce offers educators one solid piece of advice: "If you don't take time for your wellness, you will be forced to take time for your illness." As Joyce now enters retirement, her most cherished role is being Gramma J to her first grandchild, Deacon.