Canadian Geographic Education

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Executive Team

Photo: Tanya Kirnishni/Canadian Geographic

Canadian Geographic Education (Can Geo Education) is the educational committee of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS), one of Canada’s largest non-profit educational organizations.

The programs of Canadian Geographic Education aim to strengthen geographic education in the classroom. In addition to increasing the emphasis on geography within the school system, Can Geo Education endeavours to increase the public awareness of the importance of geographical literacy.

Can Geo Education, a standing committee of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, is seeking nominations to the Executive Committee in the following positions:

  • Nunavut – Term: November 2023 – November 2024
  • Nova Scotia – Term: November 2023 – November 2024
  • British Columbia Term: November 2023 – November 2026
  • Manitoba – Term: November 2023 – November 2026

CAN GEO EDUCATION EXECUTIVE

Can Geo Education is governed by a national executive council composed of geographic educators from across Canada, representing all levels of education. With curricula differing from province to province and territory to territory, the executive committee provides Can Geo Education and the RCGS with guidance and expertise related to their region to help ensure that the programs and resources developed by Can Geo Education are inclusive for educators across Canada.

The executive team includes eight regional representatives from various provinces and territories as well as a post-secondary representative and a representative from the Canadian Association of Geographers. If you are interested in contacting your regional representative or would like more information on how to become a regional representative, please contact [email protected] 

Chair

Paul VanZant

A geography educator for over 30 years, Paul VanZant has been involved in a number of initiatives to promote geographic education at the international, national, provincial and local levels. From 1999 to 2013, VanZant was an executive member of the Ontario Association of Geographic and Environmental Education (OAGEE), including six years as the organization’s president. During his tenure with the OAGEE, VanZant was also the liaison with the Ontario Ministry of Education and played a significant role in writing and reviewing the Canadian and World Studies and Social Studies curricula. VanZant was awarded the Geographic Literacy Award by The Royal Canadian Geographical Society in 2006, and in 2013, the Peel District School Board recognized his “unique and exemplary contributions to public education in Peel and the Peel community” with an Excellence in Education Award. In 2017, he received the OAGEE Award of Distinction “recognizing an outstanding contribution in advancing, promoting, and improving the quality of geography education in the Province of Ontario.” Most recently, he served on the RCGS’s Board of Governors and was co-coach of Team Canada’s entries in the last two International Geography Olympiad competitions. VanZant is also the author of three geography textbooks currently in use throughout Canadian high schools.

Term ends: November 2022

Regional representatives

Yukon representative

Michel Emery

Michel Emery has taught in Northern Canada for more than 22 years. He has been a French immersion teacher at the elementary and high school level, a consultant for Yukon Education, a Learning Commons teacher and an Ed-Tech coach. Emery truly believes that technology can transform learning and provide exciting opportunities to bring the curriculum alive and to inspire youth. You can find him leading sessions with educators or igniting student learning using 360-degree photography, virtual reality, interactive maps, design thinking, GIS and more. Emery has completed his Masters of Education Degree in Technology and Learning and enjoys working with educators and youth from all grade levels.

Term ends: November 2023

Nunavut representative

Vacant

This position is vacant. If you are interested in applying for this position, please click here.

Northwest Territories representative

Steve Dagar

More information will be shared shortly.  

British Columbia representative

Janet Ruest

Janet Ruest is a retired high school geography, history and law teacher who has also been a social studies methodology instructor at Vancouver Island University. Ruest is a National Geographic Certified Teacher and has completed the National Geographic Geo-Inquiry course. Ruest has many professional experiences, including conference presentations, participating as a member in Ministry of Education committees, serving as a member of the Canadian Museum of History’s Teacher Advisory group, and writing and reviewing social studies textbooks. In 2017, Ruest was awarded a Governor General’s History Award and a Certificate of Achievement from the Prime Minister’s Awards for Teaching Excellence. In 2016, she was selected to tour Germany as a Transatlantic Outreach Program Fellow. In 2015, Ruest was honoured to be named a National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellow. She travelled to the Galapagos Islands for her expedition experience. Also, in 2015, Ruest received The Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s Innovation in Teaching Award for her dedication to geographic literacy. Janet Ruest continues to be an educational leader by providing workshops and presentations for university and high school students as well as professional development for teachers.

Term ends: November 2022

Alberta representative

Paula Huddy-Zubkowski

Paula Huddy-Zubkowski has a Bachelor fo Arts in geography and is currently the Instructional Media and EdTech Consultant in Mohkinstsis (Calgary, Alta.) on traditional Blackfoot Territory. She has taught elementary classes, Indigenous Studies 30, and the last three years she has been a consultant developing lessons, videos, STEAM programming, and Makerspaces for her district. Huddy-Zubkowski has traveled to the Southern Ocean as a Grosvenor Teacher Fellow through National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions to develop lessons around geographic literacy and teaching in the outdoors. Her passion for connecting with nature, through Indigenous perspectives, motivates her to lead teachers and students to be global citizens who understand how mapping and technology can be used to help others become agents of change.

Term ends: November 2023

Saskatchewan representative

Christy Harrick

Christy was raised on a farm just outside of Ituna, Sask., where she attended school, before going on to complete her Bachelor of Education in Special Ed, and Master of Education from the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. Her Land-Based Indigenous Master’s cohort focused on land-based education and cross-cultural methodologies and travelled to Opaskwayak Cree Nation, Man., Hawaii, United States, and St’at’imc, B.C., culminating with a canoe excursion from Cumberland House, Sask., to The Pas, Man. Harrick is in her 21st year of teaching. She has taught in Alberta, the Northwest Territories, and Saskatchewan. She is presently the Student Support Teacher at Esterhazy High School and teaches Grade 7 social studies. She believes in a holistic education where inclusion of all students are respected and challenged to their own ability. Harrick enjoys teaching and educating students about various social justice issues that are happening in Canada and loves to discuss current events that are occurring in the world today with her students. She is passionate about Indigenous culture, rights, treaties, and teaches her students about our past and present responsibilities as Canadian citizens. Harrick believes in “relationality” as being fundamental to understanding that we are interconnected to the land, people, cultures, and our ancestors.

Term ends: November 2023

Manitoba representative

John Thompson

John Thompson is in his second term on the executive committee of Canadian Geographic Education. He brings enthusiasm and experience to the group. Thompson is a high school geography teacher and department head at Kildonan-East Collegiate in Winnipeg, Man., teaching grades 9 to 12. He is also the past-president of the Manitoba Social Science Teachers’ Association (MSSTA) and a proud Fellow of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society.

Term ends: November 2022

Ontario representative

Ewan Geddes

Ewan Geddes has been a Canadian and world studies teacher in the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) for the past 23 years. In addition to his classroom work, Geddes also served as his board’s instructional leader of geography and spatial technology. He is a longstanding member and a past president of the Ontario Association of Geographic and Environmental Education, through which he has facilitated GIS workshops for the TDSB, the Faculty of Education at the University of Toronto, and at Ryerson University. He has co-authored several educational resources, including the most recent Grade 9 textbook for Ontario, and has served on various curriculum review and writing teams throughout the years. He embraces problem- and inquiry-based models of teaching and learning, as well as using technology as a learning tool to prepare students for life in the 21st century. Currently, he teaches at York Mills Collegiate Institute in Toronto, Ont.

Term ends: November 2024

Quebec representative

Jennifer Leduc

Jennifer Leduc is co-subject animator of the Social Studies Department at Rosemere High School, in Rosemere, Que. A graduate of McGill University’s Bachelor of Education Program, she has been teaching Secondary 1 and 2 geography, history and citizenship since 2001. Leduc has mentored pre-service teachers from both McGill University and Bishop’s University over the last ten years. Passionate about travel and photography, she incorporates both into her classroom as much as possible.

Term ends: November 2023

New Brunswick representative

Gabrielle Rogers

Gabrielle grew up in Alberta and moved to New Brunswick in 2012. She has lived in Moncton and Fredericton and has taught in both Anglophone East and Anglophone West school districts. She holds both a B.A/B.Ed in Secondary Education and History from Université de Moncton, as well as a MA in History from the University of New Brunswick. She currently teaches Social Studies, French and an Interdisciplinary Cohort at Riverview High School. Gabrielle is passionate about geography as a tool to better understand and resolve social issues. She loves to develop creative, place-based activities for students across disciplines.

Term ends: November 2024

Nova Scotia representative

Vacant

This position is vacant. If you are interested in applying for this position, please click here.

Prince Edward Island representative

Bethany Doiron

More information will be shared shortly.

Newfoundland and Labrador representative

Tyrone Power

More information will be shared shortly.

Post-secondary education representative

Anne Mansfield

Anne Smith Mansfield represents the voice of post-secondary educators and teachers in training through her role. She has been involved in geography education for more than 30 years, including as a grades 9-12 geography teacher, a geography department head, president of  the Ontario Association of Geographic and Environmental Education, and currently teaches pre-service geography education at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont. She strongly believes that to have quality geography teachers in the classroom, it is necessary to ensure that new teachers are grounded in the distinctive knowledge base of the discipline, the principles of geographic thinking, inquiry, as well as pedagogical and professional development. Smith Mansfield wants to open the eyes of future teachers to what geography is all about and have them be excited about the opportunity to teach it.

Term ends: November 2024

Indigenous educator

Tesa Fiddler

Bio information to come. 

Canadian Association of Geographers representative

Kelley McClinchey

As a certified Ontario teacher, Kelley McClinchey has been teaching K-12 students for more than 20 years.  She focuses her teaching on inquiry-based learning and culturally responsive and relevant pedagogy in order to promote geo-literacy and spatial thinking. With a PhD in geography, specializing in cultural geography and tourism, McClinchey researches how diverse narratives play a role in community place-making and tourism development. She has been teaching human geography courses at the post-secondary level for more than 10 years. McClinchey is a board member of the Travel and Tourism Research Association Canada Chapter and the Education Study Group co-chair of the Canadian Association of Geographers.

The Canadian Association of Geographers is a network of peers and mentors that share ideas about Canadian geography research, education, and practices. Members of the association are part of a community of geographic scholars and professionals who are highly engaged in social, environmental, and scientific issues.

The Royal Canadian Geographical Society board liaison

Connie Wyatt Anderson

Bio information to come.

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