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Learning from industry leaders

Our faculty members in the School of Early Childhood Education come from multiple disciplines and have extensive backgrounds in such fields as:

  • Teaching
  • Child care administration
  • Special education
  • Health promotion
  • Community development

They aren’t just teachers: they maintain deep connections in their field at all levels, from research to advocacy to leadership roles.

For example, Early Childhood Education professors regularly publish articles in the IDEAS journal, an industry publication that focuses on the emotional wellbeing of children. They also work on steering committees and boards to shape new policies and laws regarding child care education. To stay current in their field, faculty also complete graduate and post-graduate programs and ongoing collaborations in the community, academia and government. They are recognized nationally for their efforts.

Internationally, faculty members have been involved in early childhood development projects in Jamaica, China and Cuba, strengthening professional development opportunities for students and faculty.

Emis Akbari

Emis Akbari obtained her Ph.D. at the University of Toronto in developmental behavioural neuroscience. She completed her postdoctoral training at both McGill University in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery and at the Atkinson Centre for Society and Child Development at OISE. Emis’ initial research examined issues surrounding early life adversity on brain and behavioural development in animal models. Her current research examines determinants of children's early social, emotional, and cognitive development and the buffering effects of early enriching environments in Canada and abroad. She also evaluates current and changes in policy at all levels of government. Emis is also the co-author of the Early Childhood Education Report. This report provides a snapshot of provincial and territorial preschool services and performance on different criteria including access to child care programs and investments in early education. It also compares Canada to other developed economies. She is ardent and committed to evidence-based change in policy and global development and its connection to improving child education, development and outcome. She is the co-founder and member of the board of directors of The NayaSophia Foundation, committed to improving the education, health and needs of young orphans in Haiti. She is also the author of the children’s book The Mighty O!, the story of a boy who was born with a congenital heart defect and the challenges he and his family have overcome.

Patricia Chorney Rubin

Patricia Chorney Rubin is the Director Community Services and Early Childhood at George Brown College, a position she has held since 2002. Patricia came to the College in 1984 when she joined the team as an Early Childhood Educator. She has collaborated with others in the department in the area of Lab School development and has been the Manager of many of the Lab School teaching child care centres operated by the college. Patricia has taught and coordinated in both the full and part-time Early Childhood Programs. Patricia was appointed to the Ontario Government's Best Start Expert Panel on Human Resources in the Early Childhood Sector (2007). In 2009 Patricia led the launch of the Bachelor of Applied Arts in Early Childhood Leadership at George Brown College. Patricia obtained a diploma from Sir George Williams University, and a B.A. in Early Childhood Education from Concordia University.

Rachel Brophy

Rachel is a Registered Early Childhood Educator and graduate of George Brown College’s ECE program. She has designed and taught drama and art workshops for children, volunteered as a fitness coach for women and youth, facilitated family resource programs and worked as an ECE with a variety of age groups. Some of Rachel’s most significant teaching experiences were the years she spent living and working in Nunavut & Nunavik. In the north, Rachel collaborated with two different Inuit communities to organize and teach a college level ECE program to local residents. She has also worked internationally as a program coordinator & facilitator for Youth Leadership Workshops on the island of St. Lucia. Rachel has a BFA in Theatre and a MA in Early Childhood Studies both from Ryerson University. Her master’s research focused on Aboriginal Early Childhood Education in Canada. Currently, she is PhD Candidate in the Faculty of Education at York University where her doctoral research combines literature, psychoanalytic theory and representations of childhood to examine adult-child relations. Areas of interest: early childhood curriculum, the role of the adult in early childhood education, emotional relationships to teaching and learning and questions of diversity, equity & human rights in ECE.

Karen Chandler

Prior to her full-time faculty position at George Brown College, Karen’s extensive experience includes working with children, families, and professionals in early childhood, mental health, education, and recreation environments. Through this work, Karen focus is on the development of leadership, social justice and the continuous learning of Early Childhood Educators and leaders. Throughout her career, Karen is involved in the application of research to practice and reflecting on lessons learned for informing EC policy. She currently facilitates a community of Practice for RECEs which enables her to build continuous awareness of successes and challenges faced by Early Childhood programs and professionals.

Karen was seconded as a senior policy advisor in strategic initiatives to the Ontario government, facilitating the development of the ELECT document, the College of ECEs and policy recommendations in the creation of full day Kindergarten. Karen is involved at a pan Canadian level as a founding member and past president of the Canadian Child Care Federation, serving on the executive of the Child Care Human Resources Sector Council where research focused on issues such as salaries and working conditions, the development of Occupational Standards and the need for revisions to post secondary Early Childhood curriculum. She currently serves as an expert witness with the College of Early Childhood Educators.

An author of numerous publications including Administering for Quality: Leadership and Collaboration of Canadian Early Childhood Programs, 5th edition and the Whole Child, Canadian editions. Her undergraduate education focuses on early childhood education completing credentials at Ryerson and Canadore College. Karen's graduate work in Assessment and Counselling was completed at the University of Toronto.

Maria Ciampini

Maria Ciampini has earned her PhD from the University of Toronto, in the Curriculum, Teaching and Learning Department., a Masters of Education degree in Foundations of Teaching and Learning through Brock University, a B.A. in Early Childhood Education through Ryerson University, and a Diploma in Early Childhood Education through Humber College and her Early Childhood Education Certification from the A.E.C.E.O. Her teaching background is varied. She worked with many levels of adult learners including students enrolled in E.C.E. program at George Brown College, Ryerson University’s Early Childhood Education (E.C.E.) Program; in the York / Seneca joint program; and in Seneca’s E.C.E., E.C.A. (assistant) and Apprenticeship program. Maria spent ten years in the role of the Director of the ECE Lab School at Seneca College and played an instrumental role in the development of the Lab School’s permanent site and program at the Newnham Campus of the college. Prior to teaching adult students she acquired a background of extensive experience in a variety of children’s programs in the role of supervisor and early childhood educator.

Bernice Cipparrone

Bernice Cipparrone has been in the field of early childhood education for almost thirty years. She graduated from York University with a B.A before receiving her Diploma in Early childhood Education from Seneca College. After working in the field for several years in various capacities including Director for a multisite organization; she returned to school to complete graduate studies at the University of Toronto’s Institute of Child Studies. Bernice then worked in children’s mental health specializing in infant mental health, trauma as well as healthy child development. In addition, during her professional and person time she has been committed to creating inclusive accessible communities. Bernice has developed three cultural competence evaluation tools for the Ministry of Children and Youth Services. These tools have been well received by the community which led to a number of local and national presentations. Bernice also worked at a Senior level for the Ontario Trillium Foundation (an agency of the government of Ontario) for three years while she was an instructor with George Brown College in the ECE continuing education department since 2000 before becoming full-time faculty in 2011.

Joanna Friend

Joanna has worked in diverse learning environments for over 20 years. Specializing in learner variability, which includes learners with disabilities, and marginalized Canadian populations, her teaching and learning values center on promoting social change, diversity and equity, and working within an anti-oppressive education framework. Prior to joining the School of Early Childhood team, she worked as an Accessible Learning Consultant, Learning Strategist, Curriculum Developer and Educator spanning early childhood settings to post-secondary institutions. Joanna holds a Master of Education from OISE at University of Toronto in Sociology and Equity Studies in Education (now Social Justice Education), a Bachelor of Education and a Bachelor of Arts from York University and is registered with the Ontario College of Teachers.

Dorota Gill

Dorota is a Registered Early Childhood Educator and graduate of George Brown College’s ECE program and has been in the field of early childhood education for over 20 years.

Prior to completing her ECE at George Brown College, Dorota received her Master's in Education from Wroclaw University in Poland with specialization in Linguistics.

After completing her ECE at George Brown College in 1995, Dorota worked as an Early Childhood Educator at two of the College Lab Schools over the next eleven years.

Dorota joined the ECE Faculty as a part-time Instructor after completing her Master’s in Early Childhood Studies at Ryerson University in 2007.

Since joining George Brown as a full time professor in 2013, Dorota supports students a second-year coordinator and has been teaching a number of courses in the ECE and ECA programs, including field education.

Prior to her full time position at George Brown College, Dorota taught at Ryerson University in the Early Childhood Education Department. Dorota areas of interest include supporting children and students through inclusive curriculum and pedagogy.

Lora Hamilton

A George Brown College graduate of the ECE program, Lora worked at three college lab schools designing curriculum for all age groups from infants to kindergarten children. She facilitated creative play workshops and taught courses in the E.C.E. continuing Education department before joining the E.C.E. faculty as a Field Instructor.

Shawnee Hardware, PhD

Dr. Hardware (she/her/hers) is a Professor in the School of Early Childhood, George Brown College. She also consults on and designs workshops pertaining to anti-racism, student and community engagement as well as diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice. Prior to being hired at George Brown, she was a Research Project Lead with the Child Development Institute, where she developed resources for the Stop Now And Plan program and a Visiting Scholar at Memorial University of Newfoundland’s (MUN) Faculty of Education. Shawnee holds a PhD in Language, Culture and Teaching from York University and an M.Ed. in Curriculum, Teaching and Learning Studies from MUN. Her interests include student engagement, youth civic engagement, and curriculum development from an anti-racist and culturally responsive lens. Moreover, Shawnee is a community leader who served as a member of the board of directors at Caribbean African Canadian (CAFCAN) Social Services. She also acted as the Education and Culture Chair at the Jamaican Canadian Association.

Gail Hunter

Gail has been involved in the early childhood education field for more than thirty five years. Over the years she worked in the capacity of ECE, Program Supervisor, and Toronto Board Child Care Advisor. As the advisor, her role as liaison included working with schools, supervisors, Boards of Directors, provincial and municipal inspectors in this capacity she facilitated centre start-ups and provided ongoing workshops and supports to child care centres. Gail taught at Seneca College and Centennial College prior to joining the George Brown team as a full time ECE Professor and Coordinator. Over last 25 years she was instrumental in bringing to fruition the Winter Intake ECE diploma and the last 6 years the Early Childhood Leadership Degree. As well, Gail was part of the team that established the Jamaica Teaching Experience; she continues to be involved by supporting the project and sitting on a PACE subcommittee.

Gail's educational background includes a B.A. in Social and Political Thought, a Diploma of Early Childhood Education, a Certificate in Psychology of Human Relations and a Certificate in Teaching and Training Adults.

Over the last year Gail has worked closely with Red River College and Atkinson Centre in promoting and supporting other colleges and universities in using the Science of Early Childhood Development resource. As well, she continues to be involved in the Child Care Community by facilitating workshops in the community.

Palmina Ioannone

Palmina is an educator and researcher. She has a PhD in Human Development and Applied Psychology with a Specialization in Early Childhood Education from the University of Toronto/OISE, a M.A in Child Studies from Concordia University and a B.A in Psychology from McGill University. Palmina has worked directly with children and their families in a variety of early years’ settings. She has taught a variety of early childhood education courses in Ontario and Quebec. In addition, Palmina has extensive experience in supporting students in field practice. Palmina has been involved in a variety of applied research projects in Canada and the U.S. including numerous studies on parenting and the early childhood education workforce.

Palmina is a Registered Early Childhood Educator (RECE). Her special interests focus on the social and emotional wellness of young children and the adults who care for them.

Suzette Jones

After completing her ECE at George Brown College, Suzette worked as a playroom teacher at five of the College Lab Schools over the next fifteen years. She was assistant supervisor at three of the centres while also teaching extensively in the Continuing Education Program. Suzette recently joined the ECE Faculty as a Field Instructor.

Mary Lou Lamont, ECE, BAA, MT

Mary Lou began teaching at George Brown College in 2006, after completing her Masters of Teaching at OISE/UT. She also achieved her Bachelor of Applied Arts in Early Childhood Education from Ryerson University, and her Early Childhood Education certification from George Brown College. Mary Lou has devoted over 25 years as a child care professional in a variety of environments, obtaining practical experience via increasingly responsible roles. The environments included College Lab Child Care, workplace settings, and community-based centres, while her roles ranged from participation as an ECE team member, to training staff and student ECEs and ECAs, to supervising child care centres, and finally to coordinating multiple centres. For many years, Mary Lou sat on the Child Care Advisory Board representing centres in the former City of York, as well as serving on various ad hoc committees addressing child care issues. Since joining George Brown, she has been active supporting students in the College’s highly regarded ECE and ECA programs in the classroom, tutorial, seminar and field-placement settings

Monica McGlynn-Stewart

B.A. (Toronto), D.C.S. (Diploma in Child Study, Primary/Junior Teaching Qualification, OISE, Toronto), M.ED. (Curriculum, Teaching and Learning, OISE, Toronto), Ph.D. (Curriculum, Teaching and Learning, OISE, Toronto)

Monica is a former elementary teacher with the Etobicoke Board of Education and co-founder and principal of The Abelard School, an independent school in Toronto. She has also worked as a consultant and facilitator for social service and educational organizations including the Metro Association for Family Resource Programs. Prior to joining the George Brown Faculty in January 2012, she was an Instructor and Faculty Advisor in the School of Early Childhood Education at Ryerson University for 7 years. For over 20 years Monica has researched, presented, and published on many topics including teacher action research, reflective practice, student engagement, literacy learning and teaching and Full-Day Early Learning Kindergarten teaching teams in Ontario. Currently she is the director of the SSHRC funded research project, Toys or Tools? Using Open-Ended Tablet Applications for Early Literacy Learning.

Shelly Mehta

Shelly Mehta earned her PhD in Developmental Psychology and Education (DPE) at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto (UT). Her dissertation focused on children’s social and pedagogical understandings of kindergarten. Her MA thesis also in DPE at OISE/UT, was centered on children’s perception of their own skin tone and the skin tone of others. Her undergraduate thesis, as a part of her specialist degree in Psychology and Neuropsychology (HBSc.) was on the tactile memory differences between persons with varying degrees of visual impairment. Shelly is a certified primary/junior teacher in Ontario (OCT) with additional qualifications in special education and primary education. She is also a registered early childhood educator (RECE) in Ontario.

Aside from being the first-year coordinator and full-time faculty in the Early Childhood Education (ECE) program at George Brown College (GBC), Shelly is the International Student Liaison which requires her to work closely with international students, English language learners (ELLs), and mature students. Her pedagogical approach is centered on student success, the international student experience, innovative uses of technology in the classroom, and anti-racist and anti-oppressive practices in teaching and learning. She is an active member with the Canadian Congress on Inclusive Diversity and Workplace Equity and is a part of the South Asian Women Health Collaborative Community. Shelly has multiple experiences in higher education teaching and training. She has taught Psychology courses at OCAD University and Seneca College (York University) as well as different development courses in the Early Childhood Studies Program at Ryerson University (RU) and in the Psychology department at the Chang School RU. Shelly has taught or assisted in teaching courses in the Initial Teacher Education program and the Master of Teaching program at OISE and was an Academic Advisor for many years at OISE’s Student Success Centre. She has experience teaching in diverse settings such as the J Addison School for ELLs, Career Essentials Vocational Adult School, and at the Independent Learning Centre for higher education students.

Shelly has been involved in a number of research initiatives over the past several years. A few examples of key projects include but are not limited to: The Shaken Baby Syndrome Project, The Balanced Literacy Diet Website, TV Ontario Kids Fun For Families Literacy Program (TVO), the Toronto First Duty Project and the Peel Best Start and Full-Day Kindergarten Projects. In collaboration with the Atkinson Centre at OISE, Shelly completed a research report examining the experiences of internationally trained early childhood educators in Ontario in order to highlight the importance of accessible bridging programs in higher education institutions. Shelly has ongoing involvements in research in the field of psychology and education and continues to be a member in several organizations within Toronto and the GTA.

Beth Stockton

Beth joined the School of Early Childhood in 1990 where she worked as an Early Childhood Educator for the next seven years at various George Brown College Lab schools. She continued her work as a manager of three different lab schools for the next six years. She began teaching part time at George Brown College in 1995 and joined the full time faculty in 2004 where she coordinated and taught courses related early childhood curriculum. Additionally, Beth has facilitated various workshops over the years for RECE in areas related to curriculum, in particular school age programs. Recently, Beth worked in the Office of Academic Excellence for four years as program reviewer where she was able to utilize her curriculum skills in supporting other programs at George Brown College. Beth currently coordinates and teaches in the ECE diploma/degree programs. She has BA in Sociology and English from University of Toronto, ECE diploma from George Brown College and a MEd from U of T/OISE in Adult Education. Her interests include early childhood curriculum, educator development, curriculum development, UDL approaches in education, and parenting.

Fidelia Torres

Fidelia Torres started her career in the early years’ sector, almost thirty years ago working as an early childhood educator in a small child care centre located in a public school. Since then Fidelia has worked in various capacities as an early years manager with the not for profit sector, municipal government and public school board. Fidelia’s areas of expertise focus on the integration of child care, education and family supports from the perspectives of research, policy development, service planning and implementation. Prior to her work at George Brown College, Fidelia worked as Child Care Services Manager for the Toronto District School Board supporting the transition into full-day kindergarten and the implementation of the full-day kindergarten before and after program. Fidelia has been teaching at George Brown’s School of Early Childhood for the past three years and feels privileged to have the opportunity to share her passion for the field with an expert team of faculty colleagues and most of all with her students.

Fidelia is a graduate from the Early Childhood Studies program at Ryerson University and completed her Masters in Social Work at the University of Toronto with a minor on Immigrant and Settlement Studies.

Elaine Winick

Dr. Elaine Winick is proud to be a full time faculty member in the George Brown College Early Childhood Education Department, teaching in both the diploma and degree programs. She is also an ECE honours’ graduate (Seneca College), eventually returning to earn post-graduate certificates in Early Intervention and Family Education. Throughout her career, Elaine has worked in many different venues within the early learning sector, including child care, preschool and nursery schools, parent and child programs, employee advocacy agencies, consulting firms, private schools, storytelling, family education programs, fathers’ support programs, Early Literacy Specialist with York Region Ontario Early Years, and over 23 years of post-secondary education teaching experience. Each of these experiences also brought with them a myriad of training certificates. Elaine has her undergraduate degree from York University, her Masters of Education from Brock University, and her PhD from OISE/UT. Elaine's PhD dissertation examined ECE leadership in Ontario, interviewing 36 individual and high profile leaders, and surveyed 168 early years’ stakeholders. She belongs to a number of professional early years groups: including, the AECEO, NAEYC, AERA, Early Years Educators of Ontario, and a Joint Advisory Group focusing on collaborative practice symposiums. Elaine has been part of the College of Early Childhood Educator’s Pilot Project: as a mentor, as a learning module facilitator, and as one of the participants of the CECE Leadership video. This work with the CECE continues with one of the leadership modules available online as a CPL option. As a strong advocate for ongoing professional learning, Elaine has presented at a large number of local, provincial, national, and international conferences. At each opportunity she shares her expertise in such areas as child development, literacy, working with families, arts-based pedagogy, leadership and advocacy, and sharing components of various current research studies. Her most recent research focuses on early years' professional self-identity. Ultimately, Elaine feels that both mentoring and high quality ongoing professional learning should be acknowledged as required and necessary components of professional practice