Faculty Directory

faculty directory photo

The School of Social and Community Services at George Brown College brings together industry leaders to shape program and course content. Many of the faculty at the college are still active in their industries today, so they combine day-to-day working realities with academic theories and approaches. We take pride in hiring teachers that are well-respected and offer students excellent instruction, industry mentorship and provide valuable additions to their professional networks.

Faculty Members

Farhia Abdi (view bio)
Community Worker (C101)
416-415-5000, ext. 3926

Maureen Boettcher (view bio)
Social Service Worker (C119)

Chandra Budhu (view bio)
Community Worker (Fast-Track) (C131)
Social Service Worker
416-415-5000, ext. 3026

Resh Budhu (view bio)
Community Worker (C101)
416-415-5000, ext. 6276

Andrew Buntin (view bio)
Child and Youth Care (Fast Track) (C143)
416-415-5000, ext. 2316

Charlene Dunstan
Social Service Worker (C119)
416-415-5000 ext. 2652

Griffin Epstein (view bio)
Social Service Worker (C119)
416-415-5000 ext. 3778

Pearl Fernandez
Child & Youth Care (C133)
416-415-5000, ext. 2980

Patty Hayes (view bio)
Social Service Worker (C119)
416-415-5000, ext. 2696

Zeenat Janmohamed, Ph.D. (view bio)
Chair School of Deaf and Deafblind Studies &
School of Social and Community Services
416-415-5000, ext. 2342

Rusa Jeremic(view bio)
Community Worker Program (C101)
416-415-5000, ext. 6786

Judy Masters
Child and Youth Care (133)
416-415-5000, ext. 3708

Billie-Jean McBride (view bio)
Social Service Worker (C119)
416-415-5000, ext. 3240

Zalina Mohamad (view bio)
Child and Youth Care (C133)
416-415-5000, ext. 3034

Diane Moore (view bio)
Social Service Worker (C119)
416-415-5000, ext. 2496

Keith Nickson (view bio)
Social Service Worker (C119)
416-415-5000, ext. 2209

Rick Owens (view bio)
Social Service Worker Fast Track (C135)
416-415-5000, ext. 6111

Donna Reid (view bio)
Child and Youth Care (C133)
416-415-5000, ext. 3000

Zuby Saloojee (view bio)
Child and Youth Care (C133)
416-415-5000, ext. 3557

Amber R. Stiebel (view bio)
Community Worker (C101)
416-415-5000, ext. 3389

Melissa Teles (view bio)
Child and Youth Care (133)
416-415-5000, ext. 2184

Natalie Wood (view bio)
Social Service Worker (C119)
416-415-5000, ext. 6275

William Woolrich (view bio)
Community Worker (C101)
416-415-5000, ext. 3294

Cristine Yhap (view bio)
Child and Youth Care (C133)
416-415-5000, ext. 3703

Can't find who you are looking for? Search our college-wide staff and faculty directory here.

Faculty Bios

​Farhia Abdi
Farhia is a professor at the Community Worker Program and has been teaching at George Brown College since 2013. Farhia is interested in global and human rights issues embedding these contexts in her teaching and professional practice. Farhia has taught in the largest refugee camp in the world, located in the North Eastern region of Kenya. Her work in the refugee camps involved training teacher candidates through the Borderless Higher Education project spearheaded by York University's Faculty of Education and Centre for Refugee Studies. Prior to joining the college as a faculty member, Farhia worked in various neighbourhoods in the GTA, focusing mainly on community development and advocacy work. Farhia is currently pursuing a PhD at the Faculty of Education at York University. Her dissertation work explores the role formal education can play in bringing about peace and social cohesion in post-conflict societies. Her research informs her teaching practice in the School of Social and Community Services as she is constantly researching and writing about the role of educational institutions in the development of socially just society.

Maureen Boettcher, MSW
Maureen has been practicing and teaching in the social work field for 28 years. She began her career as social worker in child protection services in 1983. Maureen earned her MSW in clinical practice from the University of Calgary in 1988 and then joined a team of professionals providing treatment services to sexually abused children across Alberta and the Northwest Territories. She moved to teaching social work full time in 2004 when she became Manager of the Field Education Program at York University School of Social Work where she continues to teach part time. In 2009 Maureen joined the faculty of the Social Service Worker program at George Brown, where she now teaches full time.

Chandra Budhu, M.Ed
Chandra Budhu teaches in the Community Worker Program and is a founding member of the Tommy Douglas Institute. She has taught in George Brown's Social Service Worker Program and at New College, U of T. She spent over 20 years in international development focusing on women's rights, local economic development, social cohesion and governance. Highlights of her career include: Program Director of the historic 1995 Beijing Women's World Forum, Voluntary Sector Initiative on visible minorities organizations in Canada, Ministry of Attorney General's Hate Crime Project in Ontario, global/local initiatives on violence against women and a global initiative on gender and leadership in the church. Other activities include: Chair - Lecture series on Caribbean Development (York University); International Electoral Observer Mission (Organization of American States); Co-president- Canadian Women's Foundation and Chair- Women's Funding Network USA. Awards include: Skills for Change New Pioneer Award, GBC "Living the Academic Strategy" and Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Resh Budhu
Resh Budhu Ph.D. candidate (ABD), is faculty and co-coordinator in the Community Worker Program where she has taught since 2004. Coming from a background in popular education, social activism and theatre, Resh's work in the area of social justice, for over two decades (at home in Canada and abroad), has been mainly focused on issues relating to gender equality, anti-racism and community development. She has worked with the Government of Canada Millennium Initiative, the YWCA Week Without Violence, and the Beijing Forum on Women '95. Where issues of social justice, anti-oppression, diversity and equity are core to her teaching practice, the classroom continues to be an extension of her prior community worker life. In addition to teaching courses in Sociology, Political Science, Canadian Social Policy, and Global Politics, Resh coordinates the annual Tommy Douglas Institute, a forum for structural critiques of these neo-liberal times while offering alternative visions for the future of post-secondary education, communities and the larger society. Resh enjoys critical (outside-the-box) thinking, medium-double-doubles, genre-bending literature, political vision, the '80s, and being a mystery.

Andrew Buntin
Andrew BuntinPrior to joining George Brown College's Child and Youth Worker Program in 1999, Andrew had been working with children, youth and families for almost 25 years. He started his career as a child care worker in 1975, after receiving a diploma from George Brown College and a bachelor's degree in Child and Youth Care from Ryerson University. For seven years he worked in a variety of care settings, such as schools, foster care centres and child welfare agencies, before going on to manage a private treatment facility from 1982 to 1999. He has since maintained ties with the professional community by serving on the board of directors of the Ontario Association of Residences Treating Youth, as an advisory member for Ryerson University's School of Child and Youth Care Advisory Board, and as a certified professional member of the Ontario Association of Child and Youth Counsellors. Andrew recently took over as Coordinator of George Brown College's Child and Youth Worker Fast Track Program.

Griffin Epstein, PhD
Griffin is a professor in the School of Social and Community Services who has been engaged in community organizing and front-line social service provision since 2005. Griffin's activist work began as a founding member of both the Icarus Project's peer support model at New York City's Fountain House, and Toronto's Disability Action Movement Now (DAMN). Prior to joining the Social Service Worker team, Griffin developed and delivered curriculum for the Toronto Hostels Training Centre, and provided strategic planning assistance and training programs at various Toronto agencies. Griffin's doctoral work at the University of Toronto utilized community-based research to explore the relationship between race, colonial power and urban change. Griffin also holds an MA in Curriculum, Teaching and Learning and a BA in Gender and Sexuality Studies.

Patty Hayes, B.Mus. (Nazareth College of Rochester), M.Div. (St. Bernard's School of Theology and Ministry), M.S.W. (Syracuse University)
Patty is a professor in the Social Service Work Program. After teaching part-time in the Social Service Worker Program for several years, Patty joined as a full-time faculty member in 2016. She has been privileged to work both in Canada and the U.S. for over 15 years with children, youth, adults and families in a wide variety of contexts. This has included lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community centres, community based mental health programs, schools, and in-patient psychiatric settings. During her years in various clinical front-line and managerial positions, Patty spent most of her professional time working closely with clients in clinical practice, recognizing their courage and determination as well as the dedication and tenacity of her colleagues, sentiments which she also brings to the classroom.

Zeenat Janmohamed image

Zeenat Janmohamed, PhD.

Zeenat Janmohamed is the Chair of the School of Social and Community Services and Deaf and Deafblind Studies at George Brown College, having held faculty positions in School of Early Childhood, the Atkinson Centre at the University of Toronto, Ryerson University and the Eric Jackman Institute of Child Studies at the University of Toronto. Zeenat leads the Early Childhood Cognitive Sensitivity Training Study, acollaboration between George Brown College, the City of Toronto's Children's Services Division and the Atkinson Centre at University of Toronto. The research will develop and deliver an innovative model of professional learning on cognitive sensitivity to improve the skills of ECE. Her most recent study investigates the impact of full day kindergarten and extended day programs on educators, families and school administration. Her expertise examines the implementation of ideas related to diversity, equity and difference. Her research aims to examine how diversity is explored in training, policy and practice. Zeenat completed her PhD in the Department of Leadership, Higher and Adult Education at OISE, University of Toronto.

Rusa Jeremic

Rusa Jeremic, PhD candidate, teaches in the Community Worker program. She has also taught community-based classes in Regent Park, Scadding Court, and St. Jamestown. For close to 15 years, Rusa was active in global solidarity movements as a campaigner, popular educator, and researcher. Prior to that, she was a Human Rights Accompanier in Guatemala. At home, Rusa has been involved in community and union organizing and the peace movement. She has served as a volunteer Community Mediator, and, as a popular educator, and dabbles in the comedic arts. She is currently pursuing doctoral studies in Social Justice Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE). Her research interests include exploring virtual activism and online social movement building.

Gillian Johnston
Career Development Practitioner (C406)
416-415-5000, ext. 3646

Billie-Jean McBride, BASc, BSW, MSW, RSW
Billie-Jean McBride is a full-time Professor teaching in the Social Service Worker Program at George Brown College. Billie-Jean self-identifies as a First Nations woman who has worked extensively within the First Nations community including a specialization in permanency planning within Child Welfare. She had ongoing contact with both First Nations Bands and extended family members to ensure the rights of Aboriginal children in permanency planning. This work led her to extensive travel as she strove to place children in the care of the most appropriate families. Billie-Jean is one of a few social workers in Ontario who did customary care, kinship care, kinship service, legal custody, and adoption. Within the field of adoption, she completed a diploma from the University of Toronto post-graduate program, the Toronto Advancement Professional Education. Within the field of Child Welfare, Billie-Jean was actively involved in the designing of curriculum for OACAS specific to permanency planning. She has also managed within child welfare specific to Resources including both adoption and foster care departments. Another career focus was to work in the field of addiction, specifically with women who have histories of childhood trauma. Billie-Jean currently works within the Social Work field within a diversion program for individuals who have their first impaired charge or their first drug possession charge.

Zalina Mohamad
Zalina is a Professor in the School of Social and Community Services and has taught a variety of courses at all levels within the Child and Youth Care and Social Service Worker Programs. In addition Zalina has conducted a review of Field Education for the School of Social and Community Services. She is also actively involved in the community and continues to work with students on creating inclusive classroom spaces by grounding her teaching in anti-oppressive, reflective and reflexive practice. Zalina began her career teaching in high schools and working with at-risk youth in school-based programs. She obtained her B.Ed. and ESL qualification from OISE, U of T and went on to complete her Master of Education from York University with a focus on social justice, adult education and leadership. In addition, she completed a Graduate Diploma from York University in Urban Education, which provided a foundation for teaching and learning in urban environments by using an anti-oppressive lens and considering the diversities and intersection of identities which exist in the classroom. Zalina has worked in higher education for over 13 years, with ample experience as a Field Education Coordinator for the School of Social Work at York University.

Diane Moore bio picDiane Moore, M.Ed., CMF, CCDP has been with the college since 1998, starting as a counsellor in Counselling and Career Coaching, then moving to teaching roles in the Career & Work Counsellor and Social Service Worker Programs in 2007. Diane has worked in the field of personal and career counselling and education for the past twenty-five years. Diane has a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from York University, and a Master of Education in counselling psychology, from the University of Toronto. She received the Certified Career Development Practitioner designation in 2015 and while on sabbatical in 2015-2016 completed an Online Teaching Certificate.

Keith Nickson, M.A M.S.W. R.S.W.
Keith's career covers journalism, counselling and teaching. He has edited medical magazines and published many freelance pieces in The Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail. In the community Keith worked as a counsellor in several agencies, with youth at risk and adults with mental health challenges. In the mid-1990s, Keith began an eight year stint with Redirection Through Education (RTE) a George Brown program for adults with mental health and addiction issues. Keith and the RTE faculty launched the annual World Mental Health Day Conference that has run at George Brown annually since 1999. Increasingly fascinated with teaching, Keith has been a faculty lead on the SSW Student Success initiative, participated in two George Brown ESL projects in China and recently presented at a national conference of SSW professors in Thunder Bay, On.

Rick Owens, M.S.W., R.S.W., M.Ed.
Rick joined the Social Service Worker Program as a full-time faculty member in 2011 and has been the Coordinator of the Fast Track part of the program since the start of 2015. He has 30 years of experience in the field, having worked in youth justice, children's mental health, developmental services, health and education settings, in positions ranging from the front line to senior management. He is also an experienced teacher and trainer, and was a part-time faculty member at the School of Social Work at York University for more than a decade. Rick remains active in the field, as both a therapist in private practice and a member of the board of directors for an east end children's mental health centre. Rick's practice and research interests include critical social work, social work education and critical pedagogy, restorative practices, youth justice, treatment responses to sexual violence, and direct practice in mental health.

Donna Reid
Donna Reid is Coordinator and professor in the Child and Youth Care program at George Brown College in Toronto. Donna brings 27 years of developing and delivering treatment services for potentially at risk youth and families in the Child and Youth Mental Health sector. Donna's specific practice incorporated clinical assessment and treatment, group work and community based support for youth experiencing emotional and behavioural difficulties connected to emotional dysregulation, adoption and developmental trauma.

Donna strives to deliver course content in ways that foster deeper learning, teaching students how to think rather than what to think. Being an educator for 15 years has provided her with a critical lens on student learning and the challenges that derail it. Most recently she has been focused on applying the principles of trauma informed practice in the classroom to more fully engage CYC students in the teaching and learning partnership.

Zuby Saloojee, MEd, BA CYC, CYW; Professor Child & Youth Care (CYC) Program at George Brown College (GBC) since 1999. As an educator and activist, Zuby is dedicated to social justice, anti-racist and anti-oppression practice with children, youth, families and communities. For over 40 years her work in Canada has evolved from front-line child & youth work to program development, management, community development, & consultation/training. In 2014, she co-founded the Social Innovation Hub (SIH), an early stage incubator for the generation of socially innovative ideas and social enterprises with her colleague Natalie Wood for the School of Community Services at GBC. This alternative field placement broadens the scope for students as leaders and initiators of social action and social change along with community partners. Zuby has worked as a consultant locally and with the United Nations (UN) in South Africa (SA) & the SA Government- projects include reporting protocols on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Her International work also includes a Canadian International Development Agency-South Africa (CIDA-SA) capacity building project for the Public Service in Central Africa.This broad based integrated experience lends itself to anchor best practices in anti-colonial and inclusive paradigms in the education and training of Child & Youth Care practitioners at George Brown College who are able to address the complex issues faced in Canadian society.

Amber R. Stiebel, BSW, M.A.Ed.
Amber has been a full-time Counsellor and Professor at George Brown College for 20 years. She currently is an Advisory Board member of The Homestead (treatment centre for women), Florence Booth Shelter and Evangeline Shelter. She taught for several years in the Community Worker program and for the past seven years has been teaching a wide variety of courses in the Social Service Worker program, including Communicating and Interviewing Skills, Mental Health Policy and Practice, Substance Abuse Counselling Skills (Special Topics), and Values, Ethics and Professional Practice. Amber's work experience includes counselling youth who were homeless, and teaching life skills and employment skills to a wide diversity of youth, including youth with developmental challenges. In addition, Amber has counselled single homeless women with mental health issues and substance abuse issues, as well as homeless single mothers and children, many that had come from domestic abuse situations and others that were new to Canada. Also, Amber worked as a group facilitator for men living with AIDS, and a counsellor and group facilitator for men recovering from heroin addiction.

Melissa Teles
Melissa is a professor in the School of Social and Community Services and has been practicing child and youth care work for over a decade. In her role as a Child and Youth Care Practitioner, she has worked with children, young people, families and communities in the education sector, youth justice, child welfare, children's mental health, outreach, advocacy and most recently in Child and Youth Care education. Melissa is committed to creating inclusive classrooms where emerging practitioners can explore all aspects of child and youth care through an anti-oppressive lens. Melissa was one of the first child and youth workers in Canada to receive certification from the Child and Youth Care certification board. She has served on the board of directors for the OACYC and is a board member of the Child and Youth Care Educational Accreditation Board of Canada. Melissa has a particular interest in understanding and exploring all aspects of regulation and the professionalization of Child and Youth Care to ensure a high quality of service provided to children and young people. She continues to volunteer with women who have experienced intimate partner violence.

Natalie Wood, MA
Natalie is a full time Professor teaching in the SSW Program at George Brown College. Her areas of interest are Community Development, Community Economic Development/ Social Purpose Enterprise, Research and Proposal Writing, Communication and Interviewing, Values and Ethics, and the use of the Arts as a tool for research and empowerment of marginalized communities. For over 20 years she has worked in a variety of positions both managerial and front line in the social services field with marginalized communities such as, adults with dual diagnoses, women with concurrent disorders, trauma and abuse survivors, and women with mental health issues who are living in long-term poverty. She is also a community researcher, working as an art consultant on projects related to homeless women and trans-women and new immigrants and their experience of work, with the Arts and Social Work Research Institute at the Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto. She has co-written a number of articles and presented nationally at conferences related to community-based and arts-based research in the social work field. Selected awards include a Community Based Research Award of Merit, from the Centre for Urban Health Initiatives & the Wellesley Institute 2007, the New Pioneers Award for contribution to Arts and Culture, 2006 and the City of York Civic Recognition Award for using the Arts to work with marginalized communities, 1997.

William Woolrich
William joined the Community Worker Program as a full-time Professor in the Fall of 2018. He has been teaching part-time in higher education since 2002. He worked as the Graduate Program Coordinator for the School of Social Work at York University for nine years. Prior to that, he managed a supportive housing program for people who had experiences in the psychiatric system. He also has experience working on the front-line, for a community based mental health team. William has several ongoing links to the community including serving on the Board of Directors for Regeneration Community Services. He is in the process of completing doctoral work in Education: Language, Culture and Teaching at York University where his research focus is on values based education for students engaged in administrative positions in social service organizations.

Cristine Yhap
Cristine is an Alumni of George Brown College and graduated from the Child and Youth Worker program in 1993. She returned to university and obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Child and Youth Care and Master's Degree in Early Childhood Studies from Ryerson University. Cristine has spent over 25 years working with various agencies throughout Toronto including The Children's Aid Society, The Hincks-Dellcrest Children's Centre, Covenant House, and Central Toronto Youth Services (CTYS). Cristine took a sabbatical for a year and moved to the US, where she taught young children in the public school system and volunteered for Red Cross to help families relocate after the San Diego Wildfires Hurricane Katrina. She returned to Toronto and reconnected with George Brown College to teach part-time in the Child and Youth Care Program while working at CTYS supporting youth involved in the criminal justice system reintegrating from custody to community. Cristine is a passionate Child and Youth Care practitioner and professor. She believes that inclusion and anti-oppressive practices are necessary and is a strong advocate for social justice in our communities.


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