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Why do we suspend?

Presenter: Phiona Lloyd Henry, Shannon Bailey, Antonino Giambrone & Christina Saunders

Workshop Description

Suspensions and expulsions are pipelines that discriminate against Black and Indigenous students, students experiencing poverty, and students with disabilities. To deny education as a consequence to “non-conformist” behaviour is a distortion of the education system, and manifests as systemic discrimination. Why do we suspend? In this workshop, the panel calls for enhancing conditions in schools as a way to reimagine the purposes of school discipline, and include alternatives to suspension. Moderator: Antonino Giambrone, PhD, Education Equity Secretariat, Ontario Ministry of Education


Phiona Lloyd Henry
Peel District School Board - Coordinating Principal for System Transformation and Capacity Building

Phiona Lloyd-Henry (she, her) is an educator who has served as a department head, resource teacher and coordinator for equity and inclusive education. While serving as coordinator, her core responsibility included coordinating the Peel District School Board’s We Rise Together Action Plan. This included facilitating anti-racism training,  leading the development of curriculum, learning resources and materials and providing system-wide facilitation/training related to the School Success planning process. 

Phiona is dedicated to serving students and creating educational environments that are equitable, inclusive and free from discriminatory practices. She is interested in critical democratic pedagogy and anti-oppressive forms of teaching and learning; she values positive partnerships with families and caregivers. She also values the development of student efficacy and social activism. Her undergraduate work in Education (University of the West Indies) and her graduate work (OISE - University of Toronto) have contributed to her praxis as an activist educator. In addition to her formal work as an educator, Phiona serves on the board of local not-for-profit organizations that advocate for Black children. For example, she has recently joined the board of the Jamaican Canadian Association as the Education Chair and she serves on the board the Black Youth School Success Initiative in Peel. In February 2019, Phiona was awarded with the United Way’s Community Leadership Award for her work as a Black community advocate. Phiona is The Coordinating Principal for System Transformation and Capacity Building and an executive member of PAACE - the Peel Association of African Canadian Educators.

Shannon Bailey
Superintendent, Keewatin Patricia District School Board

Shannon lives in beautiful Kenora and is currently the Superintendent of Education with the Keewatin Patricia DSB, overseeing Elementary Program, Leadership Development, Indigenous Education, Learning Technology and other portfolio areas.  As a committed leader of learning in the system, she has navigated through a variety of roles in the board over the past 20+ years, in both the elementary and secondary panels.  Through her student-focused lens, she has advocated for equitable outcomes and opportunities for underserved and underperforming students, including those connected through partnerships, living in remote First Nation schools across Northern Ontario.  Shannon is passionate about creating learning opportunities for all staff in the system, so that students have a culturally safe and inclusive environment to learn and succeed in. 

Antonino Giambrone
Education Officer at Education Equity Secretariat, Ministry of Education

Antonino Giambrone is currently an Education Officer with the Education Equity Secretariat, collaborating with school boards across the province to eliminate disparities in achievement and well-being among historically and currently marginalized student communities in Ontario schools. Previously, he was the Centrally Assigned Vice Principal with Indigenous Education at the Toronto District School Board where he worked with colleagues at the Urban Indigenous Education Centre to build capacity among staff across the system to enhance conditions that support Indigenous student well-being and learning. Antonino has been an equity educator-leader in various contexts for 20 years, collaborating to support teachers, administrators, superintendents and trustees in the TDSB with challenging anti-Indigenous and anti-Black racism. Antonino was also a Seconded Faculty Member with York University's Faculty of Education, teaching and serving in anti-oppression focused teacher education programs. Finally, he has a Doctorate in Curriculum, Teaching and Learning with a research focus on critical social justice pedagogy and student engagement.

Christina Saunders
Toronto District School Board, Principal

Christina Saunders (Cree/Métis) is currently a Principal at Kapapamachakwew - Wandering Spirit School in the Toronto District School Board. She has led various professional learning initiatives to provide educators opportunities to build their knowledge about Anti-indigenous Racism, Reconciliation, and centering Indigenous perspectives into the Ontario curriculum, all from a uniquely Indigenous perspective. Christina also has a strong background in Special Education and Literacy as they intersect with Indigenous education and Indigenous students' lived experiences.