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About UnLeading

This work has been inspired by Dr. Kevin Kumashiro who challenges us to question common sense assumptions of schooling, to acknowledge the partiality of knowledge, and to be in the practice of unlearning as we learn and unteaching as we teach.

The UnLeading Project makes two assumptions: Leadership exists in all spaces, and we are all leaders. If you are a leader or aspiring leader, or if you are interested in leadership in classrooms, schools, communities, homes, districts, and academies, this podcast series is for you. If you know that traditional approaches to leadership have not addressed the realities or attended to the aspirations of students and communities most harmed by schooling, this podcast series is for you.

Throughout this website and podcast series, we focus on: 

  • Naming the logics of discourses and intersecting systems of oppression that have been used to oppress, dispossess, and dehumanize  
  • Centering approaches to leadership based in knowledge systems that have been silenced under dominant conceptions of leadership

Come join us on the UnLeading journey!


Meet the UnLeading Team

Vidya Shah

Dr. Vidya Shah is an educator, scholar and activist committed to equity and racial justice in the service of liberatory education. She is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at York University, and her research explores anti-racist and decolonizing approaches to leadership in schools, communities, and school districts. She also explores educational barriers to the success and well-being of Black, Indigenous, and racialized students. Dr. Shah teaches in the Master of Leadership and Community Engagement, as well as undergraduate and graduate level courses in education. She has worked in the Model Schools for Inner Cities Program in the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) and was an elementary classroom teacher in the TDSB. Dr. Shah is committed to bridging the gaps between communities, classrooms, school districts and the academy, to re/imagine emancipatory possibilities for schooling. 

Jocelyn Shih

Project Manager

Jocelyn Shih comes to this space as both teacher and learner committed to the betterment of public education for students, families and communities.  Professionally, Jocelyn is a teacher with the York Catholic District School Board who is currently on secondment to the Faculty of Education at York University.  She is also a PhD student with the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education with a focus on Educational Leadership and Policy.   Her research interests include sustained teacher development, educational leadership, social justice education and system change. Jocelyn is committed to continued learning and growth through a critical transformative lens.   She brings an authentic desire to challenge the status quo and engage in professional learning and growth to transform a system that  can serve the diversity and richness of our student communities.

Sayema Chowdhury

Research Coordinator

Sayema is a mother, daughter, partner, aunt, life-long learner and educator currently seconded to the Faculty of Education at York University where she teaches a variety of subjects, with a focus on Diverse and Equitable Classrooms. She is one of the co-chairs of FESI, York University's annual Equity Conference. Sayema has an interest in supporting mental health and wellbeing from a community and anti-racist perspective, participates widely in diversity and equity initiatives throughout Ontario and is committed to anti-oppressive education and learning.  Sayema’s home board is the Peel District School Board, and prior to secondment, held the central role of Climate for Learning and Working Resource Teacher, science department head and teacher. 

In addition to her Equity and Anti-oppression work, Sayema delivers workshops on Leadership Development and Conflict Resolution. She is a member of the board of MENO (The Muslim Educator’s Network of Ontario), a member of the City of Toronto's History Museums’ MHS IDEA Programming Advisory Group and a certified MBTI (Myers Briggs Personality Type Inventory) and Restorative Practices trainer through the IIRP (The International Institute of Restorative Practices).

Amanda Lima

Project Coordinator

Amanda Lima is a Master of Education student at York University and has been recently hired by the Toronto Catholic District School Board. She is interested in researching about Toronto Catholic District School Board educators and their critical self awareness and the impacts and effects this has on students, schools and their communities. Amanda worked at the Toronto Public Library's Parkdale branch for over 4 years and has recently transitioned to the Alexandra Park community for the Leading to Reading program. Throughout the UnLeading podcast, she has gained incredible insight on the imperative variations of unleading leadership that will be shared as inspiration, motivation and preservation to and for every listener.