Simon Chan

Simon is currently the Vice President, Talent, Academy and Future of Work at Communitech which is a private-public innovation hub in Kitchener Waterloo that supports a community of 1500 companies from startups, to scale-ups to large global players. He is responsible for the leadership of the Talent and Communitech Academy teams who support talent attraction and learning and development programs & events for our member companies. He is also leading the development of a Future of Work & Learning strategy for a coalition of multi-stakeholder partners in Waterloo region to build a community of practice to help future proof organizations.

Annie Kidder

Annie Kidder is the Executive Director and a founder of People for Education. Formerly a theatre director, Kidder became involved in public education in Ontario in the late 1990’s and since then has become an expert on education policy and funding.

She regularly provides advice to policy-makers and government, and her writing on education has been published in a range of media. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Ontario Principals’ Council 2004 Outstanding Contribution to Education Award, the Canadian Teachers’ Federation 2005 Public Education Advocacy Award, and in 2018, an honourary doctorate from York University.

Jeremy Hedges

A born innovator with a passion for helping others, Jeremy Hedges is the Founder and CEO of The Canadian Shield, a company dedicated to saving lives through the production of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Founded in the midst of the COVID-19 global health pandemic, The Canadian Shield is Jeremy’s second entrepreneurial venture. He established InkSmith Education in January 2016 to empower students around the world with access to STEM-based 21st century technology tools, including 3D printers, robotics kits, laser cutters and virtual reality.

Future of Education Panel

Norah McRae

Norah McRae, PhD, is Associate Provost, Co-operative and Experiential Education at the University of Waterloo. Her involvement in co-operative and work-integrated education spans more than twenty years, over which time she has led strategic program development and research on student engagement, community-engaged learning and intercultural competency development.

Her doctoral research examined conditions that enabled transformative learning during work-integrated education and led to the development of a preliminary theoretical model for learning during work-integrated education. Norah has been published in the International Handbook for Co-operative and Work-Integrated Education, the Asia-Pacific Journal for Co-operative Education, CEIA Journal and The World is my Classroom: International Learning and Canadian Higher Education.

Andrew Bieronski

Andrew Bieronski is the Technology Enabled Learning and Teaching consultant for the Waterloo Region District School Board in Ontario. He is passionate about re-imagining and redesigning classrooms and schools to best prepare youth for a quickly changing world and supports educators across K-12 in this work. Andrew looks to leverage technology to modernize pedagogy and assessment practices to improve student learning and achievement, and is a frequent conference presenter on these topics.

Rahim Essabhai

Rahim Essabhai has been an educator for over a decade now. In addition to facilitating Business and Cooperative Education curriculum, he recently completed a Masters of Education in Applied Psychology & Human Development. While travelling, teaching and volunteering in more than 25 countries, Rahim often spends his time gazing at maps searching for the next eye-opening experience; this led him to Africa to volunteer within a secondary school located in one of the world’s largest refugee camps.

Rahim teaches Grade 12 Business at John Polanyi Collegiate Institute in the TDSB, and is a 2016-2017 recipient of the Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence. Get to know Rahim and his work!

John Howison

John Howison is a 7/8 Enrichment teacher at Courtland Public School with the Waterloo Region District School Board in Ontario. In his 12th year of teaching John has taught in various junior grades as well as in a behavioral class before making the move to an enrichment classroom. John is passionate about inquiry based learning and design thinking, and has been exploring these innovative methods with his class to great success. John is an active community builder and seeks to integrate a social justice and equity mindset into his classroom and within the greater community.