2005• Education Award
Debbie's work as an educator is firmly grounded in her belief that public school systems have the power to create more just, critically engaged sustainable societies.
This core belief is rooted
in her South African heritage. At a young age Debbie, born in Hilbrow
in 1962, thought deeply about the role
that the education system in South Africa had in perpetuating an unjust status
quo. Growing up listening to stories about the education system in South
Africa from her mother, Antoinette Samson, who was a teacher in Johannesburg,
Debbie began to realize the powerful and political nature of public education.
As a teenager growing up in Canada she was greatly impacted by the Soweto
Uprisings. She drew inspiration from the students who boldly stood up for
an education that reflected their voice, rights, language and power.
She has inititiated many groups and programs including: Positive
Community Coalition; (a group that advocates for improved policies
and resources to insure that all people within her board of education are treated
regardless of their sexual orientation, gender or gender identification) Peace,
Fairness and Freedom: (a student social justice group that develops
and presents workshops in the community) and A Newcomer Youth Recreation
Program in collaboration
with community groups.