Nominated for the award: Community Activism
Company: Toronto District School Board
Position: Centrally Assigned Vice Principal, Indigenous Education
Biography: Mervi has over 25 years of experience in the education sector in a variety of roles. She is a system-wide Administrator for Indigenous Education. Prior to that, Mervi was a school Administrator, the Education Officer for the Arts with the Ontario Ministry of Education, and she was a Visual and Media Arts Instructional Leader in the Toronto District School Board (K-12). Mervi has also been a Consultant on numerous Ministry resource projects including a series of Curriculum Services Canada webcasts. She has been an Additional Qualifications Instructor in the University of Toronto and York University Faculties of Education. Mervi is on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education, and actively works on A Way Home, a coalition to support youth experiencing homelessness. She is Past-President of the Ontario Art Education Association and was Chair of the Provincial Standing Committee for Arts for the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario. Prior to these roles she was an award-winning teacher in two school boards, and was hired by the TDSB to initiate a CyberARTS specialized program. She is also passionate about supporting indigenous student success, student engagement through arts and technology, and the potential of using assistive technologies with special needs students. Mervi has been a keynote, plenary and conference speaker at numerous Canadian, North American and International conferences. Mervi is also a multi-disciplinary visual and media artist, musician, and writer. In her current role at the Urban Indigenous Education Centre (UIEC) she supports Indigenous-focus schools as well as professional learning on Indigenous Education in all TDSB schools (250,000 students and 37 000 employees). She actively reduces barriers to hiring and accreditation of Indigenous peoples in Toronto (e.g., Indigenous Language Teachers). Mervi chairs a city-wide Student Success Team providing wrap around services for Indigenous youth and families across the city. Relationships are developed through hosting Drum Socials, and events (e.g, Indigenous Film Nights and the Walking with our Sisters memorial exhibition for missing and murdered Indigenous women) and much more.