Mary Ellen Gucciardi has been an educator in the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board for 19 years. Currently, she is the Academic Consultant for First Nation, Metis, and Inuit Studies & Alternative Education. Her role has led her to develop curriculum resources to support teachers who teach First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Studies. She is passionate about working closely with Indigenous leaders and elders to ensure that an accurate history and perspective is taught with a focus on experiential learning and oral tradition.
Mary Ellen is keenly interested in making connections with Canada’s Indigenous communities, including the Inuit. Given their remote location, part of her work is to bridge the gap between north and south so that both teachers and students have a shared experience and learn about the arctic, environmental stewardship, Inuit culture and perspectives. Making educational connections and inspiring young Inuit women and southern young women to explore science is of great interest to her in addition to making connections through culture and shared experiences. She has coordinated several excursions to Nunavut for teachers and students. Establishing relationships of trust with Inuit leaders and elders has afforded her the privilege to continue to learn about the Inuit and work closely with Inuit cultural leaders and elders. Currently, she is working on a project and partnering with leaders from the lacrosse and Inuit games communities for the Toronto2015 Pan Am Games, which focuses on igniting the spirit of culture through sport.
Recently, Mary Ellen was part of a one year Teacher Learning Leadership project sponsored by the Ontario Ministry of Education, which focused on inspiring teachers to teach First Nations, Metis and Inuit Studies. She has presented the findings from this research at several educational conferences in Canada and abroad, including: Awasis Education Conference, Ontario School Counsellors Conference, the World Indigenous Conference for Education, and the National Association for Single Sex Public Education Conference. As well, her work is highlighted in the winter 2014 issue of OSCA Today. New to scuba diving, Mary Ellen is keen about learning more about the world that lives beneath the ocean! She has been inspired through her volunteer work over the past four years, assisting with the coordination and implementation of traditional Anishinaabe camps for at-risk youth at Spirit Point Wilderness Lodge, in Ontario. Mary Ellen currently resides in Toronto with her husband and her two boys.