Board of Directors
Helen Bryce was educated at New York University (BS) and Columbia University Teachers College (MA). Over her career as an Art educator and later, as an Elementary classroom teacher, she taught junior, senior and high school students in a variety of schools in Toronto. Her work as a teacher, Project Teacher and then Vice-principal at Lord Dufferin Jr. Sr. P. S. in Regent Park, was a turning point in her understanding of equity, generational poverty, the challenges for new arrivals to Canada and growing up in the social isolation of housing projects. As Principal of Earl Grey Senior P. S. for nine years (now retired), Helen worked with many arts organizations, including the versatile and innovative Kick Start Arts programs and devoted a healthy percentage of each year’s school budget toward the arts.
She strongly believes that the Arts hold the key to unlocking the inner self and each individual’s power to promote social justice. Arts opportunities must be available to all children and young adults – regardless of their address – to collaboratively discover and nurture their inner voices and embrace, with new confidence, the choices and leadership potential they have to make positive change in our society and the world.
She is honoured to be a member of the board of directors of Kick Start Arts.
O’neil Edwards BCOMM/LLB/MBA, B.Ed.
O’neil is the Program Director of the Spanning the Gaps – Access to Post Secondary Education program at Ryerson University. Previously, he worked extensively in the corporate world for Goldman Sachs, KPMG and Coca-Cola Global. He has had the privilege of living and working in many different countries, bringing unique insights to his work. Building on a passion for developing people’s potential through education, O’neil continues to be part of programs that bring real social change.
Jen Johnson B.Sc., M.S.Ed.
Jen has taught, created and performed across Canada and internationally for many years. Artistically, she is known for creating dance and theatre pieces that seamlessly meld the elements of theatre and acting with movement. Jen’s teaching experience is extensive, having presented creative movement, choreography and drama to children, teens and adults with varied levels of dance and theatre training. Jen is currently the drama teacher and director for grades 3-6 at Crescent School in Toronto. Her ability to engage and motivate the students at this all-boys school is clearly evident as the excitement and interest in drama and dance has exploded since she began teaching there. She has directed numerous children’s productions, creating fantastical worlds and rich acting and interpretive experiences for all involved. Jen also spent many years teaching with Learning Through the Arts, a program that teaches core curriculum content through the arts, the Canadian Opera Company’s Outreach Programs, and Humber College’s School of Comedy. She leads numerous workshops directed at classroom educators and peer artists on the topic of bringing the arts into the classroom.
Sarah Papoff is an Ontario elementary teacher with a passion for Drama, Dance, Equity and Inquiry. Most recently, she has been teaching grade 7/8 in a Toronto DSB K-8 school. She has enjoyed co-learning, co-planning and co-teaching as a teacher of Grades 2 to 8 and as a Teaching and Learning Coach with Model Schools for Inner Cities, a program with the Toronto District School Board. She completed her MA in Education at OISE, University of Toronto in 2013, presenting research as part of a panel at the National Drama International Conference in 2013, at NYU in 2016 and Drama Queensland, AU in 2019. She has facilitated workshops for Model Schools, CODE, ETFO, Toronto DSB and York University. She is a former President of CODE, the Council of Ontario Drama and Dance Educators.
Dianne Riehl is an Global Education Consultant who has a Masters of Arts in Early Childhood Studies and has thirty years of national and international experience leading governments and school boards in early years policies, programs and professional development. Dianne has lead work in various roles including teaching, administrator in the Toronto District School Board and as an Education and Student Achievement Officer at the Ontario Ministry of Education. While at the Ministry of Education Dianne planned, oversaw and led the provincial vision and implementation for Full-Day Kindergarten. She directed and provided expert advice to government and and worked alongside school districts as they created their strategic and business plans which directly connected to her authorship of the program document and professional learning plan to lead implementation and professional learning across the province. As an innovative leader, she is driven by a relentless curiousity and commitment to a process of making meaning of how, what and why students learn resulting in the co-creation of inclusive, responsive education that serve all learners.
Dianne led the gathering of multi-jurisdictional evidence from learning initiatives and forecasted the need for dynamic professional learning resources. She collaborated with Ministry colleagues, superintendents, principals and classroom educators to create and design content of videos, curriculum documents, and webcasts as well as delivering the professional learning to support implementation. Publications include Virtual Learning Series for Principals, K-2 Connections Digital Paper, The Full-Day Early Learning-Kindergarten Program, What Principals Need to Know About… Making Thinking and Learning Visible, Inquiry Learning Stance K-12, and Re-Imagining Literacy and Numeracy Throughout the Day Dianne also served as a Vice Principal in the Toronto District School Board. In that role as in all the others she envision a collective transformed view of thinking and learning that leans into the complexity and differences in student’s thinking and learning. A vision resulting in a more equitable process to “future ready” students while honouring who they are now.