In 2016, the research team completed a national study, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), on the ways in which principals and vice-principals in Canada support students with special education needs in inclusive schools.


This initial study led to other research projects on inclusive school leadership, including a SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant to support the development of interactive case studies for principals’ professional development and the SSHRC-funded Intersectionalities in Leadership conference in June 2019. In addition, in 2019 the team received a SSHRC Insight Grant to further explore inclusive school leadership over the next five years.


This Lead to Include site is the product of the team’s work over the past five years and aims to provide school leaders with resources to support their professional learning on inclusive education for students with special education needs.




Associate Professor, Wilfrid Laurier University and Inclusive School Leadership Research Group Principal Investigator

 Steve is the lead researcher on four nationally-funded research projects examining how school principals foster inclusive schools for students with special education needs. He is an associate professor in the Faculty of Education at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada where he teaches courses on school leadership and special education.


Assistant Professor, Wilfrid Laurier University

Associate Professor, Memorial University, St. John's, Newfoundland & Labrador

Jacqueline is the director of the Canadian Research Centre on Inclusive Education and a professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Western Ontario. She is a strong advocate for inclusive education. Her work on this project is guided by that passion.


Ph.D. Candidate, Brock University

Professor, Western University and Director of Canadian Research Centre on Inclusive Education 

Carolyn received her PhD in Clinical Psychology and MA in Clinical Psychology from the University of Western Ontario. She teaches courses on mental health and is the developer and instructor for the Mental Health Certificate. She is focusing on areas in which principals, mental health and special education interests intersect.

Jeffrey is an assistant professor of Educational Psychology and Inclusion at the University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Education. As a former classroom teacher, Dr. MacCormack's research on after-school programs, executive functions, social competence, and play-based learning is also informed by 10 years of experience teaching elementary students and many years of teaching post-secondary adult learners. His work has focused on creating spaces where youth can thrive. He also has an orange-tabby Persian kitten, who is a troublemaker.

Jhonel is a collaborator on the Lead to Include team. He is a provincial math educator and leader who is very passionate about equity and inclusion. He currently works at the Ontario Ministry of Education as an Education Officer while pursuing his PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Brock University. His research interests focus on school leadership, inclusion, equity in mathematics, mathematics achievement of racial minorities, and teachers’ expectations. His involvement in this project centers around the intersectional aspects of inclusive leadership.

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Assistant Professor, Brock University


Associate Professor, University of Victoria


Adjunct Professor at University of Ottawa

Monique Somma is an assistant professor at Brock University, mainly instructing teacher candidates' cognition, educational psychology and inclusive education.  Having worked front line as an educator in schools for many years she recognizes the important role of administrators in successful school-wide and classroom-focused inclusion. Her research includes best practices for inclusive education for students with exceptionalities from preschool to grade 12 through research partnerships with school boards and community organizations.

Donna is an Associate Professor in Educational Psychology and Leadership Studies in the Faculty of Education at the University of Victoria. Experiences working within transdisciplinary teams to support children and youth with significant and multiple learning challenges are fundamental to her work. Access, Inclusion, Opportunity are concepts central to her undergraduate and graduate-level teaching practice and research. Her research focuses on the intersection between teacher beliefs, knowledge, experiences, and instructional practices in promoting inclusion for all.

Mélissa Villella is a PhD student and adjunct professor at the Faculty of Education at the University of Ottawa. Her research interests are centered around Educational Leadership and Inclusion as they pertain to Special Education, intercultural competency, and anti-racism. She writes and publishes in both French and English on these topics when she is not out walking her beloved dog Louis, or playing with her cat Caramel who also just happens to be the king of the household.


Research Assistant 

Hillary graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and is currently in the Master of Education program at Laurier. She was working as a Research Assistant on the Partnership Engage Grant and was a Research Coordinator on the Insight Grant.


Research Assistant

Dan has his Honours B.A. in Philosophy from UBC and recently graduated from Laurier with a Masters in Developmental Psychology. He is responsible for exploring the connection between administrators' mental health and inclusivity in schools. He's also responsible for investigating approaches taken to address students' mental health by teachers and youth care providers.


Research Assistant

Dani is currently pursuing her undergraduate

degree in Global Development Studies at the University of Western Ontario. She managed the social media platforms and digital design for the Insight development grant. She also assisted in writing case studies on inclusive education.


Research Assistant

Aman Dhaliwal holds a Bachelor of Applied Science from the University of Guelph and a Bachelor of Education from Wilfrid Laurier University. She worked as a research assistant on the team and helped conduct interviews with School Principals and Leaders regarding Inclusion, Special Education,and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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Research Assistant

Keifer is currently a Bachelor of Education student in his second year of the Primary/Junior program, he holds a degree in Child and Youth Care from Ryerson University and a diploma in Child and Youth Work from Mohawk College


Research Assistant

Aphrodite is a graduate student with a Masters of Education from Wilfrid Laurier University, focusing on the effect of war trauma on education. She taught Syrian children in Lebanon for 6 years and worked with many NGOs supporting the Syrian refugee community in the educational field. She is currently a Research Assistant on our team and is working as a Senior Administrative Assistant in the Teaching & Learning Department at Laurier. 


Research Assistant

Abby is a recent graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University's Faculty of Education, is an OCT certified teacher and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Honours Psychology. She was a research assistant on the Insight Grant and worked on finding resources on inclusive education and school leadership. As a French teacher, Abby continues to look at the intersectionality  of second language learners and Special Education.


Research Assistant

Rachel is a graduate of Laurier Brantford’s

Concurrent Education program. Before this project, she worked with the Department of Residence Education supporting the training and facilitation of the First Year Experience Model. As an OCT qualified teacher, she and two other RA’shave completed the resource section to provide a research-based foundation when applying case study content to lived experiences. Special Education and a commitment to continued learning is a passion of hers and she also loves to curl!


Research Assistant

Araba has a background in international development and public policy with thematic interest in human security, education and development, and global social governance. She holds a Master of International Public Policy from the Balsillie School of International Affairs at Wilfrid Laurier University, and an MSc in Development Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, UK. She graduated from the University of Ghana with Honours BA in Political Science and French. 


Research Assistant

Paul is a recent graduate of the Master in International Public Policy (MIPP) at Wilfrid Laurier University. He started his professional career with a 2-year spell as a teacher in Cameroon before embarking on business management for close to a decade. He recently changed his career from business management to international policy development and currently offers research support on inclusive quality education to the UNESCO Bangkok Office. Apart from a research focus on inclusive quality education, he is equally interested in human security and social protection. In addition to the MIPP degree, Paul also holds both Master of Science and Bachelor of Science degrees in Economics


Research Assistant

Emma is currently pursuing her undergraduate degree in International Education Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University. She manages the social media platforms. She has a passion for inclusive education and also loves to curl. 


Research Assistant

Megan is currently completing her Bachelor of Education at Laurier in the Junior/Intermediate division with a specialty in French. Megan previously graduated from the University of Ottawa with a Bachelor of Social Science in the French immersion stream. Megan is passionate about the use of technology as a means to make education accessible for all.  


Research Assistant

Raha is working in Higher Education sector with passion for experiential learning, innovation, and process improvement. Currently, she is working on achieving her Master of Business Administration (MBA) to increase her knowledge of analyzing data, and to improve her leadership skills. She is a research assistant on the team and helps with Desire2 Learn project. 

Kimberly is a partner on the Lead to Include team, helping to develop quality project content. She is an associate professor at Memorial University as well as a special education specialist, certified teacher, behaviour analyst, and psychologist who loves research, teaching, and services in the field of autism spectrum disorders. To learn more about Dr. Maich’s work, please click here.


Assistant Professor, University of Lethbridge



We would like to acknowledge that this research was funded and made possible by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).​
The team is grateful to all of the school leaders who contributed to our research. 

Contact us at leadtoinclude@gmail.com to learn more.

©2020 by Lead To Include.