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.

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Professor, Wilfrid Laurier University and Inclusive School Leadership Research Group Principal Investigator and Director of Centre for Leading Research in Education

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 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

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


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

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

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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


Research Associate


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.


Research Assistant

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Esther is a student in the Bachelor of Education program at Wilfrid Laurier University and is pursuing a life long passion for teaching, with a particular focus on English Language Learners.  She holds a double degree in Biology and Global Studies from WLU and hopes to teach internationally in the future.  

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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.


Research Assistant

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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. 


Anders is a special education teacher in British Columbia. Anders completed his Bachelor of Education and received his teacher education training at Simon Fraser University. His special education specialization was also obtained at SFU. Anders graduated from Memorial University in 2019 with a Master's of Education in Educational Leadership. His Master's work focused on school leadership, support for teachers, and professional development as important aspects required for K-12 schools to be inclusive. Anders has a passion for inclusive education and loves to work with and support students with exceptional learning needs every single day.


Research Assistant


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


Research Assistant


Brianna is a student in the Bachelor of Education program at Wilfrid Laurier University. Originally being from Northern Ontario, her interest in education and research started by analyzing the divide between students in more urbanized cities. She moved to Waterloo in 2017 and pursued a degree in English and Geography from Wilfrid Laurier University, with hopes to obtain her MEd and teach. 


Research Assistant

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Alya is pursuing a double degree in Education and Science at The University of Hong Kong. She currently runs a global youth organization called Artpeace, where she develops inclusive educational intervention programs for marginalized communities, such as refugees and students with SEN, as forms of service-learning opportunities for undergraduates at HKU and beyond. During her free time, you will find her recharging her social meter by playing the guitar, singing Taylor Swift songs, dancing and acting in student theatre productions. 


Research Assistant


Samuel Charles, MD  recently graduated from medical school in Haiti as a doctor. He is the coordinator of one of the components of the Educator and Leadership Institute in Haiti and has been working with Dr Sider for a few years now on inclusion of kids with disabilities in Haiti.


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Jaron is a student in the International Education Studies program at Wilfrid Laurier University, as well as the Assistant Youth Director at Woodside Church. Reflected in both his studies and his work, Jaron is passionate about helping young people from all backgrounds find identity and purpose.


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Breanna is an undergraduate psychology major at McKendree University in the United States. She minors in clinical and counseling psychology and communications studies. She is a summer intern for Dr. Steve Sider, as she will be assisting with his inclusive education research at Wilfrid Laurier University. Breanna is passionate about building a sense of connection and community in the school system and is excited to learn more about inclusive education.

Past Contributors


Research Assistant

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Zach Flaming is a Teacher Candidate in the Bachelor of Education program at Wilfred Laurier University. He is a passionate educator with experience teaching internationally in Vietnam and is looking forward to becoming a fully certified teacher in Ontario next year. He holds a Bachelor of Arts and Contemporary Studies from Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University) and believes that life is about the continual experience of helping others and learning new skills. Zach is currently a Research Assistant on our team with interests in international education and school leadership. He loves to hike, travel, and immerse himself in different cultures. 


Adjunct Professor at University of Ottawa


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


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. 


Research Assistant

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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 

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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.


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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.


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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

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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


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

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Sarah is currently pursuing her undergraduate degree in International Education Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University. She is very passionate about inclusive education and hopes to be a special education teacher in the future.


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Claudia is a student in the Master of Applied Politics program at Wilfrid Laurier University. She has previously completed a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at Laurier. She is currently completing a research practicum with the Ontario Public School Board Association and is conducting research in a team on four areas of advocacy such as Mental Health, Indigenous Education, Special Education, and Experiential Learning. She hopes to expand her knowledge on Inclusive Education and work in the Education field in the near future. 


Research Assistant


Henok is a student in the Bachelor of Science (Nursing) program at Lakehead University. He holds a general Bachelor of Arts (without destination) from Wilfrid Laurier University. His current project focuses on Inclusion and School Leadership in Canada. He has a strong personal connection to the special education system in Ontario. During his spare time, he heavily enjoys spending time with his family


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


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

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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. 


Research Assistant

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Keifer is an Ontario Certified Teacher currently employed in the Halton District School Board. He holds a degree in Child and Youth Care from Ryerson University and has a passion for examining and improving behaviour management strategies used in the classroom. He is currently involved with a project that explores the experiences of school leadership and how they impact the inclusion of special education needs students across Canada.


Research Assistant

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Lubuya is an Ontario Certified Teacher currently employed in the Waterloo Region District School Board, specializing in French.  She holds a Master of French Studies with a focus on African and Caribbean women history from Carleton University in Ottawa. Lubuya has a passion for women’s development and inclusion in education, particularly in developing countries. She is currently a Research Assistant on our team, working on French translations of professional development resources for educational leaders in Haiti, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and Congo.


Research Assistant

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Laura is an Ontario Certified Teacher currently employed in the Waterloo Region District School Board, with qualification in French. She holds a Master of Theological Studies, with a focus on poverty in Canada and a Bachelor of Industrial Design from Carleton University in Ottawa. She has a passion for creativity + innovation + inclusion in education. She is currently a Research Assistant on our team, working on French translations of professional development resources for educational leaders in Haiti, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and Congo.

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