A phenomenal woman who is a real thinker, mover, change maker. Akilah is a natural teacher and a life long learner.Born in Hamilton, Ontario, Akilah has first hand experience in every level of our education system. She is a lover of education who has three university degrees and is now working on her fifth post-graduate certificate!
Akilah is intelligent and enthusiastic! She knows what she is talking about. When it comes to the functioning of our schools or the well being of children, youth and families, ask Akilah! She defines herself as an educational advocate for children and youth. If you ask her she will tell you:
"The reason I am alive is to ensure the well being of children and youth not only by advocating for them but by showing them how to stand in their own power and advocate for themselves."
Akilah remembers her youngest brother as the person who she first attended a school meeting on behalf of. At the time, he was transitioning from grade eight to high school and she had just finished her first year of university.
"I travelled by Go Train and local buses from Hamilton to Mississauga to speak up for my brother when he was being streamed into a vocational secondary school although he had personal plans and abilities incongruent to that. My advocacy changed the course of his life and mine! Realizing the power of advocacy, I never stopped. To date, there are untold numbers of students and parents who have walked a different path, one more suitable to their personal goals and abilities, because I advocated for them. In doing so I show them how to use their own voices."
Akilah is also a mother of four who was active on the school community council at her children's schools. Even before her children attended school Akilah was at the local school volunteering! She would read to children in the library, do story telling and one-person skits, mentor marginalized children and advocate, advocate, advocate, for improvements.
You need to vote for Akilah because she knows. She knows how to see the issues and how to address them. Akilah knows the big picture and the small pieces that comprise it. She is, and always has been, available. If you check the minutes of monthly board meetings you will see her name there in print, asking hard questions, getting things done. Akilah is present and has been doing the work anyway. She will remain present and do the work regardless That is what she does.
She will: 1) Hold educators accountable to work in accordance with the policies which DDSB has in place. 2) Facilitate the development of children and youth with disabilities and encourage their fullest participation in their communities. 3) Support the increase of opportunities for disadvantaged students to excel. 4) Acknowledge and respond to the needs of children and youth with mental health challenges and support and encourage their success.
When she attends she actually SHOWS UP. She is not a wallflower. She is your voice for our children.
Akilah understands that parents are the first teachers of their children and that we remain in that teaching role for life. Akilah believes that while educators are experts on teaching, parents are experts on their children. There needs to be a respectable relationship between home and school, in order to facilitate the formal public education of our children.
Akilah is a critical thinker who is able to see what others may not. Over twenty years ago, she challenged educators to implement policies to ensure that parent volunteers had vulnerable persons screening, prior to being alone with students in the schools. Akilah pushed for parent volunteer drivers to show print outs of their drivers abstracts prior to being allowed to assist with carpooling students at Williamsburg Public School in 2006. In 2009, Akilah challenged the grade 7 science project on building bridges with pasta which, with terrible irony, proceeded the Christmas food drive! Seeing the unjustifiable waste of pasta Akilah advocated for change to building the bridges out of non-food items from our recycling bins. Her ability to think critically is a great asset; so is her unwavering integrity.
Akilah travelled to her candidacy quite naturally, After years of grass roots work, a Whitby resident who has been working for the amelioration of our education system, called her up and said:
"Akilah, you have to run for trustee in the upcoming election!"
Well, that was interesting because Akilah was SO busy working as the every ready bunny for education that she did not look up to see what position she should take. Just plugging on, doing the work was her life. Akilah said:
"OH...Ok...Yeah,...Trustee right? Hold the title for the job I have been working in my own way all these years! Well, I call that a natural fit!"
Akilah has worked with public elementary schools, public secondary schools, Catholic elementary schools, home schooled children, medically fragile home educated children, Teens with MID in public high school, cognitively impaired adults in an adult school, section 23 classrooms, and private schools. Akilah is present for our children and parents!
Regardless of the educational facility she has worked with, she has easily developed a positive rapport with students and staff alike, and left a legacy of positive support and development.
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