Summit Participants

Dr. Stuart Shanker, D.Phil.
Dr. Stuart Shanker, D.Phil.Science Director
Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Psychology, internationally celebrated speaker, thinker, and writer, Dr. Stuart Shanker is one of the world’s leading authorities on self-regulation. Stuart trained intensively in child psychotherapy under Stanley Greenspan; he was the Director of the Milton and Ethel Harris Research Initiative at York University; President of the Canadian Council of Early Child development; Director of the council of Human Development; and has served for many years as an advisor to government and education organizations across Canada and internationally.
Throughout his career, Stuart has researched and studied the role of self-regulation in mental and physical wellbeing and academic achievement. He has focused on the beneficial role that positive stress plays in children’s development and learning and the worrying effects of excessive negative stress.

Stuart founded SRI, where he currently serves as Science Director to continue his research into self-regulation.

Aviva Dunsiger
Aviva DunsigerSelf-Reg Portal Plus Moderator
Aviva is no stranger to self-regulation, whether in the classroom or in her everyday life. When she’s not moderating Portal Plus, Aviva works as a JK/SK teacher at an inner-city school in Hamilton, helping her students develop self-regulation skills. Dr. Shanker’s book, Calm, Alert and Learning has been a source of inspiration for Aviva as a teacher and digital native.

What helps Aviva stay calm and alert: Regular blogging, slowly sipping her morning coffee, low lighting, a quiet room and reading a good book.

Michelle Ferreri
Michelle FerreriGuest Speaker
A former TV host and producer for 13 years, Michelle now blogs and vlogs full time.

Michelle left television and pursued her own online business in order to have more control in her life and be more available for her three children.

Michelle is a Canadian content creator and story teller and her Facebook videos have been viewed millions of times. She is passionate about mental health and human relationships.

She is raw and authentic and loves building relationships.

For her full bio, click on the image.

Susan Hopkins, Ed.D
Susan Hopkins, Ed.DLead Researcher
Dr. Susan Hopkins is passionate about research that is driven by, relevant to, and beneficial for her communities both locally and internationally.
Susan’s contributions to research are as diverse as her service work experiences. She has been an educator, school administrator, special education teacher, inclusive schooling coordinator, curriculum developer and educational researcher. She has taught in a variety of cultural contexts, including four years teaching international students in Italy and seven years working in an Indigenous community in Northern Canada. Susan led the territorial implementation of the Early Development Instrument, co-authored the Government’s Early Childhood Framework and developed the NWT kindergarten curriculum. She went on to lead the Planning, Research, and Evaluation division for the Department of Education before relocating to Edmonton to head up the Society of Safe and Caring Schools and Communities for one year.

These experiences always lead back to the self-regulation research, writing, and thinking of Dr. Stuart Shanker. In 2014 Susan became the Executive Director of The MEHRIT Centre Ltd. and under her leadership the organization has grown and developed into a much respected, accessible, and successful centre of teaching and learning. Now Susan brings her skills to SRI in order to focus on supporting self-regulation research that is community driven and relevant.

Cathy Lethbridge
Cathy LethbridgeSelf-Reg Foundations Program Facilitator
Cathy has been an elementary educator for 32 years with the Simcoe County DSB, the past 13 years as principal. She actively applies Shanker Self-Reg in both her personal and professional life and believes in the power of Self-Reg to change trajectories no matter a person’s age or stage in life. Inspired by Dr. Shanker’s work, Cathy is leading her current school toward being a Self-Reg Haven and works with other schools to help them achieve school-wide improvement through Self-Reg.

What helps Cathy stay calm and alert: Workouts at the gym followed by decaf coffee and classical music, photography, hand washing dishes, cooking and blogging daily gratitudes.

Luke MacDonald
Luke MacDonaldGuest Speaker
Luke MacDonald has been an owner at Aerobics First for the past 10 years. Aerobic First are well known In Nova Scotia for their running, skiing and snowboarding equipment. They have been known outside of NS since 2011 when they were presented with the prestigious Ubuntu Award at the annual Running Event Conference and Tradeshow in Austin, Texas. Given out annually by Balega International, the South African running gear company, the award is given to an independent retailer that goes above and beyond to give back to the community, strengthen local bonds and create positive change. Aerobics First was the first Canadian shop to bring home the award and its $10,000 prize. Ubuntu is an African concept that means welcoming, hospitable, warm, generous and willing to share. And Aerobics First, and Luke, overflow with ubuntu.

Luke has had a relationship with people in Africa since 2011 when he sponsored a Run Across the Gambia. This run did an excellent job of raising awareness of the plight of the people of the Gambia.

In 2015 Luke was instrumental in sending a “container of love” to his friend Pa Madou to kick off the World Litter Run. With Luke’s support and encouragement, Pa has been able to create 54 Peace Clubs in the Gambia and these clubs have been leading the World Litter Runs in the country.

Last year, with the financial help of his Rotary Club, Luke started deploying water barrels to Africa. Recently the Canada Roll Out the Barrel charity was established to ensure ongoing financial support for this initiative.

Last year, Aerobics First partnered with Olympics Cornerto give Nova Scotians an opportunity to purchase belts hand made in Africa. The monies raised from the sale of these belts is use to dig wells and provide water barrels in The Gambia.

This year, Luke continued to support his friends in The Gambia. Six months ago he visited there and cycled across the country to raise funds to purchase a truck for the Nova Scotia Gambia Association staff to use when they delivered their programs.

Dr. Brenda Smith-Chant, PhD.
Dr. Brenda Smith-Chant, PhD.Sr. Researcher & Sr. Research Advisor
Brenda began her career as a research expert by examining how kids learn to count. This important research lead to work with Peel Public Health on the transition to parenthood, publishing research findings on early numeracy and literacy, and work with multiple community-action research projects, such as the CARA Project (Community Aboriginal Recreation Activators) and Best Start community pilot projects. For Brenda, self-regulation is directly connected to her research in cognitive development as it lead her to look at the social, educational, cultural, language, and parenting influences on children’s thinking development. In addition to her research, Brenda was a foster parent. She began to see the damaging effects of trauma, stress, and anxiety on her foster children, and how feelings of safety allowed them to blossom. These two areas, research into early learning and foster parenting, have combined under Dr. Shanker’s guidance to inform Brenda’s self-regulation work.
Arlene Robinson
Arlene RobinsonSelf-Reg Foundations Program Facilitator
Arlene is an elementary school principal with more that 25 years in education, wife and mother of two. She has been searching for more effective ways to support students to their fullest potential in spite of what lies in their life path. For Arlene, the Self-Reg is the answer to this search and she is finding the learning journey to be beneficial both personally and professionally, and believes everyone can benefit from this learning.

What helps Arlene stay calm and alert: Reading, kayaking, gardening, learning, practicing mindfulness, quiet time with family and any time spent on both the shore and the surface of Lake Katchiwanooka.

SRI Summit Staff

Anne Showalter B.A., M.A., B.Ed., PhD Candidate
Anne Showalter B.A., M.A., B.Ed., PhD CandidateManager of Research, Partnerships, and Community Relationships
Anne is currently a doctoral candidate in Canadian Studies examining ideas of memory in four Canadian films and the on-line writing they have inspired. Past research includes practices of dying in long term care facilities, Girlhood in Canada, and the benefits environmental awareness in education. Anne finds connections to Self-Regulation research as a teacher and in her own research into how we narrate, discuss, and dispute traumatic memories.

Anne believes that research matters because it is takes a problem and seeks to find ways to address it. Research makes life better.

Travis Francis
Travis FrancisResearch Assistant
Travis is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Neuroscience at Trent University in Peterborough. Having presented on Self-Regulation at the Conference on Holistic Early Learning and Development as well as the Canadian Conference on Student Leadership, Travis has a strong understanding of Self-Regulation. Travis believes that Self-regulation is at the root of development and is pertinent to reaching our full potential as individuals. Quality research is foundational to not only our understanding of Self-regulation but is the medium through which we can share our findings to create a stronger, flourishing community.
Sarah Behl
Sarah BehlWebmaster and Social Media Specialist
Sarah is the Webmaster and Social Media Specialist at The Self-Regulation Institute. As a communications professional, having 10+ years of experience in the nonprofit sector, Sarah finds opportunities to bring her expertise to organizations that align with her own values. She is excited to be a part of SRI and learn more about how Self-Reg can be applied in her own life.

What helps Sarah stay calm and alert: Long, meandering walks outside, and knitting doll clothes for her daughter’s toys.