We would like to congratulate Charity Sakakibara on her recent appointment as School District 22’s Director of Aboriginal Learning, effective August 1, 2019.
We are excited to have Charity join our district as she has had a long passion for teaching, specifically to Indigenous students. “I have always wanted to be a teacher,” said Sakakibara. “I didn’t have an Indigenous teacher while I attended school, and I didn’t realize it was a possibility until an older cousin became a teacher. That experience opened my eyes to the importance of our Indigenous students seeing themselves reflected in not only the staff but also in the curriculum.”
Charity obtained a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from UBC, and has spent 18 years teaching at the Vancouver School District. Charity has served as a First Nations Department Head, Tumanos First Nation Program teacher, Success Bridge Program teacher, in addition to teaching English and Social Studies classes. Currently, she has been teaching Social Justice and Political Studies at W.L. Seaton Secondary.
Charity believes the key to encouraging the success of Indigenous students is to ensure that they feel welcomed and valued in our schools, and that they develop a strong set of learning skills early in their school careers. “We need to look for ways to increase our Indigenous students’ sense of belonging in schools and their confidence that they can excel in our classrooms,” said Sakakibara. “In the past, many Indigenous students didn’t see themselves represented in the education system. As teachers, we know that students learn best when they feel their learning is personally relevant, and the provincial curriculum is moving in the right direction in integrating Indigenous content and ways of learning. It’s essential for Indigenous students to learn about themselves, but it’s also important that our non-Indigenous students learn about the history and culture of our nation’s First Peoples as well. Learning about and from each other makes our communities stronger.”
In her new role, Charity looks forward to seeing the district’s Aboriginal students go beyond expectations. “I don’t want our students to just succeed academically, it would be great to see them do well on a holistic level as well.”
We look forward to having Charity lead our Aboriginal Education team and wish her the best in her new position.
We would also like to extend a tremendous thank you – to Gerry William, who has been with the School District since 2015 in the role of Director of Aboriginal Learning.
Gerry has been instrumental in School District 22 by spearheading the Story of Our Ways curriculum.
Gerry will be retiring from the district as of June 30, 2019. We wish him all the best in his retirement and look forward to reading more of his published works.