Meet Our Executive Team
Shanee Prasad is a first generation South Asian woman, living on the unceded territory of Musqueam, Coast Salish and Tseil-Tuth people. Shanee teaches at Byrne Creek Community School, in Senior Alternative Education (Burnaby). She has a bachelor's degree in Political Science, and Special Education degree from Simon Fraser University. Shanee has also completed a Master of Education degree in Equity Studies at SFU, with comprehensive work in anti-racist pedagogy. Shanee holds various local and provincial positions within the British Columbia Teachers Federation, as well as being the representative for workers of colour at BC Federation of Labour. Shanee identifies as a feminist, and has a passion for decolonizing public education.
Preet is a second-generation Punjabi settler of colour, currently living on unceded Coast Salish territory. She is a radical feminist, vegan, lover of hip hop, runner, math and science teacher and a fierce bhua/auntie to many little ones. Over the past 8 years, she has taught in several districts including the Stikine and Haida Gwaii. She is passionate about anti-oppression and is involved in union organizing and activism. She is a local representative for Vancouver Secondary and sits on BCTF’s provincial Working Learning Conditions / Bargaining committee. Preet is a recent graduate of the Equity Studies in Education M.Ed program where her capstone project focused on surveillance and policing in BC public schools and its impacts on racialized students.
I have been dreaming of a more just and liberated society since the age of 4 or 5. Emerging from many years of colonial oppression and capitalism-induced depression, I reach out to all those who share the same dream. My work is anchored in education, spanning across diverse ages and socio-cultural settings in the ancestral lands of the Musqueam, Squamish and the Tseil-Waututh people, and elsewhere. I work through the lens of critical inquiry and with a keen interest in participatory democracy. I hope to contribute by helping to build a collective of agitators and organizers who together, will dream up and materialize radical alternatives to the status quo.
Shé:kon sewakwekon, my name is Ditta Cross I am from the Kanien’keha:ka Nation the Mohawk people of Kahnawa:ke Quebec and the Innu Nation of Labrador. I am living on the unceded territory of the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish people. I feel honoured to be here among them. I am an Indigenous educator in the k to 7 public schools in Burnaby where I have taught primarily Indigenous students and now I am sharing with teachers how to integrate Indigenous ways of knowing into the curriculum. I have completed a master in Equity in Education with a focus on Indigenous curriculum development. As well, I am a union activist, a facilitator and a local rep and to the BCTF for the Burnaby local. My best accomplishment yet is being the mother of two strong Indigenous youth who will change this world! So be ready!
Talya Florian (she/her) is a settler living on the unceded, stolen lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Skwxwú7mesh, and səlil̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ nations. Talya is a secondary Art, Media, and ELL Teacher in the Vancouver district as well as an artist, activist, and organizer in her community. Her practice uses art as a tool for students to investigate and challenge systems of oppression, as well as develop a critical lens of the world around them. Talya is honored to be an executive member of AOEC and is also an organizer for the Vancouver union caucus Raising Educators’ Voices (REV), both focusing on anti- oppression, justice and equity in education.
Jelana Bighorn is an uninvited guest on the unceded lands of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Watuath nations. Her own heritage of Lakota and Chickasaw means that she is far from her homelands in Montana and South Dakota but has felt the warm embrace of the relatives in the East Vancouver area. She completed her teaching degree at UBC in 2006 and for the past 14 years has used every teaching opportunity to engage young people in truth and reconciliation through an education as the practice of freedom perspective. Understanding the oppression that results from a White supremacist, capitalist patriarchal society has helped to free her from a colonial mentality. She serves the teaching community in a number of capacities including as a MAL of AOEC as well as the BCTF's Aboriginal Educator's Advisory Committee
Denise Ferreira is a teacher of students and English at Byrne Creek Community School in Burnaby, BC. She is an avid reader, writer, mother, and passionate educator, who believes that justice begins in our classrooms. She also believes that, when we educate students about POC’s complex identities and human experiences, and confront racism through the exploration of diverse texts and voices, we are taking the first steps towards truer equity. Mostly, she wants, little by little, to help dismantle oppressive systems. She is learning to be an ally to POC and the issues they face in and out of schools.
Amrit Kaur Sanghe
Amrit Kaur Sanghe is a second-generation Punjabi settler residing on the unceded territory of the Katzie Nation. She currently works at Queen Elizabeth Secondary in the Surrey School District as a Learning Support Teacher. Amrit completed her bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Education at the University of British Columbia. In 2019, Amrit graduated with a Master’s of Education in Equity Studies from Simon Fraser University where she studied Canadian neoliberal education policies and their impact on marginalized youth. As an educator and union activist, Amrit is committed to the life-long project of dismantling white supremacy and systemic oppression.
Ronak Pahlevanlu (روناک پهلوانلو)
Ronak Pahlevanlu (روناک پهلوانلو) is a queer, non-binary first-generation settler and child of political refugees. They live and work on the stolen lands of the kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem) First Nation within the shared traditional territories of the Tsleil-Waututh (Slay-wa-tuth), Katzie (Kate-zee), xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), Quay Quayt (Key-Kite) First Nation and Sto:lo Nation. They’re currently a secondary math Coquitlam teacher, working at Ecole Riverside Secondary School. After years of self-reflection, taking a deep dive into their internalized racism and how to bring anti-oppressive principles into their personal life and community, they are excited to bring these principles into their union activism and classroom and help other marginalized educators find their voice.
Oliver was born on the unceded traditional territory of the Tsimshian people. Oliver is biracial with family from Mexico and Hungary. Oliver is an ELL educator working with newcomer youth in Vancouver, BC. He is committed to reconciliation and anti-racism. Oliver is executive member of the Anti-Oppression Educators Collective and BCTESOL. Oliver is an avid cyclist and loves spending time in nature.