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Ontario Professors Honoured: Expert Support for Inclusive Education Recognized

Bennett and Specht
Sheila Bennett and Jacqueline Specht with their National Inclusive Education Award – 2015

Sheila Bennett and Jacqueline Specht have contributed a great deal to the development of inclusive education in Canada. They are both Education Faculty at Ontario universities. Sheila Bennett is at Brock University in St. Catherine’s and Jacqueline Specht is at Western University in London.

Both have had public school and academic positions and have grounded their work in university teaching and research with personal experience in the public education system.

Specht and Bennett were both nominated by Community Living Ontario to be recognized for their work by CACL with a National Inclusive Education Award. The presentation took place in March 2015 at a symposium held in Kingston, Ontario. The event was a joint project of Community Living Ontario and Inclusive Education Canada.  Both recipients were presenters at the event, which included educators from Ontario public schools. Kimberley Gavin of Community Living Ontario and Gordon Porter, the Director of Inclusive Education Canada, made the presentation at a symposium in Kingston.

Sheila Bennett has been a professor and the chair of the Department of Teacher Education at Brock. Professionally, Sheila has worked in Newfoundland and Ontario as a classroom and special education teacher, school board resource person and faculty member. She has been active in the field of special education for many years and has been involved in policy and practical issues in the field. She completed her Ph.D. at OISE, University of Toronto. Co-chair of the Special Education Transformation Document (Ontario) as well as co-author of Special Education in Ontario Schools, Sheila has dedicated her career to working with educators and students in her chosen field.

Jacqueline Specht is an associate professor at Western who teaches in the area of educational psychology and special education. She completed her Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Western Ontario. Jacqueline taught in the psychology department at Huron University College before joining the Western Faculty of Education in 2003. Currently she is the director of the Canadian Research Centre on Inclusive Education. Her research interests encompass pedagogical issues surrounding the participation of children in the school system.

Bennett, Specht and Robinson
Jacqueline Specht and Sheila Bennett with Kingston Symposium participant, Uton Robinson, Executive superintendent of special-education programs, Toronto District School Board.