Gary Pieters

Gary Pieters

Educator / School Administrator, Toronto District School Board (TDSB), Toronto, ON. Born: UK, raised in Guyana.

Gary Pieters is a school administrator with the Toronto District School Board with over 15 years of experience in the educational sector. He served as a Grades 4-8 teacher with the TDSB from 1999-2004, and a math and pre-algebra teacher in the Palmdale School District in Los Angeles County from 1996-1999. He is currently in his 7th year as an elementary school vice-principal.

He has also been an invited speaker at equity and urban diversity, human rights and education-related events.

Community: On several boards and advisory committees including, the Urban Alliance on Race Relations, Sojourn House, and the Toronto Star Community Editorial Board. He is also a member of DiverseCity Voices, an initiative of the Maytree Foundation which aims to improve the diversity of voices in the media, through the creation of an online database of subject experts from under-represented groups. These experts are are willing to speak to the media or provide commentary on issues of public importance. Gary’s areas of expertise include urban issues; diversity and multiculturalism; community development; education; and African and Black culture.

During and after his appointment as a member of the Toronto Star Community Editorial Board (2006-07), he wrote numerous opinion/editorial columns for the newspaper including, “Time is Now for Bigger Role for Blacks” (pg. A15, Feb. 2, 2010); “Violence Gnaws at Social Bonds”, (pg. AA6, May 20, 2008); “Helping Boys Learn to be Men”, (pg. AA8, June 15, 2007); “If Youth Learn Violence, They Will Live Violently” (pg. AA8, June 14, 2007); “Hip Hop Culture’s Identity Crisis” (pg. A24, May 17, 2007); “Colour New Millennium Green” (pg. A28, April 19, 2007); “Slavery’s Long Destructive Legacy” (pg. F6, March 24, 2007); “A Safe Place for Pedestrians” (pg. F6, March 10, 2007); “Local Solutions to Local Issues” (pg. A20, February 22, 2007); “Diversity in the Black Diaspora” (pg. A18, February 6, 2007; “Character, Not Colour, Matters” (pg. A24, January 11, 2007); “Some Positive Changes for 2007” [co-written], pg. A20, January 4, 2007); “In Light of the Festive Season” (pg. A22, December 24, 2006).

Honours: United States Department of State Certificate of Participation Study of the United States Institute (American Studies and Culture); University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), USA; featured in OISE/UT Inspiring Alumni Series on Past Graduates; inclusion in Who’s Who in Black Canada (1st & 2nd editions; 2002 & 2006); Certificate of Recognition, York University Faculty of Education, for Significant professional contribution as a host teacher to teacher-candidates; panelist, Iced in Black Film Festival, University of Waterloo discussant on film, Speak it to the Heart of Black Nova Scotia; Website of the Month, operation dialogue for creating and maintaining Canadian Black Heritage in the Third Millennium, a website pertaining to Canadians of African descent, equity initiatives and inclusive education; Certificate of Merit, Victoria College, University of Toronto, literacy tutor and mentor at Lawrence Heights Middle School; Literacy Volunteer Award, Frontier College.

Reviewed in: Globe & Mail; Toronto Sun; Caribbean Camera; Share; Toronto Star; and others.

Education: Principal’s qualification pt.1 (2003) and pt.2 (2004); Master of Education (2002), Bachelor of Education (1996), and Bachelor of Arts/Hons, University of Toronto (1993).

Favourite books? 1) Northrop Frye’s, The Educated Imagination inspired me to appreciate literature, and to write on subject matter of compelling public interest and importance.  2) John Porter’s, Vertical Mosiac gave me a better understanding of multiculturalism in Canada and the structure of ethno-racial inequality in Canada.

Favourite quote? “Inclusion is not bringing people into what already exists. It is making a new space, a better space for everyone.” – Dr. George Sefa Dei

Given the chance, what would you love to do that you haven’t done yet? I would like to write and publish several books on life history, non-fiction work and biographies. I would also enjoy traveling across Canada and the world.

Who inspires you? I am inspired by many people who have dreamed the impossible dream, and left our society a better place as a result.

Why do you do what you do? A combination of life chance, opportunity and my current interests.

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