Kaleb is a member of the Kwakiutl (Kwagiulth) First Nation on northern Vancouver Island and has strong cultural knowledge through his Kwakwaka’wakw family connections as a traditional singer and educator amongst the Kwak’wala speaking peoples. In addition to culture and community education, Kaleb obtained a BEd degree as a graduate of the Indigenous Teachers Education Program (NITEP, University of British Columbia) and a MEd from the University of Victoria. He has over 20 years of experience in education in both teaching and administration in First Nations schools, K – 12 public schools, Early Learning, Adult Education and Post-Secondary Programs. His education and professional experience has been connected closely to First Nations communities throughout his career as a teacher, director and educational leader. In his roles, he works to enhance and support leadership development committed to equitable learning environments, an Indigenous vision for pedagogy, authentic Aboriginal learning connections for all learners, language and culture revitalization, and by strengthening meaningful relationships across communities. Kaleb currently lives in Victoria with his partner Yakawilas, Coreen Child, and their three daughters, Tłakweł’ganaxw, Kiara, Tłakwa’gila’ogwa, Natalya, and Tłakwa’ga, Mariah.
What is your most memorable experience from your time in the Faculty of Education?
A highlight for me as a student at UBC was the community atmosphere and spirit of family that existed at the House of Learning. There were so many supports, activities and special events connected to the NITEP Program and the Faculty of Education that kept us all together as a learning cohort. One of my most memorable moments was being a part of the Indigenous graduation ceremony (held in June 2001) and the excitement of witnessing so many friends, family and community members who were there to celebrate the collective accomplishments of their respective graduates. Upon reflection, I look back at university life, the hurdles and sacrifices of the post-secondary journey (that are often full of challenges and distractions), and the sheer joy and excitement I felt on the day we were all receiving our BEd. To have completed such a rewarding program (NITEP) with so many other connected and gifted educators and staff really continues to anchor my beliefs and practices as an educator today, and I am forever grateful.
Where has your education from the Faculty of Education taken you in your career?
I have had the tremendous privilege to serve learning in a variety of educational roles that began in WSANEC and Lekwungen traditional territories at the Saanich Adult Education Centre (2001-2008) and Camosun College (2005-2008). From there, I returned to my home community on the north island and the traditional territories of the Kwak’wala speaking peoples, serving First Nations Education and a variety of other roles for School District 85 Vancouver Island North as District Principal and Director of Instruction. Currently, I am in my third year working in educational leadership for the BC Ministry of Education. The foundations that I acquired through UBC and the Faculty of Education has allowed me to serve learners formally as a teacher, Principal, District Principal, Director of Instruction and currently as a co-lead for the Ministry of Education’s Equity in Action Project focused on improving educational outcomes for Aboriginal learners in BC.
Where do issues of inclusion find a place in your life or at work?
Inclusion is a key foundation guiding our work in education and society today. It is our goal to ensure that each and every learner is valued, respected and safe in their school experience. Currently, we are engaging a systems approach to achieve “equity of opportunity” for Indigenous learners in the public school system, and throughout my career, I have worked alongside educator teams and communities that believe that every learner can succeed. It has been an incredible journey to witness school districts and educators across BC committed to improving systems and service to learners, parents, families and communities.
Do you have any words of wisdom for current students? Newly graduated folks?
Be bold, be courageous and do your best. ‘Stand in the gap’ for what is right, embrace your beliefs and always remember where you come from.