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About the Presenters

Skip Navigation LinksStuart Shanker Visit 2014 About the Presenters

Dr Stuart Shanker                                                   

Dr Stuart Shanker is a Distinguished Research Professor of Philosophy and Psychology at York University and Director of the Milton and Ethel Harris Research Initiative at York University ( He was educated at the University of Toronto, where he won several awards, including a scholarship to study at Oxford, and also won the Marian Buck Fellowship at Christ Church.

Dr Shanker has also been awarded the Canada Council Doctoral Fellowship and Postdoctoral Fellowship, Calgary Institute for the Humanities Fellowship, University of Alberta Mactaggart Fellowship and a Iszaak Walton Killam Fellowship as well as the Walter L Gordon Fellowship at York University.Dr Stuart Shanker has also received a $7,000,000 grant to establish MEHRI, a state-of-the-art cognitive and social neuroscience Centre.

Dr Shanker has served as Director of the Council of Human Development for ten years as well as the Director of the Canada-Cuba Research Alliance for six years and became the President of the Council of Early Child Development in Canada for two years. Over the past decade he has served as an advisor on early child development to government organizations across Canada and the US and countries around the world, among them Australia, Bosnia, Colombia, England, Hungary, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Peru, Romania, and Serbia. Most recently he served as the 2012 Thinker in Residence for Western Australia. 

Mike McKay - Project Director

With 35 years’ experience as a school and district educational leader, Mike McKay has recently retired from his position as Superintendent/CEO of Surrey School District, a diverse and dynamic school system in one of Canada’s fastest growing cities.  As Superintendent and CEO of Surrey Schools, he was responsible for a student and staff population of almost 80,000. 

 In addition to having taught at both elementary and secondary levels, beginning in the Interior and moving to other districts in B.C., Mike served as a school and district administrator from 1986.  He also worked with the Ministry of Education as Director of Educational Innovation responsible for provincial intermediate and graduation programs. His experiences as a member of the Provincial Working Group on Accountability Agreements and District Reviews led him to encourage schools to engage in value-added improvement processes, through which school communities commit to capacity building in a positive, appreciative enquiry environment.

Mike’s leadership and vision on giving “every child, every chance, every day,” has helped a dedicated and highly committed team of professionals in Surrey to produce increased student success rates at all levels.  Passionate about the difference that can be made through quality public education, Mike’s current work with Dr. Stuart Shanker of York University has resulted in the establishment of a national self-regulation initiative (see  In addition to this ground breaking work, Mike serves on the Boards of several organizations committed to championing Canada’s public education system and promoting B.C. internationally.  He is also active as a resource person on system improvement focusing on innovative leadership, accountability, ethics and professional learning communities.

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