Our Conference Speakers

Shelley Moore
Keynote Speaker 



Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Dr. Shelley Moore is a highly sought-after inclusive education researcher, collaborator, consultant and storyteller, and has worked with school districts and community organizations throughout Canada and the United States.

Her research has been featured at international conferences including the Council of Exceptional Children (CEC), the International Reading Association (IRA), the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), The American Education Research Association (AERA), and the Canadian Society for Studies in Education (CSSE).

Shelley completed her undergraduate degree in Special Education at the University of Alberta, her masters at Simon Fraser University, and her Ph.D. at the University of British Columbia.


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Julie Pellissier-Lush

Keynote Speaker


Julie Pellissier-Lush M.S.M, actress, and bestselling author of  My Mi’kmaq Mother , Poet Laureate for PEI, recipient of the Queens jubilee medal in 2013, the Meritorious Service Medal recipient in 2017, and the Senators 150 metal in April 2019. She grew up all over Eastern Canada and spent a number of years in Winnipeg, Manitoba, before coming back home. 

Julie is a graduate from the University of Winnipeg in 2000 with a double major in Psychology and Human Resource Management. She writes, acts, and does photography to preserve the history and culture of the Mi’kmaq for future generations. Julie wrote the poems for the play  Mi’kmaq Legends  which has been performed on many different stages in the Atlantic region. It is her hope that this play will someday travel across Canada and beyond so more people have the opportunity to learn about the rich Mi’kmaq history! 

Julie lives in PEI with her husband Rick, her five children, and her granddaughter Miah.



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Sarah McDonald Moores


Relationships First Newfoundland and Labrador (RFNL) is a provincial restorative justice (rj) organization housed in Memorial University’s Faculty of Education. RFNL aims to provide support, resources, research, and recommendations for the sustainable integration of rj in NL. RFNL understands rj as the framework upon which communities nurture the capacity of people to engage with one another and their environment in a manner that supports and respects the inherent dignity and worth of all.


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Tracy Saarikoski


Tracy Saarikoski (she/her) is a proud Registered Early Childhood Educator from Sudbury, Ontario. She has a passion for Early Learning & Child Care and advocating for children, families and the sector. She currently operates a non-profit licensed child care program and is involved in many networks and committees in the community and across the province. Discovery Early Learning & Care has been her home for more than 30 years and continues to promote lifelong learning in her professional and personal life. Listening to children, considering their curiosities and engaging in joyful experiences with them inspire her leadership each day. She is full of energy and shares her love of literacy and learning with everyone.


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Ashley Beresford


Ashley Beresford holds Bachelor of Music (clarinet) and Bachelor of Music Education degrees from Memorial University of Newfoundland and a Masters in Music (Instrumental Conducting) from McGill University. She is currently teaching at Bishop Feild Elementary and Holy Trinity Elementary in St. John’s, Newfoundland where she focuses on incorporating literacy and technology into the music classroom. Ashley spent many years as an active performer, playing with ensembles including the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra and Atlantic Light Theatre. Ashley is a Past President of the Newfoundland and Labrador Music Educators’ Association and is currently Vice President of the Canadian Music Educators’ Association.


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Josée Bisaillon


Josée Bisaillon is an award-winning Canadian illustrator.

Since 2005, she has illustrated more than 40 picture books and has done numerous editorial illustrations for magazines and newspapers.

Her work has received recognition from Applied Arts, American Illustration and the Society of Illustrators, to name a few. She was shortlisted four times for the Governor General’s Literary Awards.

Her work, a unique mixture of collage, drawings, and digital art, takes us in a poetic, colorful and whimsical world.


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Emily Blackmore


Emily Blackmore is the Newfoundland and Labrador Public Library's Children's and Youth Collections and Services Librarian. Emily has her Master's degree in Library and Information Studies from Dalhousie University and has over a decade experience in the public library field. Early literacy, open information, and working to make the library a space for every member of our community are some of the focuses of Emily's work.


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Krista Phelan
& Katie Baggs


Little Nest Children’s Community is a preschool that focuses on nature play, inquiry-based learning and the Arts. After opening in 2018 Little Nest quickly gained a reputation for high quality programming. Owners Krista Phelan (B.Ed, Montessori Preschool, Level III ECE) and Katie Baggs (B.A, B.Ed, Level III ECE) set out to create a unique learning environment that could combine alternative education with the requirements of government-licensed child care. They have found creative ways to meet and exceed standards, and to offer children a truly immersive nature-based program right in the city of St. John's. 


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Allison Pinsent


Allison Pinsent, an educator in Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) for twenty-three years, has continued her love of mathematics through undergraduate and graduate studies from Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN). During her work at the department, district and university, she feels honored to support mathematics teaching and learning in our province. She is a committed member of the LIFT 2024 Planning Committee and is excited to share her passion with you!


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Dr. Sherra Robinson


Sherra is a Mi’kmaw woman from Mekap’sk (Northern Peninsula) Mi’kmaq Band, Ktaqamkuk (Newfoundland) and a member of the Newfoundland Indigenous Peoples Alliance. She is an educator and scholar. She is also a Program Implemenation Specialist With the Department of Education - Newfoundland and Labrador - K-12 Branch, and has a background as an English, Drama, and Technology teacher. She is an educational advocate and ally and has a keen interest in advancing student voice, choice and agency, storytelling, relationality, and Indigenous Education.



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Michelle McCarron


Michelle McCarron works as a Mathematics Consultant in Chignecto Central Regional Centre for Education in Nova Scotia and is a former middle school Mathematics teacher. She supports and works alongside teachers, administrators, coaches and system leaders to improve student success in mathematics through reflection upon and enhancement of mathematics instruction and centers her work around creating equitable learning spaces for ALL students. Michelle’s instructional leadership is deeply influenced by her direct work with Dr. Peter Liljedahl and his transformative Building Thinking Classrooms Framework.



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Dr. Norma St Croix


Dr. Norma St Croix has 40 years of education experience spanning from MUN assistant teaching professor, consultant, program specialist, administrator, coach, and teacher. Norma completed her PhD in Education Studies in August 2019 at UNB. Her applied collaborative research with educators used student assessment data and a Response-to-Interventions (RtI) approach to identify and address student literacy learning needs. As a research assistant for Canadian Research Institute for Social Policy (CRISP) at UNB, Norma worked on the instructional and assessment framework for an early literacy FN intervention program. Norma leads professional development for Confident Learners coaches in several Indigenous schools across Canada. Norma’s research interests are assessment-informed decision making, early literacy instruction, response-to interventions, and teacher education.



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