Mary Ellen Gucciardi
For almost a decade, Gucciardi worked as a First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Studies Consultant with the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board. Passionate about providing hands-on, experiential learning opportunities for students, alongside Indigenous knowledge keepers and elders, she introduced teachers and students alike to the cultures and traditions of some of the First Nations of Canada—the Cree, Anishinaabe, Iroquois and Mohawk bands of Ontario—and the Inuit of the High Arctic. Currently, Gucciardi is teaching at the School within a College dual credit Program at Humber College.
A champion of marginalized students, Mary Ellen co-designed and delivered professional development about Indigenous perspectives for educators in collaboration with three school boards. She designed and co-facilitated Legacy of Hope professional development for teachers with a focus on Canada’s residential school crisis, and co-organized and implemented various First Nations, Métis, and Inuit cultural presentations for students and teachers.
Gucciardi uses a variety of tools that help students and teachers make cross-cultural connections in and out of the classroom. Collaborating with educational groups such as Exploring by the Seat of Pants, Students on Ice, and Sedna Epic Expedition, has been a source of inspiration for Gucciardi. She has helped create an eBook about her North-South cultural journeys of exploration and discovery. Gucciardi has produced two films, On the Land and Iqaluit Dawn, which follow teachers and students as they participate in cultural exchanges to Nunavut.
A Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS), Mary Ellen explores the world’s oceans, glaciers, climate and life in the polar regions. Mary Ellen is the 2019 recipient for the RCGS Innovation in Teaching Georgraphy Award which recognizes an educator who fosters geographic engagement and helps to increase student’s geographic literacy.
Mary Ellen was the co-leader of the multi-year Sedna Epic Expedition, which is comprised of women ocean explorers, scientists, artists, photographers, videographers, historians, educators, and scuba diving and medical professionals from around the world. In the past decade, she has participated in eight expeditions, with a focus on science, climate change and cultural in Labrador, Nunavut and Greenland.
Certified to teach in Ontario in 1996, Mary Ellen Gucciardi has a BA and a MSc in Education. She was appointed to Ontario College of Teachers Council in September 2018.