The MEHRIT Centre Team

Stuart Shanker, Founder & CEO, stuart@self-reg.ca
Susan Hopkins, Executive Director, susan@self-reg.ca
Colleen Dickinson, Executive Assistant for Dr. Shanker, colleen@self-reg.ca
Stephen Retallick, eSchool Administrator, stephen@self-reg.ca
Liz Shepherd, Project Manager and Executive Assistantliz@self-reg.ca

General Inquiries: info@self-reg.ca
Media Inquiries: media@self-reg.ca


Aaron Peacock, Videographer
Aidan Kennedy, Videographer
Amanda Binns, Self-Reg Foundations Program Facilitator
Angie Rosati, Self-Reg Consultant
Arlene Robinson, Self-Reg Foundations Program Facilitator
Aviva Dunsiger, Self-Reg Portal Plus Moderator
Bill Walker, Event & International Development Manager
Casey Burgess, Self-Reg Foundations Program Facilitator
Cathy Lethbridge, Self-Reg Foundations Program Facilitator
John Hoffman, Communications Officer & Newsletter Editor
Kathleen Sullivan, Teaching Assistant
Lauren Hughes, Event Assistant
Letitia Calver, Communication Designer
Linda Warren, Self-Reg Consultant
Meaghan Trewin, Communications Manager
Melissa Raine, Self-Reg Consultant
Melshean Boardman, Transcription
Nancy Niessen, Self-Reg Consultant
Paula Jurczak, Self-Reg Consultant, Foundations Program Facilitator
Sarah Diotte, Operations & Finance Manager
Sonia Mastrangelo, Self-Reg Consultant
Stefani Burosch, Self-Reg Consultant, Foundations Program Facilitator
Stephanie Pellett, Webmaster, Social Media & #TMCTalks Coordinator
Taylor Wilson, Client Services & Learning Navigator
Travis Francis, Teaching Assistant, Research Assistant
Vicki Parnell, Self-Reg Parenting Group Administrator

The Self-Regulation Institute (SRI) Team

Brenda Smith-Chant, Director of Research, Self-Regulation Institute
Anne Showalter, Manager of Research, Partnerships and Community Relationships
Esther Kushnir, Manager, Board Relations and Operations

Travis Francis,
Research Assistant
Sophia Davidson, Research Assistant, SRI (On education leave)

Research Inquiries: research@self-reg.ca

TMC Executive Bios

Susan Hopkins
Susan HopkinsExecutive Director, TMC
Susan Hopkins joined The MEHRIT Centre as Executive Director in June 2015. As a one-time, at-risk youth who quit high school twice, Susan has deep personal experience of the importance of self-regulation for the well-being and learning of today’s young people. Susan is a highly experienced educator with four university degrees including a master’s in educational technology and a doctorate in educational leadership. Over the course of her career, Susan has been a teacher, school administrator, inclusive schooling coordinator, curriculum developer, educational researcher, and educational leader. She has worked in every area of education from the early years to post-secondary, from remote Northern schools to the Department of Education, and across contexts that include Italy and the Northwest Territories. A passionate advocate for children, families and communities, Susan is dedicated to Dr. Shanker’s vision of ‘calm, alert children, youth and adults flourishing in physically and emotionally nurturing environments’.

What helps Susan stay calm and alert: Vinyasa yoga, her daughter’s laughter, animals, the ocean, the sunrise, and a lovely glass of red wine.

Colleen Dickinson
Colleen DickinsonExecutive Assistant for Dr. Shanker
Colleen is a natural born organizer and planning is in her blood. She is returning to Ontario from Fredericton NB where she spent 14 years working for an IT company as their training and travel administrator. Her diverse experience in finance, customer service, insurance sales and travel planning make her a great addition to the TMC family as Dr Shanker’s executive assistant.

What helps Colleen stay calm and alert: Spending time with her grandchildren, playing with her ferrets and cats, whale watching, animals and exploring new places.

Stephen Retallick
Stephen RetallickeSchool Administrator
Before working at The MEHRIT Centre, Stephen found solace as a librarian in a small local library. As a graduate of Fleming College, Stephen uses his background in technology to perform his countless responsibilities. His interests include exploring his family’s genealogy, increasing his knowledge of world history and encouraging his wife to do the same.

What helps Stephen stay calm and alert: Spending time with family, eating dark chocolate and listening to classical music.

Liz Shepherd
Liz ShepherdProject Manager and Executive Assistant
Prior to completing her MSc in Psychology at Trent University, Liz was deeply involved in voluntary work both in the USA and the UK. Her voluntary experience ranges from working at an animal shelter to acquiring resources and funds to support local youth. Her passion for volunteering, helping and understanding others led her to pursue a career in Psychology and makes her naturally attracted to the concept of Self-Reg. With a keen interest in the biological underpinnings of stress, Liz hopes to integrate her knowledge of the brain with the concept of self-regulation.

What helps Liz stay calm and alert: Listening to music, reading, knitting and playing with her pet rats, Lupin and Severus.

TMC Team Bios

Aaron Peacock
Aaron PeacockVideographer
Aaron is a videographer and filmmaker from Port Hope ON. He studied Film & TV Production at Humber College, and has had several projects play at film festivals all over North America. His company (with Aidan Kennedy) Two Blue Shirts Productions, produces online course content for TMC. Aaron is new to Self-Reg but looks forward to utilizing the five steps in the Shanker Method on set, possibly the most high stress workplace known to man.

What helps Aaron stay calm and alert: Crowded coffee shops.

Aidan Kennedy
Aidan KennedyVideographer
Descended from a family of performers, Aidan found a passion behind the camera. After studying Television and New Media Production at Loyalist College, he co-founded the Northumberland County based video production company, Two Blue Shirts Productions. Awarded for his work on corporate productions at Loyalist, Aidan now produces content for clients across the province, including TMC. Though an amateur when it comes to Self-Reg, Aidan looks forward to utilizing it when his computer crashes during an editing session.

What helps Aidan stay calm and alert: Watching sports, specifically his beloved Boston Red Sox.

Amanda Binns
Amanda BinnsSelf-Reg Foundations Program Facilitator
Amanda is a Speech-Language Pathologist, PhD student and mother. She is also a DIR-Floortime training leader, adjunct faculty at Fielding University, and blogger. Amanda has worked with children, adolescents and parents in home, school, hospital, university clinic and agency settings. She is passionate about sharing with others what she has learned about self-regulation through years of clinical and research work. She has presented to and consulted with professionals across four continents. Amanda continues to be inspired by working in conjunction with Dr. Stuart Shanker and his dynamic team at TMC.

What helps Amanda stay calm and alert: A hot cup of tea, yoga, snuggles with my daughter, and sharing meal and laugh with friends and family.

Angie Rosati
Angie RosatiSelf-Reg Consultant
Angie is a Professor of Early Childhood Education at Sheridan College and a PhD student in Education at York University. Angie has been interested in the impact of the schooling experience on the developmental pathways of children for as long as she can remember. Angie writes policy papers and op-ed pieces for an array of educational organizations and regularly delivers workshops to early childhood educators and college professors on the topics of Self-Regulation, Temperament and the Biology of Behaviour. Angie is working toward the day when the science of self-regulation becomes an embodied aspect of education and is hopeful that when all children come to be viewed through a self-reg lens by the important people in their lives, they will be freed to experience the promise of their potential.

What helps Angie stay calm and alert: The memory of her father’s smile, sharing stories with a friend over a glass of craft beer, Frank Sinatra, teaching, and watching her daughters sleep.

Arlene Robinson
Arlene RobinsonSelf-Reg Foundations Program Facilitator
Arlene is an elementary school principal with more that 25 years in education, wife and mother of two. She has been searching for more effective ways to support students to their fullest potential in spite of what lies in their life path. For Arlene, the Self-Reg is the answer to this search and she is finding the learning journey to be beneficial both personally and professionally, and believes everyone can benefit from this learning.

What helps Arlene stay calm and alert: Reading, kayaking, gardening, learning, practicing mindfulness, quiet time with family and any time spent on both the shore and the surface of Lake Katchiwanooka.

Aviva Dunsiger
Aviva DunsigerSelf-Reg Portal Plus Moderator
Aviva is no stranger to self-regulation, whether in the classroom or in her everyday life. When she’s not moderating Portal Plus, Aviva works as a JK/SK teacher at an inner-city school in Hamilton, helping her students develop self-regulation skills. Dr. Shanker’s book, Calm, Alert and Learning has been a source of inspiration for Aviva as a teacher and digital native.

What helps Aviva stay calm and alert: Regular blogging, slowly sipping her morning coffee, low lighting, a quiet room and reading a good book.

Bill Walker
Bill WalkerEvent & International Development Manager
Bill Walker offers 25 years of varied international and national event production, such as the Pan Am and Para Pan Am Games held in 2015 – Toronto. He managed and co-created the Indy International Racing Series – CART Champ Club Hospitality and Partner Programming. Bill has vast experience in event activation, venue management and program creation knowledge paired with a genuine passion for pure, clean and healthy lifestyle living. Bill grew up in the Kawartha region, lived in Toronto, London, Vancouver and Florida while traveling extensively managing event incentives and sport projects.

What helps Bill stay calm and alert: Bill prefers to surrender to “Mother” Nature for authentic calm perspective and centering. Hiking and biking on trails, mountains and swimming are daily routines April to November while in cottage country. A primary fresh, local and a whole food diet prepared Latin, Asian or Indian inspired regulates happiness and creativity!

Casey Burgess
Casey BurgessSelf-Reg Foundations Program Facilitator
Having lived across Canada from coast to coast, Casey has worked for over 20 years as an Autism Resource Consultant and Clinical Supervisor on multidisciplinary teams, in both British Columbia and Ontario. Currently in Sault Ste Marie, she is an adjunct faculty member at Algoma University (Psychology), Lake Superior State University (Education), and Sault College (Social Sciences), as well as a PhD student, a parent of a teen and a tween, and the partner of a very understanding man.

What helps Casey stay calm and alert: Yoga, meditation, forest trails, a glass of wine, hearty laughs amongst good friends, the beach, a variety of stringed instruments, and her amazing family.

Cathy Lethbridge
Cathy LethbridgeSelf-Reg Foundations Program Facilitator
Cathy has been an elementary educator for 32 years with the Simcoe County DSB, the past 13 years as principal. She actively applies Shanker Self-Reg in both her personal and professional life and believes in the power of Self-Reg to change trajectories no matter a person’s age or stage in life. Inspired by Dr. Shanker’s work, Cathy is leading her current school toward being a Self-Reg Haven and works with other schools to help them achieve school-wide improvement through Self-Reg.

What helps Cathy stay calm and alert: Workouts at the gym followed by decaf coffee and classical music, photography, hand washing dishes, cooking and blogging daily gratitudes.

John Hoffman
John HoffmanCommunications Officer & Newsletter Editor
John has had three distinct careers that have blended together at times: roots musician, stay-at-home father and freelance writer. A former long-time columnist and feature writer for Today’s Parent, John now specializes in knowledge translation, blogging and writing for not-profit organizations like The MEHRIT Centre, The Psychology Foundation of Canada and Dad Central Ontario.

What helps John stay calm and alert: Playing the fiddle, sailing his Laser and making wisecracks.

Kathleen Sullivan
Kathleen SullivanTeaching Assistant
Kathleen is a recently graduated occupational therapist, who became interested in Self-Reg while pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Throughout university, Kathleen worked with children in a number of capacities, including as a coach, a researcher, and after-school program provider. From the school to the swimming pool, Kathleen’s experiences led her to strongly believe in Self-Reg’s ability to benefit children and adults from all walks of life. She is excited to be a part of the Mehrit Centre team and to expand her understanding of Self-Reg.

What helps Kathleen stay calm and alert: Synchronized swimming, reading, and listening to the ocean.

Lauren Hughes
Lauren HughesEvent Assistant
Lauren is an event coordinator with well over 10 years of varied experiences ranging from intimate weddings to large scale conferences. A graduate of both Trent University and Fleming College, Lauren has a special place in her heart for the Peterborough area and Trent communities. She lives with her husband, two small boys, along with their dogs and cats, in a small town in south eastern Ontario and loves living close to nature. Lauren has worked with a variety of organizations on events, as well as for herself, with an event planning business focusing on weddings and social events. When she’s not busy working on various work projects, Lauren enjoys spending her time walking the dogs and playing outdoors with her sons, cooking and baking, and spending quality time with extended family. While Lauren is somewhat new to the world of Self-Reg, she is passionate about learning the ins and outs and using the new skills while raising her young family. Lauren comes from a family of educators, and having seen their successes and struggles over the years, she sees the great value of Self-Reg to all of us, young and old.

What helps Lauren stay calm and alert: A hot cup of loose leaf tea, hugs and kisses from her sons, a cuddle with one of her animals, baking from scratch, and sharing a moment of love and laughter with her husband.

Letitia Calver
Letitia CalverCommunication Designer
Letitia is a communication designer from Port Hope, ON. She holds a Bachelor of Design from NSCAD University and an Advanced Diploma in Communication Design from George Brown College. She is currently working as a freelance designer under the company name Calver/Create. Letitia specializes in brand strategies, print mediums and creating custom designs and logos. She is passionate about design, typography, and branding and enjoys working on projects where she can use design thinking to enrich an original idea.

What helps Letitia stay calm and alert: Staying organized, time in the outdoors, Sunday brunch and conversations with friends.

Linda Warren
Linda WarrenSelf-Reg Consultant
Linda believes self-regulation is the foundation of a happy life of learning and living. She is grateful for the opportunity to continue her journey of self-reg learning with Dr. Shanker and is committed to supporting others on theirs.
Linda is an experienced presenter, and as a school and system principal, she has 30 plus years’ experience in education and community involvement. She has worked in centralized roles in Special Education and Safe Schools and has taught in elementary and secondary schools. Linda sits on the Board of Directors for Frontenac Youth Services, a not-for-profit mental health agency for children, youth and their families.

What helps Linda stay calm and alert: Being outside, time with her grandchildren and practicing gratitude.

Meaghan Trewin
Meaghan TrewinCommunications Manager
Meaghan is an experienced editor, writer, graphic designer, and communications strategist. She cares deeply about the big questions in life, such as: Do we want to use the Oxford comma? and Would an en or em dash be appropriate here? She lends her creative eye and obsessive attention to detail to TMC and SRI printed materials and online resources, to ensure key messages are easy to understand, visually engaging, and, above all, fun to read.

What helps Meaghan stay calm and alert: Small-batch roasted coffee, yoga, biking, cooking, reading a good book, her cat, and binge watching old episodes of The Mentalist with a glass of red wine.

Melissa Raine
Melissa RaineSelf-Reg Consultant
Melissa’s research background is in medieval English literature. After becoming an Associate Investigator with the Centre for the History of Emotions in Australia for a project on children’s voices in medieval narratives, she became aware that the key questions she was asking – When do children have voices? What are they permitted/expected to say? What do their voices tell us about the culture they inhabit and how it understands childhood? – were as relevant for living children as for the imaginary children of the texts she was researching. As a result, she expanded her project into a symposium in 2016, “Children’s Voices in Contemporary Australia”. This coincided with her learning at The MEHRIT Centre, which informed the shape and questions that were considered on the day. Melissa continues to work on both projects as well as being a mother to 2 sons.

What helps Melissa stay calm and alert: Sharing happy times with her children, her cats, quiet conversations with her partner, being involved in community, reading, walking and trees!

Melshean Boardman
Melshean BoardmanTranscription
As a bibliophile from a young age, Melshean followed her love of the written word to pursue degrees in English Literature and Education, and to develop a background in editing and research. Currently, she is a part-time transcriber for TMC, including creating closed captions for videos in the Self-Reg Foundations Program. She is also an occasional teacher for her local school board, where Melshean patiently walks herself through the five steps of Self-Reg when experiencing stress as a model for her elementary-age students.

What helps Melshean stay calm and alert: A good breakfast, organized work spaces, a walk in the woods, an episode of Gilmore Girls, and singing at top volume in the car.

Nancy Niessen
Nancy NiessenSelf-Reg Consultant
Nancy Niessen’s teaching career has spanned over three decades. Most of that time has been spent in the Early Years and Special Education. She has worked in a variety of settings, predominantly in the public school system. She is OCT certified and has a Diploma in Child Studies (ECE) from what was formerly known as The Institute of Child Studies. Nancy thrives on the challenge of grounding theory in practice. Now retired from the classroom, she continues her work as an ETFO AQ instructor and enjoys working with other educators to improve their practice and build leadership skills. She is an active member of her local Reggio Study Group and sees many connections between Reggio-inspired practice and self-regulation.

Nancy is proud to be a Cohort 1 graduate of TMC’s Foundations course. Self-Reg has become an ever-present influence in all that she does. She consciously puts the 5 Steps of Self-Regulation into practice in her life and is working with others to help them understand the process for themselves.

What helps Nancy stay calm and alert: Quiet, a lack of clutter, having her feet in the sand, beautiful sunsets, kayaking, hammocking, handfeeding birds in the woods, djembe drumming, playing the ukulele, reading, and spending time with her two children and other loved ones.

Paula Jurczak
Paula JurczakSelf-Reg Foundations Program Facilitator
Paula is a native Vancouverite and enjoys living near the ocean. As a Registered Clinical Counselor and Registered Social Worker she works with infants, children, adolescents, parents and professionals in her clinic, schools, hospitals and mental health settings. Additionally, Paula is a Special Needs Consultant and DIR Floortime Training Leader providing therapy, consultation, training and workshops locally and internationally.

Paula enjoys supporting each person’s self-regulation journey to become calm and alert.

What helps Paula stay calm and alert: music, walking, tea, reading a good book, cardio salsa, time with friends and loved ones.

Sarah Diotte
Sarah DiotteOperations & Finance Manager
Sarah Diotte has built her career from being involved in a variety of industries and brings extensive experience as a Corporate Operations Officer, Financial Bookkeeper, and Human Resource Manager to her role overseeing all aspects of Bookkeeping for The MEHRIT Centre Ltd. Sarah believes the greatest asset a company has is its people. Her strategy: “Listen and observe, then speak with informed facts. Always encourage, and build up the confidence in those around you.”

What helps Sarah stay calm and alert: Gaining experience in the art of wine making, watching the sunset over the water at her country home, and relaxing outside with her three little dogs by a cozy fire.

Sonia Mastrangelo
Sonia MastrangeloSelf-Reg Consultant
Sonia Mastrangelo is an Associate Professor at Lakehead University Orillia in the Faculty of Education, associate editor of the International Journal of Holistic Early Learning and Development and former special education teacher. She is also a certified Miller Method therapist, a cognitive developmental approach to working with students on the autism spectrum. Sonia travels nationally and internationally, speaking with parents and teachers about autism spectrum disorder, self regulation, the importance of play and developmentally appropriate practice and provides direct consultative support to schools and clinics.

What helps Sonia stay calm and alert: Daily exercise, hikes along the Humber Valley Trail, baking, and dancing with her daughters.

Stefani Burosch
Stefani BuroschSelf-Reg Foundations Program Facilitator
Stefani is a Registered Social Worker with a background in research, communities, organizations, and planning. She is a passionate advocate for school-based mental health and spent five years in northern Alberta as a Project Coordinator with the Alberta Mental Health Capacity Building in Schools Projects. Since moving back to Ontario, Stefani has continued her work in mental health leadership within the education sector. She believes that self-regulation is absolutely essential for promoting the well-being of kids, families, and communities.

What helps Stefani stay calm and alert: Sharing a good laugh with friends and family, walking with my dog, hitting the trails on my horse.

Stephanie Pellett
Stephanie PellettWebmaster, Social Media & #TMCTalks Coordinator
Stephanie is the webmaster and social media manager for The MEHRIT Centre. Passionate about building a career doing work that matters, Stephanie chooses to work only with values-driven organizations such as TMC. After majoring in Psychology and working as a teacher and camp counsellor for young children, Stephanie has come to believe strongly in the power and potential reach of Self-Regulation. She is excited to be a part of the TMC team and to continue learning how to implement Self-Reg into her own life.

What helps Stephanie stay calm and alert: Plenty of long walks outdoors, getting lost in a book, listening to podcasts, practicing yoga, and working on creative projects.

Taylor Wilson
Taylor WilsonClient Services & Learning Navigator
Taylor is a strong believer in the power of personal relationships. With over five years in the service industry as a server and youth leader at her local church, Taylor continues to serve as a customer service assistant for the Self-Reg community. Currently pursuing Psychology at Trent University, Taylor hopes to translate this degree into a career as a Speech and Language Pathologist. While still new to Self-Reg, Taylor is eager to learn more about Dr. Shanker’s methods.

What helps Taylor stay calm and alert: Listening to music, singing, reading for pleasure, watching Downtown Abbey, taking nature walks and spending time with family.

Travis Francis
Travis FrancisTeaching Assistant, Research Assistant
Travis is currently pursuing a degree in Interdisciplinary studies at Lakehead University in Orillia with a specialization in Psychology and Criminology. One of the youngest members of The MEHRIT Centre’s team, Travis works as a Teaching and Research Assistant. Having presented on Self-Regulation at the Conference on Holistic Early Learning and Development as well as the Canadian Conference on Student Leadership, Travis has a strong understanding of Self-Regulation and is eager to expand his knowledge.

What helps Travis stay calm and alert: Performing with his band as a guitarist, playing with his two golden retriever puppies and staying active on the Lakehead University hockey team.

Vicki Parnell
Vicki ParnellSelf-Reg Parenting Group Administrator
Vicki is the administrator of the Self-Reg Parenting group on Facebook. She also works as an RDI Certified Consultant and Special Needs Resource Navigator, offering parent support and personalized intervention for families throughout British Columbia who have been affected by autism and other neurodevelopmental differences.

Vicki can often be found reading from her growing pile of books about neuroscience, mindfulness and self-regulation, purchased while taking the Self-Reg Foundations course.

What helps Vicki stay calm and alert: listening to bel canto opera, looking at the ocean and the sky, and drinking big cups of Yorkshire Gold tea.

Self-Regulation Institute (SRI) Team

Brenda Smith-Chant
Brenda Smith-ChantDirector of Research, Self-Regulation Institute
Prior to becoming a researcher, Brenda was a therapeutic foster parent for teenage girls in a small community north of Algonquin Park. This was the motivation to become a university research professor and Director of Research at the Self-Regulation Institute. In addition to teaching about child development, the development of children with exceptionalities, and the science behind teaching techniques, Brenda focuses on community-university partnerships.

What helps Brenda stay calm and alert: Cooking, nighttime reading, walking nature trails near Trent University, making ‘to-do’ lists and calling friends and family.

Anne Showalter
Anne ShowalterManager of Research, Partnerships and Community Relationships
Anne has been in school as a student, a teacher or both for more than three decades. She is currently finishing her PhD dissertation about discourses of memory in millennial Canadian films and on-line user reviews of them. She is passionate about the importance of an inspiring and inclusive learning environment and the well-being of students and teachers. Anne is keen to support the research at the Self-Reg Institute in its work towards creating safe spaces of learning
and living.

What helps Anne feel calm and alert: The feel of sunshine, the sound of rain falling, deep snow, swimming, reading, using ‘to do’ lists, and hanging out with her three amazing kids and her partner.

Esther Kushnir
Esther KushnirManager, Board Relations and Operations
Esther is a Law Clerk with over 15 years work experience. Her practice primarily focuses on corporate/commercial law. Esther has worked for several large multi-media corporations. Her former position at Bell Media Inc. as Senior Specialist, Legal and Business Affairs is where she gained invaluable experience with boards, corporate entity management and governance. Esther is also a member of The Institute of Law Clerks of Ontario (“ILCO”) and assists with the preparation of the annual corporate syllabus for ILCO’s educational program.

Esther’s diverse work experience consistently shows through her ability to take on challenges and learn new things. Her enthusiastic work attitude and habit of looking at matters from all angles has assisted her to remain a positive, forward-thinking individual.

What helps Esther stay calm and alert: Zumba fitness, listening to music, and spending time with friends.

Self-Reg Partnerships

Natalia Fedan
Natalia FedanOwner of MindCare (Poland)
Natalia Fedan is a psychologist, English studies graduate, with training in cognitive-behavioral therapy and in Self-Reg method. Mother to three kids, including two teenagers and one almost two-year-old. Translator of Stuart Shanker’s book on Self-Reg. She gives anti-stress consultations, emotion regulation consultations, personal development workshops and psychological counselling for adults, children and adolescents.

Natalia is the owner of a developing company MindCare (www.mindcare.pl) – a center for stress management and reduction and emotion regulation. Co-author of the blog www.zyciowapsychologia.wordpress.com. She also writes guest posts on the blog Droga Uważności, www.drogauwaznosci.pl, promoting mindfulness.

Telephone: +48 505 422 950

For more information and to read Natalia’s biography in Polish, click here to visit the Self-Reg Poland section of TMC’s website.