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.
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.
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.
TMC eSchool Team
Paula JurczakDean of eLearning & Self-Reg Consultant
Paula Jurczak is a Registered Clinical Counselor, Registered Social Worker, DIR Clinician and Training Leader and Self-Regulation Consultant in BC specializing in assessment and treatment of infants, children and adolescents with complex mental health issues, specialized medical conditions and special needs. Paula holds a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology and a Bachelors Degree in Social Work. Paula uses a strength based, family centered multidisciplinary approach and her work is informed by current research and evidence based intervention. Paula maintains a private practice using DIR and Self-Regulation models to support individuals experiencing attachment and regulatory challenges, behavioral and emotional difficulties, autism and neurodevelopmental disorders and mental health issues. She is the Dean of eLearning for The Mehrit Centre (TMC) and works collaboratively to support Self-Regulation in schools, organizations, health and social service agencies across Canada. Paula Jurczak also presents internationally and provides psychoeducational workshops, reflective parent coaching, online support services and support groups and consultation to hospitals, mental health clinics, preschools and schools.
What helps Paula stay calm and alert: Music, walking, tea, reading a good book, cardio salsa, time with friends and loved ones.
Aviva DunsigerCo-Reg Community Moderator
Aviva is no stranger to self-regulation, whether in the classroom or in her everyday life. When she’s not moderating the Co-Reg Community, 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.
Alaina KunderTeaching Assistant
Alaina completed her Master’s of Psychology degree at Trent University under supervision of Dr. Brenda Smith-Chant (senior researcher at the Self-Regulation Institute). In addition, Alaina completed her Bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Guelph-Humber. Having learned about Self-Reg through the Foundations courses and at Trent University, Alaina is eager to continue expanding her knowledge.
What helps Alaina stay calm and alert: Spending time with family, being in the presence of nature and cuddling her dogs.
Alexis SaltmarshTeaching Assistant
I am a Behavioural Therapist in Northwestern Ontario. I graduated from Trent University with a degree in Anthropology and went on to complete a graduate certificate in Autism and Behavioural Science at Lambton College. I consider myself fortunate to have been able to work in both residential, clinical, and educational settings, and I am excited to bring Self-Reg into my professional practice, to help reach all students, and support them and the adults working with them, on their Self-Reg learning journey.
What helps me to stay calm and alert: time at the lake, camping, time with my kids, family and friends, and enjoying a good book.
Amanda BinnsSelf-Reg Online Learning 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.
Antony CzachorTeaching Assistant
Antony “Anton” Czachor is a public speaker and has finished his undergraduate interdisciplinary degree in Political Science and Geography at Lakehead University. He has spoken about and done rigorous research on the topics of mental health, educational psychology, the subconscious mind, and what it takes to lead a fulfilling life. He is primarily motivated by his fascination with the human experience and helping others realize their potential in life.
What helps Anton stay calm and alert: Exercise, his daily routine, proper nutrition, reading, music, and improving the lives of those in his community.
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.
Arlene EnriquezTeaching Assistant
Arlene is a Designated Early Childhood Educator for 25 years and mentor to new DECE’s. She works with children with complex learning, behavioral, developmental and mental health challenges. Arlene leads and supports many initiatives that support physical and mental health such as the walk to school initiative and using the outdoors as the third teacher. Arlene has a thirst for knowledge and understanding that she shares with her 3 children, students and as a coach for Junior girls basketball. The self-reg Foundations program has changed her life, family, outlook and overall well being for herself and all around her. She thrives to share her learning of self-reg with all. Her motto in life is “just breathe and enjoy the ride of life”. Self-reg has gotten Arlene through some very difficult situations professionally and personally.
What helps Arlene stay calm and alert: travel, long walks, sitting by her pool and watching movies and tv and being part of Comic-con and Fan Expo!
Brianne LisinskiTeaching Assistant
Brianne is working towards an MSc in Psychology at Trent University under the supervision of Dr. Brenda Smith-Chant (Senior researcher at the Self-Regulation Institute). Brianne has a Bachelor of Arts degree (highest distinction) in Forensic Psychology, minor in Criminology, from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT). Brianne’s previous research has focused on levels of alibi detail, time delay and their impact on perceptions of suspect guilt, as well as Forensic Mental Health programs’ tendency to assert compliance to rules as opposed to understanding of risk. Now, Brianne is focusing on Self-Reg research in educational settings and the impact of teacher stress on children presenting symptoms of autism.
What helps Brianne stay calm and alert: Spending time with her family, cuddling with her rabbit and playing video games.
Caitlin LutleyeSchool Admin Assistant
Caitlin graduated from the University of Toronto with an Honours Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Socio-legal Studies. Her previous background is in administration and client care. As a mother of a young toddler, self-regulation is work that Caitlin is excited to be involved in.
What helps Caitlin stay calm and alert: long walks, curling up with a good book, and time shared with friends.
Casey BurgessSelf-Reg Online Learning Facilitator
Casey has worked for over 20 years as an autism therapist/consultant and clinical supervisor on multidisciplinary teams in British Columbia and Ontario. Currently in Sault Ste Marie, she is a Registered Psychotherapist (CRPO) and an adjunct faculty member at Algoma University (Psychology) and Sault College (Social Sciences). She is also a PhD candidate studying self-regulation, a parent of two teenage girls, and the partner of a very understanding man.
What helps Casey stay calm and alert: Yoga, meditation, mindfulness, forest trails, hearty laughs amongst good friends, the beach, a variety of musical instruments and interests, reading, and her amazing family.
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.
Claudio is currently an elementary school administrator in the Peel District School Board. He has always had a keen interest in understanding behaviour specifically that of elementary school aged children. Since he has come in contact with Shanker Self-Reg he has been a strong advocate in bringing to light a growth mindset in understanding stress behaviour versus misbehaviour. Self-Regulation has given him the tools to support the most challenging of behaviours and he also recognizes the positive personal impact this learning has had on him as a husband, father, friend and school leader.
What helps Claudio stay calm and alert: Meditation, organizing and cleaning something, time with family and friends, and yard work, to name a few.
Daisy PymanTeaching Assistant
Daisy Pyman is a MSc Psychology student at Trent University, an avid Self-Reg researcher, and keen self-regger. Daisy is incredibly motivated to learn, and has an insatiable desire for more knowledge and understanding. For Daisy, the beauty of education and research work is that the more knowledge you gain, the more you realize how much information remains foreign and unknown to you. At Trent, the motto is “nunc cognosco ex parte” which translates into “now I know in part”. This quotation has shaped Daisy’s approach to life, schooling, and research. Daisy’s goal through her research work with SRI is to help extend Self-Reg’s reach, whether this be through journal articles, blog postings, providing teachers, parents, or just about anyone with the information they need in their arsenal to help them cope with the day to day stresses of life.
What helps Daisy stay calm and alert: Exercising, watching The Office, and being in good company.
Dawn EckensvillerTeaching Assistant
Dawn currently works to support children in education as a Behavior Counsellor in North Bay. She has been supporting children for over 30 years in a variety of educational settings. Shanker Self-Reg and the Foundations Program have provided her the ability to develop an understanding of challenging behavior from a stress perspective. Presently she is actively working to incorporate the self-reg approach in schools, helping children learn what it feels like to be calm and ultimately develop their capacity and desire to learn.
What helps Dawn stay calm and alert: Playing golf, knitting, crafts, allowing time for herself, enjoying the outdoors and spending time with her family and friends.
Gail is a passionate educator connecting nature and self-regulation as both a practicing Forest and Nature School Practitioner student and facilitator of nature learning and Self-Reg. Children naturally self-regulate in the forest! She graduated with honours in ECE from Georgian College. has an undergraduate degree in psychology from Lakehead University and is passionate about all things Early Years. Gail is an aspiring children’s author, an occasional blogger, and an independent Early Years consultant/presenter who is proudly amongst the first cohort in TMC’s Foundations 1 and 2 courses. She also works as a Kindergarten educator in the SCDSB and is a member of the CCCF and the AECEO.
Jennifer BrownTeaching Assistant
Jennifer has been an Early Childhood Educator for more than 20 years and has co-learned in play-based environments with children of various ages. Since completing her Early Childhood Education Diploma and degree in Psychology many years ago, Jennifer continues to learn and grow, and is fascinated by how relationships shape learning. Most recently this learning has included the Self-Reg Foundations course, introductory training in Relationships First-Restorative Justice and other courses in mental health and well-being. Seeing people and situations through the Self-Reg lens has enriched Jennifer’s interactions by creating a greater level of understanding and empathy with others.
The proud Aunt of two amazing young adults, Jennifer enjoys spending time with her family as well as her family of friends. These times together usually include plenty of good food, lots of laughter…and the occasional silly game.
What helps Jennifer stay calm and alert: Walking around a pond…or near the ocean, enjoying a good cup of tea (even better when accompanied by an interesting chat), and discovering good stories.
Karen is a wife, mother of five and grandmother of four. She has been an educator for 30 years in Southern Alberta. Her last twenty years have been in the area of behaviour support. Shanker Self-Reg has transformed her professional and personal life. Karen believes strongly in “see a child differently, you see a different child” and her goal is to help everyone to look at each other with soft eyes. Karen is currently working with her school board to change the outlook and to embrace the understandings and science of Self-Reg.
What helps Karen stay calm and alert: Photography, nature, time with family, baseball, time on Shuswap Lake, hanging with my husband and reading.
Kim SmithSelf-Reg Online Learning Facilitator
Kim is a wife and mother and has been an elementary educator for over 30 years with the York Region District School Board, 18 of those years as a Principal. She has a Master’s degree in education, is a Cognitive Coach and is also trained in Adaptive Schools and Mindfulness. Kim has been inspired by the work of Stuart Shanker and strives to create a haven in her school for students, staff and parents. She believes that self-reg is the way to finding calmness and comfort in our fast paced world and looks for ways of sharing this with others.
What helps Kim stay calm and alert: Spending time with her family and friends, reading a good book, yoga and crossfit.
Laura CesaroniSelf-Reg Online Learning Facilitator
Laura received her Ph.D from OISE/University of Toronto. Her area of interest was within developmental psychology, psychological and educational assessment and counseling. Currently she is a Registered Psychotherapist (CRPO #002669) with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario. Laura’s early training began at the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry and the Hospital for Sick Children as a Psychometrist and research assistant. She has worked in a number of organizations and had a private practice. Her experience with families and children with learning, attention and developmental challenges spans over 20 years in the field. Family Education Resource Network (FERN) was inspired by Laura as a way to support more families and children in meaningful ways. She began fundraising for FERN through annual rummage sales from her home. Today, FERN has developed into a not-for-profit community of caring families, children and staff. Laura works as a clinician at FERN. She is compassionate and believes that the supports and services at FERN must come from the ground up- families play a critical role in the development of programs. More recently, Laura has been training with The MEHRIT Centre, bringing the science of Self-Reg to the families, students and staff at FERN. She believes that Shanker Self-Reg is a critical journey with the potential to move us all towards well being and resiliency.
What helps Laura stay calm and alert: Finding quiet moments in a day, reading, sipping warm drinks, spending time with family, Pilates.
Lisa CranstonSelf-Reg Online Learning Facilitator
Lisa Cranston has over thirty years of experience as an educator in Southwestern Ontario. She has taught grades kindergarten to four and worked as an instructional coach for literacy and mathematics. Lisa spent the last eleven years of her career in education as the educational consultant for kindergarten and primary grades, and led the implementation of Full Day Kindergarten for her school board from 2010 – 2015. Now retired, Lisa recently completed her doctoral studies, examining policy enactment of self-regulation curriculum expectations in Ontario kindergarten classrooms. Lisa believes that Shanker Self-Reg® has changed how she views both her own behaviour and that of others, and her goal is to help others to ‘lend their calm’ to those around them. Lisa blogs about her Self-Reg reflections and learning at https://openingdoorsforrlearning.blogspot.ca.
What helps Lisa stay calm and alert: Running, gardening, reading, campfires, and spending time with her husband, two grown daughters, and extended family.
Lisa PinhornSelf-Reg Online Learning Facilitator
Lisa is a holistic family interventionist with Feeding Futures, a private practice she co-founded with her sister. Feeding Futures supports families and professionals to improve the day-to-day lives of children with Autism, anxiety, ADHD, OCD, and developmental trauma. She has over 25 years of non-profit community work, public speaking, and is an advocate for children and their families. Lisa holds a Bachelor of Child Studies specializing in Developmental Disabilities from Mount Saint Vincent University, and a Masters of Education from Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador, in Adult Education.
Lisa is a firm believer that empowered parents, holistic care, and empathic relationships are powerful, and often missing pieces of pediatric interventions and care. She knows firsthand the challenges of parenting a child on the autism spectrum.
What helps Lisa stay calm and alert: Her daily gratitude practice, meditation next to her favourite river, singing lessons, audiobooks, podcasts, volunteering, laughing with her kids, cooking Indian food, and tea (lots and lots of tea).
Marcia is a recently retired principal with the Peel District School Board after 35+ years as a teacher, resource teacher and administrator. She is staying involved with the board as a Mentor/Coach, supporting new principals in their role. Marcia is a keen advocate of Shanker Self-Reg in her professional roles and in her personal life, recognizing the positive impact the understanding and application of the 5 steps of the Self-Reg Framework have in the lives of students and staff in school environments, as well as in her own life, her family and friends.
What helps Marcia stay calm and alert: Outdoor walks with her dog, gardening, kayaking, reading, knitting, singing in a choir, playing piano/guitar, listening to a variety of music and spending time with family and friends.
Marie EdwardsSelf-Reg Consultant & Online Learning Facilitator
With more than 30 years of experience as an educator, Marie has worked in Canada and Australia across a diversity of teaching and leadership roles. Her interest in and practice of Self-Reg ignited in 2010 after hearing a keynote address by Dr. Shanker. This sparked a transformational shift in her work as a principal/teacher in British Columbia and personal growth as a parent. It also inspired further research through a Masters of Educational Leadership, investigating the impact of learning environments on students’ self-regulation. Marie continues to learn through the MEHRIT Centre Self-Reg courses having completed Foundations, Facilitators, Leadership and Masters units courses. Now residing in Nova Scotia, Marie is a full-time Ph.D. candidate through the University of Tasmania, Australia. Her research seeks to understand how teachers in a regional low socioeconomic school context develop and apply self-regulation knowledge and skills to support the management of stress.
What helps Marie stay calm and alert: Being active in the outdoors, local produce cooking, playing the piano, painting, knitting, quilting, and enjoying loving and fun times with her family.
For over 13 years Melissa has been a teacher of exceptional students and has worked with children and young adults ranging in age from 7 weeks to 20 years in school and community settings. Her specialties are Special Education, Reading and working with the deaf. Melissa continues to be amazed by the variety of situations in which Self-Reg can play a critical role, believing that Self-Reg can be the missing piece in combining scientific research and the unique needs of every learner.
What helps Melissa stay calm and alert: hiking, Pilates, baking for others, singing along with the radio and time with family and friends.
Nancy thrives on grounding theory into practice. She is a retired elementary teacher whose career spanned over three decades. Most of her time was spent in the Early Years and Special Education. During her teaching career, she also instructed ETFO’s Kindergarten Specialist AQ and was part of her local Reggio Study Group. Nancy finds that Self-Reg has become an ever-present influence in all that she does and now her interests have shifted to considering how Self-Reg applies to those working with seniors, and seniors themselves. She considers Self-Reg equally as important for these populations as it is for students, educators and families. Nancy is also very interested in herbal remedies, food choices, complementary healing practices, and the impact these areas have on personal self-regulation. She is excited to have the time to further pursue these long-time interests now that she is retired.
Nancy is proud to be a Cohort 1 graduate of TMC’s Foundations course and is delighted to be enrolled in Level 2 which allows her to delve even deeper into Self-Reg learning.
What helps Nancy stay calm and alert: Quiet, 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.
Nicole PatzalekTeaching Assistant
Nicole is very excited to be a part of the team. Nicole holds a degree in Early Childhood Education and a postgraduate certificate in Autism and Behavioural Sciences and Children’s Mental Health. She works for a school board bringing awareness and support to the Early Years in regards to Child Development and Self-Regulation. She is currently pursing her certificate in the Level 2 facilitator course and Masters Module Program from the Mehrit Centre Self-Reg learning online.
What helps Nicole stay calm and alert: Spending time, making memories, finding adventure with her husband and two boys, early morning walks with her golden retriever Poppy, and joining her girlfriends at Zumba classes.
Rachel ThompsonTeaching Assistant
Rachel is currently completing her MSc in Psychology at Trent University under supervisor Dr. Brenda Smith-Chant (Senior researcher at the Self-Regulation Institute). Prior to graduate studies, Rachel completed undergraduate degrees in Kinesiology at the University of Windsor and in Psychology at Trent University. Combining her interests in the two disciplines, Rachel has found a passion in researching Self-Reg and exercise in educational settings. Through the Foundations courses, Rachel has learned that Self-Reg is essential for well-being of not only students but all members of society. Knowing this, Rachel hopes to advocate the importance of Self-Reg within a variety of community agencies she is involved with.
What helps Rachel stay calm and alert: Spending time on the golf course, relaxing by her pool, and spending time with family.
Rada MihajlovicTeaching Assistant
Rada has been an educator for over 20 years working with neurodiverse student populations, focusing primarily on students on the autism spectrum. How the brain works and impacts our behaviour and social interactions have always fascinated Rada. She holds a BSc in Psychology, a MPEd in Teaching Students with Exceptionalities and was a psycho-education consultant in Serbia before immigrating to Canada.. She originally became interested in Dr. Shanker’s work when she was searching for ways to better support her students and their families, and quickly recognized how self-regulation permeates all daily interactions and relationships. Following her keen interest in the topic of self-regulation, she has completed TMC Foundations and Facilitator programs.
Rada is currently with the Peel DSB where she applies the Self Reg way of thinking as she interacts with students and adults supporting them in feeling safe and engaged in learning and social interactions. Building relationships is at the heart of her work with children and adults.
What helps Rada stay calm and alert is her morning coffee, time with her family and friends both near and far, yoga, walks, music, and reading.
Rebecca is an educational consultant and tenured elementary school teacher, having taught since 2002 in both English and French among urban economically disadvantaged populations and specifically with children experiencing attachment challenges and/or early childhood trauma. She draws on her vastly diverse experience as an educator, volunteer, mentor, mother of 2, and her time living internationally in France, the United States, Quebec and now Toronto, Ontario. Building relationships is at the heart of her work with kids. She passionately embraces Dr. Stuart Shanker’s statement that “Self-Reg is an approach of great optimism and hope.”
Rebecca completed The MEHRIT Centre’s (TMC) Foundations program, became a Self-Reg Consultant with TMC, and joined the research team at the Self Regulation Institute (SRI) in 2017. She currently delivers dynamic and interactive Self-Reg workshops in English/French and is available for presentations in Canada and the United States. Additionally, she is a teaching assistant for both TMC’s Leadership program as well as the Early Childhood Development course.
What helps Rebecca stay calm and alert: friendship with her husband, hot Moksha yoga, cuddles with her two boys, daily texts with her best friend, and getting her hands dirty while gardening.
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.
Susan ConklinSelf-Reg Online Learning Facilitator
Susan came to Self-Reg as an elementary school teacher drawn to the process and promise of Self-Reg to re-envision and re-imagine our way of understanding and responding to experiences and narratives within learning communities, families and personal journeys of living and learning. Shifting trajectories even smidgens at a time drives and guides daily interactions, approximations and missteps with boundless hope for nurturing haven within individuals, relationships and communities.
What helps Susan stay calm and alert: Morning coffee meditation, scribbling, walking/talking, water-rocks-and-trees, and reading with little ones.
Vicki StoraasSelf-Reg Online Learning Facilitator
Vicki has worked with people on the autism spectrum for over 20 years in both clinical and educational settings. She currently works at the Upper Canada District School Board, providing consultation and professional development to educators who work directly with students with ASD. She has also been invited to present at conferences across Ontario as well as in the Caribbean.
Vicki originally started studying Dr. Shanker’s work in order to learn how to better support her 2 daughters, but quickly recognized its importance for the students and educators she supports. She now sees it as a gateway to fulfillment and overall wellness, and is passionate about sharing her learning with anyone and everyone.
What helps Vicki stay calm and alert: Laughing with her friends, snuggles with her husband and daughters, and a quiet, early morning cup of coffee.