2017 HARMONY EDUCATOR AWARD
Toronto District School Board
By James Campbell
Derik is the complete package of a social justice educator. He strives to make his classroom safe and inclusive, knowing it isn’t enough if he’s not working outside school to dismantle the systems that put students in danger; he spends hours supporting student equity groups, knowing that isn’t enough if he’s not also training and supporting teachers across the province to transform entire schools.
As a younger teacher at risk of being “bumped”,” Derik has always put justice over job security. From challenging anti-black racism as Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the Latin American Education Network, to pushing Toronto’s public and Catholic boards to better serve undocumented students, Derik is sometimes the only teacher speaking out in rooms full of principals and superintendents.
As a union activist, Co-Chair of the OSSTF provincial Human Rights Committee, and co-founder of his local Indigenous and People of Colour Committee, Derik is constantly pushing the labour movement to do and be better.
Derik hopes that winning this award would remind others that demanding justice is always right, whether we win or not.
James Campbell is a member of Educators for Peace and Justice and an educator at University of Toronto Schools.