COSL Fall Conference

Event is FULL - Currently not accepting registrations

Conference Schedule:
9:00 am: Welcoming remarks
9:05 -10:15 am: Sean Carleton - Truth Before Reconciliation: How to Identify and Confront Residential School Denialism
10:15 -10:30 am: Break
10:30 -11:45 am: Steve Munby - Imperfect Leadership
11:45 am -1:00 pm: Lunch Break (on your own)
1:00 -2:15 pm: Cindy Blackstock - Spirit Bears Guide to Reconciling History
2:15-2:30 pm: Break
2:30-3:30 pm: Kirsten Thompson - Unlocking the Power of Chat GPT in Education: Enhancing Learning and Engagement

All sessions will take place virtually and registrants will be provided with a link and any accompanying handouts by email prior to October 20th.

$50 for COSL members
$80 for non-members
(5% GST is included in the pricing.)

Payment must be made through our online payment system.

If you have any questions, please contact Rob Fisher, Chairperson, Council of School Leaders at

Sessions - 9:05 AM-10:15 AM

FULL - Truth Before Reconciliation: How to Identify and Confront Residential School Denialism

Sean Carleton is a settler historian and assistant professor in the departments of history and Indigenous studies at the University of Manitoba.

In 2017, Lynn Beyak, a Canadian Senator, delivered a controversial speech defending Canada’s Indian Residential School system (1883–1996) as being ‘well-intentioned.’ Made shortly after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada released its final report to show Canadians the evidence of how residential schooling for Indigenous children and youth constituted genocide, the Senator’s speech sparked national debate. This talk historicizes and theorizes the role of denialism in colonial settings to argue that speech acts such as Beyak’s can be understood as a discursive strategy used by colonizers to legitimize and defend their material power, privilege, and profit. The talk examines Beyak’s public comments as well as 100 support letters she received and published on her Senate website to show how they embrace anti-Indigenous racism generally and employ residential school denialism specifically to attack and undermine truth and reconciliation efforts in Canada.

Sessions - 10:30 AM-11:45 AM

FULL - Imperfect Leadership

Too often we hear talks or read books about perfect leaders; super-hero leaders who are hugely successful and are exceptionally good at what they do. It is supposed to inspire us, but it actually has the reverse effect. Building on the ideas in his 2019 book: Imperfect Leadership - a book for leaders who know they don’t know it all, and his 2022 follow-up book Imperfect Leadership in Action co-authored with Marie-Claire Bretherton, Steve will argue that the concept that we need to be good at all aspects of leadership is not only unrealistic, it is bad for the mental and physical well-being of leaders. The more we seek to become the perfect leader, the more likely we are to make ourselves ill and to disempower those around us. In contrast, imperfect leaders have a deep self-awareness, they know their strengths and weaknesses. They distribute leadership and build trust amongst their colleagues. They ask for help, they manage their ego, and they lead with love as well as with power. If we want our leadership to be effective and sustainable then we should celebrate the fact that we are imperfect leaders.

Steve Munby is a self-employed consultant and speaker on leadership and on system reform working with governments and with groups of schools around the world. He has spent his whole career in education, commencing as a secondary school teacher in Birmingham, England. He later became Director of Education for Knowsley Local Education Authority, Merseyside, UK.
Steve was Chief Executive of the National College for School Leadership in England for 8 years and then Chief Executive of Education Development Trust, an international education charity.
Steve has worked as a keynote speaker/consultant in North America, Africa, Australasia, Europe and Asia. Steve is the facilitator for the ARC summits (education systems from around the world committed to equity, excellence, well-being and social justice). He is Visiting Professor at University College London Centre for Educational Leadership and Honorary Visiting Professor at Liverpool Hope University.
Steve’s publications include: “Imperfect Leadership – A book for leaders who know they don’t know it all” Crown House, 2019. His new book: Imperfect Leadership in Action – a practical book for school leaders who know they don’t know it all, co-authored with Marie-Claire Bretherton, was published in March 2022 (Crown House).

Sessions - 1:00 PM-2:15 PM

FULL - Spirit Bears Guide to Reconciling History

In this presentation Cindy will link lessons of history to the contemporary injustices that First Nations children and families experience in the spirit of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and its Calls to Action.

Cindy Blackstock, PhD is a member of the Gitxsan First Nation. Cindy is honoured to serve as the Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society and a professor at McGill University’s School of Social Work. She has over 30 years of experience working in child welfare and Indigenous children’s rights and has published on topics relating to reconciliation, Indigenous theory, First Nations child welfare and human rights. A recipient of the SSHRC Gold Medal, Cindy was honoured to work with First Nations colleagues on a successful human rights challenge to Canada’s inequitable provision of child and family services and failure to implement Jordan’s Principle. This hard-fought litigation has resulted in hundreds of thousands of services being provided to First Nations children, youth, and families.

Cindy is frequently sighted in the company of the Caring Society’s reconciliation Ambearrister, Spirit Bear, engaging children in meaningful actions to implement the TRC Calls to Action.

Sessions - 2:30 PM-3:30 PM

FULL - Unlocking the Power of Chat GPT in Education: Enhancing Learning and Engagement

In recent years, the field of education has been transformed by the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) technologies. Chat GPT, a cutting-edge language model developed by OpenAI, has revolutionized the way we interact with machines, and is poised to make a significant impact on the education landscape.

In this keynote session, we will explore the potential of Chat GPT in education, and how it can be used to enhance learning and engagement. We will also discuss the potential challenges and ethical considerations associated with using Chat GPT in education, and how to address them.

Whether you're a teacher, principal, or technology enthusiast, this keynote session will provide valuable insights into the potential of Chat GPT in education, and how it can be used to enhance learning and engagement. Join us to unlock the power of Chat GPT in education!

Kirsten Thompson serves as the divisional Coordinator of ICT for the Mountain View School Division; overseeing technology programming and purchasing for approximately 3000 stakeholders. She is a Microsoft Education Trainer as well as a Level 1 Google Certified Educator with over 200 hours of combined professional development on how to assist educators in the use of these tools.

Prior to this, Kirsten was employed as a classroom teacher in the Turtle River School Division for 6 years where she taught a variety of subjects ranging from Grade 7-12.

Kirsten is currently working under the supervision of Dr. Alec Couros via the University of Regina as she pursues her Ph.D in the area of educational software evaluation.

Kirsten is very much a country girl at heart and, she admits, that even living in Brandon for university was too much for her! She is now currently living with her husband on his family’s three-generation farm and she couldn’t be happier to be back in the country. When she is not at school, she and her husband are busy with their family, working on the family farm, enjoying their remote lake cabin, or keeping up with their favourite football team: the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.