Brad Baker is the District Administrator of Aboriginal Education and Safe and Caring Schools in the North Vancouver School District, and a member of the Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation). When Brad joined the North Vancouver School District in 1995, he was the first Aboriginal educator.
After seeing first-hand the struggles that many First Nations youth had with education, Brad developed a strong desire to become a role model for his local community and to provide support for improving the Nations’ educational opportunities. The personal pain and hardship that many of his Elders faced has had a lasting impact on Brad and he does not want the issue of residential schools to be swept under the carpet; he wants it to remain at the forefront of education today.
Brad’s personal and professional journey has been mentored by his parents, who have both been inspirations to him, and especially his father Harry, who is a residential school survivor; the Squamish Nation Education Department and Deborah Jacobs, who has pushed Brad to be the best that he can be; the North Vancouver School District and Superintendent John Lewis, who has played an active role in Brad’s development as an Aboriginal educator, and implemented an Aboriginal Education Program for all educators and learners.
Brad remains true to the strong values and principles that were instilled in him by his family and the First Nations’ communities. As an educator, he believes that integrity and trust are the most meaningful attributes that he brings to his work with students, parents, staff, and the North Shore communities. Brad would like to see Aboriginal Education become an integral part of everyday life in schools across Canada and to instill within every Canadian greater knowledge and respect for the proud and rich cultural heritage of the First Nations peoples.
In Brad Baker’s words: “I come from a strong Aboriginal community and must always remember that what I do today will impact future generations.”
Brad will receive his Indigenous Educator Award in Leadership at the National Gathering of Indigenous Education in Toronto in November.