Our Board Members
Sonya has been a teacher with the Simcoe County District School Board and The Upper Grand District School Board for over 20 years in both elementary and secondary panels. She has extensive experience in the Junior and Intermediate classroom and Special Education. Sonya spearheaded the Activate Zone pilot project with SOGO Active and Motivate Canada, a program aimed at studying the positive effects of academic achievement with intensive cardiovascular exercise immediately prior to classroom instruction. She is an Itinerant Special Education Resource Teacher for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students.
Richard is an advertising and design creative director whose work over 30 years has won prizes in Canada, the US and Europe, including the Cannes Advertising Film Festival Silver Lion. He has provided branding expertise to financial planning, accounting and educational associations. From 2007 – 2012 he was a member of the Board of the International Festival of Authors at Harbourfront Centre, Toronto. He is formerly a sessional instructor at OCAD University and the author of Finding Lily: A Memoir (2006). Prior to his career in design, he was a high school teacher in The Bahamas.
In St. Lucia, Leonise François is our Country Lead, co-ordinating the arrival and distribution of all book donations throughout the country and manages the annual Rainforest of Reading festivals that take place in Castries and Vieux Fort in March. She is also the newest member of the board. Leonise has been a high school teacher in Durham Region, Ontario and Deputy Chief Education Officer for the Ministry of Education in St. Lucia. A graduate of the University of the West Indies, Leonise holds a Master’s in Education from McGill University, Montréal. She has been a member of the St. Lucia Teaching Service Commission since 2013.
Robin Coster has practiced for over 20 years in Ontario as a technology lawyer and patent and trademark agent with a focus on strategic management of intellectual property (IP) assets including technology contracting, IP asset due diligence and drafting, prosecution and management of international patent and trademark portfolios. Prior to establishing his own firm, Coster Law, Robin was a partner with Torys where he helped establish the firm’s IP department and acted as IP advisor on a number of Canada’s major corporate transactions and advised a number of Canada’s leading companies on their IP strategy. Since 2010, Robin has been recognized by his peers in The Best Lawyers in Canada ® in the field of intellectual property law.
Peter Kendall is the Executive Director and Co-CEO of Earth Rangers, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating and inspiring children to Bring Back the Wild™. The program’s focus is to communicate a positive science – based message on the importance of protecting biodiversity. Peter has been with Earth Rangers since its inception in 1999 and also serves as the Executive Director of The Schad Foundation. He has been instrumental in the development of many of its major projects including Niigon, a $23-million partnership with the Moose Deer Point First Nation to create a role model for sustainable development within an aboriginal community. Prior to joining The Schad Foundation, Peter held senior executive positions with different technology and organic foods companies.
Like many kids, Marlaina White has always been quick to recognize when things seem unfair. However, from a young age, Marlaina has shown a strong conviction to make a difference. Marlaina is determined to motivate other students in Ontario to generously donate books so students in the Caribbean can have the same chances to imagine countless possibilities for their own future. She is an avid writer and enjoys the power of story-telling. As Student Ambassador, Marlaina helps create literacy-based activities for Rainforest of Reading. She also works tirelessly at every festival strengthening her love of reading and nurturing deep personal connections with her Caribbean counterparts.
Literacy is, finally, the road to human progress and the means through which every man, woman and child can realize his or her full potential.Secretary-General of the United Nations (1997-2006)
If we want to make this world a better place, then we have to become better ourselves. There is no easy route.
All I know is what I have words for.
Life is too deep for words so don't try to describe it, just live it.Author, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.Philosopher, Psychologist (1842-1910)
Start some kind words on its travels. There is no telling where the good it may do will stop.Humanitarian, Medical Missionary (1865-1940)
If you get the right [words] in the right order, you might nudge the world a little.Playwright
At the moment that we persuade a child, any child to cross...that magic threshold into a library, we change their lives forever.
The future is always beginning now. Each moment is a place you've never been.Poet (1934-2014)
If you believe what you read...you can, quite literally, believe anything.Professor, Philosopher (1912-1991)
It is by acts and not ideals that people live.Author (1844-1924)
Too many people grow up. That's the trouble with the world.(1901-1966)
I read. I travel. I become.St. Lucian author & 1992 Nobel Laureate
Reading brings us unknown friends.Novelist (1799-1850)
A good book is the best of friends, the same today and forever.Author (1810-1889)