Our Board Members
Sonya has been a teacher with Simcoe County and Upper Grand DSBs for over 20 years. At present, she is an Itinerant Special Education Resource Teacher for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students. In June 2017, Sonya was the recipient of the Fred L. Bartlett Memorial Award given by Ontario Public School Boards’ Association for outstanding contribution to education in Ontario.
Richard’s love of words and pictures has guided his career as a writer and graphic designer for over 30 years. 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 Ontario and The Bahamas.
In St. Lucia, Leonise François is our Country Lead, co-ordinating book donations throughout the country and managing the annual Rainforest of Reading festivals each March Break. Prior to her retirement as Deputy Chief Education Officer in St. Lucia, Leonise was a teacher in Durham Catholic DSB. Leonise holds a Master in Education from McGill University. Since 2013, Leonise has been a member of the St. Lucia Teaching Service Commission overseeing teacher and principal appointments.
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 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.
Even from a young age, Marlaina has shown a strong conviction to make a difference. She 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. 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.
A good book is the best of friends, the same today and forever.Author (1810-1889)
I read. I travel. I become.St. Lucian author & 1992 Nobel Laureate
The future is always beginning now. Each moment is a place you've never been.Poet (1934-2014)
If you get the right [words] in the right order, you might nudge the world a little.Playwright
Life is too deep for words so don't try to describe it, just live it.Author, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Too many people grow up. That's the trouble with the world.(1901-1966)
At the moment that we persuade a child, any child to cross...that magic threshold into a library, we change their lives forever.
If you believe what you read...you can, quite literally, believe anything.Professor, Philosopher (1912-1991)
If we want to make this world a better place, then we have to become better ourselves. There is no easy route.
It is by acts and not ideals that people live.Author (1844-1924)
Reading brings us unknown friends.Novelist (1799-1850)
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)
All I know is what I have words for.
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)