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1918 Influenza Pandemic – Project Team

Neil Orford

President & Co-Founder

Neil is a retired History Teacher, from Dufferin County, Ontario. A winner of both the Governor General’s and Ontario Premier’s Award for History Teaching, his Digital Historian Project© won the 2015 Government of Canada History Award. He has been featured on CBC’s “The National”, TVO’s “The Agenda”, and in numerous articles across Canada. He has written for major Canadian publications and is a regular presenter at Conferences and workshops. He has worked extensively with the Juno Beach Centre and has led a Summer Institute for History teachers in Normandy. Neil is the owner and president of Defining Moments Canada, Ltd.

Blake Heathcote

Co-Founder

Blake worked as a director and playwright in theatres across Canada, the US, and the UK. In 1999, he conceived the Testaments of Honour project. The Testaments archive contains 550 veterans’ interviews on digital video (85 in the French language), 14,000 photographs, and 4,000 documents. He created interactive video displays for the Juno Beach Centre, HMCS Haida, Veterans Affairs, and is the author of several plays and books, including the #1 Canadian best-selling Testaments of Honour book (2002), and A Soldier’s View book (2005), both published by Random House, as well as Unremarkable: A Good Place to Start book (2015), the biography of John ‘Scruffy’ Weir, one of the key operatives in the Great Escape. Blake continues on his work at Testaments.ca.

John Lorinc

Senior Editor

John Lorinc is a Toronto journalist and editor. He writes for several publications, including Spacing, the Globe and Mail, and Corporate Knights. Besides his work with DMC, John is also the Toronto non-fiction editor at Coach House Books, currently overseeing its uTOpia series. His next book, Dream States: Smart Cities, Technology and the Pursuit of Urban Utopias, will be published in fall, 2022.

Garfield Gini-Newman

Education Consultant

Garfield Gini-Newman is an Associate Professor in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning at OISE, University of Toronto. He explores how to teach through sustained critical inquiry while nurturing deep conceptual understanding and genuine competence. Garfield has worked with thousands of teachers across grades and subjects, helping them to frame learning around engaging and provocative activities and rich, authentic assessments. Currently, Garfield is engaged with schools across Canada, in South America, and in Europe. Over the past two decades request for Garfield’s services have taken him from Asia to the Middle East, Europe, the Caribbean and across North America. His interest in effective teaching and learning has led him to actively explore the challenges and opportunities presented by teaching and learning in the digital age. In addition to his work at the University of Toronto and delivering workshops, Garfield has also authored several articles, chapters in books and seven textbooks and has taught in the faculties of education at York University and the University of British Columbia. His most recent book co-authored with Roland Case, Creating Thinking Classrooms has received widespread praise from leading educators across Canada and internationally.

Laura Gini-Newman

Education Consultant

Laura Gini-Newman is a recently retired educator with over 30 years of experience working as a university professor, classroom teacher, resource teacher, coach and instructional co-ordinator. She has taught History, Geography, Politics, Philosophy, Computer Science, Economics, and Mathematics. Laura has developed a new reasoning-focused approach for math learning that she has been sharing in her role as the math consultant with The Critical Thinking Consortium working with students, teachers and leaders to become better thinkers in mathematics and other subject areas across Canada, in the USA, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Europe and Asia. She has published and co-authored textbooks, papers and learning resources in philosophy, history, mathematics, Indigenous education and most recently applied positive psychology. She is a certified applied positive psychology practitioner and co-founder of FlourishCo, a Canadian company that supports the cultivation of a flourishing mindset and that works with individuals, communities and businesses to help them learn how to flourish in their work and lives. Prior to her career in education, Laura worked as an economist and accountant. She has taught at both the University of Toronto and York University. She is also a professionally trained facilitator. Laura volunteers with the Alma Foundation to help young disadvantage learners in remote Andean villages experience learning success.