Gerry Dee began his comedy career in a very different fashion than his peers. The son of Scottish immigrant parents, Gerry was born in Scarborough, Ontario and grew up in Toronto.
He spent 10 years as a high school teacher and performing at comedy clubs secretly at night before making the switch to full time comedy and acting in 2003.
In 2002, he was the first Canadian in 27 years to win the prestigious San Francisco International Comedy Competition. Former comics who got their start in this competition include Robin Williams, Dana Carvey and Ellen Degeneres.
He appeared on Season 5 of NBC's Last Comic Standing where he finished third which is the highest finish by a Canadian in the history of the show.
Gerry's sitcom Mr. D, which he created, wrote and starred in premiered in January 2012 on CBC to 1.3 million viewers. It was the highest rated scripted show premiere for the network in 7 years. Gerry decided to air the 8th and final season in 2018, closing the books on one of the most successful comedies in Canadian television history.
Gerry Dee continues to perform for sold-out shows across the country during his annual comedy tour in some of the biggest markets and best venues in Canada with 2023 marking the 23rd year of his tour.
In 2019, Gerry Dee was hand picked to be the first host of Family Feud Canada which had an incredible inaugural season and is getting ready to film a 5th season this fall.
Gerry lives in Toronto with his wife Heather and their three children.
A highly-regarded urban educator in New Jersey for over twenty years, Principal Baruti Kafele distinguished himself as a master teacher and a transformational school leader. As an elementary school teacher in East Orange, NJ, he was selected as the East Orange School District and Essex County Public Schools Teacher of the Year, he was a New Jersey State Teacher of the Year finalist, and a recipient of the New Jersey Education Association Award of Excellence.
As a middle and high school principal, Principal Kafele led the turnaround of four different New Jersey urban schools, including “The Mighty” Newark Tech, which went from a low-performing school in need of improvement to national recognition, which included U.S. News and World Report Magazine recognizing it three times as one of America’s best high schools.
One of the most sought-after school leadership and classroom equity presenters in America, Principal Kafele is impacting America’s schools! He has delivered over 2500 conference and program keynotes, professional development workshops, parenting seminars and student assemblies over his 36 years of public speaking. An expert in the area of “attitude transformation,” Principal Kafele is the leading authority for providing effective classroom and school leadership strategies toward closing what he coined, the “Attitude Gap.”
A prolific writer, Principal Kafele has written extensively on professional development strategies for creating a positive school climate and culture, transforming the attitudes of at-risk students, motivating Black males to excel in the classroom, and school leadership practices for inspiring schoolwide excellence. In addition to writing several professional articles for popular education journals, he has authored twelve books, including his seven ASCD best sellers – Motivating Black Males to Achieve in School & in Life, Closing the Attitude Gap, Is My School a Better School BECAUSE I Lead It?, The Teacher 50, The Principal 50, The Assistant Principal 50 and his newest release,The Equity & Social Justice Education 50. Principal Kafele is also the creator and host of the popular Virtual Assistant Principal Leadership Academy, streamed live every Saturday morning on his Virtual AP Leadership Academy YouTube channel and his other social media platforms at 10:55 EST. Principal Kafele is married to his wife Kimberley, and is the father of their three children, Baruti, Jabari and Kibriya. He earned his B.S. degree in Management Science/Marketing from Kean University and his M.A. degree in Educational Administration from New Jersey City University. He is the recipient of over 150 educational, professional and community awards which include the prestigious Milken National Educator Award, the National Alliance of Black School Educators Hall of Fame Award, induction into the East Orange, New Jersey Hall of Fame, recognition as one of the World’s Top 30 Education Professionals for 2020, 2021, 2022 & 2023 by Global Gurus Top 30 and the City of Dickinson, Texas proclaiming February 8, 1998 as Baruti Kafele Day.
During a career that has spanned more than 25 years, Susan Aglukark’s journey as a singer-songwriter has led her to reflect on who she is, where she comes from and the importance of discovery – discovery of history, culture and self.
Susan is the first Inuk artist to win a Juno (3) and a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for lifetime artistic achievement, she is an officer of the Order of Canada, holds several Honourary Doctorate degrees and has held command performances; but Susan also acknowledges the path has not been easy.
“Here I was, living a life I never imagined, but I was struggling to understand who I was. There was no opportunity growing up to learn about who we were, the Inuit, from our own perspective. In essence, we were institutionalized by being told who we were, how we would live and when you are told a story for so long, you learn to believe it,” explains Susan.
During the past 25 years of reflection and songwriting, Susan kept coming back to one area of profound knowing, the Inuit are an extraordinary people deeply grounded in a culture forged by their Ancestors, their journey is what shaped them.
“Their life experience is the foundation on which our precepts of determination, adaptability and love for life are built, they began the journey to our present-day Nunavut.” (Susan’s Walrus Talks comments)
“The conversations around reconciliation have provided an opportunity to begin to re-write our narrative. The Indigenous people in Canada come from highly organized societies built on knowledge, process and organization – without which none of us would have survived.”
For Susan, art has played a significant role in her healing journey and in the re-writing of her narrative, she believes it plays an important role for indigenous youth who are dealing with contemporary identity issues today. “Our children and youth are strong and resilient, they still believe very strongly in their culture, in Inuit or Indigenous culture, and they are still fighting every day to find their place.”
“They need to be anchored to an identity and so much of those connections are in our ancestors and their stories and we have a duty and a responsibility to engage our children and youth in the process of connecting with and helping them write those stories.”
Susan has always been very open about how her own fears and personal trauma that left her disillusioned and disconnected. Born in Arviat, Nunavut, her parents formative years were in traditional Inuit culture, her formative years were not traditional and were somewhat disconnected from her culture.
Despite the success she experienced in the 1990s, by 1998 she was suffering from post-partum depression and found herself in a dark place in need of time to reflect and heal, what followed was the several years of reflection, healing and making deeper commitments to her singing/songwriting career.
And so began what Susan calls her “awakening”. As she learned more about her culture and the strength and resilience of the Inuit who have been on this land for over 5,000 years, Susan was also engaging her own “inner artist” and falling in love with performing, sharing stories and singing.
“We have an extraordinary culture and an extraordinary past, we must embrace the opportunity to learn about our very own heroes, write those culture bridges and reframe who we are in today’s world.”
Through her music, Susan continues to share her experiences as an Inuk growing up in Nunavut, as well as the challenges faced by northern communities and Indigenous youth.
Susan is actively involved in various projects to bring food and support to northern communities and in 2016 the Arctic Rose Foundation gained charitable status with a focus on helping youth in the north through art and other engaging creative projects.