Amanda Lamberti

Communications Manager



Amanda began working at the Okanagan School of Education, UBC, in 2019. Previously she worked at the City of Kelowna where she was responsible  for developing strategic communications plan and delivering tactics for the Active Living and Culture Division as their Communications Advisor. Prior to that she was the Digital Communications Consultant where she was one of the project managers for the City of Kelowna website redesign launched in 2016.

She has an Advanced Social Media Strategy Certificate from Hootsuite Academy.

She was a volunteer English Teacher in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam from August 2013 to January 2014.


Corporate Communications, Media Relations, Social Media, Student Engagement, Student Recruitment and Marketing.


International Day of Biological Diversity (May 22) recognizes the importance of a rich, healthy and vibrant ecosystem. This year’s theme is “from agreement to action: build back biodiversity.” The slogan aims to build upon the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework agreement, signed in December 2022, that sets goals and outlines measures to “reverse the loss of nature by 2050.”

Locally, Dr. Sumer Seiki and UBC Okanagan teacher candidates have undertaken a massive PROSPERS (Preserving and Restoring Okanagan Syilx Plants and Endangered Regional Seeds) project on campus to transform an unused field area into a rich biodiverse space for native plants.

“In BC, invasive weeds have taken over a lot of the grasslands, and it’s quite a big problem” says Dr. Seiki. “BC is a biodiversity hotspot — it’s climate, it’s species richness, the diversity of different species that live here all impact the ecosystem health. We have different plant species that are then eaten by herbivores who then have carnivores that feed on them, so there is this complex and dynamic ecosystem structure that is now seeing massive changes.”

Seiki further explained how it’s not only the invasive weeds that are impacting the grasslands, but also the shift in development as cities are building further out and into wildlife corridors.

After transforming over 28,000 square feet of invasive weed land into field plots and dividing into teams, teacher candidates used the Seek app by iNaturalist to map out the area and identify plants.

“The candidates categorized the plants, and pulled out the invasive weeds,” says Dr. Seiki. “This was a big undertaking as they had to dig deep to remove the weeds at the root level.”

Finally, after laying down a layer of compost to aid in water absorption, they spread a mix of native seeds containing grasses and wildflowers that were crafted by Joshua Smith from Xen Xeriscape Endemic Nursery & Ecological Solutions.

“The work the candidates did in only seven days has made, and will continue to make, positive climate change gains,” says Dr. Seiki.  “Over the course of a year, the native grassland plot and plants in the Syilx and Okanagan Native Seed Garden capture about half a ton of carbon. Native plants have the added benefit of storing carbon in the soil because of their long, intricate root systems and their symbiotic relationships with fungi. It’s a significant contribution to our global health and reducing our carbon footprint.”

Another benefit of planting native species is that they are acclimatized to the arid area — meaning they can tolerate the high and low temperatures, and don’t require as much watering.

For individuals interested in learning more about native plant species there are a variety of resources, including but not limited to:

This ecological restoration work was made possible by a grant received from the Faculty of Education Equity, Diversity and Inclusion fund.


Espaces francophones Team 2022-2023; Carl Ruest, Aradhita Arora, Francis Langevin, launch event, September 2022.

This story was originally posted on Espaces francophone

A joint initiative between the Okanagan School of Education (French Pathways) and the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies (French programs), Espaces francophones’ mission is to cultivate a sense of belonging among Francophones (first language or other) at UBCO. 

On September 23, more than one hundred people gathered to officially launch the Espaces francophones for the 2022-23 school year. The program offers various opportunities for students, professors and staff of UBCO to connect and exchange in French.  

“When entering university, finding your community is often a crucial step, and for Francophones in a minority setting, it is even more important,” says Francis Langevin, French professor and cofounder of Espaces francophones. 

“With more than 1,000 French speakers on campus, we offer socio-cultural activities to encourage the development of a French-speaking community,” says Carl Ruest, cofounder of Espaces francophones and Okanagan School of Education (OSE) Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) French Pathways Coordinator.  

Espaces francophones organized more than 20 activities for the UBCO French community. Movie nights were offered every week and presented different French-speaking cultures, from Quebec to Morocco, including Acadia and, of course, France. On March 20, to celebrate Journée Internationale de La Francophonie, three documentary films were presented. Each one depicting, from various perspectives, the French cultural reality in Canada.  

According to Francis Langevin, “Espaces francophones brings together the social and cultural activities that take place in French on our campus. Films, conversation, conferences, the outdoors: everything that makes the Okanagan campus vibrant, but in French! We try to forge links with the French school network and with organizations such as the Centre culturel francophone de l’Okanagan.”  

Read the full story, in French or English, at 

The Okanagan School of Education is proud to share that Dr. Wendy Klassen, Director of Undergraduate Programs, has received an Association of British Columbia Deans of Education (ABCDE) Teacher Educator Award. The award is presented to someone at the school or university level who has distinguished themselves in partnering with a teacher education program in B.C.

Dr. Klassen is an exceptional educator, mentor and scholar-practitioner. She has been teaching for more than 40 years, beginning her career in Richmond BC in School District 38. For the last 25 years, she has made an impact on the Okanagan campus — inspiring, supporting and mentoring hundreds of pre-service teachers, mentor teachers, graduate students and field advisors. In 2013, she became the Director of Undergraduate Programs (a role she still holds today), where she was instrumental in the redesign of the Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) program, and ensured alignment with UBC Senate and the BC Teachers Council.

Dr. Klassen’s focus on integrating and embedding Indigenous Education throughout the B.Ed. program is a crucial aspect of her leadership. Learning and unlearning are interwoven throughout all 16 months of learning, and the program begins and ends in ceremony. Dr. Klassen recognizes the importance of educators responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Calls to Action and how this shapes relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. She supported the development of the OSE Indigenous Education Council, a council that provides the Faculty with advice, recommendations, and guidance to enhance the program’s academic and field education.

Dr. Klassen is also known for her teaching innovation, which involves teaching numeracy education classes in-situ at local elementary schools. Her learner-centered approach focuses on alleviating math anxiety for teacher candidates, while they learn “about” teaching math “through” teaching math. This in-situ pedagogical innovation is a key feature of the B.Ed. program and involves ongoing organization, care, and attention with teachers and school administration and elementary students.

The award was announced during the ABCDE’s Teacher Education Round Table Thursday, April 27 at Thompson Rivers University.

We are excited to share that Dr. Peter Arthur has received the 2023 Killam Teaching Prize.

As one of six Killam institutions, UBC offers yearly awards from the Killam Endowment Fund to faculty and teaching assistants who demonstrate excellence in teaching. The Killam Teaching Prize is awarded annually to faculty nominated by students, colleagues and alumni in recognition of excellence in teaching.

Dr. Peter Arthur has been a leader in the teaching community since the inception of UBC’s Okanagan campus. An internationally-recognized scholar of teaching and learning in higher education, Dr. Arthur has impacted the lives of countless students and educators through his educational leadership as the Founding Director of the Centre for Teaching and Learning, and his caring and compassionate approach in the classroom.

Learn more

Teaching Excellence Celebration

The campus community is invited to celebrate and recognize the achievements of UBC Okanagan teachers and mentors and celebrate our community of teaching excellence.

Date: Tuesday, May 16, 2023
Time: 4 to 6 pm | Award presentation followed by a reception
Location: UBC Ballroom | UNC 200

To RSVP, please contact

Congratulations to Dr. Peter Arthur for receiving a UBCO 2023 Golden Apple Award. The Award recognizes Dr. Arthur’s dedication to fostering instructor-student relationships.

The Golden Apple Awards are a student-led initiative to acknowledge teachers who support the wellbeing of their students in the academic environment.

Learn more about the criteria students use to nominate faculty.

Becoming a teacher wasn’t part of Rob Bennett (B.Ed. ‘19) future plans after completing high school. In fact, it wasn’t even part of his plans after completing university.

“I had a teacher that really motivated me and encouraged me to start figuring out my options in preparation for after high school,” says Bennett.

Bennett worked hard throughout his grade 12 year and went to the University of Victoria to pursue his Bachelor of Arts with a major in History. Following graduation, he worked in construction and had started to make plans to travel when a family friend steered him in another direction — teaching.

“I applied to UBCO’s Bachelor of Education program, and that’s where everything fell into place,” says Bennett. “I always knew I worked well with people, but it wasn’t until I started teaching that I felt like I could see my strengths. It took other people, like my family, teachers and professors, to point me in this direction.”

For the last four years, Bennett has been teaching in the Indigenous Academy at Kelowna Secondary School — and has had a rapid learning curve since he started.

“This was a position that I had no background in. I have a major in History and minor in English, and I was asked to teach indigenous culture and English. I had a lot of learning to do, especially as a non-indigenous person, and I am always continuing to learn.”

In the Indigenous Academy, there are multiple teachers working together with the goal of helping students, especially Indigenous youth, graduate. They provide a space for students to learn culture and develop community.

“We all work together and the students go through the Academy as a cohort, and develop skills in a space where they feel safe to make mistakes,” says Bennett. “They’ve also given me space to make mistakes. As a non-indigenous teacher teaching culture, I don’t really teach it in the traditional sense. I made sure I developed a community where it felt safe and welcoming to bring in cultural leaders from around the community to make sure that they were the ones teaching those important pieces.”

During Bennett’s first year, they took students to visit the Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc nation and Kamloops Residential School. Prior to the trip, the students had been reading Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese, and had an Elder come in and speak to her experiences as a residential school survivor.

“Sitting on the bus, I had a non-Indigenous student tell me ‘Mr. Bennett, I get it. I understand what I’m doing here now,’ and that was a moment when it clicked for me. It’s not about all the content or the things I learned in university. It’s how you approach the situations and work with the kids in the moment.”

Bennett was a finalist for the 2022 Premier’s Awards for Excellence in Education, Outstanding New Teacher category. An honour that he wishes he could have shared.

“I am appreciative to have been a finalist and grateful to my nominator, Graeme Stacey, and my references for their outstanding support. It was nice to be recognized, but it’s really the students and community, including our elders and advocates, and their hard work and dedication that make the program what it is.”

The program, using the Medicine Wheel, focuses on being a holistic individual — looking at the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual parts, because if one part is broken then everything else will begin to fall apart.

“It’s not always about where you start, it’s where you end up. I didn’t see myself being here. I wasn’t the greatest student and that’s a connection point I have with some of my students. I remind them that it’s not always about being the best student, it’s about being your best self.”

The Academy has given students an opportunity to find a place in school, and many have found success in the program.

“Some of my highlights have been seeing the confidence build within the students. That’s when I really love teaching, when you see the kids light up and figure it out themselves,” says Bennett. “We’ve seen many students get accepted to universities, and last year one student won a prestigious award at their university, and there are the tears and hugs. But the biggest moments that still rock me, are the handful of parents that tell us ‘you saved my kid.’ Those are the moments where I reflect on what’s been accomplished, what I’ve been doing, and feel like it’s working. If it works for one kid then I feel like I’ve done my job.”


For teachers that are seeking to build community connections with Elders or learn new ways of bringing in Indigenous ways of knowing and being, Bennett has offered some of his learnings over the years.

Work with your school’s advocates

I wouldn’t be here doing what I’m doing without my advocates, Dawn Dionne and Steve Kelly, they are a lifeblood. We work very closely together, and it’s been a huge benefit for this school. Especially working with the students on a lot of the cultural activities and helping me feel comfortable so I can focus on the lessons and facilitate the learning. Knowing that there is someone with me that can also participate with the cultural aspect has been a huge development.

Reciprocate relationships

Sometimes a concern from Elders is that they are asked to come in as a one-off — to check off a box in the lesson. That should never be the case. It should be an actual lifestyle, teaching, or educational change or mind shift in the classroom or even in the school. When you invite an Elder to come into your classroom and school, it needs to be a welcoming place for them. You need to ensure that you’re actively living your truth before you can work towards reconciliation.

 Honour the culture

Ensure you are honouring the culture by learning and living it every day. This will help the students emulate it. For me, it also meant going out to meet and invite leaders, working late, doing whatever I had to do to make sure our students were prepared learn and live the culture too.


As we approach International Day of Women and Girls in Science (February 11), Dr. Sumer Seiki, associate professor, shares details on past and upcoming projects and ways educators can inspire an interest in science.


Dr. Seiki considers herself a botanist. Along with a white lab coat, she also uses gardening gloves. Her passion for biology is rooted in an appreciation for plants and gardening.

“I have always loved plants; it was kind of a family thing,” says Dr. Seiki with a smile. “Some of my fondest memories were with my grandmothers in their gardens. Both of my grandmothers were incredible gardeners.”

When her grandparents immigrated to California, USA, it was at a time where there were many Anti-Asian race-based exclusion acts. They had to become resourceful with the small plot of land and providing food for a big family.

“She really was a genius. She fully utilized this small, half the size of a bedroom, garden, and taught herself what she could grow during the summer and what she could store in the cellar and feed the family over the winter. She had this calendar in her head and body.”

When Dr. Seiki would stay with them during school breaks, she would watch her grandmothers garden, enjoy digging in the Earth, picking the different fruits and vegetables to make fresh and delicious meals.

“I went to post-secondary school knowing that plants were magical and amazing, and just knew that’s what I wanted to study.”

Q&A With Dr. Seiki

What are some ways educators can inspire students to be interested in science?

I would encourage educators to start by helping kids love organisms (plants, animals, etc.) and the Earth. As a science teacher, some of what we’re doing is helping them learn about the world around them — and all the mysteries and wonders that go along with it. I think helping students understand the relationships they have with the different ecosystems is really powerful teaching.

Science is used by every culture. Every culture has science knowers and actors, even though they themselves might not realize it. Like my grandmothers, who were expert botanists. I think educators helping their students see their families as knowers and users of science, helps them locate themselves in science knowledge production and use. It becomes less abstract and more apparent in day-to-day activities, like making dinner by boiling water for pasta. They’ll see that they do, and can, make scientific decisions.

What are some examples of projects you have participated in?

After working in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC, I was inspired by a number of different exhibits, lectures and books. There was one phenomenal installation by an artist, Jean Shin, who also came to the museum for a lecture to explain her exhibits. When you walked into her exhibit room, there was nothing on the lower walls and as you walk further in and look up you see that the entire ceiling is connected by these sweaters and each sweater is unraveled and it’s connected to all the people that owned the sweaters in relation to each other. It was a physical installation on the relationships of a small group of people. It was like an ecosystem.

Knowing, and experiencing, how powerful an installation can be for learning influenced ideas I had for my own classroom installations. I built different deciduous forests and ocean ecosystems while working with pre-service teachers. After a few years, I knew I had to take an installation to a classroom with children.

I had one particularly dynamic mentor teacher that I had been working with, and so I asked if I could use her second-grade classroom for this rainforest ecosystem installation project. I assigned the student teachers in my science methods course to build different parts of a rainforest. We came to the school and set up the rainforest overnight so it would be a big reveal for the children in the morning. We were standing on desks and throwing vines everywhere, a giant six-foot tree in middle of the room and there was something on every wall.

The next morning, I went to the school to see the students’ reaction of walking into their classroom. The teacher unlocks the door and let them in as she usually does. The students come running in and stop in their tracks. They’re silent. Then they started excitedly yelling and bouncing around the classroom pointing at all the different animals and plants.

The installation became a real conduit for learning. Over the course of a month, they used it in a number of different ways, including giving all the other classrooms in their school tours and educating them on the ecosystems in a rainforest.

Learn more about her Urban Classroom Rainforest Project by reading her published paper with coauthor Dr. Pennie Gray.

What are some projects you currently working on?

One project I’m currently working on is a Syilx and Okanagan Native Seed Garden — a living library. The Okanagan is home to rich biodiversity, and with climate change, and urban sprawl, we know that we’ve lost and are at risk of losing many different species. As a global citizen, we need to protect these species. These amazing treasures. The seed garden is one way to create a living museum of organisms that are Indigenous to the area.

The Co-Curricular-Making—Honouring Indigenous Connections to Land, Culture, and the Relational Self SSHRC partnership facilitation team is inviting you to attend two upcoming events: Thursday, Mar. 2, and Friday, Mar. 3.

These free events are opportunities to learn with, from, and through others’ curricular experiences. All are welcome to attend.

Working the Ideas—Enlarging and Deepening Understandings: Sharing a meal, our learnings, and co-curricular experiences

Thursday, March 2, 2023 | 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Laurel Packing House, 1304 Ellis St, Kelowna


Please register by February 23, 2023.Capacity is limited.

Join local and national scholars, including Indigenous educators and Canadian Research Chairs, as they discuss their efforts to decolonize programs and practices to generate a conversation with local educators, scholars and community members.

Dinner will be provided. 

Participants include:

  • Rose Caldwell, Elder and Educator, Westbank First Nation
  • Dr. Dwayne Donald, Canada Research Chair in Reimagining Teacher Education with Indigenous Wisdom Traditions, and Etienna Moostoos-Lafferty, Doctoral Student & Research Assistant, University of Alberta
  • Dr. Jan Hare, Dean pro tem UBC Faculty of Education, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Pedagogy at UBC
  • Dr. Nicholas Ng-A-Fook, Vice-Dean, Graduate Programs at the University of Ottawa, and Anita Tenasco, Anishinabe Algonquin Nation and member of the Kitigan Zibi community and Director of Education
  • Dr. Sandra Styres, Canada Research Chair in Iethi’nihsténha Ohwentsia’kékha (Land), Resurgence, Reconciliation and the Politics of Education, and Ryan Neepin, PhD Candidate, University of Toronto

Syilx Voices and Reflection: Education’s Roles/Responsibilities Across/Around Turtle Island

Friday, March 3, 2023  |   4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
UNC 200, UBC Okanagan Campus


Please register by February 23, 2023.

Join a conversation circle lead by Dr. Jeannette Armstrong, Canada Research Chair in Okanagan Indigenous Knowledge and Philosophy; Pauline Terbasket, Executive Director, Okanagan Nation Alliance; and Dr. Bill Cohen, Okanagan School of Education as they reflect on local and regional decolonizing curricular efforts. These reflections will act as provocations for drawing important attention to the role of local traditions, perspectives, and concerns, revealing insights in the shaping, and the continued mobilization, of reconciliation efforts.

The circle will be comprised of educators, scholars and community members; including:

  • Dr. Jan Hare, Dean pro tem UBC Faculty of Education, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Pedagogy at UBC
  • Dr. Nicholas Ng-A-Fook, Vice-Dean, Graduate Programs at the University of Ottawa
  • Dr. Sandra Styres, Canada Research Chair in Iethi’nihsténha Ohwentsia’kékha (Land), Resurgence, Reconciliation and the Politics of Education
  • Dr. Dwayne Donald, Canada Research Chair in Reimagining Teacher Education with Indigenous Wisdom Traditions

Light refreshments will be provided.

We hope you have a restful winter break! Our offices will be closed starting on Monday, Dec. 26, 2022, and will re-open on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023.

Holiday Message from the Dean pro tem

Application Dates and Deadlines

Bachelor of Education

If you are applying for the September 2023 admission, the UBC Okanagan application deadline is Jan. 15, 2023. Your supplemental application and references are due January 31. If you are applying to both UBC Vancouver and Okanagan, you must submit your supplemental application and references to each program. Visit the program page for more information.

We also have tips to help guide your application process.

Master of Arts in Education or Master of Education

If you are applying for the September 2023 admission, the application deadline is January 31, 2023. For required documents and additional information, visit the program page. To view upcoming courses, visit the Graduate Student Resources page.

Dr. John-Tyler Binfet, associate professor, has surveyed and interviewed more than 3,000 children and adolescents from kindergarten to post-secondary gathering their perspectives on kindness. Hot off the presses, Dr. Binfet’s new book Cultivating Kindness: An Educators Guide is a research-driven guide to all things kindness in schools.

“This book is a resource for educators who want to introduce kindness in their classrooms or schools and are seeking ideas and strategies to support kindness in students,” says Dr. Binfet. “I hope it can serve as a guide for well-being initiatives for students, and for educators, to shift the climate in classrooms, to foster kindness among people and showcase the good that people are doing.”

The book includes a kindness checklist for schools to assess how kind they are and practical scenarios to help teachers challenge students to consider kindness. In addition, there is a repository of kindness resources to support the continued kindness education of readers.


What inspired you to write the book?

After nearly 10 years of research and asking almost 4,000 students about kindness, I felt it was time to glue it all together and tell the story of what I’ve learned from students about being kind.

I didn’t want another adult interpretation of kindness. I wanted to honour the students’ voices and their experience around being kind; especially after learning that, from their perspective, it takes a lot of bravery to be kind. For some students, it doesn’t unfold quickly and easily in a school setting and they need some support. They need some structure and that’s where teachers come in. They can really be a guide — a kindness coach.


While your book is called an educator’s guide, are there others who may benefit from reading it?

This book would be an excellent resource for anyone that works or volunteers with children or youth in any capacity. It would also be appealing for parents and guardians who are interested in guiding kindness within their children and within the family structure. For example, just as they may ask “Have you done your chores this week?” I want them to ask, “Have you done your kind acts?”

We know that doing three kind acts a week is a formula for bolstering children’s wellbeing. Three acts will help children feel better about themselves and about the people around them.


Could you share some examples of how students you’ve interviewed have been kind?

There have been a few examples over the years that have stopped me in my tracks. Especially with adolescents because they, unfortunately, have the stereotype of being mired in conflict and ego-driven. I have had students in middle school who have said “my act of kindness is a quiet one where I stop talking when other people are.”

I have had another student tell me that they don’t talk about their mother around another student, because that student’s mother had passed away the previous year from cancer. This student restricts their speech because they know if they don’t, they’ll wound a friend.


As we’re approaching World Kindness Day (Nov. 13), how do you enact kindness?

I try to walk the talk with my research and commit to at least three kind acts a week. For example, one act I like to do in a drive-thru is pay for the person’s order behind me. However, my favourite acts of kindness are the ones where I can specifically craft the act for the person. I love the unexpected nature of it, and I try to be stealth in how I deliver my kind act.


Learn more about the book and how to purchase a copy at