Nova Scotia Association of Teachers for Equity in Education

Systemic Racism and White Privilege in Nova Scotia

Looking at these issues from a historical and current perspective, and how it affects students, staff and families in Nova Scotia's Public Schools




October Conferences will be 100% virtual this year.

Every year, Professional Associations begin planning for their October Conference very early in the New Year. The decision to hold virtual conferences was made in the spring of 2021 based on COVID protocol information available at that time.

VIRTUAL Conference

Friday, October 22, 2021

NSATEE is proud to present its first October Conference. Our conference will concentrate on examining systemic racism, white privilege, and Indigenous resilience in historic and present day Nova Scotia. We are proud to have the following presenters for our inaugural conference: Natteal Battiste, DeRico Symonds, Megan Neaves, and Ashley Hill. Please join us for a day of challenging conversations and reflections that will help inform you on how to better serve the students you teach, and communities you live in.  


Rachel Creaser,

Conference Fees

  • Members:  $80.00
  • Substitute / Retired / Pre-Service Teachers:  $40.00

As per NSTU Operational Procedure 13 E. IV.: receipts of payment and attendance will not be distributed until the conference has concluded.


Natteal Battiste

Natteal Battiste, recently elected Council of Acadia First Nation, is the youngest sitting member. Natteal is the founder of Strive to Reach Association, a give back program targeted for Black Nova Scotia children and young families. She also is a Board Member of The Lighthouse Association and the William Taylor Project. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree, with a major in Psychology from Saint Mary’s University, 2014 and previously held the position(s) as a Financial Advisor with Royal Bank of Canada and a Youth Care Counsellor with a variety of organizations for over five years, up until January 2021. Natteal prides herself as a community leader, spending a majority of her time working on the ground in the Halifax, Gold River and Yarmouth area(s). Being a unique blend of African-American, and Mi’kmaq and a woman. Natteal looks for ways to bridge together the education and issues that arise in today’s social world. And being a transformational leader by living by example by promoting financial awareness, mental health awareness and physical activities. With a unique background of life experience and knowledge from being born in a “project” area in Boston, Massachusetts and living a majority of her life on the First Nation community in Yarmouth, NS. Natteal uses these experiences as a mean to unravel Generation Trauma and Curses to provide younger people with more opportunity and support.

Ashley Hill

Ashley is responsible for the strategic leadership of The PREP Academy, a non-profit organization that coaches African Nova Scotian students to plan, prepare and pursue higher education with post-secondary preparation programs and advising. She also helps design, deliver and evaluate diversity, equity and inclusion employment strategies that represents a positive work culture focusing on people management, employee engagement and organizational development and learning at the North End Community Health Centre.



Megan Neaves

Megan is a Jr. High school teacher with the Halifax Regional Centre of Education. She also teaches the Advocacy and Social Justice course for the second year Social Work Program at Nova Scotia Community College. She is a relentless advocate for racial equity inside and outside of the education system. 
Megan has a background and focus on anti-racist education. She holds a Bachelor of Arts with a major in English and a minor in History as well as a Bachelor of Education. Megan holds a Masters of Education in Supporting Diverse Learners with Needs and Exceptionalities. She has compiled an array of research in regard to educating people about White privilege as her chosen Master’s project. 
Megan developed a unit called “Empowering Changes” that aims to teach students how to recognize white privilege and how to use their privilege to create change. An experiential learning component of this unit was to bring leaders from the racialized communities into the school to share with students their life journey and experience. She has co-created a workshop with DeRico Symonds that focuses on Systemic Racism and White Privilege. This workshop has been a catalyst for many conversations, transformative change, and dialogue. She has also co-created and presented workshops with Natteal Battiste, on Indigenous Resilience addressing historical and current issues within the Indigenous communities.
Megan is involved in the Halifax community and actively engaged in initiatives, events, and discussions pertaining to anti-racism, poverty, and solutions for marginalized communities. 

DeRico Symonds

DeRico Symonds, employed with the Province of Nova Scotia as a Senior Policy Analyst with the Office of Equity and Anti-Racism Initiatives. 

DeRico is a founding member of 3 non-profit organizations. He is a founding member of ACCE (Arts, Culture, Community, Economics) a black operated non-profit organization in Halifax. He has also co-founded GC902 (Game Changers 902), another black operated non-profit organization and social justice advocacy group located in Halifax.  DeRico is also a founding member of CLT902 (Community Land Trust 902), a non-profit organization in Halifax working to develop a community land trust to offer affordable renting and owning housing options in Nova scotia. 

In 2021, DeRico Symonds was named the IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Action) advisor for BIPOC Tribe Network, Canada’s Entrepreneurship, and Innovation Hub. DeRico Symonds received the Queens diamond Jubilee Century of Service Award, the Irving & Ruth Pink award for youth development and social justice and in 2019, DeRico Symonds received the Dr Burnley “Rocky” Jones Human Right award from the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission. 

With an extensive career in community work in our racialized and most marginalized communities, DeRico has a wealth of community engagement experience. DeRico provides counselling to marginalized youth and is called upon during incidences of gun violence in our black community. DeRico Symonds is also Impact Race and Cultural Assessor (IRCA) with the African Nova Scotian Justice Institute. Continuing to create change, DeRico has co-presented with Megan Neaves on workshops on systemic racism, white privilege, as well as developed and presented on African Nova Scotian history, leadership and education. 

DeRico has tirelessly advocated for communities across HRM for issues including but not limited to: Poverty, Unemployment, Affordable Housing, Marginalization and Community Violence. DeRico Symonds holds an undergraduate degree in Child & Youth Study (2012) and completed a MEd in Counselling through Acadia University (2018).  DeRico also has his Canadian Counselling Certification through the Canadian Counselling & Psychotherapy Association of Canada. 

Session A 9:00- 11:00

Indigenous Resilience
Historical and present-day challenges and examples of systemic racism in regards to Indigenous peoples in Canada. Part I focuses on the historical context of pre-colonization and colonization. Part II  will be focusing on the present day impact of colonization, accountability, and advice for effective allyship.
Capacity: 100 Participants
Presented by: Natteal Battiste and Megan Neaves

Session B 12:30-2:30

Systemic Racism and White Privilege
This presentation provides a detailed historical context to the present-day situations facing people of African descent today. We also work through "What is White privilege?" and guide participants through this conversation while being responsive to questions and comments. 
Capacity: 100 Participants
Presenters: DeRico Symonds and Megan Neaves

Session C 2:30-3:30

Prep Academy
The PREP Academy is a unique contributor to the field of education in Nova Scotia. It is the first organization designed to prepare African Nova Scotian high school students to access higher education directly after high school and equip them with the skills and opportunities to succeed in their careers.
Capacity: 100 Participants
Presenter: Ashley Hill