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Dr Ann Lopez - Forever a teacher

Published:Thursday | January 7, 2016 | 12:00 AMRandy Bowman

Ann Lopez was born to teach. With a bachelor of arts degree in economics and geography, a master of education and a PhD in curriculum studies, she became an associate of the London Institute of Bankers, but it was just a matter of time before she returned to her true love - educating the minds of those in the classroom.

Now residing in Canada, Lopez explained her Jamaican roots telling Flair, "I grew up in Mount Stewart district in Westmoreland before moving to Montego Bay. And while I was supported and surrounded with love from my mother, father, aunts, and uncles, the greatest influence on my life was my grandmother. She was always there from the day I was born. She was kind, caring, and wise. Her words of wisdom have become the lens through which I understand the world and the values that guide my life."

She noted that her grandmother's values were firmly rooted in her Christian faith. "Education was very important to my grandmother, who was very literate. She ensured that books were always in the house, and that education was a priority. She also demonstrated great care for others, especially those in need. In the district, they called her 'Mother Brown'. I learnt from her the ideals of social justice."

Lopez started her professional life as a teacher before venturing into the banking sector and left for Canada. "I worked at the National Commercial Bank before emigrating to Canada, where I worked at the Royal Bank of Canada for a while." But she wasn't satisfied. "Teaching has always been my passion, and in 1993, I gave up my career in banking to become a high-school teacher with the Peel District School Board in Canada, later moving on to become a professor at the University of Toronto. I left banking and followed my passion. Teaching and education gives me great satisfaction as I am able to influence the lives of young people and give back to my community."

The mother of one and proud grandparent of two, is currently a member of numerous organisations - Jamaican Diaspora Canada, National Association for Multicultural Education, Greater Toronto Area, Canadian Association for Teacher Education, Canadian Association for Studies in Education, University Council of Educational Administrators, American Educational Research Association, and National Association for Multicultural Education. She has published a number of articles in addition to presenting her work at conferences in Canada, the United States, and South Korea.

But what does Lopez do whenever she has a little time on her hands away from nurturing the mind of the next generation? Lopez shared with glee, "I enjoy dancing. I love to dance. I love reggae music. I could dance to Beres Hammond all day and all night long. In Toronto, I listen to 98.7 a local radio station that plays a lot of Reggae music including some real nice old hits. I love to garden. I plant flowers as well as vegetables. In Toronto, I live in a town called Caledon where there is a lot of yard space to grow all kinds of vegetables in the summer time."