Asian Canadians comprise the largest and fastest-growing minority group in Canada. Asian Canadians are considered visible minorities and may be classified as East Asian Canadians, South Asian Canadians, Southeast Asian Canadians, or West Asian Canadians. Asian Canadians represent more than thirty different nationalities and ethnic groups. Furthermore, within a single nationality, there are significant differences in regional dialect, religion, class background, educational level, political perspective, and distinctions based on generation, gender, and lifestyle orientation.
- Statistics Canada
Empower ⚪ Mobilize ⚪ Act
ACENet is a not-for-profit organization that is focused on advocating for educational issues and concerns related to Asian Canadians.
ACENet Mission and Vision:
➣ Integrate Asian Canadian histories, cultures, voices and contributions in the Canadian curricula and societal consciousness;
➣ Address educational, socio-economic, linguistic, and mental health challenges that impact achievement, engagement and well-being of Asian Canadians;
➣ Build effective partnerships aimed to increase outreach and support for Asian Canadian families and communities;
➣ Develop and build learning networks to engage all stakeholders to breakdown societal barriers and leverage a collective voice;
➣ Facilitate mentoring and leadership development to address equity and inclusion in society.
Click here to read about ACENet's history.
Sandy Yep has been an active member of ACENet since its inception 10 years ago. An educator, policy analyst and social justice advocate at heart, he has been involved in community development and institutional efforts to promote equity, inclusion, human rights and change at local, provincial and national levels. Born and raised in Montreal he is 4 generations Quebecois-Chinois-Canadien. He sees the critical importance of Asian voice, cultivating it, using it, raising it! He works for the Ontario government and is looking forward to a promising retirement to pursue his many interests.
"I would like to continue in the legacy of our President Kien Nam Lu, and others to promote greater cross racial and Asian solidarity. I see ACENet as a connecting, mentoring and professional group of educators facilitating change within the education system and profession. I hope to grow our membership and look forward to future collaborations and partnerships with key stakeholders in the teaching sector."
Sandy Yep, President
Education Officer with the Ministry of Education, Inclusive Education and Parent Engagement Branch
"I would like to bring awareness and create solutions to the overlooked issue of anti-Asian racism in the education system. I hope to empower and mobilize fellow pre-service teachers to combat anti-Asian racism as well as directly address it in my future classroom and education system at large."
"Over my career in education and training, I have worked on equity, social justice and human rights at the federal, provincial and local levels. Having overcome many younger years of internalized racism and self-loathing, I am proud to turn this energy towards advocacy, education and greater social change."
Virginia Pang, Vice President
Retired Principal with the Toronto District School Board
Nandanee is currently a Vice-Principal in the TDSB. She supported STEM and Science education for elementary and secondary TDSB schools in her previous role as Coordinator for Science and STEM K-12.
Her passion for equity, teaching and learning is exemplified in her day-to-day interactions with educators, students and community members within and outside the TDSB. She is committed to maintain high standards in public education, high respect for all learners, and an advocate for STEM education as a vehicle to promote innovation, collaboration, and creativity competency skills.
"As I continue to serve as an ACENet member and treasurer, I hope to empower others to actively participate as agents of change. Fostering collective voices will make changes to conditions that currently prevent Asian educators from leading. Developing my leadership competencies is an ongoing journey that allows me to mentor others and also be mentored by others including my mentees. It took me decades, as an educator, before I started to speak about the barriers faced throughout my professional journey. My hope is by sharing my journey others will speak freely about issues that hinder the Asian identity and voice."
Nandanee Sawh, Treasurer
Vice Principal with the Toronto District School Board
Meet The Team
Linda has been an educator for 25 years; she has worked as an ESL teacher, K-2 classroom teacher, reading intervention teacher, Teacher Leader, and Early Reading Coach. She is committed to early literacy intervention and critical literacy. She is currently completing the last course of a Master of Education degree in Language and Literacies Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE). She cultivates a sense of social justice through her personal experiences, research-based pedagogies, building positive relationships to transform teaching and learning, and reflective practice for instructional improvement and personal enactment.
“I am the student who struggles and strives to be better; I am the teacher who learns through errors and reflection; and I am the reader who reads the word and the world. I am a promoter of awareness. I am a facilitator of advocacy. I am a supporter of activism. Awareness. Advocacy. Activism. These principles will guide my actions at ACENet as I build partnerships with other social justice organizations for developing curriculum, transforming teaching, and fostering learning.”
Linda Kwan, Curriculum & Teaching Chair
Elementary Teacher and
Early Reading Coach with the Toronto District School Board
Rizwana Kaderdina is a hijab-wearing Muslim woman from the South Asian diaspora. She has been an educator with the York Region District School Board for many years, where she recently concluded a role as an Equity Consultant. Rizwana is the co-Chair of the Alliance of Educators for Muslim Students (AEMS), member of the Muslim Educators Network of Ontario (MENO), and the co-founder of al-Jeeran. Rizwana is grateful to those who have supported her learning and growth, and opened space for her. As she continues to benefit from their guidance and mentorship, she hopes to do the same for others, whether colleagues, students, or community members. Rizwana’s current areas of focus include creating healing spaces, and exploring cross-racial solidarity and anti-oppressive leadership in theory and practice.
Rizwana Kaderdina, Leadership & Professional Development Co-Chair
Elementary teacher and Equity Consultant with the York Region District School Board
Sara Leung is second generation, cisgender Chinese woman from Toronto. She is an experienced elementary teacher who has her Masters degree in Leadership, Policy and Change in Equity and Inclusive Education from the University of Toronto. In the last five years, Sara worked as an Equity consultant for the York Region District School Board where she has supported system change initiatives, strategic planning and professional learning across the system. She was an educational consultant for the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice, where she created learning resources for children and families of Chinese heritage to engage in meaningful dialogue about race, racism and solidarity. This year (2022), Sara has taken on a new role as a new mom.
"I am excited to join ACEnet as the co-chair of professional learning. I hope to support the organization's mission by developing professional learning opportunities that build our collective consciousness and capacity to increase equity and access in education for Asian Canadian students, families and staff. Sara takes an identity affirming, community centred approach towards professional learning development. Her work is rooted in anti-racism, anti-oppression and critical race theory and frameworks."
Leadership & Professional Development Co-Chair
Elementary teacher and Equity Consultant with the York Region District School Board, and Education Consultant with the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice
Philip is a father, researcher, and worker in international education at Toronto District School Board. Brought up in East Asia, he immigrated to Canada as an international student and experienced both Eastern and Western societies, especially the education system. He started his journey as a researcher with the Toronto District School Board and later joined the International Education team. Philip believes in the power of information, communication, and love. He hopes to grow with the Asian communities and inspire families to create better social and educational environments for the next generation.
"I would like to share my passion for data and information with ACENet and Asian communities in the next two years, through exploring more conversational channels and new media technologies, I wish to help communities to acknowledge the trauma the Asian communities suffered through collecting and providing high-quality data and loving communications."
School & Community Chair
Admissions Assistant with the Toronto District School Board
Joshua is a PhD student in Curriculum and Pedagogy with a specialization in Comparative, International, and Development Education at the University of Toronto, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE). He works as an Occasional Teacher in the Toronto District School Board (TDSB). He comes from a family of teachers who have been involved with OISE and/or the TDSB. Throughout his life, he has been involved with various social justice organizations.
"I hope to empower and mobilize educators to combat anti-Asian racism as well as directly address it in my future classroom and education system at large. I plan to support ACENet across a variety of activities including but not limited to the creation and delivery of workshops, finding and cataloging of useful resources, and writing blog posts for the ACENet website."
Joshua Lim, Secretary
Occasional Teacher with the Toronto District School Board and Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Pedagogy candidate at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education
Gen-Ling Chang is a former associate director of the Toronto District School board. Currently she is Deputy Executive Director with ALPHA Education.
She was a senior researcher with the Ontario Institute Studies in Education before joining Peel Board of Education in staff development, responsible for improving practice through teacher professional development. With the former Toronto Board of Education, which later amalgamated into the Toronto District School Board, Gen Ling served as a teacher, instructional and school Principal, and Superintendent of Education. She was seconded to the provincial Literacy & Numeracy Secretariat, providing leadership on a province-wide school and district improvement strategy on K-12 student achievement and wellbeing. Prior to her career in Canada, she taught at the National University of Malaysia and the National University of Singapore.
Her work on equity, diversity and inclusion focuses on the significance of identity, community, belonging, and representation. From her years of service, she believes youths are important change-makers in the development of Canada and globally. In advancing representation, participation, and opportunities of success, her work centers on examining structural practices that privilege some groups, but disadvantage others owing to bias, discrimination, misinformation, racism, and hate.
"I hope to continue to address the challenges which Asian Canadian students, families, and educators experience; at the same time to center the lesser known and unknown contributions to education and Canadian society by Asian Canadians with and among all Canadians."
Gen Ling Chang,
Social activist, anti-racist educator, and the former Associate Director of Toronto District School Board. Currently, she is the Deputy Executive Director with ALPHA Education committed to social justice, humanity and global peace