Bert Tulk 

Bert Tulk

Co-founder of SF 2008

Director of SF Canada 

Bert has worked as an international consultant for the past five years, with a concentration on sustainability, inclusive education, life skills education and curriculum development. Prior to that, he was Superintendent/CEO of the Atlantic Provinces Special Education Authority (APSEA) based in Halifax, Canada.  He was previously Superintendent with the Labrador West School Board and Assistant Director (Programs) for both the Avalon East and Labrador School Boards in Newfoundland.  He was Director of Global Education for Newfoundland and Labrador from 1991-95. 


Bert has BA, BEd and MEd degrees from Memorial University of Newfoundland. His Doctorate in Curriculum, Teaching and Learning from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto (OISE/UT) had a global education and school change focus.


An Adjunct Professor at Mount Saint Vincent University, Bert has taught courses and supervised graduate students in global education.  A long-time active member of ASCD, he has served on its Leadership Conference Design Team, the Worldwide Influence Study Team, the ASCD Global Education Network Group and was Founding President of the Atlantic Canada Connected Community.  An Honorary Member of the NLTA Humanities Council, Bert was a founding Member of the Atlantic Council for International Co-operation and served as Chair of the Green Teacher Board of Directors.  He has been an Assessor with the Canadian Studies Directorate, Secretary of State since 1992 and a Regional Evaluator for the Prime Minister’s Teaching Awards since 2010. Having recently returned to his childhood home in Ladle Cove, Newfoundland, Bert has embraced a small-scale, traditional approach to organic gardening and sustainable fishing/living.

In Burt's own words:

"Key milestones on my environmental/sustainability education journey … so far


A strong sense of place has steered my environmental/sustainability education journey.  Born in a small Newfoundland outport community which drew its lifeblood from natural resource industries such as fishing and logging, my upbringing was predicated upon being close to nature, largely as preparation for my learning to earn a living from the land and sea.  As a point of clarification for readers who may hold a stereotypical view of Newfoundlanders as “savage clubbers of seals”, I must confess to always being faint-hearted towards hunting, indeed towards any form of inflicting pain or suffering.  Furthermore, even though my father “went to the ice” in the annual seal hunt, he was a most gentle person, who taught me to revere life in all its forms.

Teaching in tiny, remote villages on the coast of Labrador in the early 1980s developed my deep appreciation for aboriginal peoples as I witnessed their struggle against massive odds to maintain some semblance of their cultural heritage.  After a year in St. John’s, I moved to Labrador City, a northern mining community, in 1984.  My exposure to one of the largest open-pit mining operations in the world demonstrated the impact of “development” on a pristine wilderness area.  It also bore witness to the effects of people who had been transplanted from their roots, their place, to a town site erected in an inland, isolated wilderness; for the first time I discovered what it was like NOT to be able to smell the salt water! 


In the early 1990s, I again lived in St. John’s for my tenure with the Global Education Project.  This period witnessed the social and economic fallout of the collapse of the Newfoundland cod fishery, the 500-year traditional mainstay of the island, with its eventual closure in 1992.  Visiting all parts of the province in the aftermath of the start of the cod moratorium, I saw the decimation of many fishing communities as thousands of young families “left in droves for the mainland” for jobs. 

Moving my family to Toronto for my doctoral residency helped me appreciate more fully what many of those expatriate Newfoundlanders were experiencing.  While enjoying the amenities and attractions of the big city, we knew our sojourn was for a defined period; others do not have that luxury!  Toronto also showed some of the downsides of city living, the squalor, the fast pace, the anonymity, the disconnectedness and the facade.  I recall a huge video screen on the corner of Yonge and Bloor displaying a lush, green scene with a mountain in the background to promote some “essential” consumer product.  The people on the Toronto sidewalk see, but can’t experience; the people in Newfoundland experience, but often don’t see until they are removed from the scene ... what irony!  While visits to Toronto remain enjoyable, they always serve to re-affirm a sense of holistic health and well-being which is derived from living elsewhere.          


Studying at the University of Toronto was a key milestone; the Transformative Learning focus gave me the opportunity to concentrate fully on community and "global ecological and social issues as they relate to education." Professor David Selby was my doctoral supervisor … When David led the formation of Sustainability Frontiers in 2009, I was honoured to join his “International alliance of sustainability and global educators seeking transformation of the human condition through repaired and restored earth connection.”

While many of my recent professional activities were in educational administration, I am excited about the unfolding opportunities to “tilt the steering wheel” in the global/sustainability education direction ... through consultancies, research, curriculum/program development and teaching on germane issues."