We have been friends for over 10 years, supporting one another during our peaks and valleys. In a world where nothing is constant, our friendship remained unwavering. In spite of the success that we have had within the education system, we both experienced pressures to dissociate from our culture in order to feel welcomed in our school environment. In the Black community, these pressures are more pronounced as we continue to dismantle the residual effects of segregated schools in Ontario.

As we begin Roots to Routes Academy, we want to create a school that embodies the major principles of our friendship: compassion, intercultural understanding, and allyship. Coming from different cultural backgrounds, our friendship has been rooted in a genuine interest in learning about the various elements that impact our worldviews. We immersed ourselves in each other’s culture, religion, and families. In the process of our intercultural exchange, what we discovered is a sense of pride for our own cultures and an urgency to ensure educational equity. Learning about our cultural differences and similarities helped us grow an increased appreciation for our own cultural roots, sparking a renewed excitement to celebrate who we are and where we come from. This revelation was transformative and is the core of our motivation to creating a school. At Roots to Routes Academy, we are rooted in the belief that learning about our shared cultural history is the route to a more compassionate future. Our friendship is one of the greatest gifts we’ve received and we want to share this gift with you. 

With love, 

                 Korina Thomas-Reynolds & Ramya Selladurai


Co-Founders of Roots to Routes Academy


At Roots to Routes Academy, we believe that learning exists outside of the confines of classroom walls. Education is a human right and every person deserves to have an educational experience that is meaningful, relevant, and applicable to their future aspirations. Our commitment to using education as a tool to promote cultural pride sets us apart from other schools. Global competency skills are at the forefront to ensure that today’s youth intimately understand how to interact with diverse cultures with intent and integrity. We are more than just a school because we approach education as an act of liberation where students are free to discover their paths to success. 


“Mme Reynolds is an excellent teacher who has left many students feeling happy and comfortable in the learning process. I hope that she continues helping others learn new languages and more as you will definitely be grateful for her”

Student • Grade 9

Korina Thomas-Reynolds

Korina Thomas-Reynolds

My students have been the greatest source of my inspiration. Their wisdom, insight, and resilience inspires me to be a better person each and every day. But, I found myself consistently reflecting on the following question: what are the conditions that force our students to be resilient? This question pushed me to pursue a Masters of Education at York University in my first year of teaching to investigate how cultural literacy, our ability to interact meaningfully with another culture, is a factor that impacts Black students’ ability to achieve success in the education system. From creating scholarships to leading equity councils, I began to realize that the changes I was making within my schools weren’t sustainable. I aspire to create lasting change in the education system by providing an alternative for Black students to celebrate their culture in an academically driven setting. As I imagine my Jamaican ancestors and their journey to emancipation, I wholeheartedly believe in our capacity to rebuild an education for us as a legacy for our children. 


“Ms. Reynolds is an amazing teacher who has not only taught me about so many things but is also a kind-hearted person who helps students and others get through difficult times. I was so lucky to have her as a teacher.”

Student • Grade 9

Ramya Selladurai

Ramya Selladurai

At the end of the work day, I would listen to Korina explain the issues that she saw within the education system. I always found these talks incredibly illuminating and thought that communities could really benefit from these conversations. This is how The More Than Just a School Podcast was born! We create bi-weekly podcasts where parents and guardians can learn about the issues in the public education system and how to navigate in order to increase their child’s success. In the Grade 9 Math course being offered, I am most proud about how we address social emotional learning (SEL), an Ontario curriculum requirement that could be easily overlooked. It’s so important for our children to be able to connect with themselves culturally, emotionally, and spiritually in order to find their purpose. This is a skill I wish I had developed earlier in life and I am so excited for our students to experience a course that will truly make them feel a sense of belonging.



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