Meet The MDI Team

Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl, PhD.

Applied Developmental Psychologist &
Principal Investigator of the MDI

Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl led the development of the Middle Years Development Instrument (MDI) and continues to oversee its implementation. Dr. Schonert-Reichl is an Applied Developmental Psychologist and the NoVo Foundation Endowed Chair in Social and Emotional Learning in the Department of Psychology at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC). She is also a Faculty member at the Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP), and a Research Associate in the School of Population and Public Health (SPPH) in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia. Before beginning her graduate work, she was a middle school teacher and a high school teacher at an alternative high school for youth identified at risk for high school completion. Known as a world-renowned expert in the area of social and emotional learning (SEL), Dr. Schonert-Reichl’s research focuses on identification of the processes that foster positive human qualities such as empathy, compassion, altruism, and resiliency in children and adolescents. Dr. Schonert-Reichl has received several awards for her work. She is the recipient of the 2019 Postsecondary Leader of the Year Award, Canadian Edtech Awards, Mindshare Learning Technologies that celebrates innovative leaders for their excellence in education and industry, the 2015 Joseph E. Zins Distinguished Scholar Award for outstanding research on social and emotional learning, and the 2009 Confederation of University Faculty Associations BC’s Paz Buttedahl Career Achievement Award in recognition of her sustained outstanding contributions to the community beyond the academy through research over the major portion of her career.


Dr. Schonert-Reichl has been involved with many scholarly committees and consultancies as well. For example, she has served as an advisor to the British Columbia (BC) Ministry Education on the development and implementation of the redesign of the Curriculum that focuses on the promotion of personal and social competencies; and she is currently an Expert Advisor to the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development’s (OECD) Education 2030 initiative, a Board Member of the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), an advisor to UNESCO’s Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP) on SEL, and a research advisor for the Social, Emotional, and Ethical (SEE) Learning curriculum at Emory University’s Center for Contemplative Science and Compassion-Based Ethics.

Maddison Spenrath

MDI Implementation Manager

Maddison is the Implementation Manager for the MDI research project, and has worked on the MDI project since 2013. Her background is in applied research on early child development and population health. She has an MSc in Population and Public Health from the University of British Columbia and a BSc from the University of Calgary.

Marit Gilbert

MDI Implementation Lead

Marit’s role is to coordinate and implement the MDI research project in British Columbia and nationally. She has an M.A. in Political Science from UBC and has previously worked in the non-profit sector.

Kim Mascarenas

MDI Implementation Coordinator

As part of the MDI Implementation team, Kim helps ensure that data collection processes for the MDI project are going smoothly and good working relationships are maintained with school districts and community partners. Before joining HELP, Kim worked as the Senior Program Assistant in the Office of Experiential Education in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at UBC where she liaised with different pharmacy sites and community organizations to coordinate students’ practicum.


Kim completed her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of the Philippines in Manila. Her personal interests are in the field of mindfulness, compassion, mindful self-compassion, emotional wellness and mental health and well-being. She has also worked in the coffee industry for many years and has been in love with coffee ever since.

Kinwa Bluesky

Indigenous Initiatives Senior Manager

Kinwa Bluesky is Bear Clan and Anishinaabe from the Sandy Lake First Nation and Kitigan Zibi Anishinaabeg. She comes with sacred feet, and now lives softly on the unceded, traditional territory, and homelands of the Musqueam Peoples.


Professionally, Kinwa is an Indigenous legal advocate who is committed to implementing equitable law, governance, and rights through social justice, Indigenous, and human rights-based initiatives. At HELP, she manages Indigenous Initiatives with the support of Faculty and Staff, and under the leadership of the Aboriginal Steering Committee. She is experienced in managing multiple senior executive governance committees for non-profits and charities, higher learning institutions, and all-levels of government, including First Nations and Self-Governing Indigenous Governments.


Kinwa works to support our collective civic responsibilities to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action and Principles, the UN and BC’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, and more recently, the Calls for Justice in the Final Report of the Inquiry into the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.


She holds Juris Doctorate and Master of Laws degrees and is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at UVic’s Faculty of Law. Kinwa is a Peloton online athlete, a self-confessed Apple fan, and Master Lego Builder.

We will be out in communities...virtually

Interested in upcoming MDI events and webinars?