Marsha Forest, EdD, was a pioneering advocate for inclusion. Throughout her career, she served as Assistant Professor of Education at York University, the Director of Education at Frontier College, and as a visiting scholar at the G. Allan Rocher Institute, formerly the National Institute on Mental Retardation.
Forest founded, along with her husband, Jack Pearpoint, The Centre for Integrated Education and Inclusion Press international, both of which are dedicated to fostering inclusive communities. Marsha Forest fought vigorously for the rights of children with disabilities to be educated with their peers, arguing that special education programs were effectively a system of apartheid.
She also worked to open the hearts and minds of the medical community to the disabled, racial minority members, the poor, and those whose lifestyles don’t align with dominant societal norms. Additionally, Dr. Forest was instrumental in driving Ontario’s government to begin funding home-based care for those with disabilities. Throughout her life, Forest was a consistent and passionate advocate for those whose voices were too often unheard. So significant was her impact that, upon her tragic death in 2000, the Board of the Centre for Integrated Education and Community decided to change its name to the Marsha Forest Centre.