Learning Partners Advisory Council Members
Bill Whelan, Co-Chair
Professor and Chair of the Department of Physics, UPEI
Bill Whelan's research interests are in the field of biomedical optics with a focus on developing laser/optical technologies for cancer detection and treatment. Bill has been actively involved in Home and School at the school level and he has served as the Provincial President of the PEI Home and School Federation (2008-2010). He has given numerous presentations to Island parents, principals, trustees, school board administrators and government officials on the importance of parent involvement in education. In 2011/12, Bill co-chaired the PEI Education Governance Commission whose final report included 48 recommendations to improve PEI’s education system and the success of learners. He is also an active community volunteer as co-chair of the PEI Science Fair and past-chair of the Canadian Cancer Society, PEI Division. He is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers.
Kathleen Flanagan, Co-Chair
DeGros Marsh - Researcher, early childhood education
Kathleen Flanagan is an international early childhood education and care policy consultant and researcher. Her work has specialized in strategic policy development for governments and national organizations that has resulted in successful implementation of innovative policy change. She worked closely with the OECD’s Education Secretariat as a member of the expert team in South Korea for the International Thematic Review of ECEC. In Canada, she has co-led several national initiatives focused on human resources in the ECEC sector, and is secretariat to the Provincial-Territorial Directors of Early Childhood Education and Care. She has provided expertise in curriculum development, including the development of a national kindergarten curriculum for Egypt (4 and 5 year olds), ECEC post-secondary curriculum standards for Qatar, and PEI’s early learning (curriculum) framework. She has recently led Manitoba’s Early Learning and Child Care Commission focusing on system re-design in order to move toward universally accessible child care.
Prior to her 10 years of experience in consulting, Kathleen was a senior director with the PEI government (1981-2005), and served as director of the PEI Children’s Secretariat, leading an integrated governmental strategy with seven government departments. Kathleen is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, in the Developmental Psychology and Education program, with a specialization in the early years. She has authored numerous publications, and presented at national and international conferences focused on children’s issues.
Kent Bruyneel is executive director of Central Development Corporation, a privately funded, non-profit community and economic development company and is also the CEO of Central Property Management, an affiliated, for-profit company.
Prior to moving to PEI in 2016, Kent worked throughout Canada in the creative and cultural industries and the financial sector. His work spanned editing, strategic communication, creative design, consulting, social media, education and film. Since 2001, he has published Forget Magazine, a literary magazine on the Internet.
Kent earned his BBA at UPEI in 1997, and a Masters in Publishing in 2006 from Simon Fraser University. He is also a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CMA). He is currently a Director of PEI Family Violence Prevention Services.
Kent lives in Charlottetown with his inimitable wife Shannon; their beautiful son Andre; their intrepid and powerful daughters, Georgia and Willa; and a large, loveably dopey dog named Gus.
Summerside - Business leader, Aboriginal Adult and Youth Learning
With almost 20 years working in the private and public sectors, Jeff Brant has gained valuable experience in the evaluation, design and implementation of strategies involving Aboriginal populations, both urban and rural. Jeff has been responsible for advancing complex initiatives related to Aboriginal housing, employment, health, business and economic development, justice and intergovernmental affairs.
Jeff blends a personalized understanding of human development with professional knowledge of public and private sector operations. He has been responsible for developing some of the most dynamic and innovative professional development and social programs in Canada in areas vital to long-term success.
Jeff has provided consultative services to senior public and private sector leaders in the areas of strategic planning, human resources, as well as labour market and economic development. Jeff has extensive experience in working with, and providing strategic business, labour market, and governance advice and services to, Aboriginal leaders and communities in Atlantic Canada.
Mermaid - Director of Programs and Policy, Canadian Mental Health Association
Amanda Brazil obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and a Master of Arts degree in Adult Education from Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax and is currently a PhD student in Educational Studies at the University of Prince Edward Island. Amanda has extensive experience in the fields of corrections, addictions, and mental health, having worked for the Correctional Service of Canada both as a program facilitator at Nova Institution for Women and as a Project Manager of addictions research, correctional program development and curriculum consulting with the Policy Sector. Her research has focused on adult education, offender reintegration and trauma. She has been published in the American Journal of Public Health, Women & Criminal Justice and Offender Reintegration. Amanda is active in the community as a volunteer firefighter and medical first responder with the Cross Roads Fire Department in Stratford.
Rebecca Gariepy graduated from the University of Prince Edward Island in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and sociology, then continued her education to complete a Master of Education in 2017. Her work as community engagement coordinator with the Arthritis Society on PEI builds on her passion for lifelong learning, through her work teaching Islanders how to self-manage their disease. This work has given Rebecca a greater understanding of the different ways that people learn, and of the issues faced by Islanders living with disabilities. These insights, and her volunteer experiences in health care and the community have strengthened her commitment to making PEI more accessible for all. As a young Islander committed to staying in PEI, Rebecca is eager to provide input on issues facing Island youth, and to contribute to the council’s advice on youth-related policy and youth retention strategies.
Scotchfort - Engineer and entrepreneur
Amber Jadis lives in Abegweit First Nation with her two young children and husband Jacob Jadis. Raised by parents who were teachers, education was always a priority for Amber and her brother. Her formal education started at Mount Stewart Consolidated and took her to UPEI and Dalhousie where she completed an Electrical Engineering degree (2004) and an Executive Master’s of Business Administration (2011). In 2013, after ten years working for an Electrical Engineering Consulting firm, and with one little one at home and another one on the way, Amber decided to put her recently acquired Masters of Business education to use and started coSolved Consulting. Through coSolved Consulting, Amber works in close collaboration with clients to develop solutions specifically in the three areas she is passionate about – engineering, education and Aboriginal economic development. In 2014, she started a Bricks 4 Kidz© franchise on PEI. Through classes, camps and parties, Amber and her staff teach kids (ages 3 to 12) about science, technology, engineering and math using LEGO© Bricks.
Charlottetown - Executive Director, Workplace Learning PEI Inc.
Lori has been instrumental in establishing workplace learning opportunities in workplaces and for the workforce for more years than she readily admits. Her experience, at both the provincial and national levels, has resulted in creative and exciting programs being offered across PEI. Lori never operates from the point of view as something not being able to be done but from the positive view of how it can be done, and what needs to occur to make good things happen.
Her infectious sense of humour and commitment to employees, employers and Islanders in general have resulted in positive changes in the lives of individuals and families in this province and beyond. Lori has been invited to deliver presentations on the Workplace Learning PEI model and on the projects she has led. She has served on national committees, sharing her knowledge and expertise. She is always ready and willing to teach but she especially enjoys the excitement of how much she learns from others, at the same time. Lori is a real team player and turns to those she works with to share in the excitement of making great things happen in workplace learning.
Lori is an alumnus of the St Frances Xavier University Human Kinetics program and has since obtained further education and experience in adult education, methods of skills assessment, training needs analysis and the design and delivery of workplace training programs.
Stratford - Dean of Education, University of Prince Edward Island
In the public school system, Dr. Ron MacDonald has been an information technology integration specialist and professional development facilitator. His research foci include supporting science teacher communities of practice when they are integrating technologies; gender differences in students’ attitude toward science when technologies are used; and project-based learning in science. Dr. MacDonald has been engaged in the field of education over the past 25 years, with schools, School Boards, Departments of Education, Teachers’ Federations, principals, teachers, and of course, students. He has served on many national, provincial and university-based committees, including working with guiding/steering bodies, such as the PEI Provincial Teacher Professional Development Committee, and sitting as an executive committee member on the Canadian Association of Teacher Education, and currently the Chair of the PEI Literacy Alliance.
Mary MacPhee is a parent, teacher-educator, French teacher, business owner/operator, and recent PhD graduate and researcher. She draws on these diverse roles to provide volunteer support and leadership within UPEI, the community, and the school system. An anglo-dominant bilingual parent of two children in the French first language school system, Mary completed her doctoral thesis at UPEI on the involvement and experience of parents who do not speak the language of the school, based on non-francophone parents who have chosen a francophone school for their children. During her time at UPEI, she has also taught as a sessional lecturer, initiated a graduate student writing group, and served in leadership roles in the Graduate Student Association and as the UPEI representative on the Canadian Federation of Students. Mary is active in her community. Since its founding in 2007, her yoga-karate studio, the PATH, has promoted mental, physical and emotional wellbeing among both adults and children, including a program of yoga and literacy. Mary is an active volunteer in her children's school as a founding member of and volunteer at the school breakfast program, member and current treasurer of the parent association, fundraiser for and volunteer at school events, and supporter of Canadian Parents for French and La Fédération des parents de l’Î.-P.-É.
Anne has been in the field of early childhood education since 1976. She has a diploma in Early Childhood Care and Education from Holland College with an additional certificate in Special Needs Education. Anne is a certified supervisor through the PEI Child Care Facilities Board and is the director of the Early Learning Academy.
Anne is a recipient of the Early Childhood Development Association Award of Excellence as well as the Leadership Award. In Spring 2007, her work and dedication to the field was acknowledged with the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Early Childhood Education for Canada. Anne has facilitated many workshops in her career with expertise in early childhood curriculum. She represented educators as a board member of the Child Care Facilities Board of PEI. She has served as provincial president and Kings County chair of the Early Childhood Development Association of PEI and is now a board member. Anne has 11 years experience as an Eastern School Board trustee and she was also a Fellow with Fraser Mustard on the National Council for Child Development of Canada.
O’Leary - Principal, Westisle High School
Heidi resides in Cascumpec with her husband, Matthew and their two children, Thomas and Parker. She completed her Bachelor of Science at UPEI before earning a BEd at Mount Saint Vincent and a MEd (information technology) at Memorial University. Heidi began teaching math and science at the senior high level in 2003, was appointed vice-principal of Westisle in 2013, and has been in the role of principal since 2014. Her volunteer involvement includes the Holland College Advisory Committee, CBDC Youth Entrepreneurship Planning Committee, minor hockey, and catechism teaching.
York - PEI Employment Journey Inc.
Gloria has been the manager and owner of the PEI Employment Journey Inc. since 1998. This respected publication delivers information to Island job seekers on job and employment opportunities in demand, career options and trends, and job search techniques. Gloria’s work in human services since 1979 and career development since 1987, has built her knowledge of PEI’s labour market, her relationships with employers, workers, job seekers, and career development professionals, and her insights into life-long learning. She is committed to providing practical, grassroots information about the labour market to help job seekers plan and develop their careers, and to connect them to the learning, services, and jobs that move them toward their goals.
Ex Officio Members
Deputy Minister, Education, Early Learning and Culture - Read bio
Deputy Minister, Workforce and Advanced Learning - Read bio
Deputy Minister, Family and Human Services - Read bio