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.
Marshfield -Teacher- Librarian, Eliot River Elementary School
For the past 21 years, Angela Arsenault has been working in PEI elementary schools in positions of classroom teacher, resource teacher and teacher-librarian. Through her classroom teacher positions, she has acquired knowledge of elementary curriculum, technology, adaptations and modifications of programs, assessment, and programs for special needs students. As a resource teacher, Angela works with students in grades 4 and 5, providing assistance with reading and writing. In her role as a teacher-librarian, she collaborates with classroom teachers to produce, facilitate and teach resource-based learning projects with students in the school library. Angela also acts as a literacy leader for her staff, researching and locating resources for a school literacy lab and for teachers’ literacy programs.
Angela has completed a Masters of Education in Leadership and Learning at UPEI and her thesis was titled, “Teacher-Librarians and Teachers: Partners in the Collaborative Curriculum Development Process.” She has served on school professional development committees, a PEI Teacher’s Federation technology committee and a Language Arts Curriculum committee.
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.
Wellington - Directrice générale de la Commission scolaire de langue française à l’Î.-P.-É
Anne Bernard- Bourgeois grew up in a proud Acadian family in La Côte à Myrick, a small fishing village near Tignish. She attended a small French school through kindergarten and grade 1. Following the school consolidation of 1972, she went to Tignish Elementary and graduated from the English program at Westisle High School. She then decided to relearn her mother tongue and pursue her passion for her heritage and culture by completing several French immersion programs at various French language universities. Her studies sparked an interest in pursuing a career in education, school and school board management.
Anne holds two bachelor degrees from Laval University in Quebec, a Master of Education degree from the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton as well as several leadership and management certifications. Before assuming her current role at the French Language School Board, her interest in school leadership led her to several management positions within the English school system in NB. She is the mother of two teenage boys and is married to Daniel Bourgeois. Anne’s top priority is and has always been her Acadian family.
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.
Elmsdale - Retired educator
Jackie Charchuk is a retired teacher, school administrator and special education consultant, with over 30 years of experience. She is also a sessional lecturer at UPEI in the Faculty of Education, teaching courses in the Inclusive Certificate program focusing on assessment and inclusive classrooms. Jackie is a board member of the Canadian Down Syndrome Society and chair of their advocacy committee.
Jackie holds a BA degree from St. Francis Xavier University, a B. Ed with a focus in Special Education from Acadia University, and M Ed from Mount Saint Vincent University. Jackie has three adult children, one of whom had Down syndrome. She is champion for inclusion for all in our communities.
Brookfield - President,Collège de l’Île
Donald DesRoches is President of the Collège de l’Île and Executive Director of the Société Éducative de l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard since September 2011.Donald is a science graduate of Université Sainte-Anne and holds a Master’s of Business Administration from Université de Moncton. He is well-acquainted with PEI’s francophone and Acadian community. Over a career spanning more than twenty years, he held several management positions, within community organizations as well as the provincial government. Among these, he was Executive Director of the Fédération culturelle de l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard, and the Fédération des parents de l’Île-du-Prince- Édouard, and worked as Director with Acadian and Francophone Affairs within the provincial public service, a position in which he served for more than ten years. Recently, he worked with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, focusing on transferring the kindergarten program to the school system and on the design and implementation of the Preschool Excellence Initiative spearheaded by PEI’s government. He also presided over numerous groups such as the Atlantic Provinces Community College Consortium, the Consortium national de développement des ressources pédagogique en français au collégial and the Intergovernmental Network on the Canadian Francophonie. Donald is married to Lorna and father to two adult children, Chantelle and Mathieu.
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.
Mohamed holds a degree in engineering and a Masters of Business Administration in management and leadership.
Mohamed has worked across five continents during the past 20 plus years, contributing to the growth and success of different organizations through strategic planning, leadership, and management abilities in taking command of challenging assignments. His experience encompasses training and development, human resources, project management, strategic planning, change management and resource utilization. His ability to analyze needs and create unique solutions designed to yield a successful outcome is one of his greatest assets. Wherever he has worked he has excelled at streamlining less-than-efficient procedures to boost productivity and efficiency. Mohamed's proven leadership skills, strong commitment to high ethical and professional standards, and flexibility in devising proactive responses to changing socioeconomic conditions have always allowed him to make a significant contributions.
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.
Victoria - Innovation PEI
As Arts Community Liaison Officer for the Province of PEI, Michelle's role is to advance the vital role of arts and culture within government through the development of a ten-year cultural strategy, and to connect members of the arts community to government programs and services. Michelle is the past Executive Director of Women’s Network PEI, where she worked for 13 years to advance gender equality. She also designs and leads community consultations, strategic planning, policy development, and curriculum/resource development. Supporting collaborative process is her passion and she uses these skills in all her work, which includes youth, anti-violence, poverty reduction, arts and culture, and food security. Michelle holds a BA in English/Gender Studies from UPEI and a certificate in Conflict Resolution.
Michelle is also a visual artist and helps out in her husband’s pottery business. Some of her volunteer activities have included serving on the boards of the Charlottetown Farmers’ Market, the PEI Crafts Council, and the UPEI Alumni Association, as well as chair of the PEI Food Security Network. She lives in Victoria with her husband Michael and their daughters Naomi and Emmeline.
Charlottetown - School Settlement Worker, Association of Newcomers to PEI
Rocío McCallum is originally from Peru. She is currently the Coordinator of Immigrant Student Services (ISS) at the PEI Association for Newcomers to Canada, and has been working with this organization since 2004. Rocío holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from the National University of Cajamarca, Peru and her credentials have been recognized with a Prince Edward Island Teacher’s Certificate. She is also a member of the Corporation of Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters of New Brunswick (CTINB). Rocio moved to PEI in 2001 and married Peter McCallum, and they have a wonderful daughter named Karla Lynn. Rocio is dedicated to advocating for newcomer youth in the K-12 school system and to improving their outcomes to benefit the entire province.
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.
North Rustico - PEI Home and School Federation
Lisa grew up in rural Saskatchewan and moved to PEI in 2006 with her husband, an Islander by birth, and their two children. Lisa has volunteered in crisis intervention and in the early learning sector, and is the past-president of the PEI Home and School Federation. During her time on the Federation board, Lisa placed particular priority on themes of children’s health and well being, school food, collaboration and capacity building. These themes build on her work over the years as an interdisciplinary researcher in health and education. Lisa is an enthusiastic life-long learner. She is interested in how contexts and ideas shape how people live, work and learn, and how people from diverse backgrounds can come together to work toward a common goal. She has a BA in history with a minor in psychology from the University of Calgary, and has taken additional courses in collaborative facilitation and project management. She is currently completing an MEd in Leadership at UPEI and concentrating on cultivating a love of learning in her children, Sophia and Alexander.
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.
Charlottetown - President, PEI Teachers Federation
For the past 15 years, Bethany has been teaching at Montague Regional High School. She has taught a variety of courses in career education, business, math and accounting. Bethany completed a Master’s degree in Leadership and Learning and a Bachelor of Education degree at the University of Prince Edward Island.In 2006, Bethany was appointed to represent her school as the PEITF Board of Governor Representative. She then served as Treasurer, Assistant Coordinator and Coordinator for the Eastern Area Teachers’ Association. Following her role as Coordinator, Bethany was elected as Member-at-Large of the Prince Edward Island Teachers’ Federation and then to Vice President. In November 2014, Bethany was elected to serve as PEITF President and began her term on July 1, 2015.Bethany has participated in numerous committees and attended both provincial and national meetings and conferences including extensive work with the Canadian Student Leadership Council. This experience and knowledge have proven to be an asset in her role as PEITF President.
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