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Jigsaw Learning Team

Kurtis Hewson - Lead Learner / Co-Founder, Jigsaw Learning

Kurtis Hewson is an award-winning former administrator and teacher, as well as teaching faculty at the post-secondary level. He is the co-founder of Jigsaw Learning, a co-author of the text Envisioning a Collaborative Response Model, and currently works with districts and schools nationally and internationally establishing Collaborative Response frameworks and interacting with thousands of educators annually.

Lorna Hewson - Lead Learner / Co-Founder, Jigsaw Learning

Lorna Hewson is an award-winning educator with leadership experience at the classroom, school, district and provincial levels. Lorna’s experiences have included learning support and inclusion, effective assessment and grading, pyramid of interventions development, curriculum implementation, coaching and mentoring teachers and inclusive practices at the classroom, school and district level. She is the co-founder of Jigsaw Learning, a co-author of the text Envisioning a Collaborative Response Model, and currently works with districts and schools nationally and internationally establishing Collaborative Response frameworks and interacting with thousands of educators annually.

Amber Hester - Lead Learner, Jigsaw Learning

Amber is a Lead Learner with Jigsaw Learning. She supports collaborative response through her work with school and system leaders in the area of revisiting their foundation statements, team building and strategic planning. Amber has over 20 years experience in education and has held a variety of leadership positions in her career including: principal, coordinator and assistant superintendent roles in both Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Aaron Block, M.Ed., R. Psych - Registered Psychologist, Jigsaw Learning

Aaron brings a rich set of skills and experiences to our team in the form of psychological services accessible to our partners, as part of our Jigsaw Learning team. Aaron’s experiences across the province has developed his expertise in counselling, assessment, trauma informed practice, attachment, regulation, social emotional supports for all children from age 2 to adulthood. He is an experienced facilitator and presenter and provides universal, targeted and individualized supports across school systems.

Colin Byers - Learning Associate, Jigsaw Learning

Colin Byers specializes in online, virtual, eLearning, multimedia design and instructional design. Colin has more than 20 years of education experience in k-12, post secondary, government and corporate settings. He has a passion for creating multimedia content and building with face to face, VILT, eLearning and blended courses. Over the years he has provided educators and clients with professional development opportunities and training using the latest multimedia programs and hardware and has a passion for helping educators excel with online instruction.

Kathy Charchun - Learning Associate, Jigsaw Learning

Kathy Charchun recently retired after 30 years with Livingstone Range School Division. Kathy was the Numeracy Lead with Livingstone Range School Division and taught high school mathematics until serving as a K-12 administrator with most of those years as a principal. As an administrator, she continued teaching high school mathematics as well as a variety of subjects from K - 12. In her role as a Numeracy Lead, she supported K-12 math teachers, students, parents and administrators. Kathy’s primary focus as a Learning Associate with Jigsaw Learning will be providing numeracy support, particularly at the junior high and high school level.

Jennifer Ferguson - Digital Learning Liaison, Jigsaw Learning

Jennifer Ferguson readily engages in opportunities to build her capacity as a leader and as a result her journey has led her into a unique role as Digital Learning Liaison with Jigsaw Learning. While currently focused on enhancing collaborative structures and processes by aligning digital supports, her background in education is vast. Jennifer’s years as a K-12 classroom teacher, learning coach, and district coordinator have afforded her a wide array of experiences including but not limited to strategic planning, engaging as a member of Curriculum Working Groups, and leading professional learning endeavours.

Cheryl Gascoyne - Learning Associate, Jigsaw Learning

Cheryl Gascoyne has supported schools in coaching at the classroom level, facilitating district professional learning series, supporting leadership in schools, and providing resource support and implementation. She has had the opportunity to work in Pre-K settings through to high school and she is also experienced in teaching our First Nation, Metis and Inuit students. Cheryl has provided support and direction to new teachers and experienced teachers alike from universal classroom practice to designing specialized interventions for individual or small groups of students.

Lana Nogue - Learning Associate, Jigsaw Learning

Lana Nogue has extensive experience in system planning and supporting schools and districts in strategically designing areas of focus and planning forward. Lana is integral to supporting schools and districts in implementing their Collaborative Response practices as well as designing and supporting levels of teams that align across schools and systems to support the needs of all students. Lana supports inclusive education teams with experience as a classroom specialist, school and district leader. She supports leaders at all levels and works at a district/systemic level to build capacity and support the goals of our various partners and strategic endeavors.

Barb Pears - Learning Associate, Jigsaw Learning

Barb Pears has been a teacher of students with behaviour challenges since 2000 and was instrumental in the design and implementation of a Behaviour Support School. Barb is gifted at fostering collaborative, respectful, supportive teaching and learning environments for students, families and staff. She has worked as a Behaviour Consultant for the past 5 years at the school division level and believes that a multi-disciplinary approach is essential to offer the best possible programming for students. This involves partnering with students, parents, staff, external agencies, district schools and community organizations. Barb has always had a connection with students with behaviour challenges and loves sharing her passion and knowledge with others through direct service and workshops.

Kathleen Robertson - Learning Associate, Jigsaw Learning

Kathleen Robertson has more than 20 years of teaching experience. Kathleen supports teachers and leaders through development of strategic plans, Collaborative Response practices, and coaching. Her expertise in literacy has been developed through her roles as a classroom teacher, participant as a lead teacher on a literacy committee and her role as instructional and literacy coach at the Elementary level. She has successfully led literacy intervention, assessment and coaching.

Nancy Roy Halun - Associée à l'apprentissage, Jigsaw Learning

Nancy est associée à l’apprentissage avec l’équipe de Jigsaw Learning. Au cours des vingt-trois années de sa carrière en éducation, elle a œuvré à titre de directrice d’école, de conseillère pédagogique en éducation inclusive ainsi qu’en climat scolaire positif, en tant qu’enseignante et comme orthopédagogue. Nancy possède un baccalauréat en orthopédagogie de l’Université du Québec à Hull et une maîtrise en éducation avec concentration en gestion efficace de l’enseignement et des écoles à la Téluq.

Marilyn Schmitke - Learning Associate, Jigsaw Learning

Marilyn Schmitke was a strong proponent of Collaborative Response in the Edmonton Public Schools for over a decade. Marilyn has extensive experience in implementing and growing Collaborative Response practices in a number of schools. She provides support to leaders in the development of their skills in strategic planning, instructional leadership, designing collaborative practices and effectively navigating change and growth for staff teams.

Collette Sylvestre - Learning Associate, Jigsaw Learning

Collette is the most recent addition to Jigsaw's Learning Associate team joining in January, 2021. Collette specializes in supporting inclusive learning environments with a focus on Universal Design. She is passionate about utilizing technology in synchronous, asynchronous and blended learning environments to maximize student success and streamline teacher workload. She works with school leaders and teachers in developing the framework and capacity to support Collaborative Response. Collette has worked in rural, urban and International School settings and is Level C, International Baccalaureate® certified. She has a broad range of experience from preschool to grade 12 as a teacher, leadership team member, reading intervention specialist and learning strategist. She has written, published and lead an online professional development series for the child and youth support staff for the Women's Crisis Centres in North Eastern Alberta with a focus on trauma informed care, as well as an instructor with the educational assistant program for Portage College.

School and District Partners

Chris Adamson - Vice Principal, Innisfail High School

Chris began his teaching career with the Fort Vermilion School Division where he later became a Vice-Principal, Principal, and completed his M.Ed. in Assessment and Instructional Leadership at the University of Calgary. Most recently he had the privilege of moving to Chinook’s Edge School Division where he is currently the Vice-Principal of Innisfail High School and has been for the past 2.5 years. Chris’ work in Collaborative Response over the last 5 years ensures both staff and students have the structures and supports they need to be successful.

Lynnette Anderson - Principal, École Monsignor William Irwin School, Edmonton Catholic Schools

As principal at École Monsignor William Irwin School, Lynnette helped implement a Collaborative Response framework and practices with staff. She continues to focus on enhancing collaborative structures and processes to increase staff efficacy and student success. As a teacher, learning coach, French immersion consultant and administrator, Lynnette recognizes the benefits of working collaboratively to support all learners.

Leah Andrews - Director - Student Services, Parkland School Division

Leah is the Director of Student Services with Parkland School Division. She is responsible for supporting schools in programming for students with exceptional learning and behavioral needs within an Inclusive Education model.

Shonna Barth - Crescent Heights High School, Medicine Hat Public School Division

Shonna Barth is a high school Vice Principal in Medicine Hat (Principal as of July 1st!). The Collaborative Response framework spoke to Shonna from the first page of the book through to her work with the model today. "All of OUR students are worth whatever it takes" is at the forefront of her leadership and work with students. She facilitates the high school CTMs, school PTMs and sits on the district Collaborative Response Advisory Committee. Her previous experience as a school counselor and passionate classroom teacher has lent itself well to implementing Collaborative Response at Crescent Heights School.

Nicole Bruvold - Classroom Teacher, Darwell School, Northern Gateway Public Schools

Nicole Bruvold started her teaching career in Peace Wapiti School Division and for the last five years she has been teaching at Darwell School with Northern Gateway Public Schools. During her time at Darwell, she has been teaching grade one or grade two and has been involved with the implementation of Collaborative Response.

Julie Chorney - Online Teacher and Literacy Coach, Lakeland Roman Catholic Separate School Division

As a classroom educator, division-wide Instructional Coach/Coordinator and now as an online teacher, Julie relentlessly seeks innovative approaches to meet the needs of our stakeholders. A research background in educator collaboration has inspired Julie to pursue Collaborative Response as an area of professional interest.

Lori Cooper - Education Director, Calgary Board of Education

Lori Cooper is an Education Director in the Calgary Board of Education. She is responsible for the supervision of schools in Area 7, as well as caring for Core Curriculum.

Darrin DeForge - Principal, Genesis Online School, Edmonton Catholic Schools

Darrin DeForge has been a principal in Edmonton Catholic Schools for 15 years with a wide variety of experiences including opening a new school, Corpus Christi Elementary/Junior High and forming ECSD's first online school in September 2020. He has worked on principal projects in Assessment and Reporting and helped co-create the division's TQS document for teacher supervision and evaluation. Darrin will be starting the role of Director, Inclusive Education in April 2021.

Barbra Deskin - Conseillère pédagogique, Conseil scolaire Francosud

Barbra est une conseillère pédagogique en inclusion et elle possède en outre une grande expérience auprès des élèves présentant des besoins spéciaux. Elle compte plus de vingt ans d’expérience dans le monde de l’éducation, dont les six dernières au sein du Conseil scolaire FrancoSud. Au cours de sa carrière, Barbra a développé une expertise approfondie dans les domaines de l’inclusion scolaire, de l’approche collaborative et de l’évaluation. Détentrice d’un baccalauréat en arts (économie et science politique) et d’un baccalauréat en éducation de l’Université McGill, Barbra a également complété un certificat d’études supérieures en leadership éducatif.

Colin Desnoyers - Lead Coordinator for Lakeland Catholic Online Learning, Lakeland Roman Catholic Separate School Division

Colin has been with Lakeland Roman Catholic School Division for 27 years as a classroom teacher, Math and Science Department Head, Numeracy Coach and currently as the Lead Coordinator for Lakeland Catholic's new online learning program. With his extensive background in assessment, curriculum, pedagogy and professional learning communities, Colin has received many opportunities for coaching and leading professional learning workshops for educators.

David Dyck - Education Director, Calgary Board of Education

David Dyck is an Education Director in the Calgary Board of Education. He is responsible for the supervision schools in Area 7, as well as caring for Complementary Curriculum.

Sandra Fowler-Brown - System Principal, Calgary Board of Education

Sandra Fowler-Brown is the System Principal for Area 7 in the Calgary Board of Education. She primarily is responsible for supporting school principals to ensure student success.

Denis Gagnon - Directeur adjoint, École Francophone d'Airdrie,Conseil scolaire FrancoSud

Directeur-adjoint de l'École francophone d'Airdrie, je travaille dans le domaine de l'éducation depuis 2005. Passionné de sport et du coaching, j'ai récemment terminé ma maîtrise en Administration Sportive. Autre que jouer des sports, surtout le golf et le hockey, je m'occupe à être papa de deux beaux enfants et être époux d'une femme incroyable.

Audrey Ghostkeeper - Vice Principal, E.G. Wahlstrom School, High Prairie School Division

Audrey has over 12 years of experience within a rural K-12 school and worked as a Learning Support Teacher. Within her current role as a Vice Principal, Audrey has experience leading and teaching within both numeracy/literacy interventions and instructional coaching.

Chris Good - Principal, Lindsay Thurber High School, Red Deer Public Schools

Chris Good is the Principal at Lindsay Thurber High School in Red Deer. LTCHS is a diverse 9-12 school with close to 2000 students. Chris has been a principal for 12 years at three different schools from K-12.

Pamela Guilbault - Deputy Superintendent, Lakeland Catholic Schools

Pamela Guilbault passionately supports educational equity for all students. With over 20 years of education as a teacher, consultant, principal and senior administrator, Pamela believes that Collaborative Response provides the framework for system wide equity, increased student achievement, and continual improvement in professional efficacy.

Tisa Haesch - Principal, St. Teresa of Calcutta School, Edmonton Catholic Schools

As principal at St. Teresa of Calcutta School, Tisa helped implement a Collaborative Response framework and practices with staff throughout the division. She continues to focus on enhancing collaborative structures and processes to increase staff efficacy and student success. As a teacher, learning coach, inclusive communities manager and administrator for 30 years in Edmonton Catholic School Division, Tisa recognizes the benefits of working collaboratively to support all learners.

Sandi Harrower - Early Learning Supervisor and Learning Coach Pursuits Program, Livingstone Range School Division

Sandi is the Early Learning Supervisor for Livingstone Range School Division, and also the Learning Coach for LRSD Pursuits. Sandi has had the opportunity to work in three different school divisions in both Manitoba and Alberta over the last 17 years. Sandi values collaboration and supporting students, staff and families to further enhance instructional design and programming opportunities for all students in an inclusive learning environment.

Kris Herbert - Principal, E.G. Wahlstrom School, High Prairie School Division

Kris has been a school leader/administrator for the past 5 years. Prior to entering school leadership, his experience includes being a Learning Support Teacher and teaching a variety of grades from Kindergarten to Grade 8. Kris has a passion for school improvement and a philosophy that is firmly grounded by values that include every child learning and every child being capable of success.

Brenda Herder - Director of Learning-Inclusion, Battle River School Division

Brenda Herder is the Director of Learning-Inclusion in Battle River School Division. She has over 20 years of experience with the division. She is responsible for supporting staff with deepening their understanding and implementation of inclusive programming to meet the diverse learning needs of students. She is passionate about Collaborative Response work and the potential it has to positively impact teaching and learning practices.

Carolyn Jensen - Principal, Memorial Composite High School, Parkland School Division

Carolyn Jensen, Principal at Memorial Composite High School in Stony Plain, is excited to share the journey of implementing Collaborative Response in a larger high school. With over 30 years in the roles of secondary special education teacher, high school counsellor, Division Facilitator, and administrator, Carolyn will share her insights of how Collaborative Response is a responsive system that brings high school teachers together to support each other in improving student learning across the school.

Shan Jorgenson-Adam - Assistant Superintendent, Battle River School Division

Shan Jorgenson-Adam is the Assistant Superintendent of Learning in Battle River School Division. She has over 30 years of experience as an educator, including experience both in British Columbia and Alberta. Shan is responsible for student learning as well as the professional learning of school and division leaders. She has co-authored articles published in CASS Connections and has presented at various professional conferences.

Annetta Labash - Classroom Support Teacher, Alexandra Middle School, Medicine Hat Public School Division

Annetta has been teaching with Medicine Hat Public Schools for nine years in an ELP to grade 9 settings. As a classroom support teacher, she builds capacity by working collaboratively with teachers and administrators in providing targeted and specialized supports and interventions for students.

April L'Heureux - Assistant Principal, Ryley School, Battle River School Division

April L'Heureux is an Assistant Principal and grade 6 teacher for Battle River School Division. She has been involved in the Collaborative Response for four years and appreciates how it supports students and staff in schools.

Jason MacDonald - Classroom Teacher, AB Daley School, Livingstone Range School Division

Jason currently teaches grade 6 and works in collaboration with the LRSD Numeracy Committee, Professional Development Committee, and assists with PD facilitation of the school-based Collaborative Response committee.

Alli Martin - Assistant Principal, AB Daley School, Livingstone Range School Division

As an Assistant Principal and Learning Support Teacher, Alli works with her team to support the student needs in her building. This year the team decided to enhance their school based learning support structures and processes by incorporating aspects of Collaborative Response. They are pleased with the impact the process is having on supporting students and teachers in the classroom.

Jessica McCourt - Learning Coach, École Monsignor William Irwin School, Edmonton Catholic Schools

As Learning Coach at École Monsignor William Irwin School, Jessica has helped to support the implementation of a Collaborative Response framework and practices. She continues to support this process, specifically with the Educational Assistants, in ensuring they have a collaborative role to play.

Kelly Muir - Principal, Rich Valley School, Northern Gateway Public Schools

Kelly has been a school administrator in Northern Gateway Public Schools for the past 17 years. He is principal of a K-7 school in rural Alberta with a student population of 130 students where he also teaches 0.75 FTE. Kelly has worked with his staff to use Collaborative Team Meetings to leverage student success for the past 6 years and have embedded the meetings in the timetable for the past 3.

Denelle Neigum - Principal, École Connaught School, Medicine Hat Public School Division

Deni Neigum has been involved in education for 29 years as a classroom teacher and as an administrator. She has been an administrator with Medicine Hat Public School Division for 12 years and is currently principal of École Connaught School which is a K-6 French Immersion school. She is passionate about learning and ensuring that collaborative practices are in place to support the success of all staff and students. Her school team has successfully implemented the Collaborative Response Model over the past four years and she enjoys working with colleagues across the province to refine school and division practices.

Amber Nicholson - Assistant Principal, École Monsignor William Irwin School, Edmonton Catholic Schools

As Assistant Principal and classroom teacher at École Monsignor William Irwin School, Amber works with the team to implement a Collaborative Response framework and practices. Within the classroom, she works with the Educational Assistants and the TABT to help support the needs of students.

Kerri O’Connell - Inclusive Consultant, École Monsignor William Irwin School, Edmonton Catholic Schools

Educational Assistants play an important role in the Inclusive Classroom! As an Inclusive Consultant with Edmonton Catholic Schools, Kerri works collaboratively with school teams to encourage a flexible and responsive learning environment that can adapt to the changing needs of all our learners. Kerri supports the collaborative partnerships between teachers and educational assistants as no two partnerships are alike, so it is good practice to reflect on how we work together as part of a team.

Chris Organ - Principal - Greely Road Public School, Fort McMurray Public Schools

Christopher has 16 years of experience as a teacher and an administrator within the Fort McMurray Public School Division. As Principal of Greely Road School, and the new E-cademy+ Elementary online learning program, he has had the opportunity to lead their team in the implementation of the Collaborative Response between site-based teaching staff and online teaching staff. Chris looks forward to sharing the team’s successes and challenges as they navigated Collaborative Response in these new waters and continue to chart their way.

Nadine Power - Classroom Teacher, Darwell School, Northern Gateway Public Schools

Nadine Power has taught at Darwell for 17 years. Most of her time has been spent teaching grade one, but she has also taught grade two and three. Prior to Darwell, Nadine taught in Calgary, Fairview, and Manning. She lives in Stony Plain with her husband and 4 year old daughter.

Camille Quinton - Director of Inclusive Learning, Prairie Rose School Division #8

Camille is the Director of Inclusive Learning for Prairie Rose School Division. She has over 25 years experience in education and has held a variety of leadership positions in her career including: principal, coordinator and director roles in both Alberta and Saskatchewan. Camille is passionate about supporting students, staff and families and believes that it is through collaboration and teaming we are able to create the village we need to raise our students.

Todd Samuelson - Principal, Alexandra Middle School, Medicine Hat Public School Division

Todd has been an administrator with Medicine Hat Public Schools for seven years, and he has been involved in collaborative response for over four years. Todd successfully implemented the Collaborative Response Framework at a K-6 school. He made the transition to a 7-9 middle school of approximately 480 students last spring, where he and a new leadership team have reestablished the foundations of collaborative response.

Erin Sand - Classroom Support Teacher, Alexandra Middle School, Medicine Hat Public School Division

Erin has been teaching with Medicine Hat Public Schools for 13 years in both middle school and high school settings. As a classroom support teacher, she builds capacity by working collaboratively with teachers and administrators in providing targeted and specialized supports and interventions for students.

David Silcock - Educational Consultant, Collaborative Growth International, New South Wales, Australia

In 2020, after a long career as a school and system leader working for the Department of Education in New South Wales, David Silcock formed his own consultancy business - Collaborative Growth International. From 2012 to 2019 David arranged professional visits in Canada and Australia for Canadian and Australian school leaders. He specializes in working with teams to ensure projects they are working on deliver positive outcomes in a time efficient, collaborative manner using a model of Collaborative Inquiry and a process of Generative Dialogue. Teams commit to continuing growth in professional knowledge and practice to ensure they achieve their desired impact.

Janeen Silcock - Principal, Ballina Coast High School, New South Wales, Australia

Janeen is the principal of Ballina Coast High School, a new school catering for students from Year 7-12 in Ballina, New South Wales, Australia. With 1000 students of whom 16% identify as First Nation, Ballina Coast High School serves a low socio-economic community and has great students who challenge and delight the staff daily.

Tara Tanner - Divisional Principal Pursuits Program, Livingstone Range School Division

Tara is currently divisional Principal for the LRSD Pursuits program in Livingstone Range School division. Over her 22 years in education, Tara has had many roles that have enabled her to teach all age levels and have administrative experiences in 3 different schools in both Saskatchewan and Alberta. Tara firmly believes that we are stronger together and in the importance of team as she works with her staff for the betterment of students.

Céline Tassé - Directrice, École Francophone d'Airdrie,Conseil scolaire FrancoSud

J’ai 29 ans d’expérience dans le monde de l’enseignement. J’ai été tour à tour été enseignante, orthopédagogue, directrice adjointe et j’agis maintenant à titre de leader à l’école francophone d’Airdrie puisque j’en suis la directrice. À l’École francophone d’Airdrie, notre vision de l’inclusion est importante puisque nous voulons aider tous nos élèves à réussir selon leur propre potentiel.

Bradey Thompson - Principal - Mount Royal School, Calgary Board of Education

Bradey has been an educator for twenty-two years, all with the Calgary Board of Education. He has worked with students in K-12 and has been a principal working with students in K-9. He is currently in his second year as the principal at Mount Royal School. He is excited about the possibilities that Collaborative Response presents and looks forward to sharing his experience in introducing it to the Mount Royal staff.

Jeff Thompson - Assistant Superintendent - Teaching and Learning, Peace River School Division

Jeff has 34 years of experience in the K-12 education system with 27 consecutive years working at the division level with 5 school jurisdictions ranging in size from 20 schools serving 3000 students to 260 schools serving more than 68000 students. In addition to 7 years as a Junior/Senior High Math/Science Teacher, system-level positions include Program Coordinator, Assistant Superintendent – Programs/Teaching and Learning, Associate Superintendent and Superintendent/CEO.

Lorna Vardy - Principal, Darwell School, Northern Gateway Public Schools

Throughout her career, Lorna has worked in the Fort Vermilion School Division and Northern Gateway Public schools. For the past 13 years, she has been the principal of a rural school in Darwell, Alberta. During this time, Lorna has led her school through the process of establishing a strong Collaborative Response which supports staff and students alike.

Kim Wedman - Learning Services Coordinator, Wild Rose School Division

Kim Wedman has taught over 20 years as a classroom teacher, student support facilitator, and district coordinator for both learning and inclusive education. In her portfolio she supports instruction and assessment with students K-12 with expertise in literacy, numeracy, ELL and intervention strategies. This year, Kim is also coordinating the At Home Learning students in WRSD. Kim has taught K-12 and believes strongly in student-centered personalized learning for all. Kim lives in Rocky Mountain House with her husband, Greg and two boys, Daniel and Blake.

Wellness Ambassadors

Our amazing partners leading virtual well-being sessions on Thursday, April 29, at 4:00 pm

Tania Laplante - Davania Designs

Tania's work is a mix of art journaling, collage and book making. She has expressed herself creatively since she was a child. Loving the freeing feeling it gave her, losing herself completely in her work and giving her a sense of joy. She became focused on journaling and book making for the love of paper. Tania enjoys working with many types of papers and how the different textures and transparencies lend to beautiful results.

Tania is also the Communications Lead for Jigsaw Learning, managing a number of projects including creatively designing Jigsaw Learning promotional materials.

Mel Penney - Own Your Light Yoga

Mel is excited to share a bit more about herself and excited to be part of your yoga journey; whether that's for an outdoor class, a virtual class or transformational program, she wants to be your yoga teacher!

Mel has called Sylvan Lake her home for over a decade. She is so grateful she shares her life with her husband, daughter and son. Her career as an instructor began reaching group fitness classes. Mel fell in love with working out while making new friends. It ignited a passion deep within to share this uplifting experience with her community. She is proud to be a Certified Group Fitness Instructor and Yoga instructor. She took her first teacher training in 2016 and has been teaching Baptiste inspired yoga since.

For a long time, Mel believed that someone better suited to share the practices of yoga should. Someone smarter. Someone more flexible. Someone calm who didn’t yell at their kids. Someone else entirely. After all, who did she think was sharing an ancient, profound and spiritual practice? The practices of yoga has given her so many gifts. The impacts continue to ripple out day after day, year after year. The physical practice got her hooked and the powerful methodology continues to reveal real tangible tools to access even more possibilities on and off her mat. The impact of yoga in Mel's own life continues to enhance her connections, not only with her family and with others, but with herself. The question then became for her, who am I not to share this powerful work? She knows she is far from a perfect yoga teacher, wife, mom or human being. Mel is, however, devoted to being her imperfect self and in doing so hopes to inspire you to do the same.

True connections and real relationships are what drives Mel to be of service through yoga and fitness. A beautiful community filled with humans beings who empower one another is the way she believes we will transform our world for the better. She has leaned into her heart and it has led her here. It has led her to sharing this powerful work with you!

"Yoga is a light, which once lit, will never dim. The better your practice, the brighter the flame"

B.K.S Iyengar

Own Your Light Yoga exists to ignite the light in each of us!

Angela Plaquin - Merge with Ang

Angela Plaquin grew up in an environment with a strong emphasis on the value of learning. Her father, an educator and her mother a musician; both opened their hearts and home to a wide variety of people from many cultural backgrounds and influences. Strong in academia and athletics, her desire to be in a helping profession led her to pursue a degree in physical therapy. Graduating with distinction in 2000 from the University of Alberta, she continued to engage in sport and became a fitness instructor. Soon after, she found herself dipping her toes into the yoga pool. She waded for a few months, before choosing to dive. Yoga offered a new way of seeing and moving her body; the practices different yet complementary to her degree. Her science met her Self. Rooted in her values of learning and celebrating diversity, over the last 17 year she has explored many forms, practices and styles of yoga. She co-owned and operated a yoga Studio from 2012-2020, and with its closure, has pivoted to the world of online teaching. She continues to work in private practice physical therapy, focusing in the field of pelvic health. She is passionate about blending her worlds, with education as a key element of her teaching style. She believes strongly that yoga practices can be tailored to support and benefit any body. Join her, and MERGE physiology with philosophy; body with mind.

Sarah Starke - Kavaccino's Cafe

Sarah has been the Chef and Owner of Kavaccino's Cafe & Catering for the past 2 (very exciting) years. She loves making pretty desserts, with her first job as a cookie decorator at a small family bakery in her hometown!

Nadine Waterfield - Gift Smack Gift Company

A professional gift designer and the founder of Gift Smack Gift Company, Nadine is inspired by and loves to support other creative Canadian small businesses when curating gifts. Nadine has dreams of growing Gift Smack to a national company so people across the country can easily connect and spread joy and kindness through thoughtful, modern gifts. When she is not hunting for new brands or dealing with COVID induced supply issues, Nadine loves to spend time with her family and their two goldendoodles, reading, travelling, self development, interior design and organizing.