CLN Board of Directors

On September 28th, 2021 at Community Learning Network's Annual General Meeting online, elections were held for our Board of Directors. The Board is made up of 6 to 9 volunteer representatives from our membership, from over 80 Community Adult Learning Programs across Alberta. The CLN Board of Directors for 2021-2022 is as follows:

Colleen Thiessen, ChairColleen 2020

I am a proud Albertan with rural roots in Central Alberta. I was raised on a mixed farm south west of Ponoka until age eleven, when my family moved south to Calgary.

Upon graduating from high school, I attended the University of Calgary, graduating in 1993 with a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in English.

My career path has been an adventure including success in telecommunications and advertising sales, classroom experience in public schools and an ESL contract in South Korea.

Lois Polege, Vice ChairLois Polege

I recently celebrated 18 years in the Community Adult Learning world, which has included experience as a Literacy Coordinator, Learning Coach, LINC instructor and Welcoming Community Project Coordinator. My background includes teaching in public and private schools in Alberta and Papua New Guinea, and volunteering on many community boards.

I am currently the Adult Learning Coordinator for Flagstaff Community Adult Learning, based in Killam. I think I have the best job in the world – I get paid to make a difference in people’s lives, and I get to work with an amazing group of people who are committed to building stronger communities and individuals.

I look forward to contributing to the valuable work of the Community Learning Network in providing leadership and support to our field.

Stephanie Brown, Treasurer

[untitled]When I was a child, I despised school.  I was always getting into trouble and sitting in the hallway for  ‘acting out’.  I longed to be outside or partaking in any activity that didn’t require me being quiet and sitting still for any length of time.  School just didn’t work for me, and I ended up ‘dropping out’ at the age of 16.  With the help of my brother, I was able to obtain my GED at the age of 19.

Fast forward roughly 15 years… I was working in the Service industry, and wasn’t loving it anymore.  I knew it was time for growth.  I had a friend recommend that I take Office Administration though Lakeland College.  I remember having to work myself up to the task of applying.  Being out of school for so long, I didn’t feel I had the skills required to enter back into a school system.  I entered the program as a mature student and worked an extra 6 months to finish the program.  This led me to a new realization… I love to learn! 

Many new learning experiences have taken place for me since.  In 2009, I ‘went back to school’ to obtain my upgrading with NorQuest College.  I couldn’t believe how much my mind expanded with all the learning… I actually learned to LOVE Math! 

This led me to where I am today.  I started with Hinton Adult Learning as a tutor for Math, which has evolved into an Essential Skills Coach/GED Coordinator position over the 9 years that I have been with CALP.  Having access to continuous Professional Development with CLN has developed my skills as an Adult Learner, which helps me to provide better for my community with Adult Learning.  I am a firm advocate for lifelong learning… with learning, comes growth in all aspects of our lives.  I choose to see obstacles as a chance for growth to occur.

Rochelle Galeski, SecretaryRochelle Galeski

I live in beautiful southern Alberta but was born and raised on the Manitoba prairies. My career has been spent working with vulnerable populations in the city of Brooks, AB. 

I have worked for Adult Basic Literacy Education Medicine Hat College Brooks for 4 years. I am passionate about sharing my knowledge of trauma informed care and have spent the last 7 years learning about trauma and how it impacts our ability to learn. 

The greatest gift in my career is that I learn as much from my learners as they do from me. Learners' stories of resilience, courage and fortitude have impacted me both personally and professionally.

I hope to continue to learn, actively listen and share the collective knowledge of adult foundational literacy learning through my potential board presence. 

Kimberly Cairns, DirectorKimberly Cairns

I joined the CALP system in 2012 as a Family Literacy Facilitator, which was a great opportunity for me to apply both my employment experience in a college setting and volunteer work with children. I was also able to use my digital skills to teach others the basics in computer use. With a strong background in administration and staff supervision, I soon took on the role of Family Literacy & Childcare Coordinator and, currently, Adult & Family Literacy program Manager.

I value lifelong learning and have a heart for assisting others in their goals. One of the first things I appreciated about the CALP system is the emphasis on supporting those who have experienced barriers in their learning and the opportunity to help remove those barriers to see learners succeed. My completion of the Conestoga College Family Literacy Facilitation Program expanded my knowledge and skills, allowing me to better understand the learners and work to meet their needs more effectively. Being a part of the CLN Board is yet another level in this journey. I am thrilled for this opportunity and excited to use the training and experience I have gained in this new arena.

Cindy Heidecker, DirectorCindy Heidecker

2021 marks my 10th year with PCALC. The first 7 years I occupied the role of Program Coordinator and then moved into the position of Program Manager. I am a Commerce graduate and am currently taking Masters in Distance Education courses. 

Adult learning has provided me the wonderful opportunity to grow and watch others flourish as they learn. I continue to support community development by volunteering for a variety of youth and cultural organizations. Travelling provides another outlet for me to learn and spend time with family and friends. 

I have met many inspirational leaders through the CLN and would be honored to be a part of supporting lifelong learning across Alberta to ensure there are opportunities for everyone to learn something new every day.

Tanya Mercredi, DirectorTanya Mercredi

I am nearing my five-year anniversary of being part of CALP! As a Coordinator with Ponoka & Rimbey Adult Learning, I have served both communities and am grateful to be part of a grassroots organization that serves people in such an impactful way. 

A country girl at heart, I can most often be found caring for animals on the farm I work with my husband.

In my CALP role, I have served as a member of the Professional Development Advisory Committee and took part in a focus group working with Advanced Education on developing the CALP Logic Model and Outcomes Measurement Framework. I pride myself on building strong relationships with Learners, Volunteers, Co-workers and the community at large and look forward to contributing to the Community Learning Network Board.

Melanie Patenaude, DirectorMelanie Patenaude

I moved to Alberta in 2004 after living in Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec. When I'm not at work, I enjoy travelling, skiing, baking, knitting and playing board games with my family.

I have been in the CALP world since 2012 and am currently the Coordinator for the County of Lethbridge Community Learning Council. I thoroughly enjoy working in the Adult Learning world, I love the connections made with learners, instructors, board members and the laughs I share with my coworker in the office.

I am looking forward to working with and learning from the CLN Board. 

To contact the CLN Board of Directors please email