2017 - 2018 CLN Board of Directors

On September 27th, 2017 at Community Learning Network's Annual General Meeting in Edmonton, Alberta, elections were held for our Board of Directors. The Board is made up of 6 to 9 volunteer representatives from our membership, the more than 120 Community Adult Learning Programs across Alberta. The CLN Board of Directors for 2017-18 is as follows:

Karen PlourdeKaren Plourde, Chair

My experience encompasses thirty years of work with adults in various learning environments including the northern Alberta Vocational College system, ESL in Canada and China and the CALP system since 2011. I have enjoyed teaching academics from grades 1-12, program and strategy development for adults with Learning Disabilities and serving as an interpreter for Deaf Community.

Discovering ways to meet the needs of adult learners has been my passion since attending an adult education program myself in my late teens. There, the inspiration from my experience with an educational system focusing squarely on the needs of the learners and providing facilitators/teachers who sought to inspire, lead, innovate and ensure learner success, has lasted a life time.

The inspiration to share knowledge with adult learners has never diminished and guides my work as a board member with the Community Learning Network.

Doray VenoDoray Veno, Vice Chair

My beliefs, values, and philosophies are strong, real, and community driven. I am passionate for lifelong learning, building capacity within groups and individuals and community development in rural Alberta.

As Executive Director of the Hanna Learning Centre, I bring an enthusiasm and commitment to my chosen career pathway and adventure. My team leadership style brings an innovative perspective to the successful multi program organization offering learning, literacy, career and employment, connecting community, small business and voluntary sector services. I play a regional convening role in citizen engagement, organizational development, and community capacity building.

Born and raised in Hanna Alberta, a small town girl with big ideas, I ventured into the bright lights of Edmonton where I graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelors of Arts in Recreation Administration Community Development. Not content with what city life had to offer, I returned to my grass roots of Hanna. In 2010, my quest for knowledge and community involvement took me on a path to train as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). For the last 23 years I have had the opportunity and pleasure to work and volunteer in the government, private and not for profit sectors, as a business owner, board director, municipal councillor, employee and community leader.

Jackie PetersonJackie Peterson, Treasurer

I have been the Program Director at the Newell Further Education Council since 2010 and have seen many changes to the CALP program during this time.

As many of us are implementing change in our organizations, I believe we are stronger working together to learn from one another with the support of the CLN. I am a lifelong learner and have seen the great work CALP can do, and I've valued the opportunity to grow professionally myself.

My past experience includes working on several community boards and as an elected official. I have a good understanding of board governance and am excited to give back to an organization that has helped so many organizations across the province.

Lil RadleyLil Radley, Secretary

A love of learning, helping others, and leading a balanced life has always been a fundamental part of my background. As a professional and military wife, moving across Canada and overseas involved furthering my education at several universities, and gaining teaching credentials in several provinces. The experiences gained have been invaluable in helping me in my current position, coordinator of literacy services and the Read On Adult Literacy Program at Lethbridge Public Library. I relate to the joys and the frustrations of moving experienced by many adult learners.

Since 2000 when I became assistant coordinator of the Read On Adult Literacy program at Lethbridge Public Library, leading to the position of literacy coordinator in 2007, my learning journey has continued in the field of adult and family literacy. Maximizing volunteer and community resources, and partnerships has enabled the Read On Program to serve a greater number of learners.

As a member of the Community Learning Network Board of Directors, I look forward to being able to help others by helping CLN continue to provide excellent and innovative professional development, training and supports to the CALP system. While so doing I will continue to balance my busy working life with my leisure life – learning and having fun teaching dog agility classes!

Brenda AdamsBrenda Adams, Director

I have been the Executive Director of the Tri-Community Adult Learning Association (Tri-CALA) in Stony Plain since September 2004.  Prior to my involvement in the Adult Learning Community, I was involved in a lifelong learning journey which saw me working as a Directory Assistance Operator, garnering two Bachelor Degrees, Managing a Theatre, working in a public library, and working as a Research Analyst for the Government of the Northwest Territories Standing Committee on Legislation.

Most importantly, I have a strong curiosity and a passion for learning; I believe both are infectious and essential.

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do... Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."  ~Mark Twain

Lois PolegeLois Polege, Director

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.

Colleen ThiessenColleen Thiessen, Director

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.

I have been the Executive Director of the Wetaskiwin Community Learning Program since 2012. Working in a CALP was never on my career radar; however, looking back I can see how each previous career experience has played a role in preparing me to be successful in my current position. I didn’t choose this career, it chose me and I’m so glad it did.

Jana ThomsonJana Thomson, Director

My background includes 5 years as the Program Coordinator at the Rocky Learning Centre. I began as a Family Literacy Facilitator in 2008, and in 2010, I worked as an Outreach Worker and ran the VTALS satellite sites at the Rocky Native Friendship Centre and Caroline Family Centre.  In 2011, I became Program Coordinator, which has given me experience with program planning and project management for various CALP programs as well as Campus Alberta Central programming in Rocky Mountain House and Clearwater County. I recently completed an Applied Project Management Certificate through SAIT. I am a critical thinker with a knack for seeing all sides of an issue.

My previous board experience includes being a founding member of the Clearwater Early Childhood Coalition and The Friends of the Caroline Library Society.  I have been an active Board Member with West Country Family Services, Caroline Dance West, and Caroline Playschool Society.

My husband and I live west of Caroline and enjoy raising our three children in a quiet county way.  We spend the majority of our free time at the dance studio in the fall and winter, and at competitions throughout Alberta in the spring.  We enjoy camping in the summer months when the Alberta weather allows!