I am a Métis from Peavine Métis Settlement, Alberta. I have a strong background in working with Métis and Indigenous peoples and communities throughout Alberta. I had the privilege to work on a Traditional Land Use and Oral History Project across Alberta for many years. My passion is to see my “people” be successful in all aspects of life – whether it be community belonging, literacy, numeracy, parenting, traditional learnings and teachings, or just life in general. I have a strong belief in having lived a well-lived life however that may look for you. I take pleasure and joy in seeing others become successful and I am your number 1 fan!
I started my journey in the CALP world as the CALP coordinator in my home community of Peavine where I learned what CALP can offer to a community. I moved on to become the Métis & Indigenous Liaison for the Community Learning Network, this role allows me to support CALPs across Alberta. My role has now expanded to include providing direct regional supports to a small group of four CALPs in the North region and working very closely with Donna, CLN’s new Regional Support Staff for the North. My position as the Métis & Indigenous Liaison is my main role and I am pleased to continue to support CALPs across the province. I am grateful for each day that I am part of the CLN team and look forward to spending time at the many CALP sites across Alberta. I am very versatile and easy going. I love to laugh and share. To me learning is something that is an adventure that has yet to be taken.
I love learning and helping others grow in their learning. I am a passionate facilitator and teacher, and for approximately 10 years I enjoyed teaching in a college setting. Since having children, my teaching and facilitation shifted to a more informal setting in the Community Adult Learning Program, when I started working in adult and family literacy. Before joining CLN as a Regional Support Staff member, my Family Literacy journey began as a participant, then as a facilitator and finally as the Family Literacy Coordinator with the South Peace Rural Community Learning Association. I have a degree in Intercultural Studies, a Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages Certificate, and I hold a Family Literacy Certificate from Conestoga College. During my time in CALP, I have learned so much and have been impacted by the difference that literacy and foundational skills make in the lives of learners. I am proud to be part of the CALP system, as we seek to change the lives of adult learners across the province. I believe it is important to be a lifelong learner both personally and professionally, and I am honored to have the opportunity to support CALP staff as they do this important work in Alberta!
Val Rathjen: East-Central Region
I am excited to work alongside and support the amazing people in East-Central Alberta, to help you achieve even greater things in your communities. I come to this new position with a strong background in community learning program planning and delivery, and an in-depth knowledge of Alberta’s Community Adult Learning Program, with nearly 10 years’ experience with Flagstaff Community Adult Learning. I’m known for my passion for people, great listening skills, enthusiasm and sense of humour. I love seeing people and programs reach their potential and I am excited about the possibilities ahead as we transition to the new CALP Guidelines and the renewed adult learning system. I’d love to hear your questions and ideas and promise that I will do my best to provide the support that you need.
I truly believe in the power of the CALP model and admire those helping learners along their path. Central Region is my home and I am very excited to work with the amazing people in this region! I came to Team CLN after 11 years in the CALP system. When I wasn’t working on office technology, finances or staffing needs, I was connecting with adult learners directly one-on-one or in family literacy programs. During my time in the field I developed a solid understanding of adult learning principles and the many challenges for adult learners in our programs. Since becoming a Regional Support Staff I have had the opportunity to broaden my knowledge and apply it in new ways; delivering responsive, customized support to CALPs around the province. It’s a privilege to work alongside a new set of adult learners; those of you who are making such a difference in the communities you serve.
I have long been an advocate for literacy and learning. In 1999, I strapped on a backpack filled with picture books and finger-puppets and made my way across the city to deliver family story times at Calgary Public Library locations. Fast forward seventeen years and my professional portfolio includes a well-rounded understanding of adult literacy and learning, family literacy, tutor training and English language learning. For almost ten years I coordinated the Library’s volunteer adult literacy program. It was this program that ignited my passion for adult foundational learners. I welcome the opportunity to share my knowledge to successfully support learners as they improve their essential skills and literacy. Raised in the Elk Valley the nearest Alberta municipality to my hometown is the Crowsnest Pass.
The CALP model is robust and vital for literacy and foundational learners in our communities. The support CALP staff provide to individuals on their learning journey towards their best life is such transformational and inspiring work, but it can be challenging. As a new Regional Support Staff (RSS) in the North, my goal is to engage with and support CALPs, their staff and volunteers to connect them with all the resources available through the CLN. I look forward to learning and growing in my role as North Regional Support Staff (RSS) and having many conversations with CALP staff and volunteers.
I began working in adult education over 20 years ago, with roles that included experience as a CALP literacy tutor and board member. I have lived and worked in rural northern Alberta; as a result, I understand many of the unique challenges experienced by rural and remote learners and organizations. I have a diverse work history, having started my career in occupational health and safety, but have supplemented my knowledge of adult learning. I completed the Certificate in Adult Continuing Education (CACE) in 2015. This fall, I will be wrapping up my master's degree in Higher Education Administration and Leadership from Royal Roads University in Victoria. On a personal note, besides my husband and three adult children, we have two golden retrievers and will happily swap animal stories and photos.