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School structure

Organization

The Calgary French & International School (CFIS) is an independent school, operated by the Calgary French & International School Society, which is a non-profit, charitable organization. The Society is governed by a board of directors largely comprised of parents of CFIS students.

The CFIS Society's board of directors guides the school, working collectively with the Head of School and the community at large to develop and assess the advancement of our strategic vision and ensure the long-term health of the organization. 

The CFIS Society's board of directors, in collaboration with the
Head of School, drives the long-term vision of the organization. 

The Society's board of directors monitors the big-picture advancement of the school’s mission and strategic vision of the school. Day-to-day operations and the practical implementation of the strategic plan are the responsibility of the Head of School. If you would like to contact the Society Board Chair, please do so by emailing societyboard@cfis.com or by contacting Mme. Karen Nesbitt, Secretary to the Boards and Executive Assistant to the Head of School at knesbitt@cfis.com .

The Head of School supervises a senior leadership team of two division principals and six directors, who in turn oversee our 120 faculty and staff. Each member of the senior leadership team is associated with an academic division or an administrative department:

  • Elementary Division
  • Secondary Division
  • Communications, Marketing and Advancement
  • Educational Technology and Innovation
  • Enrolment
  • Finance
  • Information Technology
  • Operations
Our Head of School and senior leadership team are experts in their fields,
and a dynamic, knowledgeable group of professionals.  

To read more about the senior leadership team and the members of the CFIS Society's board of directors, please click on the drop-down links for their biographies below. 

Biographies of our school leadership team

Click on one of the links below to read about our Head of School, principals and directors. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Mme Nicola Abrioux-Camirand, Principal of Elementary

Mme Nicola Abrioux-Camirand is our Principal of Elementary. Recognized for her ongoing academic work in second language instruction and the benefit of early introduction into French immersion environments, Nicola completed her Masters in Education degree in 2008. 

Nicola accepted her current role as the Calgary French & International School’s Principal of Elementary in 2014, but she has worked tirelessly at CFIS since 2009, making innovative improvements to our early childhood department and primary division as CFIS’s primary division principal. 

Before coming to CFIS, Nicola worked for 15 years in the public school sector. 

After completion of a bachelor’s degree in education with distinction at the Faculté Saint Jean, University of Alberta, Nicola received the Edwin Parr Award for excellence in her first year of teaching. Soon after, she held her first leadership position as curriculum coordinator for her division. 

In 1998, Nicola continued her post-secondary studies exploring and refining her focus on developing the whole child through a Diploma in Guidance Counselling. 

Her history as an educator includes teaching English and French language arts to students from early childhood to Grade 10. Nicola has also held a variety of leadership positions in advance of her term at CFIS. She has been an International Baccalaureate school coordinator as well as an English language arts coordinator for various schools and districts. 

Nicola completed her diploma in Independent School Leadership with the Canadian Association of Independent Schools in 2015. 

 

 

Mme Alex Lianne Carter, Director of Educational Technology and Innovation

Mme Alex Lianne Carter came to the Calgary French & International School in 2015 as our Director of Educational Technology and Innovation eager to share her energy and enthusiasm for the use of technology tools to engage and enhance student learning.

Before being awarded her position at CFIS, Mme. Carter completed her Masters in Educational Technology, with honours, and a graduate certificate in online teaching for adult learners, in 2014 from Boise State University. 

Born in England and an immigrant to Canada, Mme. Carter is a proud French immersion graduate who completed a bilingual Bachelor of Education the University of Alberta’s Campus St-Jean. After her BEd, she taught for nearly a decade in both French immersion and bilingual public and independent schools in Canada, England and the British Virgin Islands.

In addition to being a French immersion and technology educator, Mme. Carter has fulfilled many leadership roles including technology representative, curriculum technology coordinator, technology integration and support specialist, IB Middle Years Programme coordinator and the Ontario Secondary School Diploma coordinator.  

Having worked several years for schools authorized to offer the International Baccalaureate programme, she has been involved in an innovative academic setting that embraces global perspective, creative thinking, risk taking and open mindedness. In these roles, she has helped design curriculum that adapts its programs for personalized learning and to offer real world experiences that develops the child learner as a whole.

 

 

Mme Margaret Dorrance, Head of School

Mme. Margaret Dorrance has been the Head of School at the Calgary French & International School since April 2012. Since accepting the position, Mme. Dorrance has applied her collaborative and visionary leadership towards making the school the national leader in French immersion and international education. 

Mme. Dorrance has a more than 30-year history of leadership, academic and professional development excellence in the independent and public school community. 

In her early professional years, Margaret was a teacher, earning her bachelor of arts with honours in French and Spanish as well as a bachelor of education degree at the University of Western Ontario. She applied her passion for languages in the classroom, and began to recognize the impact an individual could have on others as a teacher. 

She taught and trained others within all levels of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme in both French and Spanish and implemented language-centered travel studies cultural trips for her Spanish and French classes. 

Quickly moving into positions as a leader, Margaret held educational leadership postings with the Calgary Board of Education at Western Canada High School and Lester B. Pearson High School.  

Immediately prior to accepting her position as Head of School at the Calgary French & International School, she worked for Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School in Okotoks, Alberta. There, Margaret served as Director of Academics and then as Director of Curriculum and Instruction, implementing many forward-thinking professional development initiatives and spearheading the school’s Leadership Institute project. 

She recently completed the Leadership Diploma through the Canadian Accredited Independent Schools Leadership Institute, and was a participant in the inaugural year of the Next Steps program. She has provided leadership and expertise to local, provincial and national educational initiatives, and has participated on CAIS review teams. 

Margaret is committed to life-long learning and thrives in the dynamic professional education environment within the Calgary French & International School, which provides opportunity for growth and challenge for her and her staff.

 

 

Mme Caitlyn Ducasse, Director of Finance

Mme Caitlyn Ducasse graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Wilfrid Laurier University before successfully completing the Uniform Evaluation in 2009 to become a Chartered Accountant. In 2010, she returned to her native province of Alberta to work at a boutique public practice office in Edmonton.

Working extensively with both not-for-profit and charitable organizations, she has compiled a wealth of specialization, expertise and knowledge. Her experience brought her to Calgary in the role of Controller at Calgary French & International School where she worked for two years before successfully moving into the position of CFIS Director of Finance.

Caitlyn extends her values and work ethic to support the greater Alberta community through a variety of volunteer initiatives. She is the accountant and former board member for an Edmonton based organization called Music is a Weapon, whose mandate focuses on bringing together communities through art, music and alternative energies. She regularly volunteers for the ICAA tax clinics for low-income individuals, and is a frequent volunteer for both the Calgary and Edmonton Folk Music Festivals.

 

 

M. Dennis Falconer, Director of Operations

M. Dennis Falconer is a dynamic, versatile manager with over 20 years experience in all aspects of general management and team leadership. Throughout his working life, Dennis has built on existing team strengths and developed each member to reach their maximum potential, focusing on getting things done, on time and within budget. 

During his 25-year career in the British army, Dennis had the opportunity to travel all over the world seeing and experiencing different cultures, languages and landscapes.  It was during a posting to Medicine Hat that he decided that once life in the armed forces came to an end, he and his family would emigrate to Canada.

This came to pass in 2010 when Dennis and his family started a new chapter in in Calgary. Here, Dennis spent a year at the University of Calgary as an Associate Director of Business Operations before moving into a joint venture as the General Manager. Four years later when the position of the Director of Business Operations opened up at CFIS he leapt at the opportunity and is delighted to be here.

 

 

Mme Theresa Gerritsen, Director of Communications, Marketing and Advancement

Theresa Gerritsen began her work as a communications professional for non-profit charities in British Columbia and Alberta in 1996. Over the years, she has developed and carried-out strategic initiatives to further the goals of more than a dozen non-profit organizations.

Theresa's life as a communications and fundraising professional took root in a different career. Out of a desire to invoke change, she began doing media relations and fundraising alongside her research on marine mammals and off shore seabirds. Soonafter, she was recruited by a large research-based environmental non-profit to work as a communications specialist. After years of intense, successful international campaigning, Theresa was nominated for the prestigious Jane Bagley Lehman Award for Excellence and Innovation in Public Advocacy.

An opportunity to transition to the social justice and education sector sparked a move to Alberta. Here, Theresa was contracted by the province's largest organization for women and children fleeing abuse to support a multi-million dollar fundraising campaign and organizational rebranding.  

When her work was completed, she applied for employment with an independent school to develop their communication capabilities, oversee an organizational rebrand and work with the fundraising team to significantly increase giving within the community. 

Before accepting a director position at the Calgary French & International School in 2014, Theresa worked as a communications contractor for non-profits and small business in the areas of:

Strategic communications and crisis planning;

  • Fundraising for non-profits;

  • Media, government and public relations;

  • Writing and editing;

  • Graphic design, web design, brand development and advertising.

Throughout the years, Theresa has secured positive news coverage for her employers in hundreds of media outlets throughout North America, South America and Europe. Her written articles, videography and photos have been published in major media outlets throughout Canada including the Vancouver Sun, Toronto Star, Calgary Herald and Global National. 

 

 

Mme Danielle Lamoureux, Assistant Principal of Secondary

Mme. Danielle Lamoureux is a valued addition to the Calgary French and International School team, most recently serving as the interim principal of our secondary division.

Since joining CFIS as the assistant principal of secondary school in 2013, Mme. Lamoureaux provided academic leadership as the curriculum leader of mathematic and AP coordinator, and was responsible for facilitating parent-teacher communications, scheduling, reporting, co-curricular planning, exam scheduling and protocol, and delivering and assessing the grades 7 to 12 math program.

Before being awarded her position at CFIS, Mme. Lamoureux taught high school math, Grade 11 physics and Grade 9 science at École Maurice-Lavallee in Edmonton. During that time, she immersed herself in the school community as a girls’ volleyball and long-distance running coach, yearbook advisor and Alberta Initiative for School Improvement committee member.

As a curriculum manager for high school math from 2010 to 2012, Mme. Lamoureux was responsible for revising the French language publication of Alberta Education grades 11 and 12 textbooks and digital learning materials. She also worked to develop standards, Provincial Achievement Test and diploma exams in math, as well as designed and delivered professional development sessions for teachers regarding the revised program of studies and suggested pedagogy.

Mme. Lamoureux holds a Masters of Education degree, Bachelor of Education with Distinction degree and Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Alberta.

 

 

Mme Kathy Marinakos, Director of Enrolment

Mme Kathy Marinakos brings over 25 years of administrative, leadership and teaching experience to her position as Director of Enrolment at CFIS. Her strong leadership skills, exceptional communication and organization skills, and ability to work successfully with varied and diverse groups of people has afforded her a track record of excellence in implementing and leading change. 

Kathy's deep understanding of the development and implementation of instructional best practices, admissions practices and assessment practices along with the importance of adhering to a school’s vision, mission and values go hand-in-hand with her dedication to providing an academically-excellent and internationally-focused education. She looks forward to continuing to deepen her wealth of experience in independent schools through certification in the CAIS Leadership Institute, which she began in 2014.

Along with her work assessing prospective students for which she holds a Level B certification, during her decades at Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School (STS), Kathy supported the admissions department to modify and implement their admissions processes, assessment standards, records processes and communications. Throughout this time, and in addition to her roles as a classroom teacher, specialist teacher and learning strategist, Kathy also held numerous leadership roles, training faculty and leading her colleagues in the development of program and curriculum. As the Primary Years Programme Coordinator at STS, she went above and beyond spearheading many initiatives to increase the profile of the Primary Years Programme, including holding open houses, giving tours, increasing signage and branding various programs as well as using technology and media as tools for informing and educating. 

Kathy accepted the role of Calgary Greek School’s Assistant Principal in 2010. During that time she was enacted by the Society Board to work with stakeholders, students, parents, faculty and Alberta Education to design and implement an exhaustive and accredited curriculum from kindergarten to Greek 35, which continues today. Additionally, she fostered the school's parent volunteer program, a great fit with her natural spirit of involvement and community. 

In her life outside of school, Kathy is the mother of three boys who attend independent and charter schools, which affords her the valuable perspective of both an educator and an independent-school parent. Kathy and her husband also operate a business in Okotoks, and for the past 15 years, Kathy has worked with various entities, including government agencies, financial and legal professionals, staff and employees, clients and service providers, in the building of their business. 

Kathy is passionate about contributing meaningfully to the success of all endeavors in which she is involved and bringing the school’s enrolment and retention program forward to a ever-more successful future for our school. 

 

 

M. Malcolm Mousseau, Principal of Secondary

M. Malcolm Mousseau​, our new Principal of Secondary, brings his extensive educational leadership experience to CFIS. His last position was as the Assistant Head of Student Services at Ottawa’s Ashbury College, where he oversaw Ashbury's Senior School academic programs. M. Mousseau taught at Ashbury College for 29 years. He also taught International Baccalaureate (IB) French at Upper Canada College and worked as an IB teacher trainer and examiner.

M. Mousseau is fluently bilingual and has a Master's degree in Educational Administration from the University of Ottawa. Malcolm can be reached at mmousseau@cfis.com.

 

 

Mme Amy Murray, Director of Early Childhood

Mme. Amy Murray brings a wealth of knowledge regarding early childhood education and leading-edge curriculum development to the Calgary French & International School. 

Before coming to the school in 2009 as a kindergarten teacher, she completed her Bachelor of Education degree at the University of Alberta’s Faculté St. Jean as well as a Master of Science in Human Development and Family Sciences with a concentration in early childhood development.  She has worked for independent schools throughout Alberta. 

Building on a career working with children for over two decades, she quickly took on the responsibility of grade-level coordinator and curriculum leader at CFIS, becoming director of our bustling early childhood department in 2013. 

Known as an innovator in her field for developing international connections in the classroom through Twitter and other forms of technology, Amy continues to be a driving force for the adoption and complete integration of an emergent curriculum program in the early childhood and elementary divisions. 

A significant part of Amy’s work is as part of the admissions assessment team for our entry-level years, something she has written and presented on nationally. She is also a sought after speaker and trainer on learning through play, differentiated learning and the use of technology within the classroom. 

Her ongoing academic work on the acquisition of language in preschool and junior kindergarten informs not only programming within our school, but nationally through her publications and conference presentations. 

 

 

M. Benoit St-Arneault, Assistant Principal of Secondary

Benoit St-Arneault began teaching in 2001, spending eight years teaching science in Quebec at the Collège Marie-de-L’Incarnation, Trois-Rivières, a private school from kindergarten to secondary 5. He moved to Alberta and taught science and leadership for five more before moving into his current role as the Assistant Principal of Elementary. 

M. St-Arneault is a fully-trained facilitator of the 7 habits of highly effective people and leads the core experiences team within elementary that oversees leadership, humanitarian initiatives and global learning. 

He has a young family and enjoys biking and outdoor pursuits. 

Top five strengths from the Gallup Strengths Finder: Strategic, Achiever, Communication, Futuristic, and Significance.

Top personal values: Family First, Dedicate Time to Friendship, High Achieving, Efficiency and Respect of Others.

Mme. Nicola Camirand, Principal of Elementary

Mme. Nicola Abrioux-Camirand is our Principal of Elementary. Recognized for her ongoing academic work in second language instruction and the benefit of early introduction into French immersion environments, Nicola completed her Masters in Education degree in 2008. 

Nicola accepted her current role as the Calgary French & International School’s Principal of Elementary in 2014, but she has worked tirelessly at CFIS since 2009, making innovative improvements to our early childhood department and primary division as CFIS’s primary division principal. 

Before coming to CFIS, Nicola worked for 15 years in the public school sector. 

After completion of a bachelor’s degree in education with distinction at the Faculté Saint Jean, University of Alberta, Nicola received the Edwin Parr Award for excellence in her first year of teaching. Soon after, she held her first leadership position as curriculum coordinator for her division. 

In 1998, Nicola continued her post-secondary studies exploring and refining her focus on developing the whole child through a Diploma in Guidance Counselling. 

Her history as an educator includes teaching English and French language arts to students from early childhood to Grade 10. Nicola has also held a variety of leadership positions in advance of her term at CFIS. She has been an International Baccalaureate school coordinator as well as an English language arts coordinator for various schools and districts. 

Nicola completed her diploma in Independent School Leadership with the Canadian Association of Independent Schools in 2015. 

Mme. Alex Lianne Carter, Director of Educational Technology and Innovation

Mme. Alex Lianne Carter came to the Calgary French & International School in 2015 as our Director of Educational Technology and Innovation eager to share her energy and enthusiasm for the use of technology tools to engage and enhance student learning.

Before being awarded her position at CFIS, Mme. Carter completed her Masters in Educational Technology, with honours, and a graduate certificate in online teaching for adult learners, in 2014 from Boise State University. 

Born in England and an immigrant to Canada, Mme. Carter is a proud French immersion graduate who completed a bilingual Bachelor of Education the University of Alberta’s Campus St-Jean. After her BEd, she taught for nearly a decade in both French immersion and bilingual public and independent schools in Canada, England and the British Virgin Islands.

In addition to being a French immersion and technology educator, Mme. Carter has fulfilled many leadership roles including technology representative, curriculum technology coordinator, technology integration and support specialist, IB Middle Years Programme coordinator and the Ontario Secondary School Diploma coordinator.  

Having worked several years for schools authorized to offer the International Baccalaureate programme, she has been involved in an innovative academic setting that embraces global perspective, creative thinking, risk taking and open mindedness. In these roles, she has helped design curriculum that adapts its programs for personalized learning and to offer real world experiences that develops the child learner as a whole.

Mme. Margaret Dorrance, Head of School

Mme. Margaret Dorrance has been the Head of School at the Calgary French & International School since April 2012. Since accepting the position, Mme. Dorrance has applied her collaborative and visionary leadership towards making the school the national leader in French immersion and international education. 

Mme. Dorrance has a more than 30-year history of leadership, academic and professional development excellence in the independent and public school community. 

In her early professional years, Margaret was a teacher, earning her bachelor of arts with honours in French and Spanish as well as a bachelor of education degree at the University of Western Ontario. She applied her passion for languages in the classroom, and began to recognize the impact an individual could have on others as a teacher. 

She taught and trained others within all levels of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme in both French and Spanish and implemented language-centered travel studies cultural trips for her Spanish and French classes. 

Quickly moving into positions as a leader, Margaret held educational leadership postings with the Calgary Board of Education at Western Canada High School and Lester B. Pearson High School.  

Immediately prior to accepting her position as Head of School at the Calgary French & International School, she worked for Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School in Okotoks, Alberta. There, Margaret served as Director of Academics and then as Director of Curriculum and Instruction, implementing many forward-thinking professional development initiatives and spearheading the school’s Leadership Institute project. 

She recently completed the Leadership Diploma through the Canadian Accredited Independent Schools Leadership Institute, and was a participant in the inaugural year of the Next Steps program. She has provided leadership and expertise to local, provincial and national educational initiatives, and has participated on CAIS review teams. 

Margaret is committed to life-long learning and thrives in the dynamic professional education environment within the Calgary French & International School, which provides opportunity for growth and challenge for her and her staff.

Mme. Caitlyn Ducasse, Director of Finance

Mme. Caitlyn Ducasse graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Wilfrid Laurier University before successfully completing the Uniform Evaluation in 2009 to become a Chartered Accountant. In 2010, she returned to her native province of Alberta to work at a boutique public practice office in Edmonton.

Working extensively with both not-for-profit and charitable organizations, she has compiled a wealth of specialization, expertise and knowledge. Her experience brought her to Calgary in the role of Controller at Calgary French & International School where she worked for two years before successfully moving into the position of CFIS Director of Finance.

Caitlyn extends her values and work ethic to support the greater Alberta community through a variety of volunteer initiatives. She is the accountant and former board member for an Edmonton based organization called Music is a Weapon, whose mandate focuses on bringing together communities through art, music and alternative energies. She regularly volunteers for the ICAA tax clinics for low-income individuals, and is a frequent volunteer for both the Calgary and Edmonton Folk Music Festivals.

M. Benoit St-Arneault, Assistant Prinicpal of Elementary

Benoit St-Arneault began teaching in 2001, spending eight years teaching science in Quebec at the Collège Marie-de-L’Incarnation, Trois-Rivières, a private school from kindergarten to secondary 5. He moved to Alberta and taught science and leadership for five more before moving into his current role as the Assistant Principal of Elementary. 

M. St-Arneault is a fully-trained facilitator of the 7 habits of highly effective people and leads the core experiences team within elementary that oversees leadership, humanitarian initiatives and global learning. 

He has a young family and enjoys biking and outdoor pursuits. 

Top five strengths from the Gallup Strengths Finder: Strategic, Achiever, Communication, Futuristic, and Significance.

Top personal values: Family First, Dedicate Time to Friendship, High Achieving, Efficiency and Respect of Others.

 

M. Dennis Falconer, Director of Operations

M. Dennis Falconer is a dynamic, versatile manager with over 20 years experience in all aspects of general management and team leadership. Throughout his working life, Dennis has built on existing team strengths and developed each member to reach their maximum potential, focusing on getting things done, on time and within budget. 

During his 25-year career in the British army, Dennis had the opportunity to travel all over the world seeing and experiencing different cultures, languages and landscapes.  It was during a posting to Medicine Hat that he decided that once life in the armed forces came to an end, he and his family would emigrate to Canada.

This came to pass in 2010 when Dennis and his family started a new chapter in in Calgary. Here, Dennis spent a year at the University of Calgary as an Associate Director of Business Operations before moving into a joint venture as the General Manager. Four years later when the position of the Director of Business Operations opened up at CFIS he leapt at the opportunity and is delighted to be here.

Mme. Theresa Gerritsen, Director of Communications, Marketing and Advancement

Theresa Gerritsen began her work as a communications professional for non-profit charities in British Columbia and Alberta in 1996. Over the years, she has developed and carried-out strategic initiatives to further the goals of more than a dozen non-profit organizations.

Theresa's life as a communications and fundraising professional took root in a different career. Out of a desire to invoke change, she began doing media relations and fundraising alongside her research on marine mammals and off shore seabirds. Soonafter, she was recruited by a large research-based environmental non-profit to work as a communications specialist. After years of intense, successful international campaigning, Theresa was nominated for the prestigious Jane Bagley Lehman Award for Excellence and Innovation in Public Advocacy.

An opportunity to transition to the social justice and education sector sparked a move to Alberta. Here, Theresa was contracted by the province's largest organization for women and children fleeing abuse to support a multi-million dollar fundraising campaign and organizational rebranding.  

When her work was completed, she applied for employment with an independent school to develop their communication capabilities, oversee an organizational rebrand and work with the fundraising team to significantly increase giving within the community. 

Before accepting a director position at the Calgary French & International School in 2014, Theresa worked as a communications contractor for non-profits and small business in the areas of:

  • Strategic communications and crisis planning;
  • Fundraising for non-profits;
  • Media, government and public relations;
  • Writing and editing;
  • Graphic design, web design, brand development and advertising.

Throughout the years, Theresa has secured positive news coverage for her employers in hundreds of media outlets throughout North America, South America and Europe. Her written articles, videography and photos have been published in major media outlets throughout Canada including the Vancouver Sun, Toronto Star, Calgary Herald and Global National. She completed her first book in 2014. 

Mme. Kathy Marinakos, Director of Enrolment

Kathy Marinakos brings over 25 years of administrative, leadership and teaching experience to her position as Director of Enrolment at CFIS. Her strong leadership skills, exceptional communication and organization skills, and ability to work successfully with varied and diverse groups of people has afforded her a track record of excellence in implementing and leading change. 

Kathy's deep understanding of the development and implementation of instructional best practices, admissions practices and assessment practices along with the importance of adhering to a school’s vision, mission and values go hand-in-hand with her dedication to providing an academically-excellent and internationally-focused education. She looks forward to continuing to deepen her wealth of experience in independent schools through certification in the CAIS Leadership Institute, which she began in 2014.

Along with her work assessing prospective students for which she holds a Level B certification, during her decades at Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School (STS), Kathy supported the admissions department to modify and implement their admissions processes, assessment standards, records processes and communications. Throughout this time, and in addition to her roles as a classroom teacher, specialist teacher and learning strategist, Kathy also held numerous leadership roles, training faculty and leading her colleagues in the development of program and curriculum. As the Primary Years Programme Coordinator at STS, she went above and beyond spearheading many initiatives to increase the profile of the Primary Years Programme, including holding open houses, giving tours, increasing signage and branding various programs as well as using technology and media as tools for informing and educating. 

Kathy accepted the role of Calgary Greek School’s Assistant Principal in 2010. During that time she was enacted by the Society Board to work with stakeholders, students, parents, faculty and Alberta Education to design and implement an exhaustive and accredited curriculum from kindergarten to Greek 35, which continues today. Additionally, she fostered the school's parent volunteer program, a great fit with her natural spirit of involvement and community. 

In her life outside of school, Kathy is the mother of three boys who attend independent and charter schools, which affords her the valuable perspective of both an educator and an independent-school parent. Kathy and her husband also operate a business in Okotoks, and for the past 15 years, Kathy has worked with various entities, including government agencies, financial and legal professionals, staff and employees, clients and service providers, in the building of their business. 

Kathy is passionate about contributing meaningfully to the success of all endeavors in which she is involved and bringing the school’s enrolment and retention program forward to a ever-more successful future for our school. 

Mme. Amy Murray, Director of Early Childhood Education

Mme. Amy Murray brings a wealth of knowledge regarding early childhood education and leading-edge curriculum development to the Calgary French & International School. 

Before coming to the school in 2009 as a kindergarten teacher, she completed her Bachelor of Education degree at the University of Alberta’s Faculté St. Jean as well as a Master of Science in Human Development and Family Sciences with a concentration in early childhood development.  She has worked for independent schools throughout Alberta. 

Building on a career working with children for over two decades, she quickly took on the responsibility of grade-level coordinator and curriculum leader at CFIS, becoming director of our bustling early childhood department in 2013. 

Known as an innovator in her field for developing international connections in the classroom through Twitter and other forms of technology, Amy continues to be a driving force for the adoption and complete integration of an emergent curriculum program in the early childhood and elementary divisions. 

A significant part of Amy’s work is as part of the admissions assessment team for our entry-level years, something she has written and presented on nationally. She is also a sought after speaker and trainer on learning through play, differentiated learning and the use of technology within the classroom. 

Her ongoing academic work on the acquisition of language in preschool and junior kindergarten informs not only programming within our school, but nationally through her publications and conference presentations. 

Biographies of our governing board of directors

Click on one of the links below to read the biographies of the Calgary French & International School's board of directors. 

 

Dr. Ann Calvert

Dr. Ann Calvert is a Professor in the doctoral program in Higher Education leadership in the Werklund School of Education, at the University of Calgary, where she served as Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts for ten years. With a background in visual arts education, Ann taught and conducted research as a joint appointee in the U. of C.’s Faculties of Fine Arts and Education for 14 years before assuming the Deanship in 2000.

Ann grew up in Calgary and studied art and education at the University of Alberta. Further studies took her to the University of Oregon for a PhD in Art Education. Most recently, she was an MBA student at the University of Melbourne Business School, Australia, where she completed her degree in 2012.

Ann’s current research interests lie in social enterprise leadership, particularly the relationships between arts organizations and business, post-secondary leadership, teaching development in schools and universities, and program assessment. She has been a co-investigator on an international project to assess the cultural impact of fine arts graduates’ careers five, ten and 20 years after leaving undergraduate programs. She has also been instrumental in the establishment and continuing development of the federal granting program, Research/Creation, that provides high level funding for university based arts researchers through the SSHRC.

Ann has worked to maintain and strengthen the University’s role in the artistic life of the city by representing the U. of C. in a range of arts policy, business and advocacy activities through her community Board positions, including the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Calgary Opera, the Honens International Piano Competition, and the EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts. Ann is Past Chair of the Canadian Association of Fine Arts Deans, and served as Canadian representative and Board member-at-large of the International Council of Fine Arts Deans.

 

 

Mark Dahlman

Mark Dahlman is well known throughout Canada as an executive for international consulting firms, serving as the lead for multidisciplinary client assignments for many diverse organizations. He has been frequently quoted in the media and has been featured on CBC Radio in regards to human resource topical issues such as labor shortages, compensation trends, and costs for employee benefit plans.

Mark is currently President of Dahlman Human Capital Corp., helping organizations strategize and implement more effective governance and total reward strategies, drawing from his broad Canadian and United States experience.  

Mark has recently been a Senior Partner at Global Governance Advisors Inc., from 2012 to 2015, a board of directors advisory consultancy on governance and execute compensation matters, practicing in Canada and the United States.

In 2011, Mark retired after a career of 27 years as the Managing Consultant in Western Canada for Towers Watson (formerly known as Towers Perrin), an international financial services firm.  He was most recently responsible for all client-facing services provided to that firm’s Western Canadian clients: from Manitoba to British Columbia.

Prior roles Mark performed while at Towers Perrin include: Canadian Health and Welfare Leader (located in Toronto), Florida Market Leader (located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida), and Northwest Group Practice Leader (located in Seattle, Washington).  Mark began his career in 1976 at Metropolitan Life in its pensions and group insurance division in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.  He also worked as a consultant for Frank B. Hall Consulting Company in New York City from 1979 to 1984.

In addition to his career, Mark has volunteered with several Calgary-area not-for-profit organizations.  He was on the Cabinet of the Calgary and Area United Way Campaigns in 2002, 2003, and 2004.  He was on the Executive Board of the Calgary Chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Light the Night Campaign in 2012 and 2013.  He also chaired a committee to raise funds for playground equipment for new facilities at Ecole Notre-Dames des Vallees in Cochrane, AB in 2012.  

Mark is married and has three children; his youngest son attends the Elementary Division at the Calgary French and International School.

Mark has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania and is a charter of the International Society of Employee Benefit Specialists.

 

 

Peter Dufresne

Peter is the co‐founder and partner of a small technology company in Calgary called EPT, which is a world-leading firm in the development of technology to clean lubricating oils used at critical production facilities and military applications. He works in all areas of business management and operations, including budgeting and finance. EPT successfully introduced a new, internally developed technology into the world power generation industry, including 200 locations in China.

He has travelled extensively around the world in a professional capacity, working with power companies and local business owners to improve economic and environmental performance. He has received professional training in marketing, negotiation, sales, and various technical fields.

Peter is a CFIS Society Board member because he feels he can make a positive contribution to CFIS. As part of his contribution, he promotes an enthusiasm for science and provides perspective on international studies. He is interested in working to increase the participation of experts from various disciplines within the parent community with CFIS teachers and administrators to help leverage the potential opportunity that exists. He works in a positive and constructive manner with fellow board members and administration to help achieve the goals the Board of Directors has established.

Peter obtained his bachelor of arts in economics from Wilfred Laurier University, and a graduate diploma in accounting from the same institution. He received the 2005 Award of Distinction from the Canadian Environmental Technology Advancement Corporation.


 

 

Peter J. Forrester

Peter Forrester is part of the leadership team of the Kinder Morgan group of companies. Kinder Morgan is the largest energy midstream company in North America. Peter’s responsibilities include managing the legal and Aboriginal aspects of Kinder Morgan’s Canadian operations. Peter is also part of the leadership team responsible for the proposed $5.4 billion dollar expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline.

Peter has over 20 years of business and leadership experience. He holds a B.A. (Lethbridge), a Juris Doctor (Alberta), an LL.M (Masters Business Law, York) and a Master in Business Administration (University of Calgary, Haskayne School of Business). He currently sits on the board of the Calgary French & International School and is Chair of the Risk Committee, and sits on the advisory committee of the Southern Alberta Land Trust Association. He has two young children at CFIS. 

 



Akhil Garg

Akhil Garg is a Senior Manager of Risk Advisory Services with Ernst and Young in their Energy sector. Ernst & Young is one of the “Big Four” global assurance, business and technical advisory firms. Akhil brings over 15 years of international experience in the areas of I.T. and information governance, risk management, and compliance.

Akhil obtained his Bachelor of Commerce (B.Comm.) degree from CCS University in India, and relocated to Calgary in 2009. He also has a number of leading certifications, including Project Management Professional (PMP), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), and Certified Information Security Manager (CISM).

Akhil has served in various roles, including Membership, Treasury, and Communications, for the non-profit group ISACA (Information Systems Audit and Control Association), with its New Delhi and then Calgary chapters. He also volunteers to mentor new immigrants to Canada through the Calgary Region Immigrant Employment Council (CRIEC).

 

 

 

Dr. Dianne Gereluk

Dr. Gereluk is the current CFIS Society Board Chair. She is also the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs in Education at the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary. Prior to this appointment, she was Chair of the Leadership, Policy and Governance specialization in the Faculty of Education. Currently, she sits on the Alberta Education External Advisory Committee and Teacher Education Certification Committee for the province.

Dianne has two young children at CFIS, and has been a member of the CFIS Society Board since November 2011. 

 

 

Leann Hackman-Carty

Leader, entrepreneur and connected. Leann’s leadership ability was identified early when she was nominated and selected to participate in the United States International Visitors Program. This program involved future leaders from 20 different countries, 19 from Europe. Its focus was Trade and Economic Development, and included meetings with government, unions, community organizations and corporate America.

Leann worked as an Executive Assistant, Community & Economic Development to the Mayor of Calgary for over 10 years; managed several federal and municipal election campaigns; developed and lead key initiatives in the corporate, public and not-for profit sector; provided business development services to the States of Mississippi and Georgia; provided leadership for the Organization of Women in International Trade; hosted numerous high level international trade delegations; initiated greater working relationships with provincial and international economic development groups; developed business and marketing plans for small-medium sized enterprises; and worked on a number of high profile community investment projects.

In addition to owning and operating her own private consulting firm, she has been the CEO of Economic Developers Alberta (EDA) since 2009. EDA’s members are involved in economic development activities including business retention and expansion, business and investment attraction, opportunity identification, tourism, workforce development, business and economic recovery, and industry sector development. The association has an annual conference each spring and provides community economic development training (CEDTP) throughout the year. It offers a Professional Management Certificate through the University of Calgary, and has three of its CEDTP courses online as part of this program. At the end of 2014, Leann lead an Economic Disaster Recovery Project with 10 Alberta communities and Treaty 7 Community Futures (Siksika/Stoney); in partnership with the International Economic Development Council, The Government of Alberta, Shell, RBC Foundation, the Canadian Red Cross and the US Consulate in Calgary. As part of this project, Leann spearheaded the production of a community toolkit to help them prepare and respond to future economic disruptions. She has just completed setting up and running the Wood Buffalo Business Recovery Hotline and validating businesses for Red Cross emergency relief as part of the overall wildfire response.

Throughout her career, her leadership, entrepreneurial drive and broad network of contacts have enabled her to establish multi-stakeholder partnerships across various sectors, industries and borders; anticipate emerging and ongoing business needs; design new ways of providing goods and/or services; and conceptualize, plan and implement innovative initiatives. Her desire to make a positive impact, whether small or large, is evident in her personal and professional life. In addition to CFIS, she serves as a volunteer on the board of KidSport Alberta and AVENTA.

 


 

Trevor Kawka

Trevor Kawka is the Secretary-Treasurer of the CFIS Society’s Board of Directors, and is a partner in the Valuations and Litigation Support Group of the Calgary office of MNP LLP. Trevor’s past experience includes working as Director of Strategy and Planning at CCS Corporation (now Tervita). Prior to that, Trevor spent time working in the financial services industry in the Cayman Islands. He and his wife have two young children attending CFIS.

Trevor was a member of the Board of Directors of Volunteer Calgary for four years and also served as Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee. He has also coached his children’s hockey and soccer teams.

Trevor obtained his Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Manitoba in 1999 and obtained his Chartered Accountant designation in 2001. He is also a CFA charter holder and a Chartered Business Valuator.


 

 

Jim McEvoy

Jim McEvoy is a partner with the accounting firm of Collins Barrow Calgary LLP, where he leads the US Tax Services practice. Jim is a Certified Public Accountant (licensed in the State of New York) and has a B.Sc. in Accounting and a M.Sc. in Taxation.

Jim has been a member of the board since 2012. He currently serves on the Finance, Nominations and Personnel committees, and chairs the Building and Grounds committee. Jim and his wife Nadia have three children attending CFIS.

 


 

John Piasta

John is a partner with the law firm of Bennett Jones LLP, where he has a corporate law practice focusing on mergers and acquisitions and private/public company matters. 

John has significant board and board committee experience, including in respect of governance matters and financial and strategic planning. In addition to his experience as a corporate lawyer, he previously sat on a non-profit society board for four years.

Prior to achieving his law degree, he obtained a Bachelor of Commerce (Finance) from the University of Alberta. With his varied skill set, he is a productive member of the CFIS Society Board and able to draw on experience to provide a unique perspective to CFIS Society Board matters as CFIS continues its growth and development.

John and his wife, Anne-Marie, have two young children at CFIS, and they envision that both children will be students with CFIS for many years to come. He considers involvement with the CFIS Society Board as an opportunity to draw upon his experiences and background with a view to assisting not only the CFIS Society Board, but also to give back to the greater CFIS community during an important time in the development of the school.


 

 

Simon Rainsbury

Simon Rainsbury is Vice President for MHPM Project Leaders. Simon leads the Western MHPM team as the owner’s representative project manager ensuring successful delivery of capital facilities and buildings to meet client and owner requirements. Success is understanding why and how the facility and building will be used beyond the project. This currently includes multiple school projects across the Province for Alberta Infrastructure and Education, various school boards, and another private school in Calgary.

Simon grew up in London, England and obtained a bachelor degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Birmingham, England. Simon relocated to Calgary with his wife and children in 2008.

Simon and his wife currently have two children at CFIS. Simon is also on the Major Gifts Council for Resolve, whose aim is to provide affordable and supported housing for 3,000 vulnerable and homeless Calgarians.

Simon’s aim in joining the CFIS Board is to be an active participant in the governance of the school as well as to lend his expertise as the school develops over the coming years to set a legacy and long term vision.


 

 

Marnie Rodgers

Marnie Rodgers is a valuable member of the CFIS community, bringing a wealth of experience ranging from marketing and promotions to entrepreneurism.

The Calgary native has two young girls in CFIS’s Elementary Division and is a familiar face in the school, volunteering countless hours as a class representative, attending field trips, and assisting with the Spring Benefit, which she chaired in the spring of 2016.

Marnie currently chairs the CFIS Society Board’s Advancement Committee and is enthusiastic about fundraising and promoting the profile of CFIS both internally and externally.

With a BA in communications from the University of Calgary, Marnie worked abroad in corporate communications in both Sydney, Australia and London, England.

After returning to Calgary, Marnie was a contract manager for The Date Group of Companies and then co-owner of a distribution company. A long-time real estate investor, Marnie recently licensed to trade in real estate but maintains her focus on her young family.

 

 

Gertrud Schneider Chary

The Chary family has called CFIS home for nearly a decade. Gertrud has a son in who will graduate in 2017 and a daughter in junior high. Her family has been actively involved in supporting the school and its vibrant community since her children started at CFIS. She has been on many school trips, volunteered for kitchen duty, coached the upper year’s volleyball teams and served as class rep for both children, as well as helped out in the uniform shop.

Her last three years were spent as a member on the Board of Directors at CFIS. She serves on the Policy and Nomination Committees. With her children being in the school’s Secondary Division, she tends to focus more on the issues facing that division, particularly the creation and sustainability of a strong and competitive senior high school.

After graduating from high school in 1982, she left Germany to enjoy a gap year in Canada before attending university back home. She enjoyed her stay – she is still here! She completed several degrees in the liberal arts over the next few years in Canada, specializing in European Languages and History. During that time she also began work as a business manager and financial controller, eventually owning and operating her own businesses. She is currently employed by St. Mary’s University as the director of bookstore operations and publications, which allows her to indulge in her favorite occupation of reading, as well as research of teaching materials.


 

 

Steve Stowkowy

Steve Stowkowy is the Vice-Chair of the CFIS Society’s Board of Directors. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering at the University of Alberta, followed by a Masters of Business Administration. Since then, he has obtained senior leadership experience in all aspects of consulting engineering business practices, including senior and project management, technical group leadership, corporate and business development, and human resources. He is the leader of the Prairie region for Hatch Mott MacDonald. He is a results-oriented strategic thinker and consensus builder with strong analytical skills. He has extensive Board experience, having been a member of the University of Calgary’s Senate (2003-2009) and Board of Governors (2007 to 2009), and the Board of Directors of the Consulting Engineers of Alberta (2007-2009).

Steve and Bonnie’s son has been at CFIS since 2006 and is part of the graduating class of 2021. Steve has been a member of the Society's Board of Directors since November 2010. He served on the Head of School Search Committee, and currently serves on the Strategic Planning and Personnel Committees.



 

Ryan Sullivan  

Ryan Sullivan is a Performance Management and Strategic Analysis professional with a broad range of experience in enabling decision makers to better understand their business in both the upstream and downstream fields of the oil and gas industry. He has held positions of increasing responsibility with a number of oil and gas development companies and service companies, currently as Manager, Capital Control & Portfolio at Harvest Operations, overseeing budgeting, planning and risk analysis for the organization. He received his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering in 1996 from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, and obtained his Master of Business Administration from the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary in 2003.

Ryan is fluent in English and French, and is himself an alumnus of the Calgary French & International School, having graduated with the first Grade 6 class in 1985. He serves on the Risk Management, Finance & Audit, and Strategic Planning Committees of the CFIS Society Board and is currently Chair of the CFIS Community Builders' Alumni Committee. Ryan has two children in elementary at CFIS, and he looks forward to supporting their opportunity to attend a top-tier K-to-12 French immersion school.

 

Jim Zunti

Jim Zunti is currently Engineering Authority, North American Operations for Talisman Energy Inc. Jim has 25 years of work experience with engineering, engineering management, information management and project management. His work experience is supported by degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Saskatchewan and an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario.

Jim has most recently served as Chair, CFIS Society Strategic Planning Committee that initiated and guided the delivery of the CFIS strategic plan completed in 2013. Jim has a solid understanding of CFIS and the community of students, educators and parents it serves, and Jim is passionate about how CFIS can continue to constructively influence everyone it touches.

Jim and his wife currently have two children at CFIS and Jim has been an active CFIS Society Board member since 2010. Jim is also an active member of the local minor sports coaching community.