Dr. J. Douglas Willms is the founder of The Learning Bar. He is the President of the International Academy of Education, a Member of the US National Academy of Education, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He recently held the Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Literacy and Human Development for 14 years.
Dr. Willms has published over 200 research articles and monographs pertaining to youth literacy, children’s health, the accountability of schooling systems, and the assessment of national reforms. He developed the Educational Prosperity framework over the course of his career, which is used by jurisdictions in their capacity-building efforts and the development of educational policy. The model has been adopted by the OECD for PISA for Development, an initiative aimed at building capacity for low- and middle-income countries to monitor progress towards nationally-set targets for improvement. Dr. Willms and his colleagues have developed the questionnaires and the analysis plan for this international study.
Colette Wasson is the Chief Executive Officer of The Learning Bar, a senior executive accountable for the strategic success of the company, the success of our partners and clients, and the achievement of our vision “Giving all children the opportunity to thrive”.
Colette attained an MBA to complement her Computer Science degree. She brings over 25 years of business and management experience working with large public and private sector organizations in a variety of industries. Over the years, Colette has developed a solid reputation for delivering results by empowering teams and bringing heart and mind to every challenge.
Colette is a volunteer with the ELF (Elementary Literacy Friends) program and loves to read with Grade 2 students.
Colette is the proud mother of two children and has a passion for the well-being and success of all children; she values and recognizes the importance of a quality education to ensure that all children reach their full potential.
Allison is the Managing Director with responsibility for the growth and profitability of the Australian operation. With a Master of Business Law from Southern Cross University, Lismore, in Business Administration from The University of Technology, Sydney and Risk and Governance qualifications from the Governance Institute of Australia, Allison has extensive experience in all aspects of project and operations management.
Prior to joining The Learning Bar, Allison gained extensive experience during her 10 years at Mars, Incorporated as Chief of Staff and College Director for the Global Legal Function reporting to the General Counsel. With excellence in operations, including business transformation and finance, Allison led the delivery of a number of global programs for the legal function in the area of finance and compliance. Prior to that Allison was a senior intellectual property paralegal at the international law firm Baker McKenzie, managing a multimillion-dollar key account. Allison believes that expectations for success play a key role in children achieving their full potential and having the opportunity to thrive.
Fred is the Chief Technology Officer of The Learning Bar. Bringing over thirty years of technology experience, ranging from satellite operations, military and aerospace, as well as both enterprise and internet software, on projects ranging from small to multi-billion-dollar, Fred applies a broad knowledge of software architecture, technology, and development processes to lead TLB’s technology team, and to drive a technology vision which solves real problems, and brings real value.
Ethan leads the Product Management and Client Success teams here at The Learning Bar. Their objective is to ensure that our products and services are continually evolving to better meet the needs of educators and that our customers receive the world-class service, training, and support required to achieve their goals. Ethan has over 15 years experience in building teams and processes that can help grow a business from start-up to industry leader. A proud father and project manager, Ethan’s commitment to TLB’s mission, vision, and values is why, after over a decade at TLB, he is still excited to come to work every single day.
Danielle leads a responsive research group, and is well experienced in providing a strong supporting role in provincial and state-level initiatives. Danielle and her research group are equipped to assist the ASM team, often behind the scenes. Danielle frequently prepares responses to questions about the survey measures, underlying statistical methods, or other research techniques that periodically arise from various stakeholders. She provides information about any aspect of the data or findings, conducting statistical analyses, preparing reports based on the findings for meetings, or generally assisting where needed when questions arise.
Susan is a highly skilled administrator with a background in not-for-profit and hospitality; she holds a Masters of Business Administration in International Business, and is service-oriented. Her work experiences include outreach services at the Salvation Army, assistant to the CEO of a rescue mission, and leadership roles in the hospitality industry.
Claire leads the Product Delivery team for the Early Years Evaluation (EYE). This team supports EYE clients both during and following their EYE implementations: from setting up their sessions in the EYE online data entry system, to producing all client deliverables once their evaluations are complete. This team also works closely with the EYE Account Success Management team and the EYE Application Development team to drive improvements to EYE user experience based on client feedback and ongoing educational research. Claire brings both an education and a research background to the EYE team, having completed a B.A. (Contemporary Studies) and a B.Ed. (Junior/Intermediate Math and Social Sciences) in 2012, and an M.A. (Sociology) in 2014.
Stephanie is the Director of Professional Learning and Engagement and has been on the Research team for over 6 years. She holds a Masters of Applied Health Services Research from the University of New Brunswick, and is a Project Management Professional (PMP). She finds it especially rewarding to support others to understand and interpret their data, and enjoys having conversations about how school context can help explain results. In her spare time, Stephanie enjoys trying new recipes and playing soccer.
Shaun McBride is the Human Resources Manager at The Learning Bar, a senior Canadian Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) accountable for the full cycle Human Resources (HR) administration, HR project management, coaching & talent development, and employee communications. Her key objective is to give all The Learning Bar employees the opportunity to thrive.
Shaun has certificates in Business Administration, Negotiations, and Strategic Workforce Planning and has over 20 years experience in the field of Human Resources Management, working with large private sector organizations in a variety of industries. Over the years, Shaun has earned the respect of other Human Resources professionals through one-on-one mentorship. She is passionate about helping managers and employees perform at their best. Shaun is guided by her intuition and authentic desire to help others in her work.
Shaun is a volunteer Board Member for the Provincial Canadian Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) Fredericton Chapter.
Shaun is a proud mother and grandmother and has a very large extended family who rely on her to hold it together even when the going gets rough. Her free time is spent in the kitchen making her family’s favorite meals, or baking cookies to be included in the next parcel that will go to the grandchildren who live out west.
Ola is an experienced product manager with a proven track record of delivering successful products that meet customer needs and drive business growth. With over 10 years of experience in the industry, Ola has developed a deep understanding of product development and management, as well as market trends and consumer behavior.
Ola works with cross-functional teams, including engineering, design, marketing, research, and sales, to ensure OurSchool and Tell Them From me continues to fulfill the product’s commitment to educators by continually evolving. He is skilled in product strategy, road mapping, and agile development methodologies.
Ola holds a Master of Business Administration, B.Tech (Agricultural economics), A certified Scrum Product owner, Scale Scrum master and Scale product owner/ Product Manager.
Thomas Verghese is the Director of Customer Success and Client experience, and has been with the learning bar since 2022. He has a bachelors of engineering in computer science, and has been working in the Edtech sector for over 12 years. Thomas is responsible for driving the Learning Bar’s mission for achieving Educational prosperity for clients through strategic and thought leadership initiatives. He is passionate about grooming and building up the customer success team into becoming trusted advisors who are able to constantly drive value for their clients, and create unique client experiences as they journey with us. One of his strategic objectives is to position the Learning bar as a Strategic trusted Partner to clients as opposed to being just another software vendor.
Stephanie holds a BA in History from Bishop’s University and a B. Ed from St. Thomas University. She has completed several professional development courses over the years including project management and adult learning.
Stephanie Guignion brings her 10+ years of classroom teacher experience to The Learning Bar and uses this experience to support educators implementing the various solutions across the company. Her interests include resource development, process improvement & documentation, and early literacy.
In her spare time, she enjoys reading and gardening, and volunteers with several local community organizations.
Janette has worked with the Client Success team at The Learning Bar since 2017. She has also worked in the field of literacy for over a decade: training teachers and tutors, delivering workshops, and creating resources. She has spent many summers delivering math and literacy camps in Indigenous communities in New Brunswick. Through her forestry and science background, she has also worked in the fields of outdoor education, outreach, and research. Janette grew up in a small francophone community in Manitoba, and later lived in various communities in northern Ontario and Quebec; she now lives near Fredericton, New Brunswick. Her passion for helping others has been a great asset in her work building strong and collaborative partnerships throughout her career. During her spare time, Janette likes baking goodies for friends and family, as well as camping and hiking with her husband and dog.
Account Success Manager EYE Latin America (2017-2019) and OurSCHOOL / EYE Canada (2019- Present)
Bachelor Degree in Foreign Language (English) / Education
Portfolio Based Language Assessment (PBLA) Certified Instructor by the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks
Customer Success Management Level 1 Certification
Teaching Experience in Mexico and Canada
Teaching Experience with individuals with different cultural background
Part of the Training Team when EYE was introduced in Ecuador.
Volunteer: Jr NBA program Coach with Fundy Minor Basketball Assn. Soccer Coach with Soccer Chaleur and currently with Charlotte County United Soccer Club.
“Every time I have time and the opportunity, I share/teach sport skills (basketball/soccer) with children. My best advise to them (including my 2 sons) is “Practice will make you better”. I like music, and mixing music. I do mobile DJing for private functions.
Riet joined the Client Success Team in November 2021, supporting clients in achieving their educational goals. Every day she is building customer loyalty and fostering long-term customer relationships by ensuring that customers have a positive experience. Her day is good when she can make her clients happy by actively listening, pinpointing, and solving the issues they encounter. She strongly believes in The Learning Bar’s mission that quality education should be a right for all children. She has a Master’s in Language Arts, specializing in German and English, and a teaching degree from the University of Ghent, Belgium. At the University of Antwerp, she got a degree in International Politics, a field that very much interests her.
Riet lives in rural New Brunswick and combines working from home and in the office. She loves the outdoors, and in her free time, she is busy in her garden, experimenting in the kitchen, making maple syrup, doing yoga, reading, playing with her toddler, and volunteering in her community.
Josée worked for 20 years in Telecommunications, In progressive roles from sales rep to Manager of the Onboarding solution team. Josée has a background in building strong relationships with clients. She obtained a diploma in Teacher Aid from Stratford Career Institute recently. Josée takes pride in volunteering at her son’s school and being part of the Parent School Support Committee. She enjoys walks in nature, reading, and crocheting in her spare time.
Emma is the Australian Implementation Lead, and brings over ten years experience in paediatric health and a strong customer focus to the team. Emma has a degree in English Literature through Macquarie University, and is in the process of completing post-graduate work in Project Management at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University.
Emma works within the Australian Implementation Team to deliver the Tell Them From Me and Early Years Evaluation products. Emma is enthusiastic about educational opportunities, and is excited to be supporting teachers and schools to facilitate educational insights that improve childhood outcomes.
Angela works within the Australian Implementation Team to deliver the Tell Them From Me and Early Years Evaluation products.
Ashleigh works within the Australian Implementation Team to deliver Early Years Evaluation products and support single school clients with Tell Them From Me.
Christine completed her dual honours degree in Psychology and Criminology at Saint Mary’s University, and holds a Master’s Degree in Social Personality Psychology from the University of Manitoba. Prior to attending graduate school, Christine taught elementary school children in South Korea, ages 4 – 13, for two years, focusing on English as an additional language. This amazing experience served to strengthen her respect and admiration for teachers and solidified her passion for improving the life chances for all children. Christine has also been fortunate enough to work with children with special needs, in addition to a number of SLP’s, OT’s, PT’s and SP’s, while working with the Halifax Regional School Board and the Calgary Board of Education.
Tess Thurston is the Sales Consultant for The Learning Bar’s Australian Team. Working under Aaron Burns and Allison Blanco, Tess’s role is to prospect potential schools and introduce them to The Learning Bar’s product lines and solutions.
Tess comes from recruitment, marketing, and sales background having worked as a Talent Manager and Sales & Marketing Coordinator.
Tess holds her Master’s in Business Administration from the University of South Dakota where she focused heavily on sales and marketing. Tess joined The Learning Bar’s Team with the hopes of improving children’s school experiences.
Aaron Burns is the Sales Manager for The Learning Bar’s Australian team. Aaron’s role is to support the growth of the sales activities for The Learning Bar’s Australian market. Aaron has over 5 years of experience in multiple sales roles. In his last role, Aaron was the sales team leader managing the sales activities in the solar industry.
Aaron is a proud father to 3 boys and understands the importance of all children having a quality education.
Erin is a Junior Developer with The Learning Bar and is responsible for contributing to the achievement of our company’s vision by participating in the research and development of The Learning Bar’s products. Erin has always been interested in technology, teaching herself to code and enrolling in Computer Science electives while studying Psychology. Eventually she made the decision to change educational paths and completed her diploma in Information Technology Programmer Analyst from New Brunswick Community College in June 2021. As a mother, Erin was drawn to The Learning Bar and the meaningful opportunity to help children thrive through her work as a developer. In her spare time Erin enjoys reading, video games and spending time with her partner, son and two rescue cats.
Hayley is the Finance and Adminstration Officer for the Australian business. Working closely with the Managing Director, Hayley is responsible for the management of all aspects of Finance and Operations in the Australia business. She has worked at The Learning Bar since Feburary 2021. Hayley holds a certificate in Accounting and Bookkeeping.
Melinda supports the administration activities within the Australian operations and program teams.
Connie Freeman is the Senior Instructional Literacy Consultant at The Learning Bar. She has a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Education and over a decade of experience in the classroom. Connie’s philosophy of education is grounded in a fundamental belief in the importance of equitable education for all and the critical role literacy plays in ensuring success for all students. As a literacy support specialist, Connie has experience supporting students and teachers in the classroom, as well as building professional learning communities in schools.
A proud mother of two, Connie is an environmental advocate and a nature enthusiast. In her free time, she can be found raising and releasing Monarch butterflies and volunteering with her therapy dog, Bear. Connie makes her home on beautiful Mnidoo Mnising/Manitoulin Island, in the heart of Northern Ontario.
Connie has presented a webinar for The Learning Bar. Watch it here!