Insights Manitoba - Presenter Biographies

Leveraging data to support equity and well-being
Hear stories of practice in the field that will inspire, motivate, and strengthen your learning.
Our Team - Dr Doug WIllms
Dr. J. Douglas Willms, President & Founder, The Learning Bar

Dr. Willms is the Founder and President of the Learning Bar Inc. He is the Past 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. From 2002-2017, he held the Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Literacy and Human Development at the University of New Brunswick. 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.

Dr. Willms developed the model, Educational Prosperity, an assessment framework that jurisdictions can use in their capacity-building efforts and the development of educational policy. The model was adopted by the OECD for PISA for Development, an initiative aimed at building capacity for low- and middle-income countries to monitor progress towards national targets for improvement. Dr. Willms and his colleagues have developed the questionnaires and the analysis plan for this international study.

Reg Klassen, Chief Superintendent, Frontier School Division

Reg Klassen has spent thirty-plus years serving students in a variety of communities and educational situations and currently serves in his eighth year as the Chief Superintendent of Frontier School Division. Reg brings with him a comprehensive understanding of education as it relates to leadership, administration, staffing, curriculum and community. Reg is a well-respected educator, leader and visionary, with a wealth of knowledge and experience in providing quality educational programs for diverse students in a variety of settings. Reg has served as the Chair of Canadian Association of Mennonite Schools and Manitoba Federation of Independent Schools Education Committee. He has also served as the President for the Manitoba Association of School Superintendents, and the Canadian Association of School System Administrators.

Thelma Nice, Assistant Superintendent Academic Programs and Instruction, Frontier School Division

Thelma Nice is the Assistant Superintendent of Academic Programs and Instruction with Frontier School Division.

Karen Power, Leadership Development Consultant

Karen is a consultant and former teacher, principal, superintendent, and senior advisor for professional learning and leadership. She has won multiple awards and authored books related to her work which focuses on leadership coaching in schools and districts, building collaborative practices through professional learning community (PLC) implementation, district strategic planning, and developing effective instruction, assessment and evidence-based decisions for long-term sustainability.

Karen is now working as a consultant with The Learning Bar to support leadership development within schools and districts.

Christian Michalik, Superintendent and CEO, Louis Riel School Division

Christian Michalik is the Superintendent and CEO of the Louis Riel School Division (LRSD), a Division encompassing 40 schools with over 16,400 students in the south-east quadrant of Winnipeg, where he champions a journey of truth, reconciliation, and the integration of Indigenous cultures in schools. He believes that building trust, promoting diversity, nurturing inclusion and championing equity are key values that a leader must always promote and nurture. Shared decision-making, building a collective vision and purpose, and finding common ground with all members of the learning community helps to facilitate positive change.

Pamela Garnham, Assistant Superintendent, Portage la Prairie School Division

Pamela Garnham is the Assistant Superintendent with Portage la Prairie School Division. Pamela has 31 years of experience in education, having worked in grades K to 12 as a teacher, resource teacher guidance counsellor and school administrator.  Throughout her career, she has focused on ensuring that our students are the central focus of education and that  the instructional and developmental needs of students are met from inclusive regular classrooms, neighbourhood schools and across the division.