Leadership Academy Speakers

Throughout this 9-month program principals and superintendents will work with, learn from, and have access to resources developed by senior advisors and leaders in education and literacy development.

Our Team - Dr Doug WIllms

Dr. J. Douglas Willms is the Founder and President of the Learning Bar Inc. He is Professor Emeritus at the University of New Brunswick, where he held the Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Literacy and Human Development. Professor Willms is an International Associate of the U.S. National Academy of Education, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and the Past-President of the International Academy of Education. Since receiving his Ph.D. from Stanford in 1983, he has published over three hundred research articles and monographs pertaining to child development, the accountability of schooling systems, and the assessment of educational reforms.

Experienced administrator and award-winning author Karen Power coaches senior education leaders in school districts throughout North America. Her extensive experience as a teacher, principal, superintendent and senior advisor allows her to provide unique insight into the development of effective strategic planning, the building of collaborative practices through professional learning communities, and the development of effective instruction, assessment and evidence-based decisions to support long-term sustainability. She is currently working with The Learning Bar to provide leadership development and coaching to schools and districts with whom we work.

Our Team - Dr Norma LaCroix

Dr. Norma St. Croix is an educational consultant and researcher in the areas of assessment and data literacy, professional learning, literacy and numeracy. She has over 20 years of successful teaching experience and 12 years in educational leadership roles in rural and urban schools. Dr. St. Croix has worked with countless schools providing guidance in assessment, data literacy, teacher education, collaborative learning and student literacy. She has developed education practices and resources being used throughout Canada to support effective instructional change and advance learning. For the past 6 years, she’s been working with The Learning Bar, focusing on developing educators’ skills assessing and teaching early literacy skills with the Confident Learners Literacy Program.

Our Team - Ben Allison

Dr. Alma Lopez-Garcia holds a master’s degree in Educational Research from the University of Aguascalientes, Mexico; a Diploma of Advanced Studies and obtained at the University of Madrid, Spain. She has 17 years of experience in educational evaluation, which includes evaluation projects in Mexico, Uruguay, Ecuador, and Canada. Since receiving her PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of New Brunswick, Canada, she has specialized in the development of evaluations, validity studies, and recently in the evaluation of the foundational skills for learning to read.  Dr. Garcia is focused on evaluation as a key piece to construct a better education system.

Our Team - Neil Debassige

Neil Debassige is a member of the M’Chigeeng First Nations, which is located on Manitoulin Island on Lake Huron. He has held principal positions at Kashechewan, Mikwemikong and M’Chigeeng First Nations and has been responsible for multiple school-wide reforms. In 2018 Mr Debassige was awarded the prestigious Meritorious Service Medal by Governor General for service supporting Indigenous Education.

Dr. Kevin O’Connor is an Associate Professor and Chair for the Department of Education at Mount Royal University, Alberta. He graduated from McGill University with a B.Ed., an M.A. in Curriculum Studies and a Ph.D. in Education and has an extensive career as an educator and an educational administrator. 

Much of his current research and publications are based on the synthesis of multi-sensory pedagogy and interdisciplinary curriculum.

Dr. O’Connor sits as an Advisory Board member on the GLOBE-NASA International Science Education Group, The Paulo and Nita Freire International Center for Critical Pedagogy, is Chair of the Canadian Society for the Study of Education- Self-Study of Teacher Education Practice Group and is a former Senior Policy Advisor on Education to the Federal Government of Canada.