Shannon Cook, CPA, CA, ICD.D Board Chair
Shannon Cook has served as a board member of the CCEF since November 2013, originally as the Treasurer and starting in the fall of 2016 as Chair of the Board. Shannon is the Controller of NewNorth Projects Ltd, a publicly traded land development company. She is married to Todd and they have two children who attend Calgary Catholic schools. Shannon also serves as the Finance Chair on the Kara Community Advisory Association which supports the Kara Program, a program offered by the Calgary Catholic school system which supports pregnant and parenting teens attending Calgary Catholic schools. She has served on the Kara board since 2009 and is significantly involved in the management and long-term vision of the Kara Community Advisory Board. Shannon believes that Catholic education strengthens the community and our future by creating active and caring members of the community.
Liam Roney, Vice-Chairman
Liam Roney is a professional engineer and graduate of St. Francis High School and Queen’s University. After working at the National Research Council in Ottawa, Liam returned to Calgary where he founded an engineering software company. Today Liam works in market strategy for Canadian Pacific Railway. Liam considers his time in the Calgary Catholic Education system a crucial first step in his career, and he wants to ensure other Calgarians enjoy the same opportunities he did.
Moyra Martin, Executive Director
Moyra is an educational leader who served for Calgary Catholic School District as teacher and principal or 25 years. She has served on numerous educational committees at the district and provincial level focusing on teacher professional development. Moyra is a proud Calgarian and an active volunteer with the Calgary Stampede. She is an avid reader and theatergoer who loves to travel and enjoys challenging herself with the latest technology but a family gathering will always be her greatest joy. Moyra is committed to Catholic education and believes in a deep respect for the sacredness of each individual within the school. She values the opportunity to promote and support success for all students within a Catholic learning community.
Michele Connelly, Assistant Executive Director
Michele is a former Calgary Catholic School District teacher and administrator. She recently retired after 33 years with the district. Both she and her husband credit their education and successful careers to the Calgary Catholic School District. They have raised two children in the system who have graduated from university and gone on to enjoy successful careers as well. Michele has had a long history and close connection to the district and is excited to be working with the Foundation to help ensure Calgary Catholic Schools continue to thrive and shine in the community.
Vanessa Bitonti, Director
Vanessa Bitonti is a graduate of the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business. After working in the Oil and Gas Industry for a number of years, Vanessa realized her passion for education and is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Education at St. Mary’s University. She has served on a number of fundraising committees and has been an active volunteer with numerous organizations. She believes teaching is a vocation where she can embolden the minds of our youth and, in the Calgary Catholic system, inspire students to model their Catholic values both inside and outside of the classroom.
Torr Haglund, Director
A lifelong volunteer within the Catholic Church, geophysical industry and broader community, Torr hopes to bring his enthusiasm and quest for excellence to the Calgary Catholic Education Foundation (CCEF). An ongoing side project of his is to reach the 100 blood donation level, currently sitting at just above 80 so a little ways to go. Torr is excited to be a part of the CCEF, as it is a collection of dedicated individuals striving to positively affect Catholic education within the Calgary district.
Torr with his wife, Mary Anne, has four adult daughters. All of whom flourished within and experienced the uniqueness of the Catholic school system. He is a product of the Calgary Catholic school system, graduating from St. Francis High School before attending the University of Calgary and receiving a BSc. in Physics. After graduation Torr began his career as a geophysicist, eventually becoming president of Statcom Ltd., a seismic data processing located in downtown Calgary.
Peter Kieren, Director
Peter has volunteered as a School Council Chair, Executive Member and is an active member of the soccer and hockey communities within the Calgary area. As a technology professional, Peter brings experience with social media and information technology to the Board. Peter has two daughters in the Calgary Catholic School District at St. Mary’s and St. Jean Brebeuf and enjoys spending time with the girls and his wife, Julia. Peter is passionate about giving the best possible educational experiences to children in the District!
Karen Kisser, Director
Karen has been active in Calgary’s volunteer community since moving to the city 20 years ago. She is a former communications and marketing professional who is passionate about ensuring our children receive the best education possible. She has been involved in northwest Calgary school councils for 9 years, serving in a number of Executive Committee positions and as Chair, as well as contributing to the Calgary Catholic’s School Council Handbook Committee in 2014. Additionally, Karen is an active member of St. Luke’s Parish and the Catholic Women’s League. Karen believes her strong faith has been at the foundation of all of the blessings in her life. Karen is married to Darren and mother of two 2 children attending Calgary Catholic schools. She believes that all students in the District should have an excellent, positive education experience and is pleased that she can help the Foundation in achieving its vision.
Brian O’Grady, Director
A graduate of Calgary Catholic, Brian enjoyed a 35-year career as teacher, principal and a district supervisor. Brian now stays connected to the district through his four grandchildren, ages ranging from elementary to junior high. Brian is actively involved in Holy Name Parish and is enjoying retirement with his wife. Brian is also enjoys making wine and is getting close to mastering the fine art of winemaking. As both a former student in the district and a former employee of the district Brian has a good sense of the great work done by its teachers and administrators. As a very proud grandparent of five grandchildren also attending schools in the district he wants to ensure the wonderful experiences he has had continue for his grandkids.
Cheryl Schneider, Director
Cheryl has been involved in education as a parent, a School Council Chair and a member of school council for over 10 years. Having just completed a 2 year term as Chair, she is acting as Past Chair in an advisory capacity. Prior to becoming involved with the school district, Cheryl worked as a Legal Assistant for 17 years. She currently dedicates her time to various school council committees and is a dedicated volunteer within the school, including organizing and being a part of fundraising for the past 5 years. Cheryl plays a leadership role on school council and collaborates with administration and council on school-related matters. Cheryl strongly believes that parents play an important role in the educational experience of our children and that parent involvement is essential in our children’s education. She proudly supports Catholic education and believes that having a Catholic education provides our students with personal strength and produces young people with strong leadership and strong values. Cheryl is married and has 2 children who attend a Calgary Catholic school. She looks forward to contributing and supporting the initiatives being brought forward by the Foundation.
Steve Petingola, Associate Member
Steve was born in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Prior to becoming a principal Steve was employed in the non-profit sector as a Provincial Director of Rehabilitation for the Canadian Paraplegic Association. In this role his responsibilities included managing a diverse team of professionals throughout Alberta, Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Program and services were provided to many people who had sustained a catastrophic injury or were no longer able to maintain community/educational or medical independence. In his role as Director, Steve was provided the opportunity to work with many different groups of people; namely, the Workers Compensation Board of Alberta, Northwest Territories and Nunavut; insurance companies; various law firms; first nation groups; representatives from different levels of government and many medical professionals in Alberta and the Territories. Around the same time, Steve served as a sessional instructor at both the University of Calgary and Mount Royal College/University teaching in the areas of Disability Studies and Rehabilitation. For the past decade Steve has worked as a teacher, administrator and committee member. Currently, Steve is the principal at St. Anne Senior High School and sits as an active member on the District Threat Assessment Team (DTAT), Curriculum and Assessment Committee, Opening Mass Committee and Calgary Catholic Educational Foundation. Steve has a diploma and degree in Disability Studies and Rehabilitation, a degree in Education as well as a Master’s degree in Education.
Sabrina Lee-Lieu, Associate Member
Sabrina Lee-Lieu is originally from Edmonton, Alberta. After moving to Calgary, Sabrina served as a teacher, team leader and divisional lead at Christ Redeemer School Board. After completing her Masters in Leadership and Administration from Gonzaga University, she moved to the Calgary Catholic School District. Currently, she is the Vice Principal at Our Lady of the Evergreens Elementary School. Within the school community, Sabrina works towards creating and nurturing relationships with students and staff by recognizing that through God’s grace everyone has unique gifts and talents. Sabrina serves as the District’s VP Council liaison to the Calgary Catholic Education Foundation. She has a passion for traveling and camping with her husband and two dogs.
Bryan Szumlas, CSSD, Area Director, Ex-Officio
Dr. Bryan Szumlas is an Area Director in the Calgary Catholic Separate School district. He is a native Calgarian and has worked in the Calgary Catholic School District for the past 26 years. He graduated with a B.Ed (1990), M.Ed. (1994) and Ed. D. (2000) from the University of Calgary. He has had extensive experience as a teacher, principal, supervisor and director. He represents the district at all Foundation meetings.
Felicia Zuniga, Communications Specialist, CCSD, Ex-Officio
Felicia was born and raised in Calgary, where she was educated through the Calgary Catholic School District. After she graduated from St. Francis High School in 2004, she went on to complete her Bachelor of Arts degree in Honours English, with a Creative Writing Concentration from the University of Calgary. She then spent a year working in Toronto, before moving to Ottawa to complete her Masters of Journalism degree from Carleton University. She’s worked in media and communications for the past few years, with both Global News and United Way of Calgary and Area. Felicia is also a freelance writer and has published articles with various newspapers and magazines including the Calgary Herald, Avenue Calgary Magazine, Swerve and U Magazine. She and her husband Daniel love travelling and spending time outdoors. Many members of Felicia’s family have attended Calgary Catholic schools or work as Calgary Catholic teachers, and she is happy to help the Foundation support enhanced opportunities for teaching and learning in the district.
Ted Valentine, Honorary Member
Ted Valentine was a founding member of the Calgary Catholic Education Foundation. Ted is a native born Calgarian and graduate of St. Mary’s Boys’ High School and the University of British Columbia. Ted has also worked as a volunteer for the Rotary Club, Meals on Wheels and the Calgary Seniors Resource Society. He is also an active member of St. James Parish and a strong supporter of Catholic education. He has worked closely with St. Mary’s University.
Tom McGee, Honorary Member
Tom McGee was a founding member of the Calgary Catholic Education Foundation. He comes from a rural background, having spent most of his life in Drayton Valley where he and his wife Sheila raised three children. When Tom relocated to Calgary, he welcomed the opportunity to sit on the parent council committee at St. Mary’s High School which in turn led him to work with the Calgary Catholic Education Foundation. Catholic education has always played a significant role in Tom’s life. He strongly believes it is truly a wonderful opportunity to raise faith based leaders who will guide us into the future.
Anita Carey, Honorary Member
Anita Carey is a Professional Nurse, now retired and now enjoying her “encore” career as a Certified Doula, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator and Certified Lactation Educator. Anita has been an active volunteer for Kids Help Phone in Calgary for over 20 years. She was the Alberta Regional Representative to the National Board of Directors of Kids Help Phone from 2004-2012. She has also received numerous Inspiration and Courage Awards for her fundraising milestones in the Kids Help Phone Annual “Walk So Kids Can Talk”. In recognition of this commitment to the mental health and well-being of children and youth in Canada, Anita received Canada’s Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. Anita and Frank have five adult children who were all educated within Calgary Catholic Schools and are proud Grandparents to eight. To this point she has been actively involved with Parent Councils, in Elementary, Junior and Senior high schools and is presently Chair of the Kara Community Advisory Association, which supports the Kara Program and pregnant and parenting teens in our Calgary Catholic Schools. The Kara Program is a partnership between Calgary Catholic Schools, the Diocese and the Greater Catholic Community. Since 1991 until the present, Anita has advocated for the students of the Kara program within the Catholic Community, supported Volunteer Recruitment, Organization and Management and the relationship with Catholic Charities, a major funder of the Kara Community Advisory Association.
In Memoriam: Lois Helen Elizabeth Burke-Gaffney
Lois was instrumental in the formation of the Calgary Catholic Education Foundation and contributed several years working as a committed member of the Board of Directors. In 2015 she became the first Honorary member of the Foundation. Lois retired from her position as Trustee on the Board of the Calgary Catholic School District in 2013 but remained a passionate supporter of Catholic education and Calgary Catholic schools until her passing in April of 2016. Her contributions were great and her legacy will live on.