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.
Karen Kisser, Secretary
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.
Janet Lymer, Executive Director
Janet joined the CCEF in September 2018 bringing over 8 years of not-for-profit leadership experience in Calgary serving the local community, seniors and marginalized groups. Her background prior to this was as a marketing executive for tier 1 national and international companies.
She is a proud French Canadian who was born and raised in Quebec where she met her husband Paul. They have been married for over 25 years and have two children who graduated from Bishop Carroll and St Francis and who are now pursuing post-secondary graduate and undergraduate studies. Janet has volunteered extensively throughout our school district on councils, the sporting communities as well as local community events. She has always believed in the quality of Catholic Education centred on Christ and the inclusive nature that is Calgary Catholic School District that helps give each child the opportunity to grow and learn in our faith.
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.
Marie Jurcevic, Director
Marie joined the CCEF Board in October 2018. She comes to the Board with both not-for-profit and corporate experience. Marie started her career in the not-for-profit sector working with youth in various capacities. She transitioned her career into the oil and gas industry where she has been for almost 10 years. Marie has worked for several companies as a Sustainability Advisor, to help these companies advance their commitment to social and environmental responsibility. Marie credits her Catholic education as being foundational to her social and environmental consciousness. She graduated from the University of Calgary with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and the University of Bath in the United Kingdom, with a Masters of Science in Responsibility in Business Practice. Her husband is a teacher with the Calgary Catholic School District and her daughter attends a school in the District.
Kathleen Kawalauskas, Director
Kathleen is a former Calgary Catholic School teacher and administrator, retiring in 2010. She spent the last eight years working in the nonprofit area, supporting, promoting and advancing publicly funded education in Canada. She and her husband have raised two children in the system and are now the proud grandparents of two young ladies currently enrolled in the District.
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!
Veronica Marks, Director
I am very happy to be a part of the Calgary Catholic Education Foundation. In 1995 I moved to Calgary from Ireland and my background is in the Nutritionist field. I worked at the Crowfoot YMCA as a preschool teacher for four years. My husband Jeff and I have been married for 22 years and have three children, Ryan, Jordan and Caolan. I have been involved in Catholic education for over 18 years volunteering and fundraising for my kids’ schools and sports organizations. I am looking forward to giving back to the community and want all students to have the opportunity to have a good, faith-based education.
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.
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 Blessed Marie-Rose 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.
Sandra Borowski, Communications Specialist, CSSD, Ex-Officio
Sandra was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta and graduated from St. Mary’s High School in 2010.Since then, Sandra has attended Mount Royal University where she completed her Bachelor of Communication with a major in Public Relations. She has worked at several well-known organizations such as ATB Financial, the City of Calgary, Travel Alberta and is now a Communications Specialist with Calgary Catholic School District. Sandra is also fluent in English, French and Polish and hopes to learn two more languages. Sandra is excited to help the CCEF create enhanced teaching and learning opportunities.
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.
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.