board of directors
Publicly funded Catholic Education in Calgary has been an integral part of our Alberta history for over 130 years and is rooted in the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Calgary Catholic Education Foundation supports the largest Catholic school district in the province with 116 schools and 58,000 students in the Calgary Catholic School District.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
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.
Karen has been active in Calgary’s volunteer community since moving to the city over 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 12 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.
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.
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.
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 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!
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.
Veronica is happy to be a part of the Calgary Catholic Education Foundation. In 1995 she moved to Calgary from Ireland and her background is in the Nutritionist field. Veronica has worked at the Crowfoot YMCA as a preschool teacher for four years. She has been married to her husband Jeff for over 20 years and have three children, Ryan, Jordan and Caolan. Veronica has been involved in Catholic education for over 18 years volunteering and fundraising for their children’s schools and sports organizations. She is looking forward to giving back to the community and want all students to have the opportunity to have a good, faith-based education.
Prior to joining the CCEF Mr. Scarpino was a teacher and administrator with Calgary Catholic for over thirty years. During this time, he also served on many community endeavors. He was cofounder and principal of the Calgary Italian School, President of the Italian sportsman dinner association, forth degree Knight of Columbus, volunteer for the 88 Olympic winter games, parish council chair at Our Lady of Grace Parish Now Mary Mother of the Redeemer. After his retirement he was elected and served as a trustee for four consecutive terms at CSSD, he served as chair and vice chair of the board . He was elected to serve as vice-president of the Alberta Schools Catholic Trustee Association ACSTA from 2012 to 2016. After his retirement from Trusteeship in 2017 he enjoyed travelling playing golf and spending time with his granddaughters. He continues to serve the community in many ways and now serving as a board member of CCEF.
Daniel Danis is an Area Director in the Calgary Catholic Separate School District. He is a native Calgarian and was a student of CCSD for 12 years. He has worked in the Calgary Catholic School District for 25 years as a teacher, vice-principal, and principal. He graduated with a B.A. (1992), B.Ed. (1995) and an M.A. in Administration (1998). He represents the district at all Foundation meetings.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Janet joined the CCEF as its Executive Director in September 2018, bringing over eight years of not-for-profit leadership experience in Calgary serving the local community in small to medium-sized non-profits. Her prior business experience was in marketing for national and international companies.
She is fluently bilingual being 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 are now pursuing post-secondary studies. Janet has volunteered extensively throughout the Calgary Catholic School District and various sporting communities. She has always believed in the quality of Catholic Education centered 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. She believes building strong community bonds through conversation are key to the CCEF’s success. An active member of her home parish at St Peter’s led Janet to be nominated to the Catholic Women’s Leadership Foundation Transformative Leadership for 2019/2020.