Jo-Ann completed her SpellRead training in Charlottetown in 2002 before teaching for four years at Keyin College in Gander, NL. She also has experience working in the classroom with teachers and supporting students with learning differences such as ADHD. Her passion is people and she hopes to be able to make a difference and help her students find the joy of reading and learning that will last a lifetime. Jo-Ann joined the Halifax Learning team in May 2014.
Linda holds a Bachelor of Education with Distinctions, specializing in teaching reading and has a longstanding relationship with Rock Church as a Greeter and Usher for the past 25 years. Linda joined the Halifax Learning team in 2006 and continues to build trusting and supportive relationships with her students allowing them to discover the joy of learning. Linda was an educator with the Adult Literacy Network and has worked as a Resource Teacher in the public school system. As a former tennis player, Linda was inducted into the New Brunswick Tennis Hall of Fame.
Heather joined the Halifax Learning team in 2015 and brings with her an exemplary resume as a teacher at Halifax Independent School. Heather retired from her full-time teaching position in 2015, but her passion to teach led her to us and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have her on our team. Our students and staff are so pleased to learn and work with Heather! PS. Check out all those GOLD stickers. Our students are champs!!!
Britt joined the Halifax Learning team in 2012. With a degree in English and journalism from Dalhousie University and the University of King’s College—as well as a certificate in Baking and Pastry Art from NSCC—Britt marries her love for literature and food by instructing, blogging, and helping cater staff events. She is impressed by learners every day as they gain confidence and overcome academic hurdles—both big and small. When she’s not teaching, Britt takes custom cake orders, volunteers with a local community theatre, and works on her children’s series (inspired by her three nieces), Poppy Lou and Who?
Emily joined the team in 2016 and has quickly proven her skills as a teacher, administrator and Camp Director. Emily is a recent graduate from Mount Saint Vincent University and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. Emily is a lover of nature, animals, reading, and youth. She volunteered as a tutor with Pathways to Education and has experience coaching horseback riding! When she isn’t studying or teaching you can find her with her dog!
Kim joined the CLF team soon after she completed the Business Administration program at NSCC in 2017. With her intense attention to detail and passion for coaching, Kim was an excellent fit as our location lead in Bedford. Kim has spent many years as a youth soccer coach and volunteer at "The Hub", a youth center in Canmore, Alberta and Feed NS. Kim is passionate about Yoga, nutrition and inner health. Her favorite children's author is Robert Munsch. Fun fact: You may find Kim calling out Bingo at a senior home near you!
Rebekah joined the team in 2005 after her own daughter became a SpellRead graduate! She was so pleased with the results, she knew she wanted to get involved. Rebekah continues to be an outstanding teacher for our students in the Dartmouth location and is often called upon by new trainees as a mentor teacher!
Brittany joined the team in 2014 as a graduate of Dalhousie University. In addition to a BA and BSW, Brittany is in her final year of an MSW. Brittany has worked as a volunteer, supervisor and educator with various agencies, including LINKS and Chisholm Services. Brittany is a Teacher’s Assistant and conducts research on animal therapy and adult education in collaboration with her professors at Dalhousie.
Natalie is a Speech Language Pathologist who brings nearly 20 years experience to the team. She works with families to improve communication in the face of challenges such as articulation, delay/disorder, stuttering, autism, chromosomal differences and strokes. She also teaches visualization to further enhance reading skills learned by SpellRead students. Natalie spends her spare time wrangling four teenagers as a single mom, feeding furries, writing novels and drawing pictures.
At Halifax Learning, we love stories and our story began in Prince Edward Island, with Sarah. Read Sarah's Story and learn how SpellRead came to Halifax. We are a team of teachers, psychologists, social workers and business experts working collectively to advance research and development in evidence-based education in Nova Scotia and Canada.
Sarah Arnold, Founder & CEO - You won’t find another human more invested in reading than this woman! When Sarah says SpellRead works, you can believe her, she was a student herself. Sarah began the SpellRead program as a Bishops University Alumni. Despite being a high-achieving French Immersion student, Sarah felt she 'missed the day in class when the students all learned how to read well'. In spite of her success as a student Sarah always struggled with efficient reading, until she met Dr. Kay MacPhee, her would-be SpellRead teacher. SpellRead unlocked untapped potential in Sarah and inspired her future to become the entrepreneur she is now. Today, Sarah is driven to ensure all students in Canada receive the foundational skills required to read, but more importantly, to read efficiently. Sarah has supported literacy initiatives in the United States, China, Europe, and Atlantic Canada and has no intentions of stopping there. When Sarah isn’t hustling to bridge the reading gap, she is raising her own reader, Ms. Anna. Check Anna out on CTV Morning Live achieving, what we like to call, Super Sonic Sublexical Automaticity ... we're still working on our Super Hero character!
Eryn Steele, Partner & COO - Eryn, our Chief Operations Officer, began on her path to Halifax Learning in 2000. Since that time, Eryn has had an impact on all facets of the program. From delivery, development, training, and implementation, Eryn has been an advocate for evidence-based literacy programs from her first day of training. Eryn has facilitated the implementation of SpellRead to over 800 students at 6 public schools in Florida. Eryn was the Regional Director in New Brunswick for three years and then moved back to Halifax in 2006 to join Canadian Learning FoundatioNS. Eryn is a devoted Mom, equally passionate about her babies and fur-babies. Eryn has had the opportunity to live, work and travel all over the world, attended universities on both coasts of Canada and feels blessed to have experienced so many cultures and communities. Eryn is passionate about community development and ensuring all members of those communities are enabled to reach their full potential. This passion has propelled her to become the COO of CLF and we couldn't be happier to have her!
Melinda's life's work to teach as many people as possible to read. She has been teaching for more than half of her life, including two years in South Korea and almost fifteen years in Halifax. She received an honors degree from Carleton College in International Relations as well as a certificate in TESL from Saint Mary's University. Now she's completing her Research Master of Arts in Education from Mount Saint Vincent University, contributing to the knowledge of best practices in reading instruction. Melinda joined the Halifax Learning team in 2006 and quickly became an expert in all facets of literacy education, as an instructor, assessor, and trainer. Melinda became a partner with Halifax Learning in 2017. Melinda’s daughters, Cordelia and Rosalind, are named after two of Shakespeare's most fearless female characters.
Hello, my name is Shakisha Downey, and I am the Administrative Director for Halifax Learning. I have been working with Halifax Learning for over two years as an administrator and began actively teaching the Spellread program in 2018. Many of the students that I have the pleasure of working with are considered at-risk children and youth from local communities. These youth have been identified as having learning disadvantages and sometimes severe behavioral issues. Although I wear many hats in my position, working with these youth is the most rewarding part of my job and where I can relate to my students in a lot of ways. To watch the shift in the attitudes and abilities of these students in an academic setting is truly an amazing opportunity. It is my pleasure to be a part of such an important change in their lives brought on by intensive, evidence-based remedial programming.