Our Team

Halifax Learning has a long history of developing strong, confident readers, with thousands of lives changed since we opened our doors in 1999. We have built our success on the science of reading and continue to invite experts of all fields to review and actively research our results.  Our expertise in program delivery and training is unparalleled.

Our Founder, Sarah Arnold, had the good fortune of training with Dr. Kay MacPhee; an accomplished educator and entrepreneur who created the renowned program SpellRead. Sarah had excelled in school but always struggled with reading efficiently. Upon meeting Dr. MacPhee, she realized she had just never been taught properly. This formative experience spurred her to establish Halifax Learning.

Today we teach students and provide professional development at our private clinics, at private schools, and through distance e-learning. 

Sarah Arnold

Sarah Arnold, Founder - 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'. 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 to become the structured literacy advocate 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!

Heather Beal
Heather Beal 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!!!
Matthew Boardman

Matt Boardman received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Mount Allison University with a Major in Sociology and Minor in Political Science. Matt played football for four years at Mt. A. and he is currently doing a B.Ed at Mount Saint Vincent University. He has a passion for learning and educating and that has driven his desire to work with and educate youth. In the summers, Matt works with One Voice One Team Youth Leadership Organization back in his home province, Ontario.

Staff Images-ROUND_Melinda Cameron

Melinda Cameron'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.

nbpolhakisha Downey

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.

Kim Larkin

Kim Larkin joined Halifax Learning 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 Marshall

Rebekah Marshall 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!

Doreen McAleese

Doreen McAleese is a retired teacher from NB who decided to retire in Bedford to be closer to family. She taught for 30 years at the elementary level and served as a Literacy Lead at her school and in her district for the last 6 years of her career. Doreen has a B.Ed in Elementary Education and a M.Ed in Exceptional Learners from UNB. She continues to be passionate about teaching young children and is a strong literacy advocate. Doreen loves to read, travel, and is an avid runner. Since moving to Bedford, she has enjoyed discovering the beautiful trails in the greater HRM area.

Linda O'Neil
Linda O'Neil 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.
Staff Images-ROUND_Eryn Steele

Eryn Steele, 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. She has facilitated the implementation of SpellRead to over 800 students at 6 public schools in Florida and was the Regional Director in New Brunswick for three years before moving to Halifax in 2006 to join Halifax Learning.