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Board of Directors

Executive

Dr. Patrick Ross, President
Dr. Patrick Ross

Since joining the Board in 2011, Pat has served on several committees and is currently the President of the Schools Foundation. He shares a fundamental belief that investing in our youths is a smart and strategic way to ensure stronger communities in the future.  Patrick retired from a long career in public education including Vice-President, Student Services at Vancouver Island University. Prior to that he was the Assistant Superintendent in School District 68. In retirement, he provides a wide variety of consulting services to both the public and private sectors. He brings these leadership skills to the Schools Foundation where he works to improve community relationships through team work, communication and problem solving. Patrick enjoys golf, fitness, travel, and being a husband, father and grandpa. He also loves to volunteer his time to Leadership Vancouver Island as their past president.

Sharon Welch, Vice-President
Sharon Welch

Sharon joined the Schools Foundation in 2015 after serving as a Trustee on the Nanaimo-Ladysmith Board of Education for the past 6 years. Her Trustee roles included Chair, Vice-Chair, District Parent Advisory Committee liaison, and NLSF liaison. Sharon is currently employed as Executive Director of Forward House Community Society, a nonprofit organization that offers day programs for clients with mental health and addiction issues. She is also Co-Chair of the Oceanside Task Force on Homelessness and is involved in the Housing First initiative. Sharon holds an MA in Leadership and professional designations in Human Resources (CHRP) and Career Development (GCDF). Previously, Sharon worked as a Registered Music Teacher and Education Director for a large music school, Coordinator of an Ambassador Program, and Resource Consultant and Case Manager in the WorkBC Employment Program. Sharon believes in giving people the tools they need to achieve personal success.

Cara Light, Treasurer
Cara Light

Cara is a principal with the Nanaimo office of Hayes Stewart Little & Co. Chartered Accountants.  She joined the Foundation Board in January 2013 and now serves on the Executive as the Board Treasurer. A graduate of the University of Victoria, Cara completed her Chartered Accountant designation in 1999 with a national firm in Calgary, working with small to large owner-managed private companies and not-for-profit organizations. She brings her experience of working with not-for-profit organizations as a financial advisor to the Foundation along with her past involvement with Rotary and as a Board member of the Vancouver Island University Cowichan Campus Foundation (previously Malaspina University-College). In her spare time, Cara enjoys spending time with her husband and two teenage daughters and occasionally finds time for gardening, cooking and fishing. She is also an avid Jazzerciser.

Susan Muirhead, Secretary
Susan Muirhead

Susan moved to Nanaimo from Edmonton in 2007 after semi-retiring from a successful career in health care administration that spanned acute care, rehabilitation, community services, as well as government agencies and the private sector. Her work at Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital included a strong relationship with the Hospital Foundation. She continues to provide consultation services in the field of rehabilitation, at provincial and national levels. Since joining the Foundation Board in 2009, Susan's past experience in policy and project management has helped advance the governance structure of the Schools Foundation Board. She has served on the Executive as Secretary since 2012. Susan volunteered for many years as a canvasser for the Heart & Stroke Foundation and is a past board member of YANA (You Are Never Alone). In her leisure time she enjoys long distance running, walking, hiking, swimming, kayaking, travel, and entertaining her new community of friends in Nanaimo.

Fred Kolodrubsky, Past-President
Fred Kolodrubsky

Fred has been a Senior Financial Consultant with Investors Group since 1971. During this time, he has been involved in the community through the Kinsmen Club, GYRO, United Way, Vancouver Island University Foundation, Nanaimo Oceanside Rotary Club, Alzheimer Society of BC Walk for Memories, and Ducks Unlimited. He has helped organize many events such as gala fundraisers, toy drives and used book sale fundraisers. His strong community connections have supported Fred in his many contributions to the Schools Foundation, as a founding member in 2007, Past-President, Vice-President, Committee Chair and Director. One of the things he is passionate about is seeing that all children have the same opportunity to complete school and to further their education. Fred enjoys spending time with family, camping, fishing, reading and sitting beside camp fires. He also enjoys supporting and encouraging youths in the community.

 

Directors

 

Jim Cram
Jim Cram

Jim joined the Foundation in 2012, is an active member of the Student Support Committee and provides volunteer support to the annual Stock the Lockers campaign. He is a retired high school teacher with over 40 years' experience that has taken him around the globe from Manitoba to Bulawayo, Rhodesia in Africa in the 1970s. Most of his career was spent in Ladysmith. He is presently doing contract work with the Stz'uminus First Nations. As a member of the Ladysmith Eagles, he is responsible for allocation of funds to youths in need in the community. One week a month he works with the Red Cross helping seniors. He has traveled a great deal and has been back to Africa four times, the birth place of two of his children. Jim received the Prime Minister's award for teaching in 2006 and was the 2011 Ladysmith Citizen of the Year.

Ron Dale
Ron Dale

Ron has been actively involved in School District 68 since 1986. He served as a school administrator, was the first coordinator of the Career Technical Centre, and is a three-term School Trustee. A strong advocate for education, Ron joined the Schools Foundation in 2013 and serves on the Fundraising & Communications Committee. His enthusiasm for the Foundation centres on advocating and creating opportunities for students. His major goal is to showcase the Foundation and provide leadership to other school districts by helping build strategies to share the Foundation's model to provincial education bodies. He strongly believes that the Foundation is a true 'good news' story for public education. He is hoping to produce a Fine Arts Night with performances by current and former students who are now enjoying successful careers in Music and the Performing Arts. He lives in Ladysmith and enjoys family activities, fitness, golf, travel, and being a proud Canadian.

Dan Morris
Dan Morris

Born in Nanaimo, Dan has spent the majority of his life here and attended school at Mountain View Elementary and John Barsby Secondary. He learned about the important work of the Nanaimo-Ladysmith Schools Foundation through his past involvement in Rotary and, in early 2013, he decided to join the Schools Foundation Board. Through his work as a Realtor with REMAX of Nanaimo, he has the opportunity to interact with businesses and individuals and letting people know of the needs of Nanaimo school children, and how NLSF is a much needed and integral part of many students' lives. Dan looks forward to helping the Foundation succeed in its mission. When not selling homes and helping with the Foundation, he is enjoying time with his family and raising 3 young boys.

Trevor Muise
Trevor Muise

Trevor has been involved with the Schools Foundation since 1990, before it was a registered nonprofit. At that time, it was a society run by teachers/counsellors of SD 68 that solicited scholarships and bursaries for Grade 12 graduates. He rejoined the Foundation in 2010 and serves as Chair of the Scholarship & Bursary Selection Committee that works closely with school representatives, District Secretary-Treasurer and community volunteers to ensure fair and efficient allocation of award monies and smooth operation of the Student Award's ceremony at the Port Theatre. Trevor is a retired teacher and counsellor who worked for School District 68 for 32 years. He is a volunteer teacher for new Canadians with Literacy Nanaimo and works at Forward House Community Society, a Parksville nonprofit offering day programs for clients with mental health and addiction issues. He sings with two choirs, enjoys skiing, tennis, kayaking, travel, and is an avid reader.

Dot Neary
Dot Neary

Dot is a District of Lantzville Council Member. For six years she was a Trustee on the Nanaimo-Ladysmith Board of Education where she served as Board Chair and Chair of many Standing Committees. For 16 years she provided leadership on Parent Advisory Councils at her two sons’ schools and the District PAC. She also served on the BC Trustees Association Legislative Committee, the City of Nanaimo Social Planning and Advisory Committee, and she volunteered with the United Way and 2014 BC Summer Games. Born and raised in the UK, Dot has lived in Canada for 25 years. In the UK she enjoyed a career in training supervision and administration; in Canada she was a small business owner-operator for 9 years and worked in the retail sector prior to being elected to the School District 68 Board of Education. Dot is passionate about improving the learning and life chances of students.

Ed Poli
Ed Poli

Ed came to Nanaimo from Ottawa in 1993 after a 25-year career in the Federal Government as a Director of various national programs. He then served as Manager of Nanaimo's Canada Employment Centre for 5 years before pursuing a consulting practice in economic development that has encompassed work in the oil and gas field, education, film and fisheries sectors. Ed has also served in the cultural sector as Manager of the Nanaimo Art Gallery and as President of the Nanaimo Blues Society and as an organizer of five Nanaimo Blues Festivals. A relatively recent member of the NLSF Board, Ed has significant past experience with nonprofit boards and currently serves on the Boards of the Community Futures Development Corporation and the Nanaimo North Rotary Club, which has twice recognized him as Rotarian of the Year.

Sharon Richmond
Sharon Richmond

Sharon is a retired Principal from Winnipeg, Manitoba and has worked with elementary and high school students. Her previous experience includes fundraising with the United Way, Kidney Foundation and the Heart & Stroke Foundation. Since moving to Nanaimo in 2002, she has volunteered for the Heart & Stroke Foundation as a neighborhood canvasser and area leader. She is on the Board of YANA (You Are Never Alone) and is a member of the Van Isle Chapter of Retired Teachers of Manitoba where she has served as Secretary and as a member of the Nominating Committee. Sharon joined the Schools Foundation Board in 2012 and serves on the Scholarship & Bursary Selection Committee. In her leisure time she enjoys travelling, reading, kayaking, golfing, walking, hiking, pickleball, tennis, cooking, baking and entertaining.

Karen Stant
Karen Stant

Karen joined the Schools Foundation in February 2013 and is an active member of the Scholarship & Bursary Selection Committee. She was born in Ladysmith, attended Ladysmith Secondary School and has lived in Nanaimo for the past 21 years. In 2012 she retired after a 34-year career as an administrator, most recently as the Coordinator of Financial Aid & Awards at Vancouver Island University. Karen brings a strong knowledge and understanding of the challenges students face. The Schools Foundation is well-served by her many years of experience at VIU and her past role as Chair of VIU's Awards Committee. When not supporting the activities of the Schools Foundation, Karen keeps busy running her Bed & Breakfast where she enjoys hosting visitors from all over the world. She also enjoys travel, yoga, reading, walking, gardening and spending time with her grandkids.

Kim Strynadka
Kim Strynadka

A leader in the mortgage industry for 18 years, Kim has as big of a passion for giving back to her community as she does helping people find money to buy real estate. She especially likes helping teens and young adults learn about money and credit. Knowing that education is a key ingredient to our children’s success, she created an award in honour of her late mother and joined the Board of NLSF. She also donates her time, money and talent to students and youth groups, mentoring kids with her no-nonsense money and credit workshops. In her spare time she likes to play monopoly with Nanaimo real estate and to do stand-up comedy.

Sylvia Wilson, Board Recorder
Sylvia Wilson

Sylvia joined the Schools Foundation Board in 2015. She moved to Nanaimo in 1994 to raise her family and quickly discovered how diverse and inviting this community is. Her first experience volunteering for the community was as an original board member of the Neck Point Park Society, and she is proud how a small group of citizens with a clear objective can make a difference. Active with the Nanaimo Riptides Swim Team as Events Chair and Board member for 8 years, she became the Sports Chair-Swimming for the 2014 BC Summer Games. She has been involved with Nanaimo Dry Grad as a committee chair and ongoing volunteer. She is currently working as a Mortgage Specialist and loves to meet new people. She strongly believes that each encounter enriches your life and that everybody has an interesting story to tell. Her motto in life is 'Give a little, gain a lot'.

John Blain, Ex-Officio Director
John Blain

John was recently appointed Superintendent/CEO of Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools. He has a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education from San Jose State University, holds a Master's in Administration and Leadership from San Diego State University, and has completed the Professional Development Program in Education at Simon Fraser University. Before his role as Superintendent in the District, John was the Deputy Superintendent and was a school administrator in a number of schools in British Columbia. He celebrates almost 40 years in the education field.

Bill Robinson, Ex-Officio Director
Bill Robinson

Bill is serving his second term as a School District 68 Trustee and has been a liaison with NLSF since 2013. His extensive knowledge and experience in public relations, marketing and board relations are valuable assets to the Schools Foundation. He has served on multiple boards including the BC Association for Community Education, Volunteer Nanaimo, Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Vancouver Island, Tourism Nanaimo, and Rotary Club of Nanaimo North. Bill's involvements in the media, through various radio and television projects and print publications as a feature columnist, have raised funds and promoted public awareness for many community-based initiatives such as Toronto's Robinson Connection radio show, Kin Cystic Fibrosis Radiothon, Our Hidden Heroes education program, and Sihlengeni School Project in Zimbabwe. He self-published a book Our Hidden Heroes: Life Lessons from the Everyday Folks Who Lived Them .

Past Board Members 


George Anderson; Sharon Althouse; Carol Baird-Krul; Jamie Brennan, ex-officio; Meryl Chahley; Ron Dale; Joan Ethier; Dave Hammond; Steve Hancock; Rob Hutchins; Harold Kamikawaji; Dave Lobay; Signy Madden; Noreen Martin; Jim McIvor; Gord McNaughton; Pattie Mitchell; Dawn Morrow; Susan Muirhead; Trevor Muise; Duck Patterson; Roger Prior; Sharon Richmond; Terry-Lynn Saunders; Greg Scott; Omar Sirri; Kathy Smith.

We work with: Cash donations, Memorial gifts, Endowment/Wills, Life Insurance policies, Securities
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