Read about the people who work for the ASBA and the province’s 61 school boards.
Valeria is a life-long learner who has a passion for education, training and organizational development.
Her professional achievements include leading training teams, building curricula for local and provincial boards, presenting for local, provincial, national and international conferences, working with post-secondary faculties, teaching in high school and working as executive director for a non-profit organization. She has grown and built wonderful relationships with colleagues from the City of Edmonton, the government of Alberta, University of Alberta, the International and Heritage Languages Association (IHLA) and NorQuest College. She is a skilled presenter and holds a certification as a translator for the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Alberta (ATIA). She holds a Master Degree in Communications Technologies (MACT) and a Master Degree in Secondary Education; speaks three languages and volunteers with the Big Brothers Big Sisters Of Canada.
With a love and passion for reading and walking, she enjoys travelling with her family and cooking for anyone who accepts an invitation to her place in Edmonton. She shares these passions with her husband Nick, their two boys, Michele and Marco, and their queen puppy Cleo. She is grateful and excited to be serving ASBA in support of excellence in public education.
Charlene Bearhead is a mother, grandmother, educator and innovator with 30 years of regional, national and international experience. Charlene currently serves as the Education Coordinator for the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women, the Coordinator- First Nations, Metis and Inuit Relations for the Alberta Schools Board Association and Director of Professional Learning with the College of Alberta School Superintendents for the Alberta Joint Commitment to Action: Education for Reconciliation. Charlene also serves on the Canadian Museum for Human Rights Indigenous Education Working Group, the Downie-Wenjack Fund Board of Directors, the Pathways to Education Canada Indigenous Education Advisory Circle, the Safe and Caring Schools Board of Directors and the National Film Board Education Advisory.
Charlene served as the first Education Lead for the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba. Prior to that she was the National Coordinator for Project of Heart, and for the National Day of Healing and Reconciliation. Ms. Bearhead also coordinated the Education Days within the TRC National Events for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Charlene has also served as a teacher, principal, education director and superintendent, both on and off reserve, over the years and holds permanent teaching certificates from both Alberta and Manitoba.
Rae is a dedicated and energetic communications professional with experience in strategic communications planning, issues management and media relations. ASBA’s new communications manager, Rae brings with her a wealth of experience in both private and public sectors. Rae kicked off her career in the marketing agency world, developing strategy for some of Alberta’s most well-known brands before taking her talents to ATCO Electric, and then to the public sector as a senior public affairs officer at the Government of Alberta. With a bachelor of arts in political science from the University of Alberta; a public relations diploma from MacEwan University and a master’s degree in professional communications from Royal Roads University, Rae is excited to take on the unique world that is school board governance.
Teresa Ergezinger joined the Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA) in 1986. Initially she provided support to the association as corporate receptionist and administrative assistant to the manager of finance. After an internal re-organization in 1997, she continued as corporate receptionist but reported to the manager of communications. Currently she provides secretarial and administrative support to the directors of finance and corporate services as well as to the executive director’s office.
Learning & Research
Laurie is passionate about education and is particularly interested in how people learn! She has spent most of her professional life involved in education. She was a classroom teacher for 17 years, teaching in both Canada and abroad with a focus on language learning. When she earned her master’s degree in educational psychology, she began to specialize in adult learning and professional development. For the past decade Laurie has been busy managing learning and development opportunities in a clinical setting as well as working in the field of applied educational research. She comes to the ASBA excited to put her knowledge of adult education and online learning to good use. Laurie is keen to learn more and is so happy to serve the ASBA membership.
Outside of work Laurie is a keen textile artist and a member of several needlework and fabric art guilds. She spends time each day creating something artistic. Laurie and her husband David are proud puppy parents to Beau and Pippin.
Anastasia comes from a non-profit, library, and research background focused on strategic planning, usage trends, and digital libraries. She is a self-proclaimed governance and policy nerd, and is looking forward to applying her knowledge and passion to the Research and Learning team.
As a volunteer computer literacy tutor for PALS Edmonton, Anastasia values life-long learning and helping people satisfy their curiosity. In her free time she can often be found curled up with a good book and a cat.
Noreen Pownall joined the Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA) in 1998. She provides secretarial and administrative support to the director of communications and helps organize conferences and general meetings. Prior to this Noreen worked for the labour relations and corporate services departments.
Noreen’s favorite teacher
Noreen’s favorite teacher was her junior high music teacher Ms. Zmean. She was a tiny lady with huge charisma and could easily command a classroom of teens even though most of us were taller than her. She instilled a lifelong love of all types of music.
Interim Senior Officer & School Boards Consultant
As a management consultant and executive coach, Tash specializes in all aspects of board governance, organizational and individual performance, team dynamics, strategy, and public participation.
Tash is bilingual in French and English, and pleased to assist boards with a range of services including facilitating leadership retreats, board workshops, and focus groups. As a certified coach, Tash skillfully works with teams and individuals through their unique situations whether dealing with conflict or uncertainty, and serves as a professional resource to leverage potential and improve positive performance. She conducts board and superintendent evaluations, organizational reviews, risk and culture audits, and policy reviews.
Tash brings over 25 years leadership experience in the community sector, working and consulting with public and non-profit organizations, government, elected officials, municipalities, and indigenous communities.
Her active career includes serving in an executive capacity as Board advisor with one of Canada’s largest school authorities, and serving as Chief of Staff and Strategy in the post-secondary sector. Additionally, Tash was appointed as executive director on two occasions, to establish new provincial non-profit organizations: Alberta’s Youth Volunteer, and the Alberta Non-Profit Housing Association (ANPHA).
In recognition of her work, the Federal Government invited Tash to join the Official Canadian Delegation at the UN Summit for Community Sustainability held in Quito, Ecuador, in 2016. Tash also served on the Government of Alberta’s Steering Committee for the province’s first Affordable Housing Strategy.
Tash holds an MBA specializing in Executive Management, has her Diploma in Management Consulting, and holds executive Coaching and Canadian Risk Management Designations. Tash also has completed the Queen’s University Strategy and Strategic Analytics Program, and is a trained practitioner in measuring social return on investment using international methodologies.
She is a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors, the Canadian Association of Management Consultants, the Global Risk Management institute, and the International Coach Federation.
She currently serves as on the Teacher Service Qualifications Board, sits on the Board of Governors with the Alberta Real Estate Foundation, and recently served as Vice-President of the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association in Ottawa.
Education consultant, Jim Gibbons joined the ASBA in June 2010. He came to the association from Chinook’s Edge School Division where he served as superintendent of schools for ten years. A past president of the College of Alberta School Superintendents (CASS) and the Canadian Association of School Administrators (CASA), Jim is on the governing board of the American Superintendents’ Association (AASA). He was appointed to a six-year term as chair of the Council on Alberta Teaching Standards and he serves on University of Calgary Senate. He is a member of the Inspiring Education Steering Committee. Jim has been an associate faculty member for San Diego State, Royal Roads and the University of Alberta Masters’ programs. He is a trainer/facilitator for Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Jim was awarded the Alberta Centennial Medal and the EXL award for his leadership in education. He was awarded an honorary degree from Olds College at convocation in June 2010.
Terry Gunderson joined the Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA) as an education consultant in May 2001. Terry brings 35 plus years experience in public education to his work with the association. He served as a principal, associate superintendent and superintendent. Terry has served on numerous boards, including the Lakeland College Board of Governors and APEGGA’s Board of Examiners. After being named a dean’s list graduate at Teachers’ College in Saskatoon in 1964, Terry earned a B.Ed. with great distinction and a B.Sc. cum laude at the University of Saskatchewan and a M.Ed. in educational administration from the University of Alberta. He assists school boards with executive searches, superintendent evaluations, board self-evaluations, strategic planning, specific system reviews, policy redevelopment processes and customized studies and workshops.
Terry’s favorite teacher
Terry’s favorite teacher was his Grade 1 teacher Mrs. Ferster. Terry could not speak English when he started Grade 1. Mrs. Ferster demonstrated care and compassion in teaching Terry both the English language and Grade 1 learning outcomes.
Currently an administrative assistant in the education services department, Jennifer Elsinga first joined the Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA) in 2000 as a senior legal secretary. She previously had been a legal assistant for many years with the law firm of Fraser Milner Casgrain and she has also worked as a freelance court reporter.
Jennifer’s favourite teacher
Jennifer’s favourite teacher was Mr. VanEerden, who taught high school chemistry and biology. In addition to being an excellent instructor, he occasionally would blow up things in the lab and leave dent marks in the ceiling, which was always hugely entertaining.