Staff and Consultants

SEEDS Connections - Staff and Consultants

Current - 2021-22

Kari Shewkenek   -   Kari has been bringing igh school students to the CONECTIONS program for over 10 years and has most recently been our onsite coordinator at Kamp Kiwnias during the proamgs onsite comonent.  Kari has extensive experience working on and with various curriculum and has used this experience to help "fine tune" the online CONNECTIONs" discussions, activites and marking rubrics.

Jane Ripkens – is a CONNECTIONS Program Facilitator who supports the CONNECTIONS Program by working with schools in north east, and east central Alberta.  Additionally she works on the CONNECTIONS website, and with colleagues at Kamp Kiwanis during the on-site portion of the program. Jane earned her B. Ed. and M. Ed. from the University of Alberta and brings 27 years of experience in teaching and administration to the program.  She retired from her position as principal of Bonnyville Centralized High School in June 2011, and has been working with CONNECTIONS since then.   Currently she is an educational consultant, speaker and presenter.  She also works, at times, as a regional facilitator for the University of Alberta, with student and mentor teachers.   Jane lives in Bonnyville, AB.

George Taven – is retired from the Calgary Board of Education by SEEDS Connections and is the Program Manager of the CONNECTIONS Program. He is a Teacher, Program Coordinator and Program Administrator with the Calgary Board of Education (CBE), where he has worked for over 35 years. He has an MSc in Educational Curriculum Design.

Past Staff and Consultants

Diane Doland -  Diane's thirty three years in her educational career was with the CBE where she had the opportunity to teach at every grade level. She has taught physical education, science, math, outdoor education, leadership and music. Since retiring three years ago, she has had the good fortune to travel to many amazing countries in the world. Her experience while in these countries has given her a better understanding of cultural diversity. When at home, she dives into different projects in her community and referees high school and club volleyball. Along with her husband Kim, she has taken on the role as Coordinator for CONNECTIONS. Diane is very excited about working along-side high school students and watching the impact that they can make to be "change makers", not only in our communities and  country, but around the world.

Kim Doland -  Kim's educational career has spanned over 30 years with the CBE, as a teacher and principal. He attended the U of C and received his Masters degree from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. Now retired, he and his wife Diane travel extensively around the world for much of the year, often to developing nations where they lend their support to disadvantaged citizens. When in Calgary, they referee volleyball at the high school and college levels, and have recently taken on their new roles as Coordinators for CONNECTIONS. Kim delights in working with high school students and guiding their growth as future leaders and stewards of this planet.

Ann Gray-Elton    - Ann was involved with CONNECTIONS as a participating teacher for many years and then after her retirement from the Calgary Board of Education agreed to become the CONNECTIONS onsite Coordinator at Kamp Kiwanis.  She brings a wealth of teaching experience and as well as strong leadership skills gained from her years as a learning leader with the CBE.  Ann and her husband enjoy traveling the world and have developed many world wide friendships which have resulted in them hosting many international travellers in their home over the years.

Natalie Gallant – is the Coordinator of the GREEN Schools Program. She is an experienced secondary school teacher and education consultant, with a Bachelor of Environmental Studies degree from the University of Waterloo and a Bachelor of Education in Secondary Geography and Mathematics from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. Natalie has taught secondary Mathematics, Social Studies, Leadership, and Yoga for the Calgary Board of Education since 2007, served on the writing team for the senior high school leadership curriculum for Alberta Education, and mapped curricular outcomes for many education programs in Alberta.  Natalie is a past member of the SEEDS Connections Board and has worked on the Programming Team for the CONNECTIONS Program for many years. Natalie is a passionate environmentalist and outdoorswoman and spends her free time cycling, hiking, and skiing in the Rockies.

Natasha Sarkar - joined SEEDS Connections as a Program Strategist in 2014. For nearly two decades, she has worked to empower youth and educators throughout North America and the world to expand their understanding of global citizenship. She is Program Coordinator for the Global Citizenship Summer Institute, hosted by ACGC. A certified Alberta teacher, she has helped develop global education resources at CAWST, One to World NYC, and helped facilitate the 2011 Summit on Global Education while working for Global Washington.  She is the Global Education Adviser for the Global, Environmental & Outdoor Council of the ATA. She holds a B.A. in Asian (Japan) Studies (UBC), B.Ed. Social Studies/International Education (University of Alberta) and is completing her MA Comparative and International Education at Teachers College, Columbia University.



Funders and Sponsors

  • RBC Foundation
  • The Calgary Foundation
  • Kamp Kiwanis
  • Cenovus Energy
  • Alliance Pipeline
  • TD Friends of the Enivornment Foundation
  • Rife Resources Ltd