Board Members

The Board

The Board of Directors is elected at the Annual General Meeting of the Society and is responsible for the governance and overall operation of Connect Charter School in accordance with the Society By-Laws, the School Act and Alberta Education Regulations. Up to a maximum of one third of Directors can be parents of students attending the school and the other Directors are community members with a area of specific expertise who support the charter goals and overall mandate of the school. The board can have between 9 and 21 members, but the desired number is 15 comprised of 10 community members and 5 parent members. Parent Directors are elected for a 1 year term, community Directors for a 3 year term and Directors cannot serve more than 3 consecutive terms. Directors also serve on various committees which make recommendations to the Board.

Board Members

Dave Robinson is a Director at Large and Current Chair of the Board. Dave originally joined the Board in 2004 as a member at large and became a parent representative in 2005 until 2011. After his children graduated from the school in 2012 he rejoined the Board as a community member. In his career, Dave has practiced exploration geology for over 30 years and currently serves as Vice President and Chief Geologist for Cequence Energy. Dave has observed the benefits that the unique tenets of education at Connect have made in the lives of many young learners who have attended the school. He has remained involved because he believes Connect represents the direction education should be going across the province and is proud to be a champion for the school as education evolves in Alberta. Dave is also a member of the Calgary Academy Board and believes deeply in making sure all students develop skills to become lifelong learners.

Hyacinth Schaeffer has been a director for 2 years and 7 months. As an educator, researcher, and author, Hyacinth is passionate about student learning and has taught at the elementary, secondary, and post-secondary levels. She served as Supervisor of Science for a large urban school district and as Director of Learning for a not-for-profit organization resulting in a deep understanding of promising educational practices in various jurisdictions. She feels privileged to contribute to the innovative direction of Connect Charter School as a leader in providing experiential and inquiry-based education.

Ron Koper has been a director for 3 years. “Having two outstanding educational leaders as parents, Janet and Larry Koper, I grew a deep appreciation for what remarkable schools look like and how important they are. Since 1982 as a professional I have followed a passion for learning and development, business and organization effectiveness and Human Resources, holding internal and external consulting, managerial and corporate executive roles. Serving the people, place and community of Connect has been a rare gift, combining a career passion with truly important work.”

Christy Newson has been a director since 2016. Christy has a background working in public audit practice, serving a wide range of clients in various industries. Currently she works in financial reporting in the energy sector and enjoys making sense of financial data. She is a mother of two who understands the importance of choice in education. She is proud to be a director and to support Connect’s staff and students.

Michelle Rousseau joined the Board in 2016. She has over 30 years of experience in the energy industry, holding a broad variety of leadership positions at Suncor Energy. She has a Degree in Business and a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering. She is married with an 11 year old son. Her past volunteer activities include serving on the board of Medical Mercy of Canada, chairing the Sarnia/Lampton Terry Fox Run, leading the Junior Achievement program, and as a coach and volunteer for minor hockey. She enjoys learning more about school systems and brings her governance knowledge to ensure policies are adhered to and that the strategic direction of the school is aligned to the school charter and ultimately the best interest of the student’s education.

Mangesh Kumthekar has been a Director at Connect since Fall 2017 and has been a part of the Audit & Finance and Facilities Committees. He is an Engineer & has a Masters in Business Administration and has been with Suncor Energy for the last 9 years. He is interested in all kinds of sports and has coached basketball & soccer teams; he has also worked extensively with Canadian Diabetes Association for multiple years to raise funds. Mangesh is excited & proud to be engaged with the School, share his experiences and passion to excel and at the same time gain an appreciation of the exceptional work that goes on at Connect. He has been a Connect parent for the last few years; his son is going into Grade 9 this Fall.”

Kathy Buchanan is currently finishing her 1st term as a director. “In my professional life as a school-based Occupational Therapist I have the opportunity to explore a wide range of school environments and teaching approaches, and am a firm believer in the exemplary teaching practices being fostered and researched at Connect Charter School. As a Connect parent for the past 8 years, and with my third child currently in Grade 5, I have a vested interest in supporting the vibrant, creative, sustainable community that is Connect.

David McKenzie is a lawyer in private practice, focusing on business law. David has acted as Chief Compliance Officer for an Exempt Market Dealer and is a Director and Officer of a number or private corporations in the areas of the oil & gas industry services, real estate development and real property management.  David spent 4 years as a Foreign Service Officer with the Canadian government and has practiced law with 4 firms prior to his current office.

David is an enthusiastic community volunteer.  He is a Director and Past-President of the Children’s Cottage Society of Calgary, a Director of Connect Charter School and is active in federal and provincial party politics.  David has previously been President and a Director of the Calgary Multicultural Centre, a Member of the United Way Cabinet, a Past Instructor of the Alberta Bar Admission Course and a youth hockey and soccer coach.  In 2017 David received the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers, an Honour awarded by the Governor General of Canada.


Dr. Kevin O’Connor is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Education, at Mount Royal University. Dr. O’Connor is the National Chair of the Canadian Association of Teacher Education CATE- Self-Study in Teacher Education Practices SSTEP group, serves as an editor and reviewer for numerous education research journals worldwide and sits as an Advisory Board member on the Canadian Research Institute for Social Policy CRISP, NASA-GLOBE International Science Education Group, European Scientific Institute ESI and The Paulo and Nita Freire International Center for Critical Pedagogy. Kevin recently stated “Connect Charter School is a model school for exemplary elementary and secondary education and is highly sought-after as a professional development school within teacher education.” As a parent of 3 children, he feels very fortunate to be a part of the Connect community as it is committed to facilitating best practices in education and provides a clear roadmap for successful implementation of experiential and place-based education. Kevin continues to volunteer as a hockey and soccer coach for youth.

Gavin Peat has been a Connect Director for nearly nine years and has enjoyed every moment of it. He is an Instructor at the University of Calgary, Werklund School of Education and has been working in Education programs his full career. He is a passionate outdoor enthusiast and strongly believes in inquiry and experiential learning opportunities to encourage and enable student engagement and learning. Connect embraces this philosophy and throughout his term as a Director he has have seen many exciting initiatives become a reality.

Mackenzie Regent is a Chartered Accountant and the Managing Partner of Kalos LLP, a Chartered Professional Accounting firm focused on adding value to the small business community. Mackenzie was previously a Manager for Ernst & Young LLP wherein she was chosen to represent Canada at an international leadership conference. Mackenzie is also a past member of Scotiabank’s Global Investment Banking team. She is a former competitive hockey player having represented Canada in 2006, named the top-student athlete for the Canada West Conference in 2009, and a multiple time Academic All-Canadian and Canada West All-Star.

Mackenzie is an alumnus of Connect and joined the Board in 2014. Mackenzie is proud to give back to the Connect community as she has experienced firsthand the difference an engaged, diverse, and supportive learning environment can make. Mackenzie feels it is important to approach governance from the lens of what is best for our students and shares her insights from her student experience to achieve that perspective. Mackenzie is a passionate volunteer having organized numerous United Way corporate campaigns, championing EY’s inaugural Ride to Conquer Cancer team as well as numerous other initiatives.

Bryce Monar has been a board member since Fall 2018. He is an electrician as well as an electrical engineer and is the Corporate Engineering Manager at Wood Canada Ltd.

Bryce is a competitive swimmer who also loves being outdoors with his family. The family camps all summer and loves to travel and explore new countries and cultures. His daughter is currently in Grade 5 at Connect and his son is in grade 2 at Westgate in the French program. Bryce is continuously seeking to learn and grow to become a better individual whether through training courses, reading or others. He has volunteered in the community as a community board member and volunteers with the children’s schools and sports activities. He brings a practical and pragmatic perspective to the board.

Shelley Jahnke 
As a board member since 2018, Shelley is thrilled to support the excellent work happening at Connect Charter and the commitment to exemplary citizenship. With a background in finance and consulting, Shelley has broad experience in the energy and transportation industries, most recently supporting technology transformation at Suncor Energy, Through her term as a board member Shelley has brought her experience in strategic advisory, process improvement, governance and decision making to lead the Operations Committee. Growing up in a family with a long history in education, Shelley is passionate about the opportunity to learn from and contribute to the Connect community.


Dana Braunberger, in her 20 years in Education, has served as a teacher, Academic Dean, Principal, Consultant and Chief Performance Officer. Currently, she works in Research and Innovation and is enrolled in a Ph.D program. She is passionate about volunteering and currently serves on an institutional ethics board, and the race committee for Betty’s Run for ALS. She is an avid runner, soccer player, reader and traveler. She is thrilled that her boys have the opportunity to attend Connect Charter and be a part of this wonderful community!