Board – Connect Charter School

Cameron McDonald

[email protected]

Cameron McDonald joined the Board in 2024. Cameron is a Partner at Humanis Talent Acquisition & Advisory, a retained national executive search firm. He specializes in the recruitment of senior talent across corporate services and operations within oil and gas, oilfield services, financial services, manufacturing, real estate and construction, as well as non-profit.Cameron is active in the community volunteering his time with numerous charitable organizations including The Calgary Stampede’s Courtesy Car Committee and the Executive Committee for The Top 7 Over 70 Awards Program. He previously sat on The Canadian Cancer Society’s AB/NWT Advisory Board and also mentored youth through Rotary’s Tom Jackson Stay in School Program. Outside of the workplace, Cameron spends most of his time enjoying the outdoors with his wife and three young children.

Bryce Monar

Bryce Monar is a parent of 2 students at Connect Charter School. He volunteers as much as possible as he enjoys spending time with the students, teachers and other parent volunteers on the many excursions throughout the year. There is always an opportunity to learn, grow and share from these volunteering experiences. Bryce is an electrician and an electrical engineer and has worked in many capacities up to engineering director for a global engineering company that has an office in Calgary. Bryce is currently working as a project engineering manager/project manager. Bryce and his family spend a lot of time outdoors throughout the year and more so in the summer camping in western Canada. Bryce and both children are competitive swimmers and he also volunteers at their swim meets regularly as well.

Rochelle Estep

Rochelle Estep is a parent at Connect Charter School with a son in grade 5 and a daughter in grade 8. Professionally Rochelle holds a P.Eng and a MBA designation with a focus on finance. She has worked in the energy sector for over 20 years in numerous technical and leadership roles. Her current position as VP Development includes the stewardship of multi-million dollar capital expenditures and results along with long term and strategic planning. Volunteering and being a part of her children’s school community is of particular importance and to that end Rochelle has acted as a class parent representative, coordinated school wide sports day’s and has supported elementary classes as an early literacy program mentor. For the last two years Rochelle has also been involved with the Connect Parent Council as Secretary and has organized and supported various school fundraisers. Rochelle is looking forward to leveraging her governance, leadership and planning skills to give back to the Connect community.

Perry Pasloski

I have been an active volunteer for both my daughters time at Connect Charter and have attended numerous overnight and day trips over their time theres. These experiences at Connect have allowed me to create a special bond with my daughters and have created lifelong memories that we all enjoy reminiscing about as well had creating friendships with other parents and teachers within the Connect Community. I am an Information Technology Technical Leader and Manager for over 20 years in the Oil and Gas and high Tech industries. As an avid outdoors person, I love spending my spare time mountain biking, skiing, hiking and use landscape and wildlife photography as my creative outlet.

Kevin O’Connor

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.

Ron Koper

Ron Koper has been a director since 2017. “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 I’ve pursued a passion for learning, leadership 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 and marvellous people.”

David McKenzie

David McKenzie is a lawyer in private practice, focusing on business law. David has acted as an Officer and Director of a number of private corporations in the areas of oil & gas services, health care services, real estate development, real estate finance and real property management. David is currently a trustee of a mutual fund trust and was previously a Chief Compliance Officer for an Exempt Market Dealer. Interspersed, David spent 4 years as a Foreign Service Officer with the Canadian government.

David is an enthusiastic community volunteer. He is a long-time volunteer with the Children’s Cottage Society of Calgary, including time as a Director and as President, 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 Campaign 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.

DJ Kelly

DJ Kelly is a Calgary-based community engagement professional and has had a child at Connect since 2021. He is the Director of Community Partnerships at the University of Calgary, chair of the PechaKucha Night Calgary speaker series, and a board member of the Greenview Industrial Business Improvement Area. DJ is the former president or chair of Winston Heights/Mountview Community Association, Nuit Blanche Calgary, Calgary Professional Arts Alliance, and Betty Mitchell Professional Theatre Awards. As a citizen, he has successfully advocated for the creation of the City of Calgary’s Open Data Catalogue and Poet Laureate Program as methods to increase the transparency and accountability of government. Projects he’s led have received United Way of Calgary and Area’s President’s Award, International Association of Facilitators Platinum Impact Award, and the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) Organization of the Year. For his volunteer efforts, DJ has received both the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum and Diamond Jubilee Medals and was named a Top 40 Under 40 by Avenue Magazine.

Jo Towers

Jo Towers joined the Board in 2021. Jo is a Werklund Research Professor in the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary. Her areas of expertise include students’ mathematical understanding, student experience and identity in relation to learning mathematics, and inquiry-oriented approaches to teaching, learning, and teacher education. She was the recipient of the 2015 University of Calgary Teaching Award for the Rank of Full Professor, the 2018 Alberta Teachers’ Association Educational Research Award, and, with her co-authors, a 2015 Canadian Association of Foundations of Education Publication Award for their book entitled Provoking Conversations about Inquiry in Teacher Education. Jo is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the journal For the Learning of Mathematics and a member of the Editorial Review Board of the Alberta Journal of Educational Research.

Jo grew up in the UK where she taught in secondary schools and completed her first graduate degree at Oxford University before moving to Canada in 1995 to complete her Ph.D. at the University of British Columbia. She is a volunteer Puppy Sitter for the Pacific Assistance Dogs Society and fosters animals in need for the Cochrane and Area Humane Society. She also volunteers as a Peer Mentor with the Family to Family Connections Program at the Alberta Children’s Hospital and is a member of Foothills Concert Band, a community band that contributes to the Calgary community by offering musical events including free concerts in extended care and assisted living facilities (when Covid protocols allow).

Sarah Salus

Sarah Salus is a parent at Connect Charter School and has been a director since 2021. She is an experienced fund development and communications professional and currently works for the University of Calgary as Director of Development at the Cumming School of Medicine. Over the course of her career she has held leadership roles in the private and non-profit sectors in the UK and Canada. She is passionate about health, wellness and community building, having held volunteer roles within the school and the Calgary community. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys spending time outdoors with her family and dogs, and the arts.