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Join us at Laurier

Becoming a Golden Hawk means more than just cheering on our (really good) varsity teams – it means being a student who cares about your community, who works hard in the classroom, and who takes advantage of all the learning opportunities that can happen outside the classroom, too.


Marj Bellingham Marj Bellingham

Coordinator, Lift Off to Higher Education

Area of Responsibility

As a coordinator, I am responsible for research, program development, staff training and school liaison. I work with program facilitators, Laurier staff, school staff, and program donors to provide presentations to students in grades 7 and 8 that help demystify post secondary education. Students are given opportunities to consider life and career pathways, how their strengths, interests, values and personality relate to these pathways, and the importance of financial literacy. This program aligns with the Ontario Ministry of Education’s “Creating Pathways to Success, K-12” (2013).

I am also responsible for creating alternate programs to meet the needs of the diverse student population in the schools – ESL, LifeSkills, Enrichment, etc. Working with staff at WRDSB, our programs are designed to support the specific learning needs and pathways for these groups.

Background

I started in the role of coordinator in January 2018. I am a retired teacher with the Waterloo Region District School Board and have over 35 years of experience in the field of education as as a classroom teacher, physical education teacher and special education teacher and teacher at Queens and Western universities. I have also taught inmates at Grand Valley institute for Women and served as the Public Education Coordinator for the Alzheimer Society Waterloo Wellington.

I have a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Waterloo and completed a professional education program at Stratford Teachers’ College. I have additional qualifications in Special Education. I was awarded the WT Townsend Award for excellence in teaching from the WRDSB.

Jan McPhedran-McLeodJan McPhedran-McLeod

Coordinator, Lift Off to Higher Education

Area of Responsibility

As a coordinator, I am responsible for research, program development, staff training, and school liaison. I work with program facilitators, Laurier staff, school staff, and program donors to provide presentations for students in grades 7 and 8 that help to de-mystify post secondary education. Students are given opportunities to consider life and career pathways, how their strengths, interests, values and personality relate to these pathways, and the importance of financial literacy. This program aligns with the Ontario Ministry of Education’s “Creating Pathways to Success, K-12” (2013).

Recently, I have been working with members of the Indigenous community to develop presentations that support Indigenous youth. We will also be working with our donor, Manulife Financial, to involve interested Manulife staff in various volunteer capacities within our program.

Background

I was hired in 2013 to begin writing and piloting the grade 8 Jumpstart to Higher Education Program. Prior to working at Laurier, I was a teacher, guidance counsellor and principal with the Waterloo Region District School Board. I have a BA (Sociology) from McMaster University, as well as a BEd and a Master of Education from OISE, University of Toronto. I have additional qualifications in Guidance (Western University), Learning Disabilities (University of Waterloo), and ESL (Brock University). I have taught English in Beijing, China, and was on a one-year exchange to Forster, NSW, Australia as an administrator at Great Lakes College.

Publications

  • McPhedran-McLeod, Jan. "Effective Relationships". A resource guide for elementary Guidance Counsellors, Waterloo County Board of Education. (1990)

Breanne RussellBreanne Russel

Facilitator, Lift Off to Higher Education

Area of Responsibility

I facilitate the Lift Off to Higher Education programs to Grade 7 and 8 students throughout Waterloo Region. I am passionate about teaching students about post-secondary education, financial literacy and career pathways. I like to encourage young people to explore, try new things, get a job, or volunteer within the community to learn more about their values, skills and interests.

Background

My role with the Lift Off program began in January 2020. Prior to joining the program as a facilitator, I worked in corporate campus recruitment with a consulting firm and was the community engagement coordinator with TD Lab at Communitech. Before moving to the Waterloo region 2 years ago I worked in post-secondary recruitment and admissions for 7 years both at the undergraduate and graduate level at Western University and the Ivey Business School. I completed my Bachelor of Arts- History & Geography and Bachelors of Education- Intermediate/Senior Division at Western University.

Personal Interests

I am a Yoga Instructor with the Wilfrid Laurier Recreation Centre teaching Yoga Flow and De-Stress Yoga and Meditation.

Joy SmithJoy Smith

Facilitator, Lift Off to Higher Education

Area of Responsibility

I work alongside a highly collaborative team of educators to facilitate and deliver the Lift Off to Higher Education program to students across Waterloo Region. In my position, I facilitate learning sessions both in-schools and online to help students learn about their post-secondary options and financial literacy skills. Additionally, I provide technology and design support, where I help to design the presentation and booklet packages, edit and caption videos, and provide tech support.

Background

I am an educator and communicator obsessed with creating systems that help people to learn better. To this end, I am working towards my Master's degree in Human-Computer Interaction at Carleton University developing a specialization in education and learning, as well a cyber security. My previous position was at REAP where for 5 years I was in charge of running a digital media lab affiliated with the University of Waterloo where I managed the IT, communications, events, and student "sprint" work. 

We encourage teachers, guidance counsellors and principals interested in bringing the Lift Off program to their schools to reach out to one of our program coordinators.

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