Advisory Board

Michelle Bessette

Michelle Bessette

Michelle Bessette is the Indigenous Student Success Officer at the Indigenous People’s Centre at Brandon University. Previously, she served as a student success officer responsible for recruitment, retention, and student advising for First Nations, Metis, and Inuit students at BU. Her term ends in the spring of 2021, with the option to serve for 2 more years. 

Dr. Marc Casavant

Dr. Marc Casavant

Dr. Marc Casavant has been the Superintendent/CEO of Brandon School Division since 2016. He holds a PhD in educational administration from the University of Saskatchewan and was the recipient of the 2012 Premier’s Award for Innovation and Excellence. His term ends in the spring of 2021, with the option to serve for 2 more years.

Dr. Patty Douglas

Dr. Patty Douglas

Dr. Patty Douglas is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Education. She is a former special education teacher and mom of two sons, one of whom attracted the label autism. Her current work is supported by a SSHRC Insight Grant ReStorying Autism in Education: Advancing the Cultures and Practices of Inclusion. Her term ends in the spring of 2021, with the option to serve for 2 more years.

Dr. Heather Duncan

Dr. Heather Duncan

Dr. Heather Duncan is the Associate Vice-President of Research and Dean of Education at Brandon University. She is interested in democratic leadership, e-learning, rural education, and mentoring. As Dean of Education, she is an ex officio member of the board.

Dr. Jacqueline Kirk

Dr. Jacqueline Kirk is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education and the representative to the Board of Directors from the Department of Leadership and Educational Administration (DLEA). Jackie has been at Brandon University since the beginning of BU CARES and has been engaged with several different research projects in the Center over the last 10+ years. Jackie grew up on a farm outside of a small community in rural Saskatchewan and cares deeply about the continued success of rural communities and rural schools. Her term ends spring of 2021.

Dr. Cathryn Smith

Dr. Cathryn Smith is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education in the Department of Leadership and Educational Administration (DLEA). Her position on the Advisory Board aligns with her role as Chair of Graduate Studies in Education. She is President of the Canadian Association for Teacher Education (CATE), which is an integral part of the Canadian Society for Studies in Education (CSSE), Canada’s largest organization for education scholars. Her areas of research interest include teacher leadership, leadership development, professional learning, mentoring, program evaluation and action research. Before moving to Brandon, she was a teacher and school principal in Winnipeg’s culturally diverse inner city.  

Dr. Burcu Yaman Ntelioglou

Dr. Burcu Yaman Ntelioglou is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy in the Faculty of Education,  and the representative to the Board of Directors from the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy. She teaches in both the teacher education and graduate education programs. Dr. Yaman Ntelioglou is passionate about community-engaged, collaborative, participatory and decolonizing methodologies in research from a transdisciplinary perspective, informed by curriculum studies, applied linguistics, literacy education, drama education and Indigenous epistemologies and ontologies. Her research projects explore ethical local and global questions about social justice, equity, translingual and transcultural approaches, language revitalization, migration, and globalization in rural and urban education. Her term will end spring of 2022, with the option to serve for two more years. 

Rebecca Okemow

Rebecca Okemow

Rebecca Okemow is a Graduate student in Education in the guidance and counseling stream. She is a member of the God’s Lake First Nation Band, and currently lives in Minnedosa. She works for Park West School Division at Strathclair, Manitoba and works with rural and Indigenous students from Keeseekoowenin First Nation. She has lived in remote, rural, and urban areas throughout her life. Her term ends spring of 2021. 

Kevin Tacan

Kevin Tacan

Kevin Tacan, from the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation, is an Aboriginal cultural consultant for the Brandon School Division. He is a strong advocate for Dakota language and culture, teaching students about the importance of history, ceremony, and cultural connections. His term will end spring of 2021, with the option to serve for 2 more years. 

Leah Laplante

Leah LaPlante is a Métis woman who was born and raised in the beautiful Turtle Mountain area of Southern Manitoba. She has spent many years researching and studying Métis history. In 1997 she was elected as Vice-President of the Southwest Region of the MMF and moved to Brandon. She is the minister of natural resources and citizenship and associate minister of tripartite self-government negotiations. Her term ends in the spring of 2022, with the option to serve for 2 more years. 

Prof. Candice Waddell

Prof. Candice Waddell

Candice Waddell is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatric Nursing at Brandon University.  She holds a Master’s degree in Psychiatric Nursing from Brandon University and was granted the Brandon University gold medal in Master of Psychiatric Nursing upon graduation. Prior to her work with Brandon University, she was a registered psychiatric nurse in Australia, New Zealand, Manitoba and remote communities in Nunavut. She has worked nationally and internationally on projects and collaborations focused on improving indigenous mental health and wellness, and reducing the impact of trauma.Her term ends in the spring of 2021, with the option to serve for 2 more years.