Meet the Founders
Meet the founders
B.Mus., B.Ed., C.H.N.C., M.Ed.
Founder, Head of School
Kristi graduated from the University of San Diego School of Leadership and Education Sciences with a Master’s in Education specializing in Educational Leadership. Her capstone thesis project focused on teacher training, gifted education and student-centred learning. Kristi's two undergraduate degrees, a Bachelor of Music Performance and a Bachelor of Education, were from the University of Calgary and she holds a current Alberta Teaching Certificate, is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist and is an affiliate teacher with the Royal Conservatory of Music.
Kristi started her classroom teaching career at West Island College, an independent university preparatory school for grades 7-12, where she was asked to design, build and teach a new music and band program. She continued at West Island College teaching English Language Arts and leading music programs that were combined with humanitarian work, travel and outdoor education. She was honoured to have been presented with the "Teacher of the Year" award during her time there.
Kristi has served on the Board of Directors of and assisted in the creation of Calgary's first outdoor Nature Kindergarten program. She was appointed Principal and Program Director for its first year of operation.
Over the past 15 years, Kristi has worked as a guest teacher with Westmount Charter School for gifted students, with the Calgary Board of Education and most recently with the Rocky View Schools Public Board. She is also a mother to two elementary-aged children.
Research supports Kristi’s belief that academic excellence is a natural byproduct of an educational climate in which innovation, creativity and originality of the individual is supported and cherished. In such an environment, students play, explore, experiment, live, discover and are challenged by their educational experiences (both indoors and out in nature) preparing them for not only the world they live in now but also for a rapidly changing post-industrial future.
Kristi was driven to start the Calgary Changemaker School when she saw the need for an alternative educational model that prioritizes the health and wellness of both students and staff and that empowers students to “be the change” that they want to see in the world.
Co-Founder, Leadership Team, Assistant Principal
Annie Lougheed has a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Calgary and holds a current Alberta Teaching Certificate. She is also certified as a Child Development Supervisor.
Annie spent her final semester and post-graduation year volunteering and subsequently working in Chiila Elementary School on Tsuu T’ina Nation.
A significant portion of Annie’s teaching career was then spent at the Calgary Girls School, a Charter School in Calgary, focused on helping girls develop leadership, problem-solving skills, and integrity. Recognized as an active leader in their school community including coaching junior high basketball, Annie was quickly promoted to Tech Team Grade Leader. She was also a presenter at the blendED symposium.
After having her own little ones, Annie saw a need for more nature-based daycare and early learning programs and successfully started Little Forest Dwellers, a Forest-School inspired, Nature Dayhome & Early Learning Centre just down the road from the Changemaker School.
Annie is an educator and leader with experience in diverse environments and strives to create a strong community of empathetic and mindful learners who are both curious and resilient. Through her guidance, Annie’s students explore their passions and interests through engaging and experiential learning opportunities, develop self-awareness and confidence, and embrace their fears and mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow.
Annie is now excited to use her business, leadership and teaching experiences toward transforming the vision of Calgary Changemaker School into a reality.
Cam holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance and a Master's in Business Administration from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. Being an alumni of Strathcona-Tweedsmuir (having attended when it was still a very small school), he recognizes the importance of feeling a sense of belonging in a school community and being challenged to reach a personal best. He is now the president of Rocky Point Custom Homes which he founded in 1999. Cam is also a loving husband and father to two young children.
B.Sc., M.A., R.C.C., C.C.C., C.Hyp.
Jennifer Michaleski is a family counsellor with a Bachelor of Science in Exercise and Health Physiology and a Masters in Counselling Psychology. She is a Registered Clinical Counsellor, Certified Canadian Counsellor, and Certified in Clinical Hypnotherapy.
She has worked in the area of Counselling Psychology for over 15 years, with the Alberta Heath Services Grief Support Program, and the Association for the Rehabilitation of the Brain Injured (ARBI). Jennifer was inspired to go into counselling after volunteering in several special children's programs: working with children in the Special Olympics, working with children in an Equine Assisted Therapy program for children who had experienced trauma, and from helping children who were in remission from cancer. During that time Jennifer learned the value of truly “listening with your heart”.
After having her own little ones, Jennifer started a private practice counselling individuals, families and groups as well as psycho-education and team development. She has had the privilege of walking beside individuals and families as they navigated tremendous challenges to find incredible hope and healing and has been honoured to witness their courage and strength.
As a counsellor, Jennifer strives to create a warm, safe, compassionate, and empathetic space. She helps clients to connect with their strengths and embraces a mindful and gentle approach that honours the wisdom and resilience clients already hold.
Jennifer currently volunteers on the Board of the Calgary Changemaker School and will be supporting staff and students in the school. She says, "I knew I wanted to be a part of this incredible initiative the first time I met with Annie and Kristi. It was an eye-opening moment to know that education can be offered in a very different way, one that honours the heart of the child and the family. It is a gift to be a part of such an amazing team and vision!" Jennifer hopes to continue to advocate for the difference that the Calgary Changemaker School can have for our children, the community, and the education system as a whole.
Leadership Team, Director of Student Support, PE and Outdoor Teacher,
When Darin (aka Mr.B) attended one of our very first open houses in early 2020, he knew he had to be part of the Changemaker team. Launching an independent school was not a new experience for Darin. In the 90s he worked with his uncle to start an independent school for students with learning disabilities that still exists in Calgary today. He also sat on the board of directors for a new sports-focused school in 2010 in addition to teaching at several private schools including Foothills Academy and River Valley school.
Darin has worked extensively with children with a variety of needs in school and camp settings for nearly thirty years. Darin believes strongly in a student-centred education that offers holistic and real-life experiences. He is an expert at supporting every child 'where they are at' as they develop an authentic identity and discover their own path to great success.
Darin is an avid outdoorsmen and athlete and enjoys both playing and coaching many sports including disc golf, volleyball, basketball, track and field, enduro-cross, rock climbing and mountain biking. Darin is also an Emergency Medical Responder. He is a loving husband and devoted father to two teenage daughters.
B.A. (Hons), B.Ed.
Gifted Education and Curriculum Development, Interim Principal
Christine Avey is an Alberta certified educator with nearly twenty years of teaching experience in both charter and public schools working primarily with Gifted students. She is also a specialist in STEAM project based learning (combined science-technology-engineering-arts-math) and environmental education. Christine is also a part of the award nominated team that developed and piloted the PEEL program in 2015 and won a Kimberley Foundation teaching award in 2020. She recently finished her Alberta Leadership and Principal Certification at the University of Calgary.
Christine will be working as a staff advisor, mentor and coach and will serve as our expert in gifted education and project-based learning.