Meet the Founders, Board of Directors & Leadership Team
Meet the founders
B.Mus.(Hons), B.Ed., C.H.N.C., M.Ed.
Founder, Head of School, CEO, Board Chair
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 own small business at the age of thirteen teaching music lessons to young children, a business she successfully operated for nearly two decades.
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 their new music and band program. She continued at West Island College teaching English 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 served on the Board of Directors for the Children's Commons Ecological Society and assisted them in the creation of Calgary's first accredited outdoor Nature Kindergarten program. She was then appointed Principal and Program Director for its first year of operation.
Over the past 15 years, Kristi has worked with all ages as a teacher, guest teacher and clinician in a variety of charter, public and private school settings in and around Calgary. She is also a mother to two Changemaker students.
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, Treasurer, Chair of Finance & Facilities
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 a high-school alumni of Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School (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.
Cam is the president of Rocky Point Custom Homes which he founded in 1999 and is a loving father to two children who attend the Changemaker School.
Cam has also spent over two decades volunteering with the Calgary Stampede and has been an active volunteer with the Calgary Changemakers in Education Society since its inception.
B.Sc., M.A., R.C.C., C.C.C., C.Hyp.
Director, Chair of Fundraising, Events and Parent Connection
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 is a Director on the Board that governs the Calgary Changemaker School and she has one child at our school, with a second to join soon!
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.
Board Secretary, Chair of Risk Management
Lucy is our newest Board Member, elected as Secretary and Chair of Risk Management at the start of the 2021-2022 school year and we are thrilled to have her valuable expertise and insight on our team.
Lucy graduated from the University of Calgary in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts with a major in psychology. Afterwards she attended Dalhousie University, Schulich School of Law where she graduated in 2012 with a Juris Doctor degree in the top 5% of her class.
Lucy is currently a Senior Associate at Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP (NRFC), where she practices commercial litigation. Lucy has a broad range of experience at NRFC, including with disputes involving issues of corporate governance and fiduciary duties of directors and officers.
Since 2015, Lucy leads the Calgary chapter of NRFC’s national PRIDE Network.
Lucy is a mother of two young children (not yet grade-school age) and is passionate about raising the next generation to be proactive, hard-working, and driven.
B.Ed. (Hons), M.A.
Jennifer Aldred is a current Board Director for the Calgary Changemakers in Education Society and a mother of ten, including four Changemaker students (so far)!
She is an educator and curriculum specialist, holding a Masters of Arts in Gifted Education, as well as an Honors degree in English Literature and a Bachelor of Education. Jenn has worked in the field of gifted education for twenty five years and was involved in the expansion of the Calgary Board of Education’s Gifted and Talented Education Program (GATE.) She worked as a Humanities specialist at the elementary and junior high level within the GATE program, and also taught at University of Calgary’s Centre for Gifted Education, offering programs for gifted learners, developing curriculum and providing professional development for education students and teachers of the gifted.
Jenn has worked extensively over the past two decades as a consultant with teachers and parents to develop programming alternatives for gifted learners. She continues to create curriculum resources to serve the social and emotional needs of the gifted community. The values of creativity, consciousness and wholeness are inherent within both the raising of her family and the work she does in teaching and learning.
B.A.(Hons), B.Ed., Principal Cert.
Christine Avey is an Alberta certified educator and Principal 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 an integral member of the award nominated team that developed and piloted the PEEL program in 2015 and won a Kimberley Foundation teaching award in 2020. She obtained her Alberta Leadership and Principal Certification at the University of Calgary in 2019.
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 and former volunteer firefighter. He is a loving husband and devoted father to two teenage daughters.
Co-Founder, Former Board Member, Advisor to the Board
In the fall of 2021 Annie's family decided to make a lifestyle change and moved to Prince Edward Island. Annie put in an incredible number of volunteer hours and a great deal of hard work helping to get the Calgary Changemakers in Education Society started in our first two years and we continue to be grateful for her support and role as an advisor from a distance.
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 and is Metis, herself.
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. This special early learning centre is still in operation today under new management and many of their children move up to our school for Kindergarten.
The Teaching Team & Staff
Our entire team of certified teachers, educational assistants, support staff and artists in residence bring their unique and diverse 'outside of the box' perspectives and actively contribute in the building of an inspirational, one-of-a-kind educational experience and work environment.
Our educators and staff members are committed to empowering our students to become innovative leaders and Changemakers. They are also confident in facilitating creative, experiential and play-based projects and learning opportunities and are adept at offering their students 'choice, voice and challenge' in both indoor and outdoor learning environments.
All staff and Board members are in alignment with our vision and mission and consistently model respect and empathy for all.