The Centre for Literacy provides instruction and support to students across Canada, and Canadians abroad. Headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, the Centre’s major activity is supporting students to overcome difficulties in learning reading, writing and math. Most students receive one on one support from highly trained teachers. Small group support, primarily early intervention play-based programs, for students in Kindergarten and Grades 1 and 2 is also available.
Support is organized around a student’s learning challenges, and strengths. Strategies used for teaching are evidence-based or evidence-informed; they have been assessed as effective through peer reviewed evaluation.
Reading, writing and math assessments are completed for the purpose of informing intervention and monitoring progress.
Empowering parents/guardians through information sessions on relevant topics is also a priority. Teachers and other professionals benefit from a variety of Professional Development programs. They are invited to attend sessions alongside the Centre’s teaching staff.
Kathryn Burke, Executive Director: Kathryn has managed the Centre since 2013. She has held multiple roles in the health and human services sector. She served as the Executive Director of the Learning Disabilities Association of Alberta and in senior management roles in health administration at Edmonton’s Royal Alexandra Hospital and the University of Alberta Hospitals. She has worked as a consultant in healthcare, completing multiple projects in children’s mental health, an organ and tissue donation and transplantation. She holds and honours undergraduate and master’s degree in Sociology from the University of Calgary, with concentration on research methods and social psychology. Work at the Centre for Literacy is personal for Kathryn. Her eldest son lives with Autism and other complex mental health issues and learning disabilities/disorders. Her experience advocating for her son enables her to identify in a very real manner with the role of parent advocate. She shared her own family’s story in a nonfiction bestseller book, An Accidental Advocate.
Lori Purvis, Director of Operations: As a literacy leader, Lori strives to eliminate barriers to learning and growing through remediation strategies, thereby improving the educational outcomes and personal endeavours for each student. Lori has been working at the Centre for Literacy as a teacher and communications specialist since October 2020. She holds a Masters degree in Library and Information Studies from the University of Alberta and a Communications Degree from the University of Calgary. Prior to coming to the Centre, Lori successfully led a system of 12 libraries in Brazoria County and had the privilege of building two libraries for inner city schools in Texas. She also worked as a Community Librarian for the Strathcona County Library for several years, strengthening the literacy of the community and acting as an ambassador and technology trainer for clients with print disabilities, allowing for personalized service and greater opportunity for intellectual freedom.
Management Advisory Committee: Kathryn and Lori work closely with a Senior Management Team comprised of individuals who collectively provide advice and formulate policy on the operation of the Centre.
Shani Reiter serves in the role of Professional Development Coordinator. She has lead responsibility for ensuring new teacher recruits to the Centre become fully proficient in providing support to students using evidence-based remediation strategies. She is the voice of the Centre’s podcast Wh*oo*sh!
Heather Clarke serves as the Student Coordinator, leading other members of the team in assessments to ensure that learning profiles are completed for all students to inform their support.
Theresa (Teddi) Doupe serves in the role of Development Manager. She takes the lead role in working with external agencies to organize Centre provided professional development, and develops programming for parents/caregivers and students.
Lynne Nadema plays an important role in conducting new parent interviews and in providing teaching expertise from over two decades of classroom based teaching in the special education field. She has extensive experience in supporting students with complex needs.
Yvonne Stern, retired former owner and senior mentor, continues to provide invaluable insight as a consultant to the Executive Director and Management Team, helping to ensure the Centre’s highest quality standards of practice continue.
Administrative Team: The Centre has a fabulous administrative team who are generally the first point of contact with parents/caregivers.
Maria Burjour is the Scheduling Coordinator. Her major responsibility is to work with teachers and parents/caregivers and clients on all matters related to scheduling.
Jackie Soprovich and Roberta Lapointe job share the role of Administrative Coordinator. Their major role is to handle invoicing, payroll and related functions. Roberta also shares the responsibility of teacher recruitment and onboarding.
The Centre employs approximately 70 teachers, the majority of whom work on a part-time basis, providing support to students from locations across Canada.