2016 Governor General Medal winners
Dr. William Radford, Senior Vice President, Academic, and Chief Learning Officer
Dr. Radford was born in England, but as a child lived both there and in Kenya, Africa. He also lived in Botswana, Italy and Poland before coming to Canada.
He earned his Ph.D (Education – Curriculum Theory and Implementation) at Simon Fraser University and an M.A. in Adult Education from St. Francis Xavier University. Prior to that, he studied at Leeds University in the U.K. where he earned a B.A. (Honours) in English and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education.
His work experience in the education sector is extensive, spanning more than 25 years. During that time, he’s held leadership positions at both the secondary and post-secondary levels, provincially, nationally and internationally.
Most recently, Dr. Radford was the National Director for Strategy, Project Management and Applied Research for the Abu Dhabi Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training in the UAE. Prior to that, he was the Vice President of Access and Strategic Initiatives, and also the Acting Vice President of Academic and Student Services for Vancouver Community College in British Columbia.
He’s worked in the university setting as well. Before his time with Vancouver Community College, Dr. Radford was the Director of Internationalization for Simon Fraiser University in Vancouver, and prior to that, was the Director of Extension with St. Francis Xavier in Nova Scotia.
Delving deeper into his employment history, Dr. Radford served as the Executive Director – Colleges Integrating Immigrants to Employment, with the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities in Ontario, was the Dean of Access with Confederation College in Thunder Bay, Ontario and also held the position of Executive Director – International, for the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in Calgary, Alberta.
He’s also held a number of Director and Project Officer positions – as Director of International Training with NSCC, Director of International Activities with Dalhousie, Project Officer with McMaster International, McMaster University, and Project Officer with the Canadian Bureau for International Education.
At the secondary level, he’s been Director of Education for the Black Lake Indian Band in Saskatchewan, and prior to that was a teacher at Mahalapye Secondary School in Botswana.
Dr. Radford is married to Jane Godfrey, a retired adult literacy and immigration specialist. Their blended family includes seven children and (so far) two grand-children, spread out from Halifax to Vancouver. He is an amateur writer and cook, and is currently learning fingerstyle guitar.
He looks forward to meeting everyone and joining the team at College of the North Atlantic.
Elizabeth Kidd, Vice President, Corporate Services
Ms. Kidd brings a wealth of experience to the position, having worked more than 20 years in leadership roles in both the private and public sectors, nearly 10 of which have been in post-secondary education. Most recently she was the Vice President, Corporate Services, with Collège Boréal in Sudbury, Ontario.
Prior to that, she worked for a number of years as Director of Finance and Information Technology with Boréal, and was the Director General, Accounting and Financial Reporting, for Hudson’s Bay Company in Toronto. Also while with HBC, as Manager of Special Projects, she was an instrumental member of the Enterprise Resource Planning team, which successfully implemented Oracle’s ERP solution for the company.
As Vice President, Ms. Kidd will serve as the college’s Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer, responsible for enterprise-wide, strategic leadership for a range of corporate services that support and sustain the operation of the college. Specific areas of functional responsibility include finance, budgeting, human resources management, information management and technology, facilities and asset management, occupational health and safety, business continuity, emergency management, residential services, food services, procurement and contracting, quality management, and risk management.
Born and raised in Rosmère, Québec (just outside of Monreal), Ms. Kidd is fluent in both French and English. She is a Certified Professional Accountant, and completed her undergraduate studies in Business Administration at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia.
She has been married for 22 years to her “wonderful and supportive husband” Vince, and has two children, Jonathan, 19, and Alexandria, 12.
All members of the Kidd family are avid downhill and cross country skiers, and enjoy the outdoor lifestyle, listing golf, kayaking, hiking and camping among some of their favourite family activities. Ms. Kidd also enjoys cooking and says she can’t wait to try Newfoundland lobster!
She and her family are looking forward to making the move to Stephenville and becoming involved with the community.
Keith Williams, Campus Director - Carbonear campus
Keith brings a wealth of experience to his new position. He comes to CNA from Assiniboine Community College in Manitoba where he has held the positions of Director of Adult Learning and Chairperson of Agriculture and Environment since 2012. Through these positions Keith provided leadership and strategic guidance in setting new pathways for post-secondary education and employment for students. He also has extensive experience in administering projects in a range of areas including, improving student success, cultural and community activities, applied research and strategic partnerships with external stakeholders.
Prior to his time in the prairies, Keith used his educational training in the fields of agriculture and forestry to travel the world, all the while accumulating an impressive list of experiences with a broad range of companies and post-secondary institutions.
Keith’s career began teaching Adult Education in a First Nations community in Northern British Columbia. He then worked as an instructor at Loyalist College of Applied Arts and Technology in Ontario and North Island College in British Columbia. From there, Keith took an instructional position at College of the North Atlantic-Qatar. His positive experiences at CNAQ inspired him to seek short-term work abroad, so after leaving Qatar Keith worked on various agriculture-related development projects in Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Guyana, and most recently, Honduras.
Keith’s educational experience is as diverse as his work experience, having earned a Bachelor of Science in Plant Sciences (Agriculture) from the Nova Scotia Agricultural College, and his Masters of Science (Biology/Forest Ecology) from the University of Northern British Columbia. Before entering the classroom, Keith earned his Bachelor of Education from Queen’s University and has recently completed his Certificate in Public Administration (Program Evaluation) from the University of Victoria.
Keith is an academic leader, applied researcher and community developer with extensive experience providing educational guidance, program development, and consulting services in Canada and abroad. He is a passionate individual who has shown a commitment to education, lifelong learning and community engagement, and is eager to use those experiences in his new position.
Keith and his wife, poet and artist Basma Kavanagh, are both from rural Nova Scotia and are excited about returning to the east coast and contributing to the regional prosperity of rural Newfoundland and Labrador.
Jamie Best, Campus Manager - Bonavista campus
Jamie comes to College of the North Atlantic from New Brunswick where most recently he was an instructor in the Technology, Trades and Apprenticeship department at New Brunswick Community College and also a part-time lecturer at St. Thomas University delivering economics, political science and related courses to first year students. During his time with NBCC, Jamie held various positions in the provincial college system, including Chair of the NBCC Research Ethics Board, Department Head of four different departments at NBCC, as well as instructor positions in the School of Business and the School of Continuing Education. Jamie has also held the position of Program Head with the School of Business at Aurora College in the Northwest Territories.
Jamie’s educational background is extensive, having completed a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science & Business from Memorial University, a Bachelor of Education from the University of New Brunswick, and a Master of Educational Foundations – Administration from the University of New Brunswick. Jamie is also a graduate of the NBCC Instructor Development Program.
Jamie has remained active in the community having been a director and executive member on the Board of Directors for the Community Business Development Corporation in Miramichi City, New Brunswick since 2004. Jamie has also volunteered with a variety of business-oriented not-for-profit organizations throughout New Brunswick and has more than 10 years of experience as a supervisor and manager in the seafood processing industry.
Jamie says through his roles on various boards and committees, he has gained valuable experience in both profit and not-for-profit sectors and is eager to bring those experiences to the Bonavista campus. He is a committed professional who believes in making education available to all students and is looking forward to being a member of the CNA team, and to being part of a community of leaders who are driven by learning excellence and the socioeconomic development of the Bonavista region.
Brad Pilgrim, Campus Manager - St. Anthony campus
Brad began his career with College of the North Atlantic in 2005 as an Academic Communications instructor at the St. Anthony campus. In 2013, he took a two-year position at CNA-Q in Doha, Qatar and upon his return to Newfoundland in 2015 he began working at the Corner Brook campus. Brad has had the opportunity to teach a variety of program areas during his time with the college, including Industrial trades, Engineering, Information Technology, Business, General Studies, Comprehensive Arts & Science and ABE levels 1, 2, and 3. Brad has also been an active member of numerous college committees.
Before joining CNA, Brad completed his Bachelor of Arts (English major, Sociology minor) and a Bachelor of Education (Post-Secondary) at Memorial University, and he has also received his Post-Secondary instructor’s certificate from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. He is currently completing a Master's of Adult Education with research in leadership and rural community development from St. Francis Xavier University.
Brad says it has been an amazing opportunity to work in his home town of St. Anthony, internationally at CNA-Q and at the Corner Brook campus during his time with CNA, and he is extremely proud to be able to go back to his home town where he believes the college is the heart of the community. He is very honoured to have an important role in helping the campus and the community grow and prosper.
Brad and his wife Laura, a school teacher, have three children, Dylan (6), Emily (3) and the newest addition to the family, Kristian, born October 15, 2015.
Chris Patey, Campus Director - Seal Cove campus
Chris began his employment with College of the North Atlantic as a Student Development Officer at the Labrador West campus in 2001 and joined the Seal Cove campus in 2004. Throughout his career with CNA Chris has devoted much of his time to student services and student success. Always one to put his best foot forward, Chris has been an active member of the Campus Leadership Team, Campus Marketing Team, Provincial Recruitment Team, Career Fair Committee and he was also the Provincial Coordinator of the college`s Virtual Job Fair. This unique project was offered in partnership with Memorial University and successfully connected students and alumni throughout the province with employers from across the country.
Before joining the college, Chris completed a Bachelor of Business Administration from Acadia University. He was employed at Grenfell Regional Health Services as a part of the Human Resources Management team in Medical Services and also with Human Resources Development Canada as the Youth Ventures Program Coordinator in St. Anthony. During his time at the college Chris has completed a Master’s of Business Administration Degree at Memorial University, along with courses in adult education, by doing evening and distance courses after work.
Having served on a campus with strong industrial trades offerings, Chris believes in the value of skills training and of the college in the community. The well-being of staff and students are very important to Chris and I know he speaks well of the great work the Seal Cove team puts in each day, year round.
Chris and his wife Kelly have two girls, Rebecca (4) and Julia (1) who keep him busy and make him very proud.
Amanda Coady, Senior Campus Director - Happy Valley-Goose Bay campus
Ann Marie Vaughan, President of College of the North Atlantic, is pleased to announce that Amanda Coady has accepted the position of Senior Campus Director for the Happy Valley-Goose Bay campus in Labrador.
Amanda was most recently the lead instructor for the Techsploration Orientation to Trades and Technology Program (TOTT) at the campus, but has also served with the college in the capacities of Instructional Assistant with the Inuit Bachelor of Education program, Academic Instructor for English and Communications courses, and as the Instructional Coordinator with the Innu and Inuit Interpreter Training Program.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts from St. Thomas University, a Bachelor of Education from Memorial, her Newfoundland and Labrador Teacher Certification and Post-Secondary Instructor Certificate from the provincial Department of Education, and a Master of Education (Post-Secondary Studies), also from Memorial.
She is originally from Stephenville, but has made Happy Valley-Goose Bay her home, with her husband Craig and their two young daughters, for the past seven years. She is an entrepreneur, an award winning volunteer, and is well known among the business community and aboriginal groups in Labrador.
Amanda says she is thrilled to be the new Senior Campus Director at Happy Valley-Goose Bay and is looking forward to working with campus staff and community partners to explore new opportunities for the region and successfully meet the new challenges the role will bring.
Heidi Staeben-Simmons, Director of Public Affairs
Ann Marie Vaughan, President and CEO of College of the North Atlantic, is pleased to announce that Heidi Staeben-Simmons has been appointed to the position of Director of Public Affairs. She will assume her new position with the college on March 9, 2015.
Mrs. Staeben-Simmons has 16 years of direct communications management experience and comes to the college from Western Health where she has been the Regional Director of Communications, and later Regional Director of Corporate Communications since 1998.
Prior to that, beginning in 1992, she was an associate producer with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in Corner Brook.
In this new position, Mrs. Staeben-Simmons will provide alignment across the operating units in public affairs and government relations, including reputation stewardship, relationship management, issues management, media relations and crisis communications.
A long standing member of the International Association of Business Communicators, Mrs. Staeben-Simmons brings considerable experience to this new role, which combined with her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Economics, makes her an ideal candidate for the position.
She currently resides in Corner Brook with her husband Clyde. They have three children – Heather, Claire and Kyle.
Robin Walters, Vice President, Industry and Community Engagement
Ann Marie Vaughan, President and CEO of College of the North Atlantic, is pleased to announce that Robin Walters has been appointed to the position of Vice President, Industry and Community Engagement.
In this new role, Mr. Walters will oversee the college’s strategic partnerships and international programs (including the Qatar project), as well as applied/contract research, alumni relations and fundraising.
Mr. Walters has a long history with College of the North Atlantic, most recently serving at the Dean for the School of Industrial Trades – the college’s largest academic school, as position he’s held since November of 2011.
Prior to that, beginning in April of 2009, he served as Administrator of Academic Projects where he advised on program and capacity building for the institution and developed new partnerships with industry and other external stakeholders.
He served as the acting Dean of Industrial Trades from November 2007 to May 2008, and before that was Campus Administrator, first at the Labrador West campus from 1997 to 2004, and then in the St. John’s region (responsible for programs at Seal Cove, Ridge Road and Prince Philip Drive campuses), until 2009.
Mr. Walters began his tenure with the college system as a chemistry instructor in 1987 and prior to that was a faculty member at Memorial University in the chemistry department.
He holds of Master of Science, Chemistry from Memorial as well as a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Education, also from Memorial.
He is married to Bridget and has two children, Gavin, who is completing his first year at Memorial University, and Shannon, who is currently in Grade 11.
Dr. Chris Mercer, Associate Vice President of Strategic Enrollment Management
Dr. Chris Mercer has been appointed to the position of Associate Vice President of Strategic Enrollment Management. In this position, Dr. Mercer will oversee all areas of enrollment management including the recruitment and registration functions.
These are areas of the institution with which Dr. Mercer is very familiar, having previously served as the college’s Manager of Recruitment and Enrollment, and most recently as Registrar.
Dr. Mercer’s tenure with the college spans nearly 20 years. He first began working with the institution in 1995 as a Learning Disabilities Specialist, the same year he completed his Masters in Educational Psychology.
He assumed the role of Guidance Counsellor from 1996 until 2011 when he was seconded to the role of coordinator for the college’s Provincial Assessment Norming Initiative. At the completion of that project, he took over duties as the Manager of Student Recruitment and Enrollment. He served in this role for two years before taking over the duties of the Registrar, a position he’s held since April of 2013.
In addition to his work at the college, Chris has served in leadership positions at the local, provincial and national levels, including President - Canadian University & College Counselling Association, Director – Canadian Association of College and University Student Services, and Chair – Stephenville Primary School Council. Chris is a registered Psychologist and a certified Level 7 Teacher in Newfoundland and Labrador.
A lifelong learner, Chris completed a Bachelor of Education in 2000, earned his Doctorate in Higher Education Administration and Leadership in 2009, and achieved his Black Belt in Taekwondo in 2014. He frequently presents at conferences, and has written articles for higher education publications. He is married to Dale McLean and they have three children Sarah, Amy, and Noah. Chris is an accomplished singer songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and recording artist.