Executive Director - Alison O’Handley

(902) 463-9179 extension 222 / executivedirector@dartmouthlearning.net

Hailing from a small fishing and farming community on Prince Edward Island, Alison values honest and respectful relationships, everyone pitching in to get the job done, good stories and a little fun!  That’s probably what led her to the nonprofit sector where she’s spent most of her career.  With experience in career development, community and youth development, education, and small business development Alison brings a wide range of skill sets and perspectives to her role of Executive Director.  An analytical and process-based thinker – Alison’s mind is always busy but she’s always willing to take a moment to chat and have a bit of fun.  Feel free to drop by and say hello.


Administrative Coordinator – Karen Janik

(902) 463-9179 extension 221 / admin@dartmouthlearning.net

Karen has a Bachelor of Arts from Mount Allison University in Sackville, NB, and a Bachelor of Journalism from University of King’s College in Halifax. While working as Communications Coordinator at Parkinson Society Maritime Region, Karen grew into a more central, administrative role, and found a great deal of satisfaction providing office and client support. She joined Dartmouth Learning Network in May 2012. In addition to being the first point of contact for DLN, Karen takes care of database management, learner enrolments, attendance and reporting student standings. Other roles include supporting learner intake, website updates and the coordination of special events and/or projects, including the end-of-year Learner Celebration and Annual General Report. In her spare time, Karen enjoys researching every topic under the sun, from history and psychology to current events and pop culture.


Community Learning Program Coordinator - Gail Thistle

(902) 463-9179 extension 223 / tutor@dartmouthlearning.net

Gail joined the team at DLN in February 2018. She has a Bachelor of Arts and Education from Memorial University with experience in classroom and one-on-one teaching. Gail has dedicated much of her career to the non profit sector in support of persons with significant challenges and barriers. Before joining DLN, she worked for several years in employment supports and services for persons with disabilities.

Gail values strong community relationships and building networks. She is passionate about connecting individuals with challenges to the resources they need to achieve their goals. She believes empowerment, personal growth and stronger communities are all realities for all citizens.

Gail feels proud and privileged to be part of a team of educators and volunteers that supports adult learners. She looks forward to learning something new every day!


Employment Readiness Coordinator & Instructor – Amanda Sabo

(902) 463-9179 extension 227  / amanda@dartmouthlearning.net

Amanda came to DLN in 2015 as a recent Arts and Education graduate and has since updated her training with the Literacy Nova Scotia certificate in adult ed. She combines a passion for lifelong learning with teaching and coaching others to see the best in themselves. Amanda uses her skills with appropriate hands-on activities to ensure learners see, say, and feel their learning so they are active participants in their journeys. She is dedicated to helping her learners take control in their learning paths through the use of technology and critical thinking problem-solving activities.

In her spare time, Amanda delves into her many hobbies which include holistic pet care and crocheting.


Instructor & Family Literacy Coordinator – Trish Derby

(902) 463-9179 extension 225 / trish@dartmouthlearning.net

Trish joined the Dartmouth Learning Network in September of 2016. She has a Bachelor of Education in History from the University of Waterloo and a Bachelor of Education from Queen’s University. Trish was a teacher for many years in Ontario and with her Special Education Part ll, she became a Special Education Resource Teacher for Mississauga Private School where she knew she had finally found her passion!

Taking a break from teaching, Trish entered the world of non profits and worked for the national office of Girl Guides of Canada and then with Child Find Ontario. She has been the Board President for Child Find Ontario, AMECO (Association of Missing & Exploited Children’s Organizations) and Girls Inc of York Region.

Trish is passionate about working with those who are struggling and considers it her calling. She is dedicated to being an advocate for her students and helping to give them a voice.

She loves to organize events in the community and help to bring families together. In 2002 she received the Queen’s Jubilee Medal for her volunteer work with Child Find Ontario and in 2012 she was the proud recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for her dedication to the families of missing and exploited children.

As a lifelong learner, Trish loves sharing her passion for reading and writing and feels honoured to learn from her students each and everyday.


Instructor – Brent MacPhee

(902) 463-9179 extension 224 / brent@dartmouthlearning.net

Brent loves math. In 2014, he finished his Bachelor of Engineering at Dalhousie University. In early 2015, he started volunteering with the Dartmouth Learning Network, tutoring math to adults at various levels, including pre-GED.

In addition to the Dartmouth Learning Network, he has been involved in other community volunteer organizations and events such as Habitat for Humanity, Eastern Shore Ground Search and Rescue and Chester Race Week.

In the fall of 2015 Brent started tutoring high school students in math and in physics. He realized that he really enjoyed teaching and helping people better understand math and decided to pursue this goal.

In 2017 he joined the Dartmouth Learning Network as a Math Level 2, Communications 1 and Math GED Instructor, where he hopes to encourage others to pursue their goals, whatever they may be.



Moving On Up eLearning Team Members


Marcia Franklin - E-Learning Project Team Lead


Originally an EFL teacher in Thailand and high school teacher of English and Psychology in Australia, Marcia has since trained in both adult education and eLearning. She is currently completing the Master of Educational Technology program at UBC and works as an Instructional Designer at Bluedrop Training & Simulation.

Marcia started with Dartmouth Learning Network in August 2013 as the GED Instructor, providing academic support to adult learners in English (reading and writing), Math, Social Studies and Science. She also provided career and continuous learning advice/support to GED program participants. In August 2014 she took on the additional role of Community Learning Coordinator, where she recruited and trained volunteers to mentor learners one-on-one. She held these positions until April 2015.

In November 2014, Marcia assumed the position of eLearning Manager. In this role she oversees the development of Moving On Up, Dartmouth Learning Network's eLearning platform.

 Katie Purdy - Programmer and Instructional Design

Katie spent much of the early 1990s learning her alphabet in MS-DOS. She dabbled in computer science at Dalhousie University and web development at NSCC but is primarily a self-taught developer who knows firsthand the impact that online resources can make on one's skillset. She's incredibly excited to have the opportunity to contribute to a locally developed learning platform that will empower others in the community to also learn at their own pace. During her spare time, she loves to knit plenty of cute socks with Sammy (her elderly tuxedo cat) and her favourite berry Earl Grey tea by her side.

  • Brent MacPhee, Lesson Plan Design
  • Amanda Sabo, Lesson Plan Design and Instructional Design
  • Karen Janik, Quality Assurance