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 didn’t choose the nonprofit life – the nonprofit life chose her. No, really, she chose it, after an earlier career in editing and communications. 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 - Tyler Colbourne

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

Tyler joined the Dartmouth Learning Network family in the Fall of 2016. He comes with experience in and passion for non-formal education and transcendent experiences. His journey to DLN started with participating in an adult-education exchange focusing on international development and personal development. This experience put him on the path to working in adult and non-formal education in a variety of capacities over 10 years throughout Canada and Internationally.

In his role as CLP coordinator, Tyler hopes to increase the number of mentors from the North Dartmouth area and to increase the capacity for the Dartmouth Learning Network through public engagement and outreach. You might see him around community events and activities promoting DLN and recruiting you to volunteer.

Besides working in adult-education, Tyler has worked in tourism and creative arts. He has a passion for photography and for getting out into nature. He is also active in the community as a volunteer Board Member for the Wonder’neath Arts Society in Halifax and as a volunteer for the Youth Project, The Halifax Jazz Festival, and soon to be a volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters. He is passionate about social justice and in 2015 was awarded the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award / Sovereign Medal for Volunteers.


Employment Readiness Coordinator & Instructor – Amanda Sabo

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

Amanda earned her Bachelor of Arts (in History, English, Folklore) and Bachelor of Education in her hometown of St. John's, Newfoundland. She brings her love of lifelong learning and compassion for helping others to the Dartmouth Learning Network.

Amanda feels that all people have it in their nature to learn and reach their potential and she feels honored to be a part of this transition in others' lives. She has a strong academic volunteer background where she helped students transition to university life and has attended at least two professional development seminars on improving education using modern techniques. As a new graduate she especially looks forward to more opportunities for professional growth as she values its role in improving a constantly evolving education system.


Instructor – 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