Education and Early Childhood Development
November 8, 2016
Building a Strong and Responsive Education System
Premier Announces Appointments to Task Force on Improving Educational Outcomes
Today, the Honourable Dwight Ball, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, announced the appointment of four individuals to the Premier's Task Force on Improving Educational Outcomes.
"As a government, we are committed to providing the best possible education system for our students.
I would like to thank all those who put their names forward to become a member of the Task Force, and
I am pleased to announce that a chairperson and three members have been selected. Collectively, these
four individuals have extensive experience and expertise related to this province's education system
and we are confident they will assist us in our goal of developing recommendations and an Education
Plan that will guide and support 21st century learning education opportunities for the students of
Newfoundland and Labrador."
- The Honourable Dwight Ball, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador
The appointment of the chairperson, Dr. Alice Collins, and the three members, Dr. David Philpott, Dr. Marian Fushell and Dr. Margaret Wakeham, was made through the merit-based appointment process established by the Independent Appointments Commission Act.
"We are pleased to take this next step with the establishment of the Task Force, which will play an essential
role in helping to improve our students' educational outcomes. Through the recommendations of the Task Force
we will be able to better engage students in their learning and foster further development of their skills
and competencies. Our government remains committed to ensuring Newfoundland and Labrador's education system
is responsive to the needs of students and prepares them to be global citizens in a diverse and dynamic
- The Honourable Dale Kirby, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development
The purpose of the Task Force on Improving Educational Outcomes is to examine the Kindergarten to Grade 12 education system and make recommendations to improve student outcomes including measurable goals and milestones. The Task Force will make recommendations based on its examination of current student outcomes and educational practice; consideration of academic research and best practices; public engagement; and, a review of current provincial initiatives, legislation, regulations and policy frameworks.
"It is timely to focus on educational outcomes in all of its complexity. I am looking forward to being involved
and it is my hope that the Premier's Task Force will engage many stakeholders and result in a report which
will provide a path for enhancing the education system in Newfoundland and Labrador."
- Dr. Alice Collins, Chairperson, Premier's Task Force on Improving Educational Outcomes
Biographies for the chairperson and members of the Task Force on Improving Educational Outcomes are provided in the backgrounder below.
- Dr. Alice Collins has been appointed as chairperson and Dr. David Philpott, Dr. Marian Fushell and Dr. Margaret Wakeham have been appointed as members of the Premier's Task Force on Improving Educational Outcomes.
- As representatives of the Task Force, these four individuals will examine the Kindergarten to Grade 12 education system and make recommendations that will help lead the development of a comprehensive Education Action Plan.
- These appointments followed the merits-based process established by the Independent Appointments Commission Act.
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Media Relations Manager
Office of the Premier
Media Relations Manager
Department of Education and Early
Biographies for the Premier's Task Force on Improving Educational Outcomes
Dr. Alice Collins, Chairperson
Dr. Alice Collins is Professor Emeritus and former Dean of the Faculty of Education, Memorial University. She has served as the President of the Canadian Association of Deans of Education; President of the Canadian Society for the Study of Education; President of the Canadian Association of Teacher Education; and, Director of the Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada. Dr. Collins has worked on curriculum outcomes and teacher education policy with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development; on leadership theory and practice with the province's school districts; on teacher professional development with the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers' Association; and, on parental involvement and governance with the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of School Councils. Dr. Collins has conducted research in the areas of teacher education and school governance. She has taught in the public school system in Newfoundland and Labrador, and Ontario, as well as in graduate and undergraduate programs at Memorial University St. John's and Grenfell Campuses. She has also been involved in development work at the University of Jakarta, Indonesia. Dr. Collins is the recipient of the Herbert Coutts Distinguished Service Award for Outstanding Service to the Canadian Society for the Study of Education and the Festival 500 Award for Exemplary Service. She twice served as Honorary Chairperson of Education Week. Dr. Collins has been involved in the community and served on organizations such as the Board of Eastern Health; Janeway Children's Foundation; and, Johnson GEO Centre.
Dr. David Philpott, Member
Dr. David Philpott has enjoyed a career of more than 30 years in education and child development, and has been at the forefront of informing societal approaches to supporting families with exceptional children. He joined Memorial University's Faculty of Education in 2000 following a 15-year career in the public education system and was promoted to Full Professor in 2011. He has worked in a range of teaching and management positions in special education, including a 25-year clinical practice in child mental health and assessment. He is an Adjunct Professor with the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary and is also a certified psychotherapist with the Canadian Counseling and Psychotherapy Association. He holds degrees in Education, Special Education and Educational Psychology from Memorial University, and a Doctorate of Education from the University of Calgary. He has an extensive national and international research/publication portfolio in areas such as inclusive education, assessment, Indigenous/Aboriginal education, family empowerment, international students, early childhood education, and teacher training. He is a member of the editorial board for three international scholarly journals: International Journal of Disability, Community and Rehabilitation; Exceptionality Education International; and, International Journal for Leadership in Learning.
Dr. Marian Fushell, Member
Dr. Marian Fushell is an instructor in Memorial University's Faculty of Education, and a former Assistant Deputy Minister with the Department of Education responsible for Primary, Elementary and Secondary Programs. She has expertise in program evaluation and design, as well as educational policy and practice. Working with Ministries of Education internationally and across Canada, Dr. Fushell has conducted targeted evaluations of programs and practice as well as developed evaluation and assessment frameworks. She has a deep understanding of educational issues related to early learning, inclusive education, reading, mathematics, Aboriginal education, and teacher professional learning. Dr. Fushell has extensive experience in the Kindergarten to Grade 12 education system as well as university teaching and research. She has presented at multiple national and international educational conferences and has published her research in peer-reviewed academic journals.
Dr. Margaret Wakeham, Member
Dr. Margaret Wakeham is a native of St. John's. She holds a Bachelor of Arts, a Bachelor of Education, a Masters of Teaching, and a PhD in Educational Leadership from Memorial University. She has also studied French at Université Laval, Université de Grenoble, McGill University, and the Cégep de Jonquière. Dr. Wakeham is a career educator who has taught students of all ages both on the island and in Labrador. She has worked as a curriculum developer in Kindergarten to Grade 12 studies and participated in provincial, regional and national initiatives in education. Dr. Wakeham has served as an Assistant Principal and Principal in elementary and intermediate schools. Her most recent teaching has occurred at Memorial University. Her research in 21st century learning and leadership has resulted in journal articles, reports, and academic conference papers. Dr. Wakeham's work has permitted her to visit and observe numerous classrooms throughout the province and engage in countless discussions with novice and experienced teachers about their educational concerns. Dr. Wakeham enjoys the arts and is past president of the Kiwanis Music Festival of St. John's and a current member of the Philharmonic Choir of the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra.
2016 11 08 11:40 a.m.