Mentors

To further support your school district with your career programs, as an extension of the  Career and Skills Training Toolkit the Ministry of Education has developed a Guide and provided training to qualified retired experts. These Consultants can serve as Mentors and are available to work directly with your district to support planning, programming and implementation activities for your career and skills training programs. We encourage you to contact a Mentor of your choice who may assist you with moving forward. Financial arrangements are between you and the Mentor.

Meet the Mentors:

Gordon Armour

Gordon Armour is the retired Coordinator of Transition, Training and Trades for School District #27, Cariboo Chilcotin (Williams Lake) that resides in Williams Lake.  Gordon served 20 years coordinating Career Education in the district, four years in a secondary school and 11 years at the district level.  Before assuming the role of district coordinator for school district 27, Gordon spent over30 years instructing in a number of trades programs at the secondary level in the district.  

During his tenure, he was responsible for the development of career preparation programs and coordination of work experience programs and apprenticeship training in partnership with post-secondary institutions and industry.  Gordon served with the School District for 43 years following a brief employment with School District 47 (Powell River) for three years where he started his career instructing Industrial Education.  He has also represented the K – 12 education sector on the BC Mining HR Task Force and acted as the Chair of their Education Sub Committee from 2009 to 2015. Gordon currently is a member of the Advisory Committee of the newly appointed Centre of Training Excellence in Mining as well as a member of Advisory Council of the BC Construction Association.  

Gordon has also served for many years on voluntary boards.  Past governance experience has seen Gordon spending 11 years on the Hospital Appeal Board of BC, six of which he chaired the board. During that time, he was also Chair of Cariboo Memorial Hospital, Cariboo Park Lodge, BC Health Association, Cariboo Chilcotin Child Development Centre and Task Force on Physician Credentialing.  As well as the previous list of board activity, Gordon served 10 years as a member of the Community Care & Assisted Living Appeal Board of BC and is currently a member of the Industry Training Appeal Board of BC.  

During Gordon’s many years serving in Health Care Governance, Gordon was trained as a Board Mentor by the Canadian Hospital Association to work with boards of governance in self-evaluation and planning sessions around the province.

Gordon can be reached at: garmour@xplornet.ca/250-392-6740.


Frances Armstrong

Frances Armstrong is a passionate “career and skills training champion” with extensive experience (over 25 years) developing, managing and delivering career programs for youth and adults in the Peace region. She has been employed as the District Career Programs Manager for School District No. 59 (Peace River South) since January 2005 and is planning to retire from this position at the end of June 2015. In her retirement, she is looking forward to spending more time travelling, gardening and helping her husband with chores on their hobby farm south of Dawson Creek.

For the past 10 years Frances has worked closely with SD 59 staff and administration to build and enhance career programs in the district. Her role has included developing partnerships with industry and post secondary institutions to deliver ACE IT (and other dual credit programs) in the region. During the past 10 years Frances has represented SD 59 on the Learning Council and Working Group of Northern Opportunities. This partnership of industry and educational institutions was created to ensure youth have seamless pathways to career success in North East BC.

Frances also assumed the duties of SSA Coordinator for the district until funding was available to employ school-based coordinators. In addition she actively promoted and marketed SSA and dual credit programs to students and parents whenever possible.

As District Career Programs Manager Frances was responsible for writing applications to acquire ACE IT, SSA and YES 2 IT funding for the district. Writing project reports and ensuring that contract deliverables were met was also her responsibility.

Frances brings a sense of humor, energy and strong interpersonal skills to the work site as well as a Bachelor of Education Degree in Adult Education. Prior to becoming employed with SD 59 Frances managed, coordinated and facilitated programs related to business start up at the Kiwanis Enterprise Centre in Dawson Creek for 8 years. She also spent 8 years employed by the Obair Economic Society where she developed curriculum for pre-employment training programs and facilitated life-skills and job search skills workshops.

Frances can be reached at: mfran.armstrong@gmail.com/250-784-5768.


Brenda Graziano

Brenda Graziano stepped into the position in 1995, as the Career Programs Coordinator for School District No. 23 (Central Okanagan). There she negotiated partnerships with industry and post-secondary to provide dual-credit training and work experience opportunities for students. She also led and facilitated in-service for K-12 teachers district-wide and provincially for career education implementation (CAPP, Work Experience, Career Programs and Planning K-6). Brenda later became the Community Access Program School District Coordinator for SD 23, where she implemented Industry Canada CAP sites in the District’s libraries and career centres. While in this capacity, Brenda was able to negotiate various partnerships with community agencies to provide computer access to under-served groups in the community. She is a Trainer for “The Real Game” and “Blueprint for Life/Work Designs”, both nationally recognized career education resources.

Since 2008, Brenda has been the leading the helm of the CES Career Education Society as Executive Director, where she facilitates and supports school districts to build their capacity for trades training. Strategies include collation of a Best Practices resource; facilitating support networks and training workshops; and collaborating with multiple partners to improve ACE IT and SSA data management. Brenda has also edited and co-authored a number of lesson plans to support the implementation of WorkBC resources into K-12 career education classes along with co-developing and training teachers on the use of the resources.

Brenda can be reached at: careereducationsociety@shaw.ca/250-448-1967.


Greg Howard

Greg began his teaching career in 1971 in Salmo, BC. Over the next 43 years worked in education in a variety of locations, such as Salmo, Kelowna, Haida Gwaii, Clinton, Ashcroft, Barriere, and Kamloops.

He retired from his position with the Kamloops/Thompson school district where he spent 8 years as District Principal, Trades and Transitions, in July 2013. Presently he works with SD 74 [Gold Trail], assisting in the development of Career and Transition programs.

Over the past year, Greg has worked with the Ministry of Education, as part of a provincial team, assisting in the development of resources for Career and Transition programs that can be used throughout the province.

Greg has been actively involved with Career Programs since the early 1990’s, introducing them to the schools and districts that he was employed by and has a passion for the rural communities and developing programs for those students who do not have the opportunities presented in larger urban communities. He feels all students [K-12] should become aware of Career/Transition opportunities; explore such opportunities; and engage in such opportunities

Greg can be reached at: GHoward@SD74.bc.ca/250-318-7485.


Carole MacFarlane

Carole MacFarlane was the Career Programs Coordinator at the Vancouver School Board from 2000 - 2012 where she developed and engaged in many activities relevant in the Career Development sphere, including leading career development education in her district by working directly with staff and administration to deliver high level programming to students. This included developing ACE IT/SSA programming and developing partnerships with industry and post-secondary institutions.

During 2013 and 2014 Carole coordinated the “Discover Skills” initiative for the Career Education Society. This involved coordinating CES Directors to deliver Discover Skills presentations to teachers and parents of students in Grades 4-12. These events were sponsored by post-secondary institutions for students and parents and/or school-based professional development for teachers and administrators. Carole also made many of these presentations herself.

In addition to Carole’s experience with career development at the District level, in retirement, she continues to volunteer. She was on the Board of Junior Achievement BC until October 2014, and continues to volunteer with the Career Education Society of BC. Carole also sits on two boards based in Toronto that continue to deepen her knowledge of career development - these are The Counselling Foundation of Canada and CERIC (Canadian Institute for Research in Learning).

Carole is passionate about the subject of career development and is excited about the possibility of being able to work in a helping capacity with school districts. Carol can be reached at: carole_macf@hotmail.com/778-840-1760.


Ron Nunweiler

Over the past four years in his roles as Director of Middle/Secondary Education and District Principal of Career Education, School District 79 (Cowichan Valley), Ron Nunweiler has had the opportunity to both oversee and actively participate in the growth of career education programs in the district. Before taking on these responsibilities, Ron was a secondary school principal involved in developing both school based ACE-IT programs and career transition Dual Credit courses/programs. Prior to this, he held the position of “District Technology Coordinator” on separate occasions for three different school districts where Ron had the opportunity to develop educational training programs for staff and students as well as deliver numerous workshops and Professional Development presentations.

Ron has taught an educational technology mentoring program on behalf of SFU (T-LITE), and in the past delivered summer workshops for Ministry of Education business education technology programs. Ron has also had the pleasure to present at several Provincial and National Conferences including the BC School Trustees Association Conference; the National Congress on Rural Education; and the Cando Conference on National Aboriginal Economic Development.

From partnering with Vancouver Island University to develop the Cowichan Trades Centre, to expanding all areas of career education in Cowichan Valley School District, Ron is pleased to have had a very rewarding several years working in the area of career education. “We all eventually get to a point in our careers where we have gained knowledge in areas that we would like to share with others”, says Ron and is pleased to say that “In this point of time, if I can be assistance, I welcome the opportunity to make use of my skills and experiences to assist other districts build their capacity in the area of career and skills training”.

Ron can be reached at:  Ronnunweiler@gmail.com/250-710-0504.


Peter John Stewart (Scotty) Raitt

Scotty has 24 years of experience in Education with SD 57 (Prince George), where he held the following positions:

  • Industrial Education teacher
  • Alternate Education teacher
  • Work Experience Placement Officer
  • District Career Programs Coordinator

As well, Scotty holds an Auto Mechanic’s Technical Qualification in both BC and the United Kingdom. He has 22 years of experience in the Automobile Repair Industry. One of Scotty’s most memorable times during his career was presenting and hosting the ITA’s “Trades Routes Tour”, in 2007. Scotty currently keeps his ‘hands busy’ in the area of Careers and Skills Training by coordinating “Heavy Metal Rocks” for the Prince George School District and teaching the “Leadership for Safety Excellence” course as an Instructor on behalf of the BC Construction Safety Alliance.

Scotty can be reached at sraitt2803@gmail.com/250-826-4532


Jessi Zielke

Jessi Zielke is a partner with Zielke Consulting Ltd. and has more than 25 years’ experience working in the public and non-profit sector as an educator, senior manager and director responsible for strategic initiatives related to the education and trades training industry.  

Jessi has a keen interest in helping people fulfill their potential and to be successful in their life endeavours.  First as an educator, then in successive positions over the last 25 years, Jessi leveraged her strategic thinking, planning and leadership skills and abilities to impact people’s lives and to fulfill key strategic goals for provincial training organizations. Jessi has focused her work on developing programming and initiatives that meet the needs of under-represented groups – including youth, immigrants and women - and developing ways for people to be recognized for the learning outside the traditional apprenticeship or training system.

Most recently Jessi has been working with the Ministry of Education to develop the content for the Career and Skills Training toolkit and a guide for use by “career champions’ to support school districts to build capacity to offer career development education programming.
Jessi has extensive experience managing large and complex projects that include project management, stakeholder consultation, strategic planning, implementation planning, and leading and developing change management plans and is known for her ability to facilitate, reach a consensus and build strong relationships to generate positive outcomes for the projects she manages and to meet the needs of her client and stakeholders.  

In 2009 in recognition of her years of involvement with career development education, Jessi was awarded a lifetime membership to the CES Career Education Society. In 2013 Jessi was nominated for the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award for her work to support under-represented groups in the BC Trades Training System.

Jessi can be reached at: jzielke@telus.net/604 921 6056