Elmwood School is run by a diverse team of passionate, experienced educators and seasoned business people. The team is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the School, under the guidance of James Whitehouse, Head of School who is appointed by the Board of Governors and is accountable to the Board.
- James Whitehouse, Head of School
- Christine Blackadar, Deputy Head, Junior School
- Meagan Enticknap, Deputy Head, Middle and Senior School
- Stephanie Hanratty, Director of Co-curricular Learning
- Jennifer Irwin-Jackson, Director of Marketing and Community Relations
- Tanja Mackin, Director of Finance and Administration
- Matt Perreault, Director of Information Technology
Head of School
James Whitehouse is Elmwood’s twelfth Head of School, promoted to the position in 2019 after seven years as Deputy Head of the Middle and Senior School. In his time at Elmwood, James has been responsible for raising the standard of teaching by creating a culture of professional growth among the faculty. He has built relationships and trust in the community, but most importantly, he has improved the quality of curriculum and learning. James cares deeply about each girl at Elmwood and has made it his priority to ensure they have the skills, attributes, and aspirations to reach their full potential.
Prior to joining Elmwood, James was Assistant Head at Seven Kings High School in Redbridge, London, consistently ranked as one of the top twelve state schools in the United Kingdom.
James holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education from Middlesex University, London, United Kingdom. James and his wife Nicola have two children– son Oliver and daughter Isla, who is currently in Grade 1 at Elmwood.
CHRISTINE BLACKADAR ’88
Deputy Head, Junior School
Christine is an Elmwood alumna who was appointed as our Junior School Deputy Head in 2012. She began teaching at Elmwood in 1999 as a Grade Four teacher. Due to her previous experience working in the technology field at Industry Canada’s website—Strategis, she transferred to teaching ICT at Elmwood. She quickly moved on to teaching technology from SK to Grade 5 and has witnessed incredible changes in the program. Christine is a hands-on leader for the Junior School, overseeing curriculum, student and teacher development and continuing to teach technology and library classes. She feels privileged to be able to work with wonderful girls and greatly enjoys sharing her love of reading, running, and creativity in a variety of co-curricular activities. Christine is a graduate of the University of Ottawa and holds a Bachelor of Arts, B.A. in Second Language Teaching and Bachelor of Education degrees and her Ontario Principal's Qualifications.
Deputy Head, Middle and Senior School
Meagan is passionate about education and school community—she comes by her interest in education honestly, as her parents were both High School principals, and she shares the profession of being an educator with a number of her family members. Meagan holds an Honours Bachelor degree in Psychology from Queen’s University and a Masters of Education from the University of British Columbia (UBC). She is also an IB workshop leader and school site visitor. Meagan believes in the importance of developing strong relationships and considers it a privilege to have the opportunity to spend her days at Elmwood learning alongside students and colleagues.
Meagan has worked in schools in four different countries and for the last ten years she has been very involved in areas of curriculum development, innovative learning and teaching and professional development for teachers. Meagan is excited to be at Elmwood School where the IB programmes, committed teachers and engaged students create a vibrant school community.
Director of Co-curricular Learning
Stephanie is a highly motivated and resourceful educator who demonstrates an exceptional desire to see all children become successful learners and leaders. An enthusiastic and passionate teacher, Stephanie has 15 years of teaching experience in independent schools in Bangkok, Thailand, Monterrey, Mexico and Halifax. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English and History from Acadia University, a Bachelor of Education from Queens University and a Master of Science specializing in Multidisciplinary Studies for Educators from State University of New York. She has always been actively involved in the life of the school, participating in community service initiatives, student council, Model UN and Kids Help Phone.
As Director of Co-Curricular Learning she will continue to develop our excellent co-curricular and camps programs.
Director of Marketing and Community Relations
Jennifer oversees our team responsible for fundraising, alumni relations, admissions and communications. She is an experienced marketing and communications professional who most recently was a partner at a local advertising and marketing agency. Prior to moving to Ottawa, Jennifer worked for Publicis in Toronto as the VP Managing Partner of Publicis Modem. Jennifer’s daughter Rose is currently in Grade 6 at Elmwood.
MS. TANJA MACKIN
Director of Finance and Administration
Tanja joined Elmwood prior to the 2008 – 09 school year and quickly became an integral part of the Senior Leadership Team. Tanja is responsible for financial and human resource management for the School, as well as leading the Administration, Food Services and Facilities teams. Tanja came to Elmwood from Canadian Interuniversity Sport, where she was Director of Finance and Administration. A Certified General Accountant, Tanja has leant her skills to a number of volunteer organizations, including Ottawa Therapy Dogs and the Royal Ottawa Hospital Volunteer Association. Prior to earning her CGA designation, Tanja attended Concordia University, where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts with a major in Art History.
Director of Information Technology
A creative professional and self-proclaimed computer nerd, Matt Perreault brings his in-depth knowledge as a computer programmer and technology teacher to Elmwood’s technology program. He is responsible for technology innovation and integration at the school, as well as managing our technology program and infrastructure. Prior to joining the team at Elmwood, Matt worked at The Bilingual European School in Milan Italy as their ICT Coordinator. He began his career working as a computer programmer for the Department of National Defence, helping to program web-applications, which facilitated communication for the Disaster Assistance Response Team. In addition, Matt is also one of our Junior and Middle School technology teachers. Matt holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) and a Bachelor of Education from Queen's University..
- Jacqueline Palumbo-Sugunasiri, Chair of the Board
- Dan Goldberg, Vice Chair of the Board
- Denise Carruthers, Vice Chair of the Board
- Véronique French Merkley '96, Secretary
- Allan Bifield, Treasurer
- Peter Hudson, Past-Chair
- Chris Brennan
- Derek Howe
- Andrea Johnson
- Gayle McClelland
- Tim Saunders
- David Wu
Chair of the Board
Ms. Palumbo-Sugunasiri is Senior General Counsel and Head of Treaty Negotiations in the National Litigation Sector of the Department of Justice Canada. In this role, she manages the negotiation of all international agreements between Canada and its foreign partners in the areas of mutual legal assistance in criminal matters and extradition. She was formerly the Director (Mutual Legal Assistance and Cyber Unit) and oversaw all matters concerning international judicial cooperation in the investigation and prosecution of transnational criminal offences, including cybercrime. She is a recognized expert in these specialized areas of criminal law. She advises the Federal Minister of Justice and appears on behalf of the Attorney General of Canada in extradition cases before the Canadian courts. She represents Canada in various international fora (G7 Roma-Lyon Group, G20 Anti-Corruption Group, Commonwealth of nations) on counter-terrorism, anti-organized crime and anti-corruption initiatives.
Ms. Palumbo-Sugunasiri provides training and instruction to Canadian and foreign police and prosecutors in these areas of criminal law. She holds degrees in Law and Political Science from the University of Ottawa. Her daughter has attended Elmwood since Junior Kindergarten, and is currently in Grade 11.
Vice Chair of Board.
Dan Goldberg is President and Chief Executive Officer of Telesat. Prior to joining Telesat in 2006, Mr. Goldberg served as Chief Executive Officer of New Skies Satellites and then SES New Skies following the purchase of New Skies by SES. Prior to becoming Chief Executive Officer of New Skies, he served as its Chief Operating Officer and, prior to that time, as General Counsel. Before joining New Skies, Mr. Goldberg served as Associate General Counsel and Vice President of Government and Regulatory Affairs at PanAmSat. Prior to PanAmSat, he worked as an associate at Washington, D.C. law firms Covington & Burling and Goldberg, Godles, Wiener & Wright and as a deputy prosecutor at the Ada County Prosecutor’s office in Boise, Idaho. Mr. Goldberg obtained an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia, graduating with highest honors, and a law degree from Harvard Law School, where he graduated cum laude. Mr. Goldberg's daughter Grace graduated in '19.
Dr. Denise Carruthers
Vice Chair of the Board, Development Committee, Executive Committee
Denise Carruthers was a founding Partner and Chief Financial Officer of The Permedia Research Group, a software company specializing in petroleum exploration. Established in 1998, Permedia was ultimately sold to a Fortune 200 company in 2010.
Denise also served from 2003-13 on the Board of Directors of the Alexandria Archive Institute, recently honored at the White House as a Champion of Change in Open Science. Locally, Denise sits on the Ottawa Hospital Foundation Board.
Denise received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the University of Waterloo, Bachelor of Arts Honours Degree in Anthropology from Carleton University, and a Doctoral Degree in Archaeology from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. She was awarded the Prestigious Overseas Research Scholarship from the United Kingdom and a Carnegie Scholarship from the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland to complete her doctoral research. Denise was awarded a Post Doctoral Honorary Research Fellowship from the University of Liverpool’s Department of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology in 2003-2006. She has published in the journals of Levant and Antiquity.
Denise has a daughter who has attended Elmwood since JK and is now in Grade 12.
Dr. Véronique French Merkley '96
After graduating from Elmwood School in 1996, Véronique completed an undergraduate degree in Human Kinetics at the University of British Columbia and obtained her MD from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa. This was followed by postgraduate Family Medicine training as well as a fellowship in Care of the Elderly. Since 2016, she has been Head of the Department of Care of the Elderly at Bruyère Continuing Care and the Division of CoE in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Ottawa. Her clinical work at Bruyère is shared between the inpatient Geriatric Rehabilitation Service and the outpatient Geriatric Day Hospital, focusing on optimizing the health, function and well-being of frail community-dwelling elderly patients. Her academic interests include medical education, polypharmacy, and the development of system partnerships to improve care. Véronique has 3 children, including two Elmwood girls: Gabrielle (Class of 2023) and Sophie (Class of 2032).
Treasurer; Chair of Finance Committee
Mr. Bifield is a senior finance executive with over 30 years’ experience in leadership, finance and business re-engineering in markets in North America, Europe, Asia and Latin America. Mr. Bifield currently holds the position of Deputy Chief Financial Officer for George Weston Ltd. Previously, he was Chief Financial Officer of Nortel after holding a number of senior positions throughout his career with Nortel. Mr. Bifield is a member of the UK Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. Mr. Bifield is also mentor of women in business working with the Menttium Corporation. Mr. Bifield is the father of three Elmwood graduates: Sophie ’02, Kate ’05 and Alice ’12.
Executive Committee, Past-Chair
Mr. Hudson is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of HTG, Canada’s foremost logistics provider for major sporting events. He oversees strategy for each of the company’s core divisions. Mr. Hudson is also President of Aurenlay Holdings, with assets in commercial, multi-unit residential, trade show facilities, condominium development and hotels. He leads HTG’s philanthropic efforts which focus on investments in healthcare and education. He has one daughter at Elmwood in Grade 12.
Mr. Howe recently joined The Taggart Group as Vice President. He was previously at Windmill Development Group, where he was responsible for all financing activities and treasury for all of Windmill’s development projects. Prior to that, he was at Broccolini Construction where he held increasingly higher levels of responsibility and spent the last five years in the role of Vice-President, Real Estate and Development for the entire company.
Mr. Howe is a seasoned executive with over 10 years of financial, operational and negotiating experience within the real estate and construction industries. He is recognized as a leader in the Ottawa market, who was directly responsible for the meteoric success of a new entrant to the market culminating in market leadership in real estate development just eight years later. Mr. Howe has led the development of over three million square feet of real estate and construction in the office, industrial and residential sectors representing over $1.0 B dollars of economic activity and was recognized as one of Ottawa’s Top 40 under 40. He has one daughter at Elmwood in Grade 11.
Gayle McClelland is a self employed PMP certified project manager and event specialist. Along with 10 years of continuous engagement with the World Wildlife Fund- Canada on their oceans and arctic programs, she was the lead for the US Climate Action Centre at COP23 in Bonn, Germany in 2017, and recently was engaged by Rockefeller Philanthropic Advisors (NY) to lead a 5000 mile, 21 day cross US “Freedom to Breathe” tour focusing on the intersection of climate change and climate justice. Other recent clients include the Carleton University Architectural School, the Canadian Association for International Development Professionals, Ottawa 2017, the Canadian Electricity Association, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (Industry Canada). She was the board and governance resource for the Canadian Health Food Association from 2014-2018.
Prior to becoming an independent consultant, Gayle spent 14 years in a senior management role as the High-Performance Director at Skate Canada and was the liaison with the Canadian Olympic Committee, Sport Canada and Own the Podium. In 2006, Gayle was the team leader for figure skating for the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Torino, Italy. Gayle also sits on the board of Changing Minds, an Ottawa based mental health charity.
Gayle has an honours degree in Kinesiology from York University (Toronto), as well as certificates in Sport Administration, Coaching and Project Management. She is a member of the International, Canadian and US Olympic Academies. Gayle's daughter Keiren graduated in '19.
Tim is a former CFO and finance executive with international experience in large public companies and private equity-backed startups.
Tim is a Fellow of the Chartered Professional Accountants Institute of Canada (FCPA, FCA) and is a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors.
Tim has two daughters who graduated from Elmwood with the Class of 2020.