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
- Jennifer Irwin-Jackson, Director of Marketing and Community Relations
- Matt Perreault, Director of Information Technology
- Janet Wlodarczyk, Director of Finance and Administration, CPA, CMA
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 student 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, which is consistently ranked as one of the top twelve state schools in the United Kingdom. James has also worked in schools in a number of countries, including Australia and Hong Kong.
Prior to teaching James played Professional Rugby in London, England, which has remained a passion in his life.
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 5 at Elmwood School.
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, as well as 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 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 9 at Elmwood.
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..
Director of Finance and Administration, CPA, CMA
Janet has had a long and varied career in Accounting, Finance, and Treasury at the senior management level. Working across industries ranging from fast moving consumer goods (manufacturing and sales), to pharmaceuticals (sales and distribution) and non-profit entities, in four countries, means Janet draws from this broad experience and applies it with a different lens to any organization she works with.
Elmwood is the second school environment Janet has worked in and she is enthusiastic about being part of a professional team and helping Elmwood continue to build on a solid base. When not behind a computer, Janet is an avid traveller and explorer, who enjoys singing and cooking.
- Jacqueline Palumbo-Sugunasiri, Chair of the Board
- Dan Goldberg, Vice Chair of the Board
- Dr. Denise Carruthers, Vice Chair of the Board
- Dr. Véronique French Merkley '96, Secretary
- Allan Bifield, Treasurer
- Chris Brennan
- Andrea Johnson
- Gayle McClelland
- Simon Nehme
- 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 of the 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, Bianca, attended Elmwood since Junior Kindergarten, and just recently graduated with our Class of 2023.
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, as well as serving 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 honours, 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, which was recently honoured 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, Kaylah, graduated from Elmwood with the Class of 2022.
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 Care of the Elderly 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 one daughter at Elmwood in Grade 4.
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.
Mr. Brennan is a Managing Director with Accenture, a global professional services
firm. Mr. Brennan was previously the CEO and co-founder of Avenai, an Ottawa
based consulting firm. Mr. Brennan is a recognised leader in the field of business
change and transformation and has advised and worked with companies in North
America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.
In addition to his consulting experience, Mr. Brennan was the CEO of Innovapost, an
IT shared service company. He also worked as an Assistant Deputy Minister in
the department of Employment and Social Development Canada.
Mr. Brennan began his long association with Elmwood in 2003, and has seen three
children graduate from Elmwood in 2013, 2015 and 2022 respectively. His youngest child will graduate from Elmwood in 2024.
Andrea is a corporate and technology lawyer and partner with the global firm of Dentons. Her practice bridges venture capital, private equity, M&A, securities, and corporate governance. Andrea has worked on many of the largest technology transactions in Canada and has received many recognitions for her work, including from Chambers, The Best Lawyers in Canada, Lexpert, and Acritas. She has served on advisory committees for the Ontario Securities Commission, the Toronto Stock Exchange, and the Ontario government. Andrea is a member of Dentons’ Canada Region Board and is one of the global co-heads of Dentons’ Private Equity group. Andrea is a former member of the board of directors of Hydro Ottawa and a current director of health tech company Wellteq.
Andrea currently sits as a member of Elmwood’s Development Committee and has played a central role in its recent successes. She has one daughter, Sydney, who is currently in Grade 12 at Elmwood.
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, and 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 from Elmwood in 2019.
Simon currently manages a portfolio of technology and real estate investments.
Previously, Simon co-founded Protus™ IP Solution where he held the position of Chief Technology
Officer (CTO) for 12 years. As co-founder and CTO, Simon oversaw the growth of Protus from a start-up
to a very successful mid-size international business.
Prior to Protus, as General Manager of BBTel Corporation, Simon managed all aspects of
telecommunications projects, from pre-sales through development and support. Previously, he held
several management positions in the software development field. Simon has one daughter at Elmwood in Grade 8.
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.
For more than 20 years, David served as Co-Founder and Vice President for a leading and successful chain of fitness health clubs across Ontario.
David is a member of the Facilities Committee and has two daughters– one in Grade 9 and one who graduated from Elmwood with the Class of 2022.