Who We Are

Board Of Governors

Our School is governed by a Board of Governors. This is a dedicated and diverse group of volunteers who have the responsibility to uphold the mission and charism of a Sacred Heart education expressed in the Goals and Criteria.

Each member is wholeheartedly committed to seeing the School grow and flourish. The Board of Governors is made up of present and past parents, alum, Religious of the Sacred Heart, a faculty appointee, and members of the wider community. The Board is accountable to the Provincial of the US-Canada Province of the Society of the Sacred Heart.

Download Our Strategic Plan

The Board’s primary responsibilities are:

  • to assure that the Goals and Criteria of a Sacred Heart education are upheld;
  • to ensure financial stability;
  • to develop, approve, and review strategic directions and governing policies;
  • to review the general operation and management of the school annually.

Committees of the Board:

  • Finance
  • Planning
  • Facilities
  • Nominating and Governance
  • Engagement

Philip Bassil

Philip S. Bassil has over 17 years of international business, finance, and energy experience in Canada, the US, and Europe.

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Mr. Bassil is a sought-after thought-leader and speaker at offshore wind industry events and M&A conferences. He is focused on providing strategic and financial advisory services to accelerate the global energy transition and the shift to a net-zero carbon economy.

A Managing Director and Head of Global Offshore Wind M&A at NORTHGREEN CAPITAL, Mr. Bassil is a former founding member and Advisory Board Member at Business Renewables Centre Canada at the Pembina Institute in Calgary, Alberta and was the head of Marathon Capital in Canada.  Mr. Bassil works closely with offshore wind developers globally and pension funds, insurance companies, as well as other institutional investors and infrastructure funds focused on accelerating the energy transition.

Mr. Bassil earned a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Rowe School of Business at Dalhousie University and a Bachelor of Computer Science with the Electrical Engineering Stream from TUNS. He has completed Level 1 and 2 of the CFA designation, the Canadian Securities Course (CSC) and the PDO.

Sharon Bennet

Sharon Bennet has been teaching at Sacred Heart School of Halifax in 2005 as the founding teacher of the preschool program. 

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She is our Jr. Primary Director and Lead Teacher. Sharon is also an instructor at the Nova Scotia College of Early Childhood Education. Sharon holds a Bachelor of Child Studies and a Master of Education (Literacy) and has over 35 years of experience in the early childhood education field. Her was a Child Life Specialist at the IWK, founding Coordinator of the Cumberland Early Intervention Program, and the founding Coordinator of the Preschool Outreach Program at the Progress Center for Early Intervention.

Her previous Board experience includes the United Way – Amherst, Cumberland Early Intervention Program, St. Paul’s Home, St. Paul’s Halifax Parish Council, Halifax Early Childhood School, and Alexandra Children’s Center. Sharon also serves on several SHSH committees. She is married to Neale and is a parent to alums Jack and Claire ’14. Sharon and her family enjoy spending time together at their property on the South Shore of Nova Scotia.

Julie Briggs

Julie Briggs is Vice President, Finance of Blue Ocean Contact Centers, a member company of the IMP Group.

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In her more than 25 years with the organization, Julie has provided results-driven, strategic financial leadership that has contributed directly to Blue Ocean’s competitive advantage in the global BPO market. She is a key member of the Senior Leadership that has evolved Blue Ocean from a small, local operation to leader in innovative customer care with a roster of nationally and internationally recognized clients.

Julie has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Dalhousie University and a CMA designation from The Society of Management Accountants. She has served on the Finance Committee of SHSH since 2018. Her son Ethan has attended Sacred Heart since 2016, thriving on both the scholastic and athletic opportunities the school offers. Along with Ethan, and her husband Darren, Julie takes every opportunity to travel and to get out on the water, especially canoeing the rivers of her home province of New Brunswick.

Brian Curry

Brian Curry is Director Regulatory and Corporate Secretary for Nova Scotia Power. 

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Prior to working at Nova Scotia Power, Brian practiced law in Halifax. Brian lives in Dartmouth with his spouse, Susan Taylor, and their two children, Henry and Hannah-Mae, both of whom attend Sacred Heart. Henry is a student in the Senior School and Hannah-Mae is in the Elementary School. 

Sr. Donna Dolan RSCJ

Donna Dolan ’60, RSCJ is an alumna of Sacred Heart, Halifax.

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She is a graduate of The Halifax Infirmary School of Nursing (RN), Barat College (BA English) and National College of Education (MEd). She served for twelve years on the Provincial Council of the Canadian Province and served on the City House Foundation at Sacred Heart School, Montreal. More recent ministry experience includes eighteen years as Director of the Diocesan Renewal Centre in Prince George, British Columbia and two years as Director of Novices in Halifax.

At present Sr. Dolan continues her work as a Spiritual Director and gives retreats and programs at the Barat Spirituality Centre.

Torquil Duncan

Torquil Duncan is the President of Capital Management Engineering Limited, a specialized engineering company providing asset management solutions in North America since 2007.

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After graduating from Dalhousie and TUNS with a mechanical engineering degree Torquil worked on the Confederation Bridge and then spent time working overseas at a trans-shipment facility. Torquil completed his MBA through the Saint Mary’s University Executive Program while working at Jacques Whitford and shortly thereafter established Capital Management Engineering.

Beyond his work commitments, Torquil understands the importance of giving back to the community and has sat on the Board of the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron in addition to volunteering with various committees for over a decade. He has supported local minor hockey through coaching and training efforts for the last five years. His real passion is his family; his wife Lisa works at the IWK and his son Macadam attends Sacred Heart.

Archbishop Brian Dunn

Most Rev. Brian Joseph Dunn was born in St. John’s, Newfoundland. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts from King’s College as well as a Master of Divinity from the University of Western Ontario.

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He was ordained to the priesthood in 1980 for the Diocese of Grand Falls where he served as pastor and in a number of other responsibilities, including Vice-Chancellor and Chancellor. In 1991, he obtained a Doctorate in Canon Law from Saint Paul University (Ottawa) and soon after became a lecturer in the Diploma Program for Theology and Ministry at the Atlantic School of Theology, Halifax (1992-1999).

Beginning in 2002, he served on the faculty of St. Peter’s Seminary in London, Ontario, and became Dean of Studies at the seminary until 2008. During this same time, Bishop Dunn also served as a lecturer in the Faculty of Canon Law at Saint Paul University (2003-2004 & 2007). He was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Sault Ste-Marie in 2008, Bishop of Antigonish in November 2009, and Coadjutor Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth in April 2019.  He became the Archbishop of Halifax-Yarmouth in November 2020.

Lois Dyer Mann

Lois Dyer Mann ’68 is a proud graduate of the Sacred Heart Convent called “City House” in Montreal, having been a student there since grade one, and then graduated from the Sacred Heart, Halifax in ‘68, after two years in their Junior College Program.

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Lois has been a partner with Knightsbridge, Robertson Surrette since 2013. She had been Managing Partner of the Halifax office of The Caldwell Partners, from 1999 until 2008. Lois had been Senior Vice-President, Corporate Communications Limited, Halifax, with leadership responsibilities for the Public and Governmental Relations practice, and she led the national business expansion strategy.

As Vice President Finance and Administration for ten years at Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, she was a member of the Board and its strategic committees, as well as a member of Senate with operating responsibilities for the non-academic affairs of the University. In addition, she was the first Executive Director of the Nova Scotia Barrister’s Society, was a Director of the Canadian Bar Society in Ottawa, and was the Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Law Information Council. She also served as the Executive Secretary for the Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall Jr Prosecution.

Lois is active in her community and has contributed her time to numerous boards and committees: She completed a four year commitment as a founding Director of the 2011 Canada Winter Games Host Society, Halifax, where she helped create a community Board of Directors and then chaired the Governance and Human Resources Committee; and recently concluded eight (8) years as Director of Nova Scotia Business Inc., where she Chaired the Governance and Human Resources Committee. She is a Director of the Chester Arts Centre, and was on the Capital campaign Committee of Project Twenty 12, the campaign for Mount Saint Vincent University. She is a former Director, Girl Guides of Canada/Guides du Canada; Past Chair, Halifax Chamber of Commerce; former Trustee of the IWK Health Centre Foundation; former Co-Chair Major Gifts and member of the Capital Campaign Committee, QEII Health Center Foundation; Past Chair and former Director of Trade Center Limited; Chair, Selection Committee of the first LieutenantGovernor’s Leadership Forum for Women. She has been an adjudicator of the Ernst and Young Atlantic Canada and National Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, and a Director and Adjudicator of Junior Achievement Nova Scotia and its Business Hall of Fame Awards.

She has also had experience adjudicating disputes for Canada’s Human Rights Commission. Lois is a recipient of Canada’s 125th Anniversary Medal. Lois is a graduate of Dalhousie University with a Bachelor of Arts degree (B.A., 1970), and from the Dalhousie University Law School (LL.B., 1973). A former member of the Nova Scotia Barristers Society, Lois and her husband David, live in Chester, NS.

Treena Faloon

Treena Faloon is a Senior Manager of Consulting at Grant Thorton.

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Treena has previously been the Chief Financial Officer at the IWK Foundation. While her two girls were growing up, Treena
owned and operated Treena Faloon Consulting where she worked closely with CEOs to articulate their company vision, facilitated business planning with senior management teams, and supported their work in defining business models and financial planning.  Treena is married to Rob Faloon, their oldest daughter Julia attends Acadia University and their youngest
daughter Laura is currently in grade 11 at Sacred Heart.

Sr. Mary Finlayson RSCJ

Sr. Mary Finlayson was born in St. Boniface, Manitoba, the youngest of five, and entered the Society of the Sacred Heart in 1985 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. 

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She served for six years on the Provincial Team, seven years as Provincial of the Canadian Province, and for two years on the United States Canada Provincial Team. She has served on the Boards of several Sacred Heart schools, including Halifax, Montreal, and San Francisco. Sr. Finlayson is a past SHSH faculty member and was on the 2012 and 2022 SHSH Head of School Search Committees. Fluent in Spanish and French she serves the Society as an educator, in simultaneous interpretation, in music ministry and liturgy.

After many years living in the USA serving as Director of Vocation Ministry, Mary now lives at Barat Spirituality Centre in Halifax. Mary enjoys freestyle creative projects like quilting, stenciling, and painting murals, cooking, delving into suspenseful novels, and exploring the great outdoors.

Gwyneth Fountain

Gwyneth began at Sacred Heart in Junior Primary and graduated in 2019. Gwyneth is passionate about philanthropy and community service and is eager to continue her family’s support of Sacred Heart School by serving as a Board member. Gwyneth is currently working in the hospitality industry.

Monique Gogan

Monique is currently employed with the Wealth Management – Private Banking division of Scotiabank.

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For the past 30 years, she has built her career in the Operations side of Scotiabank, holding various positions in Operations and Human Resources. For the past 18 years, Monique has worked exclusively in the Wealth Management division and most recently assuming the position of Sr. Manager, Regional Operations & Service for Eastern Canada, involving responsibilities throughout locations in Ottawa, Montreal, and Atlantic Canada.

Monique holds a Bachelor’s of Business Administration degree from St. Francis Xavier University. She is actively involved in supporting her community and has been a long-time volunteer and fundraiser for many local charitable organizations. She was also a former Treasurer of the Sacred Heart Parent Guild. Monique was born in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia but has made Halifax her home for the past 30 years. She has raised two daughters, Hannah and Olivia, who both attend Sacred Heart School.    

Dr. Arunika Gunawardena

Arunika Gunawardena won a prestigious NSERC (National Sciences and Engineering Research Council) University Faculty Award and joined the Biology Department at Dalhousie University in September 2006.

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She has nearly 25 years of experience working in academia at four different universities in three different countries (Sri Lanka, England, and Canada). She is a professor of Biology and her lab studies Programmed Cell Death (PCD) in plant development. She is passionate about her research on PCD and very much enjoys teaching and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students.

She has been actively involved in outreach activities in the province and she is the current president of the Atlantic Science Links Association. She loves her career as a professor and is a powerful role model for young scientists. Arunika lives in Halifax with her husband Rajesh Rajaselvam, and her daughter Anisha Rajaselvam ’21.

Sr. Sheila Hammond RSCJ

Sr. Sheila Hammond, RSCJ is an alumna of Sacred Heart Schools on Sheridan Road in Chicago ’61, and Manhattanville College in New York ’65.

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She received her Masters Degree in Theology from St. Louis University. She is a Certified Pastoral Educator Emerita, member of the Association for Pastoral Education and Board Certified Chaplain. Her most recent ministry was as the RSCJ Provincial of the United States-Canada Province (2016-2021).

Prior to provincial administration she was Director of Pastoral Care and Clinical Pastoral Education supervisor at St. Louis University Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, and was the RSCJ Director of Formation for the United States province. She is currently on sabbatical and refreshing her Spanish language skills.

Rebecca Hiltz LeBlanc

Rebecca Hiltz LeBlanc, Q.C. is a lawyer and partner with McInnes Cooper in Halifax, practicing in the areas of commercial and estate litigation.

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Rebecca received her Queen’s Counsel designation in 2022. In addition to her involvement with Sacred Heart, Rebecca is a part-time instructor at the Schulich Faculty of Law at Dalhousie University, a Life Director of the Neptune Theatre Foundation, having served as Chair for four years and on the executive for ten, and is a 28-year veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces. Rebecca lives in Dartmouth with her husband Mitch LeBlanc and their son Luc, who has attended Sacred Heart since Junior Primary. 

Dr. Ramona Lumpkin

Dr. Ramona Lumpkin, CM, President Emerita of Mount Saint Vincent University served MSVU as President and Vice-Chancellor from 2010 – 2017 and 2020-2022. 

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As President, Dr. Lumpkin’s many exceptional contributions included: enhancing student services and student retention; developing programs reflecting the Mount’s commitment to social justice; ensuring the Mount’s continued contribution to the advancement of women; supporting a culture of equity, diversity, inclusion and respect on campus; maintaining the Mount’s fiscal health through successful fundraising; and more. 

A member of the Order of Canada (2014), Dr. Lumpkin has also been the recipient of a Progress Women of Excellence Award (2013) and was thrice named by Atlantic Business Magazine as one of Atlantic Canada’s Top 50 CEOs. In 2017, she received the Governor General’s Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case in recognition of her outstanding contributions to the goal of equality for women and girls in Canada. In the fall of 2021, Ramona led the university in a ceremony of apology and commitment in response to MSVU’s role in the tragedy of residential schools in Canada. In 2011, Ramona served on the search committee that recommended Sr,. Anne Wachter, RSCJ as the 44th Head of School for Sacred Heart. 

Marlee Naipaul

Marlee Naipaul is a strong believer that success in organizations is dependent on its most valuable resource — its people. 

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Engaging people through clear communication, a common understanding and shared values fosters a sense of team and connection and drives engagement to achieve organizational goals. An HR practitioner and business professional with over 20 years of experience and education, Marlee has a full understanding of both the strategic and operational needs of an organization.

Using a people-centered approach, Marlee guides leaders in making informed decisions to foster inclusive and respectful working environments primed for achievement. Marlee has a passion for helping business leaders in purpose-driven and value-centric organizations create alignment, connecting the dots between the organization’s mission and goals. Marlee is currently employed as the Director, People and Culture with ISANS, the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia. She has her CPHR designation and is a member of CPHR Nova Scotia.

Marlee has earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and an MBA specializing in Human Resources. She is actively involved in supporting her community and has been a long-time volunteer and fundraiser for many charitable organizations. She is also a former Secretary of the Sacred Heart Parents’ Guild. Marlee and her husband Mark are raising two daughters, Jasmine and Jacklyn, who both attend Sacred Heart School. Marlee and Mark are also frequent homestay parents with Sacred Heart, hosting international students from Mexico, Japan, and Germany.

Valerie Patterson

Valerie is currently the chief financial officer of Eldis Group Partnership, a position she has held since 2005.

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Prior to her current role, she spent over 13 years in public accounting working for Grant Thornton. While there, Valerie worked in the audit and assurance area of the firm with a variety of clients ranging from privately held owner-manager businesses to those in the municipal and health care fields.

Valerie has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Saint Mary’s University. Over the years, she has worked with a variety of non-profits and community organizations as a board member, advisor, and volunteer. Valerie and her husband, Robert, share five children: Rachel, Emma, Michael, Matthew and Patrick ’28.

Dennis Phillips

Prior to joining Sacred Heart School of Halifax in August 2022, Dennis served as the Head of School at the Regis School of the Sacred Heart in Houston, Texas. 

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Prior to joining Regis, Dennis served as Head of the Middle School at Stuart Hall for Boys, San Francisco; as Director of Campus Ministry for the Schools of the Sacred Heart, San Francisco; and as Director of Religious Education and Campus Ministry at the Sacred Heart Schools, Chicago.

Dennis has served on numerous committees including the Independent Schools Association of the Southwest (ISAS), National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), and Sacred Heart Accreditation Teams. He also held leadership roles on committees including the Sacred Heart Commission on Goals, the Education to Mission Editorial Board, and the Network of Sacred Heart Spirituality Conference.

A committed learner himself, Dennis holds a BA in Geography and Environmental Science from Northeastern Illinois University, an MA in Pastoral Counseling from Loyola University Chicago, and has taken graduate-level coursework from Washington Theological Union and Catholic Theological Union.

A Chicago native, Dennis is a Cubs fan and an avid cyclist. He is married to Lisa Buckley, a freelance graphic book designer and they have two children – daughter Sophia and son Devon.

Mary Shakespeare

Mary Shakespeare is a landscape architect who returned to Halifax in 2019 after spending 26 years practicing and teaching landscape architecture across Australasia and the Middle East.

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While living in Dubai, she was an active member of the Parent’s Association at the Dubai English Speaking School and served as the Chair there for a number of years. Mary was also very active with the “Gulf for Good” charity in Dubai serving as a volunteer and participant in its fundraising activities. Although her husband Robert still has one foot in Dubai, the Shakespeares have loved coming home and being part of the Sacred Heart community. Her two daughters, Olivia ‘21 and Isabel ’22, and her son James ’23 are following in the footsteps of their great grandmother who graduated in 1918.

Michael Simms

Michael Simms is a Partner in McInnes Cooper’s Halifax office.

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He practices corporate, commercial and regulatory law, primarily in the energy and natural resources industry. Mike holds an LL.B. and a certificate in Marine and Environmental law from the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University, and is a former part-time faculty member there. He is also the Past Chair of the Canadian Bar Association’s National Environmental, Energy and Resources Law Section, and sits on the Board of the Maritimes Energy Association and the Carbon Capture & Storage Consortium of Nova Scotia.

Mike is also a volunteer with Scouts Canada and in the sport of sailing. Mike lives in Halifax with his wife, Lee and their four children, Charlie, Elspeth, Henry and William, all of whom are current SHSH students.

Kathryn Tector

Kathryn Tector has a strong background in communications and has spent the majority of her career thinking and applying a customer-centric approach to communication.

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As Director of Client Solutions at Prosci, Kathryn is able to apply her fascination of human behaviour and building strong teams with the concept of collective goal setting to support large change initiatives. She enjoys working with people to best understand how the evolving digital landscape, culture shifts and new technologies influence organizational structure and how best to reach and engage customers long term.

Kathryn earned an MSc in Public Relations from Stirling University in Scotland and a Bachelor of Commerce from Mount Allison University. She lives in Halifax with her husband, Mark, and three sons, Simon, ‘21, Sebastian, and Ben. Kathryn also sits on the Board of United Way Canada.

Robin Thorsteinson

Robin Thorsteinson is a career volunteer and a keen supporter of Sacred Heart School of Halifax.

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Robin completed a two-year term as the President Parents’ Guild at Sacred Heart School. Under her leadership, the Parents’ Guild was able to raise over $130,000. These funds go directly to student programs and enrich the Sacred Heart experience for all students. In addition to funds raised, Robin appreciates the importance of a strong and vibrant parent community and continues to work hard to build that foundation. In her work life before children, Robin was a Management Consultant with Accenture and specialized in Customer Relationship Management in the Financial Services sector.

Robin is an avid skier, sailor, and yogi. She lives in Halifax with her husband Rob and her three boys, Sam ‘21, Zac, and Charlie.

Alexandra Whalen

Alexandra Whalen (Hirsch) ’06 is an alumna of Sacred Heart School of Halifax.

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She attended Acadia University where she earned a Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in Accounting. Alexandra obtained her CPA, CA Designation in 2013 while working at Grant Thornton. She is now Audit Manager, Financial Audit Team, Office of the Auditor General of Nova Scotia. Alexandra has served as the President and Past President of the Sacred Heart School of Halifax Alumnae and Alumni Association.