Board of Directors


The Learning Specialists Association of Canada is governed by a Board of Directors elected from its professional members by its professional members. The Board is composed of:

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Dr. Deena Kara Shaffer
Deena is a nationally recognized learning specialist, keynote speaker, trainer, consultant, and coach about all things equitable, sustainable learning, and teaching.

Vice President

Madelyn Steed
Madelyn Steed (she/her) is the Manager of Academic Support at Ted Rogers School of Management at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University). She holds a Master of Education degree and is a proud Katimavik alumna.  She has served as the Eastern Regional Chair of LSAC (2019-2021) and is currently the Vice-President of LSAC (2021-2023).  Madelyn’s passion for education extends beyond higher education; she is the co-founder of the Canadian Gap Year Association, a not-for-profit organization that advocates for the awareness of gap years as an educational pathway. In addition, she enjoys crafting, gardening, biking and being in nature.
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Marti Alger

Marti is a motivated and caring learning strategist with more than 20 years of experience serving students across Canada, training fabulous tutors, and teaching students how to learn.

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Pacific Region Chair

Sandra Smith

Sandra J. Smith (she/her), MEd, BA (Hons), is the Coordinator of the Academic Success Centre at the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, BC. She is in her second term as Pacific Region Chair on the LSAC Board of Directors. Sandra came to the Learning Specialist profession in 2015 after 30 years of working as an ESL/EFL instructor and curriculum designer for post-secondary students in Canada and Japan. In addition to providing academic tutoring services for a diverse student population, her work at UFV includes programming and resource development to support students in matters of academic integrity. Sandra co-founded the national Procrastination Awareness Week, which pools resources and connects students and staff from post-secondary academic support programs across Canada. Outside of work, Sandra is active in triathlon and happiest when she is in, on, or around the water.


Western Region Chair

Rachel Taylor-Fergusson
Rachel is a learning specialist, instructional designer & advocate of critical thinking.
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Eastern Region Chair

Juliet O’Neill Dunphy
Juliet has been involved in the field of education for more than 40 years as a learning specialist, teacher, and course designer; she has been manager of Concordia University’s Learning Services since 2010.

Atlantic Region Chair

Jaclyn Borden

Jaclyn is a learning strategist who is focused on providing holistic and equitable services to all students.

Lindsay Heggie SM 2021

International Relations Director

Dr. Lindsay Heggie

Lindsay Heggie holds multiple degrees in Linguistics and Education, and earned her PhD (Education, Cognitive Studies) in 2017. She has an extensive background in reading research that spans more than 15 years, from her time as a Knowledge Officer with the Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network (CLLRNet) to her doctoral work on word reading and the component skills that help children learn to be successful readers. As an academic skills specialist, Lindsay mentors and supports post-secondary students’ academic skill and strategy development; she supports students who have learning disabilities as well as those who are typically-achieving, focusing on a wide range of topics including self-regulation skills and reading comprehension strategies. She has a special interest in the intersection of graduate studies and academic success, coordinating programming to support Master’s and PhD students.

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