Karla was born and raised in Sherbrooke, P.E.I. She graduated from Holland College with a Certificate in Business Administration in 1997, and then from U.P.E.I. with her Bachelor of Education degree in 2005 (focus on Indigenous Studies, French and history). In May 2015, Karla graduated with her Masters in Education in Counselling from Acadia University. She resides in Charlottetown (District 12) with her partner Ryan and 2 young children.
Beginning her tenure with the Public Schools Branch in 2005, Karla has held roles as both counsellor and teacher (classroom, resource and behavioural resource) at several grade levels and subjects. She has had ongoing involvement on various school and community committees and groups promoting healthy, safe spaces and advocating for mental health services and education. As a teacher, counsellor and parent she is passionate about helping create happy, resilient, problem-solving and critical-thinking citizens. Karla’s love of the arts and theatre has been a consistent in her life, leading her to being involved in the community and school. She enjoys volunteering her time in supporting various local artists to provide safe spaces at art and music events. She is a Canadian Certified Counsellor and a member of the Prince Edward Island Counselling Association (PEICA). In June 2015, she had the opportunity to represent Prince Edward Island in the creation of the Mental Health Action Plan for Canada. Bernard is a motivated, professional, lifelong learner, and active community member with a passion for addressing the social determinants of health, sustainability and building community.
"We are fortunate on Prince Edward Island to have so many passionate, committed, engaged educators, school personnel and parents. I envision us all working together to create an education system that better meets the needs of an ever changing society and that helps nurture the whole child. What better place to support healthy development and to promote early intervention and prevention? Can you imagine the ripple effects? I believe we have a unique opportunity on PEI, due to our size, population and the creativity in our citizens, to try some new, more effective approaches."
“Sexuality is a part of our humanity and an integral part of who we are as individuals. Good, current curriculum recognizes this and promotes nurturance, understanding, appreciation, knowledge and community.”
In Jane Ledwell’s opinion piece printed in the Guardian on the first anniversary of the #MeToo movement, she asks the question – “what can we do?” One solution she provides is to develop good, sound policy. In light of recent headline news, it is more important than ever to connect the dots and draw the lines between education, awareness and behaviour.
RE: “Island teachers trained to detect mental health disorders in the classroom”.
Hoping for something does not make it so - a lesson most of us learn early in life when the magical thinking of childhood is lost. Training teachers to deliver curriculum designed to increase knowledge of mental health issues does one specific thing - increases knowledge of mental health issues. A worthy goal in itself, but what does the evidence actually tell us about this program’s ability to support student mental health and wellbeing?
The work of educators is absolutely critical in shaping the future. Entering 2018, Grade 3 assessments are looming. The results of past assessments have not met expectations. This isn't a new outcome: test results have been plummeting in writing, reading and mathematics since 2014. It's a great source of stress for all involved.
Our Health Minister Robert Henderson continues to assure us that there is no mental health crisis on Prince Edward Island.
In June 2015, I had the honour of representing Prince Edward Island as a member of the Canadian Citizen Reference Panel in Ottawa. Alongside the Mental Health Commission of Canada and countless other organizations and individuals too numerous to list, we aided in the creation of a mental health action plan for Canada.
I did my best to represent Prince Edward Island, and the voices of all our communities were well represented, including LGBT communities, Indigenous and First Nations communities, immigrant and refugee communities, our youth, elders, families struggling with mental health/health issues, people living with addictions, professionals working in these areas, families living in poverty, caregivers, our farmers, among others.