Master of Education in Educational Studies (MES)

Our Faculty


Dr. Jim Parsons, PhD

Professor Emeritus, 
Department of Secondary Education,
University of Alberta

Dr. Parsons is one of the longest serving professors in the history of the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta, where he was a member of the Department of Secondary Education for 40 years. During that time, he taught Social Studies Curriculum and Instruction, Religious Education, and Research Design. 

He is the founding Director of the Masters of Educational Studies and was the Director of the Alberta Initiative for School Improvement for 14 years. He is also the current Executive Editor of The Canadian Journal for Teacher Research.

He has worked extensively in China, and is the lead author for one of two English Language Programs authorized throughout China.

Jim was recently awarded the ATA's highest honour, Honourary Membership, as "one of Alberta's most distinguished and respected teachers." Read more here.

RESEARCH INTERESTS are action research and collaborative teacher professional learning.


Dr. Katherine Willson, PhD

Professor Emerita,
Department of Elementary Education,
University of Alberta

Dr. Willson's   extensive background in education includes:

  • 15 years as a teacher, district mathematics consultant and principal (Edmonton Public School Board)
  • 4 years as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Science Education (University of British Columbia)
  • 18 years at the University of Alberta: highlights included teaching a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses, coordinating practicum, collaborating in long-term professional development with Edmonton Catholic Schools and Yellowknife School district, and since 2013, teaching in the MES program.

Katherine also has extensive international experience with teachers and teacher educators (The Dominican Republic, Namibia, Trinidad, and China).


  • Faculty of Education Undergraduate Teaching Award
  • University of Alberta Rutherford Teaching Award
  • Alberta Teachers’ Association Educational Research Award (co- recipient  Dr. Roberta McKay).

RESEARCH INTERESTS have included pre-service and in-service teacher education, mathematics education, Integrating mathematics and language arts, and the use of technology in education.


Dr. Leonora Macy, PhD

Adjunct Academic Colleague, 
Master of Education in Educational Studies,
University of Alberta

Dr. Macy arrived in Canada from South Africa as an award-winning teacher. She assumed her teaching career in British Columbia and within a few years became a consultant for a district undergoing a change in its vision and mission. On arrival in Alberta, Leonora became a school coordinator. During this time, she also returned to university to complete her master and doctoral studies.


She has taught language and literacy courses in the University of Alberta’s Elementary Education Department with a focus on literacy education, children’s literature, and drama as a tool for learning. She currently teaches graduate courses in curriculum, educational research, and educational change, and provides supervisory support for students conducting research.


Leonora joined the MES program in 2007. As an instructor for the second year of the program, she has a keen understanding about the ways in which the different courses fit together and values the program’s unique focus on both online and face-to-face opportunities. Leonora believes when a diverse community of learners come together to grapple with complex concepts related to leadership and school improvement, that is when new understandings are most likely to emerge. For Leonora, the connections made between theory, practice, and community are at the heart of the program.


  • Phi Delta Kappa (PDK) Doctoral Dissertation Award
  • The University of Alberta Undergraduate Teaching Award

RESEARCH INTERESTS Engaging in narrative inquiry as a relational methodology, Dr. Leonora Macy will inquire into the experiences of teachers in post-apartheid South Africa. Her research puzzle will focus on how teachers negotiated philosophical and pedagogical changes and challenges during a time period marked by great change and uncertainty. Alongside teacher participants, she will juxtapose her experiences as a teacher who has taught in South Africa and Canada.

Dr. José L da Costa, BEd, MA, EdD

Educational Administration and Leadership,
Department of Educational Policy Studies,
University of Alberta

Dr. da Costa taught high school automotives at Atascadero High School in California in the mid to late 1980s before starting his doctoral work at U.B.C.

As a faculty member at the University of Alberta since 1993, Joe has taught courses in educational administration and leadership, generally, and supervision of instruction, specifically. He has also taught a variety of introductory and advanced research methods courses (drawing on rationalist and naturalist paradigms).

RESEARCH INTERESTS are focused on the Impacts of educational programming and administrative structures on student success in school, Academic disadvantage due to socio-cultural backgrounds and experiences, or economic circumstances, Early learning, in-school mentoring, school choice, and teacher and administrator professional development.


Dr. Ken Jacknicke, PhD

Professor Emeritus, 
Department of Secondary Education,
University of Alberta,

Dr. Jacknicke has taught secondary Science education for the Edmonton Public School Board and taught in both the Secondary and Elementary Education programs at the University of Alberta. As well, he was Associate Chair of Secondary Education for seven years, Chair of the Department for eleven years, and Dean of the College of Education at the University of Saskatchewan for seven years.

He has immensely enjoyed working with MES students over the past few years and is always very gratified to see the successes they achieve.

RESEARCH INTERESTS include Curriculum Studies, Teacher Education, Education Leadership, Science Education.

Dr. Ingrid Johnston, PhD

Professor Emerita,
Department of Secondary Education,
University of Alberta

Dr. Johnston’s research and teaching focus on postcolonial literary theories and pedagogies, curriculum development and teacher education for diversity.

Her latest co-edited book, Challenging Stories: Canadian Literature for Social Justice in the Classroom, is in publication with Canadian Scholars Press.

Ingrid has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in the areas of English language arts education, postcolonial theories and curriculum, research design and methodologies.

RESEARCH INTERESTS are focused on curriculum development and teacher education for diversity.

Dr. Joyce Bainbridge, BEd, MA, EdD

Professor Emerita, 
Department of Elementary Education,
University of Alberta

Dr. Bainbridge has taught courses in Language and Literacy Education, with a specialization in children's literature and children's writing. She served as Vice Dean of the Faculty for six years.

Joyce retired from full-time work in 2010. She continues to write educational materials, most notably the textbook, Constructing Meaning (6th edition, 2017).

Joyce has taught in the MES program in various capacities since 2006.


  • McCalla Research Professorship
  • Alberta Teachers' Association Educational Research Award
  • Faculty of Education Graduate Teaching Award




Dr. Denise Larson, BA, BEd, MEd, PhD, R. Psych.

Department of Educational Psychology,
Associate Dean Research, Faculty of Education
University of Alberta

Dr. Larson is a former elementary school teacher and a registered psychologist. She is currently serving in an educational leadership capacity as the Associate Dean Research in the Faculty of Education.

Her work experience includes teaching in inner city schools as well as practicing psychology in educational as well as pediatric and adult oncology settings. Her research is always applied: she is interested in practical and effective ways of working with students, teachers, and leaders in real life settings. She take a strengths-based approach drawing on positive psychology and hope research and focusing specifically in schools and health contexts.


  • 2015 Graduate Teaching Award in the Faculty of Education, University of Alberta 
  • 2016 Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching at the University of Alberta.  

RESEARCH INTERESTS include exploring effective interventions in individual, group, and peer counselling. Currently working on research teams with two school districts, i.e., Edmonton Public Schools and Greater St. Alberta Catholic Schools, to implement classroom and whole school hope interventions in support of student and teacher mental health.


Dr. Janice Wallace, PhD

Professor Emerita,
Department of Educational Policy Studies,
University of Alberta


Dr. Wallace has been a faculty member at Western in London, Ontario and, most recently, The University of Alberta where she has taught courses on research at both the Masters and Doctoral level, core courses in educational administration and organizational studies, and a course on Gender and Educational Leadership. She also taught and was coordinator (1 year) for the undergraduate course on Ethics ad Law. She also served as Associate Dean, Undergraduate Teacher Education for three years during a time of significant renewal in Undergraduate Student Services.

Since her retirement, she has taught graduate courses at both the University of Alberta and the University of Victoria.

Janice has thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to work with the MES program, learn new pedagogical skills for online teaching and learning, and get to know educators across the province while teaching the Fundamentals of Educational Research and Gender and Leadership courses. 

RESEARCH INTERESTS focus on issues of power in educational organizations with a special focus on issues of social justice. Her research has explored Indigenous education issues, the effects of gender in educational organizations and school practices, and neoliberal reforms in school systems. She has enjoyed working with both the ATA and the Alberta Ministry of Education on issues of social justice and leadership. 

Dr. Landor Liddell, PhD

Master of Education in Educational Studies,
University of Alberta

A psychologist and educator, Dr. Liddell teaches in the MES program and the Department of Extension (Business), and practices as a clinical/counselling psychologist.

RESEARCH INTERESTS are in the interdisciplinary approach to leadership development and implementation;  organizational behavior; authentic leadership; and, values and leadership.


Dr. Sally Brenton-Haden, PhD

Adjunct Assistant Professor,
Faculty of Education,
University of Alberta

Assistant Teaching Professor,
Department of Educational Psychology and Leadership Studies,
University of Victoria

Dr. Brenton-Haden’s areas of expertise include Differentiated Instruction, Universal Design for Learning, Learner Characteristics of Students with Specific Learning Disorders (Learning Disabilities), Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and Inclusive Education.  

Dr. Jill McClay, PhD

Professor Emerita. Department of Elementary Education,
University of Alberta


Jill taught English language arts to middle and senior high school students in the US and Mexico before coming to Canada, where she did her MEd and PhD degrees in the Dept of Secondary Education.

Hired as a professor in the Dept of Elementary Education to develop our Middle Years Teacher Education program in collaboration with Red Deer College, she taught in both programs for many years. She has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in Language and Literacy Education throughout her career.

Her extensive experience in graduate education and supervision includes service as Associate Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies of the Faculty of Education.

RESEARCH INTERESTS include new literacies, written composition, multimodal composition, avid writers, teacher education and professional development, graduate student composition, action research, case study research


Kerry Rose, PhD (c)

Master of Education in Educational Studies,
University of Alberta

Kerry Rose has worked with MES students for the past three years as a liaison for the International Baccalaureate Certificate programs (Advanced Teaching and Learning; Advanced Leadership Research). 

She worked for many years with the IB programme as a former IB science teacher, IB coordinator, and HL Biology Examiner. 

She currently works as a project manager at CMASTE (Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education), a development centre based in the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Education that specializes in the synthesis of research, knowledge translation, and outreach for local, national and international educational communities. 

For the last several years, Kerry has also taught the Introductory and Advanced Professional Term Curriculum and Instruction courses in the Department of Secondary Education, and worked in the MES program to help students with their research proposals.


RESEARCH INTERESTS are in the areas of Science Education: Intersections between science and other ways of knowing, Teacher Education, and Professional Development.


Dr. Bonnie Stelmach, PhD

Associate Professor,
Department of Educational Policy Studies,
University of Alberta

Bonnie Stelmach spent 7 years at the University of Saskatchewan in the Department of Educational Administration before returning to the University of Alberta's Department of Educational Policy Studies in 2014.  Before joining the academy, Bonnie taught secondary school in rural and northern Alberta, and at an international school in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  She completed a MA at Simon Fraser University in educational philosophy, and a PhD in Educational Administration and Leadership at the University of Alberta. RESEARCH INTERESTS focus on rural secondary school parents' sense of community.


Dr. Hans Smits, PhD

Master of Education in Educational Studies,
University of Alberta


Following his retirement from the University of Calgary, where he also served as the Associate Dean of Teacher Education, Hans decided to teach in the MES program.

Hans is a graduate of the University of Alberta, where he completed all his degrees, including a Ph.D. in 1994 in the area of curriculum studies.  Prior to completing his doctorate, Hans was a junior and senior high social studies teacher for many years in Edmonton.  He started his life in teaching as a CUSO volunteer in Zambia from 1967-69.

He has taught and written in the areas of teacher education, curriculum theory, and social studies education with an interest in exploring the relevance and nature of practical wisdom in the understanding and practice of teaching.

A highlight experience was teaching the MES summer institute in Tanzania in 2014.  In addition to teaching for the MES, Hans also teaches a philosophy of teaching course in Health Sciences Education.

Hans considers it a privilege and delight to have the opportunity to teach graduate students.



Dr. Noella Steinhauer, PhD

Assistant Professor
Educational Policy Studies

Noella Steinhauer is Plains Cree from the Saddle Lake Cree Nation in northeastern Alberta and is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Policy Studies.

She has been in a variety of leadership roles: including her role as vice-president of education with a national charity, she has also been a principal in First Nation schools and a principal with the Edmonton Public School District. Noella also spent more than 10 years as a secondary teacher.

Throughout her career, she has remained focused on the improvement of Indigenous student success.  

Her master’s work focused on factors that impact First Nation student achievement and her subsequent doctoral work focused on identifying the factors that would create a successful First Nation school.

RESEARCH INTERESTS  include leadership, First Nation school leadership, Indigenous ways of knowing, and collaborative leadership.

Dr. Julia Ellis, BA, MA, EdD

Professor Emerita,
Department of Elementary Education,
University of Alberta



Dr. Ellis came to the University of Alberta (Department of Elementary Education) in 1992 after previous appointments at the University of Toronto/OISE (4 years), University of Lethbridge (3 years as Coordinator of the Southern Alberta Gifted and Talented and Education Project) and UBC (2 years).  Her teacher preparation program was in Secondary English and also ESL. She completed her graduate work at UBC.

Julia served as Journal Editor for the Canadian Journal of Education (2006-2011) and the Alberta Journal of Educational Research (1998-2000).

Since retirement, Julia continues to teach graduate courses at the University of Alberta. 


  • Faculty of Education Graduate Teaching Award
  • Honorable Mention for Research Award from Alberta Learning (for Safe and Caring Schools Research)
  • Nominated for Canadian Women’s Mentor Award in the Science and Education category. Sponsored by: Trimark, Globe and Mail, and YWCA
  • Woman of Distinction in the Education Category from the YWCA, Lethbridge, Alberta  

RESEARCH INTERESTS include Interpretive inquiry, research methods, narrative inquiry with children and youth, curriculum inquiry, mentorship programs for children and youth, student leadership programs, children and place, space and place, encouragement and belonging in classrooms and schools, gender issues in education, multiculturalism in education, creativity and creative problem solving in the classroom, gifted education.


Dr, Gloria Antifaiff, PhD 

Dean, School of Education,
Red Deer College

Dr. Antifaiff completed her Ph.D. at the University of Regina. Her dissertation, Senior Administrators in School Divisions (Re)Composing Stories to Live By, is a narrative inquiry into the lived experiences of practicing superintendents in Saskatchewan.  Her M.Ed was completed at the University of Saskatchewan, with a focus on Educational Communications and Technology.  Her B.Ed was completed at the University of Regina, with specializations in Reading, Language Arts, and Early Childhood Education. 

She is currently the Dean, School of Education at Red Deer College.  She is also the Board Chair for the Central Alberta Regional Consortium (CARC). 

Prior to coming to Red Deer, she was a superintendent in a rural school division in Saskatchewan for several years. 

Gloria has continued to teach throughout her administrative career.  She was a sessional instructor at the University of Regina, teaching undergraduate courses in educational technology and a sessional instructor at the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology in the Early Childhood Education program.  


  • Canadian Presidential Award for Reading and Technology, International Literacy Association (x3)
  • Douglas/Brown Award in Instructional Technologies, University of Saskatchewan
RESEARCH INTERESTS include education leadership, pre-service teacher education, educational technology, literacy, narrative inquiry, and appreciative inquiry