Board of Directors
Our Board of Directors is a distinguished group of leaders whose commitment and strategic decision-making have made an impact in communities across British Columbia. The dedication, commitment and wisdom they bring to our boardroom not only guides our work, but reflects our values. We are proud to work with such a knowledgeable and generous group of individuals.
Anne Cooper has more than 30 years of experience in district office, with 20 of those as a Superintendent of Schools in BC. She holds a B.Ed. from the University of Calgary, and an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Oregon.
Anne received the BC School Superintendents Association Distinguished Service Award in 2006, has been a two-time recipient of the Premier’s Award for Excellence, received the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy Champion award in 2013 and was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal for her contribution to public education.
Retired, but still active in her community, Mrs. Cooper serves on many committees in Revelstoke.
Since 2012, Leslie has led a unique role at BC Cancer Foundation as Director Corporate Governance. Prior to that, educational advancement was the focus of her career at the UBC Alumni Association for more than 10 years, the last two leading the not for profit as Executive Director. She was responsible for managing and developing programs to serve 200,000 alumni and was part of a small team that negotiated with the university to put in place a progressive and integrated model to optimize alumni programs and services at UBC. Since then, she joined a consortium of Educational Advancement professionals, which developed a comprehensive metrics system to measure alumni engagement, helping educational institutions justify and measure their relationship building programs. She served on the Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education National Board for four years as Professional Development Chair. In 2014, she successfully attracted the national award for best Corporate Governance by the Governance Professionals Association, which recognized the excellence in organizational leadership and the highest of standards for the BC Cancer Foundation. Currently, she also serves on the Vancouver Foundation’s North Shore Resident Advisory Committee, which provides grants to support projects to enrich communities and build neighbourhoods that respect and celebrate diversity.
Grace Kuo brings diverse financial experience to the Decoda Board. She began her career with KPMG, and eventually became an Audit Manager there, while obtaining her designation as a Chartered Accountant (CA). She then gained experience in the financial industry, working for Leith Wheeler Investment Council, where she was a manager of mutual funds, and then transitioned to Canfor, where she currently holds the title of Director, Treasury.
Grace enjoys the educational side of finance and accounting, where she assisted students obtain their accounting designations at Simon Fraser University and Langara College.
Ralf St. Clair
In the two decades since completing his PhD, Ralf has been involved in many fascinating projects and in universities in three countries: the UK, the US and Canada. Some of the highlights include an EU-funded study of vocational adult education across Europe, managing a massive skills survey in Scotland for the Scottish Government, and a large scale exploration of educational aspirations in deprived areas of the UK. One of his favourite things to do is write books. He has two single-authored books out so far, and is hoping for more in the near future!
Valerie Overgaard retired from the Vancouver School District after two decades in the District Office. Her last position, which she held for much of that time, was Associate Superintendent responsible for programs. Valerie’s career spanned 38 years, and included teaching positions in public schools, administrative and teaching roles at the University of Victoria and the University of British Columbia, and working in curriculum for the Ministry of Education. A highlight in Valerie’s career was her position as Senior Researcher on the Royal Commission on Education. She completed degrees in all three of B.C.’s major universities: B. Ed. from UBC, M.A. from UVic, and PhD from SFU. Literacy has been an interest for much of her time as an educator and she has been involved with organizations supporting literacy since her retirement.
Diana has worked in adult literacy since 1993. She helps businesses, government departments and community groups create successful training programs and a vision for sustainability by examining approaches to workplace learning and engaging in research and literacy reviews. Diana has been the Director of Literacy Development at Literacy BC; Director, Adult and Workplace Learning at Decoda; and is currently chair of the Community Development and Outreach department at Capilano University.