Board of Directors

Board Members

  • Gillian Martin, Chair
  • William (Harry) H. Giles, Honorary Director and Educational Advisor
  • Kerry O’Reilly Wilks
  • Jackie Yau
  • Joseph Robert
  • Shelagh Lemke
  • Van Malkhassian
  • Lauren Dade
  • Vanessa Wade

Advisors to the Board

Barbara Smith, Principal

Biographies

Gillian Martin, Chair of the Board of Directors

Gillian has been ‘born and raised’ in the independent school world, growing up on the campus of Ridley College in St. Catharines, and working first at Trafalgar Castle School in Whitby (as an English Teacher, Department Head and Vice Principal) and now at Havergal College in Toronto, as the Head of Senior School. Gillian holds a Masters Degree from OISE/University of Toronto in Curriculum, Teaching and Learning, and has earned her Principals’ Qualifications (Private Schools Stream) from York University.

Experienced in building and nurturing school culture, supporting students through health and wellness initiatives, practicing progressive discipline, and engaging the parent and alumni community, Gillian brings a depth of practical know-how and pedagogical expertise to the Board of Directors at the Giles School.

Gillian also brings a history of collaboration and innovation with other independent schools, through her work with the CIS (Conference of Independent Schools of Ontario) as a Conference Committee member and frequent presenter, and with CAIS (Canadian Accredited Independent Schools), particularly the CAIS “Project 2051”, a national initiative which explores the financial and educational sustainability of independent schools across Canada.

Gillian is honoured to be working with the Board of Directors and looks forward to engaging with the Giles School community.

William (Harry) H. Giles, Honorary Director and Educational Advisor

Harry Giles is a pioneer in modern education. Regarded as one of the most influential educators in Canada, he established the prestigious pre-university competitions, Chemistry and Physics Olympiads, and started the first GCE Ordinary and Advanced examination centre in Canada. He assisted in the creation of the International Baccalaureate and established the first examination centre of the International Baccalaureate in Canada. Mr. Giles has participated actively in worldwide educational communities including representing Canada at the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th International Curriculum Conferences.

As founder and headmaster of the Toronto French School for 25 years, Mr. Giles introduced immersed bilingual education in Canada and promoted it across the country. He also introduced and implemented the first early intervention programs in Canadian schools. The results of the students at that time were unrivalled, indicating the staggering potential of early education. His work continued at The Giles School as he has sought to change the educational system in Canada.

Mr. Giles is a Queen’s Counsel. He holds both the Jubilee and Commemorative medals and received membership in the Order of Canada in 1973 for his initiative in creating and directing the first private school in Toronto offering instruction in the French language.

Mr. Giles has also served as president of a chemical company, an economist in Canada and the Middle East and director of various public and private corporations. His publications include “Schools and Students: Legal Aspects of Administration” as well as poetry, a play and numerous articles in journals.

Mr. Giles has a Master of Education and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto as well as a Bachelor of Laws from Osgoode Hall.

Kerry O’Reilly Wilks

Kerry O’Reilly Wilks is the Head of Legal, North Atlantic & UK, for Vale’s Base Metals Business and was named as one of Lexpert’s Rising Stars – Top 40 under 40 lawyers in Canada in 2012. Vale is one of the largest mining companies in the world. In this role, Kerry oversees all legal issues arising in North America and the UK, including litigation, projects, operations, strategic planning, environmental, health and safety. Prior to this position, Kerry sat as the Head of Legal, Corporate and Marketing, for Vale’s Base Metals Business, as well as the Global Chief IT Counsel for Vale globally across all business lines. In this role, Kerry was the executive and senior legal officer responsible for advising executive management on legal issues and risk concerning corporate, treasury, securities, corporate governance, finance, tax, strategic alliances and marketing. She has also filled a senior strategic advisory role regarding Vale’s Asia-Pacific affiliates, as Head of Legal, Asia Pacific, where she faced all the challenges associated with being the legal representative of a publicly traded multinational dealing with foreign governments, foreign regulators and significant business partners. Kerry has also been a driving force for innovative projects at Vale, including the creation of a legal knowledge management system. Prior to joining Vale, Kerry was a partner with Davies, Ward, Phillips & Vineberg LLP, a leading business law firm, focusing on multi-million dollar securities offerings and M&A transactions.

Kerry is also the Founder and Chairperson of Malachy’s Soiree, an annual gala and auction in support of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. Kerry sits on the Board of Directors of St. Michael’s Hospital, as well as on the Business Services Committee and Research & Education Committee of the Board of Directors of St. Michael’s Hospital.

Jackie Yau

Jackie is the Vice President, Accounting, Controls and Compliance at Dream Unlimited Corp., a real estate company with approximately $14 billion in assets under management, with businesses including residential land, condominium and housing development; asset management services, and commercial property ownership. Jackie is a parent at the Giles School. Jackie spent 14 years practicing public accounting in the firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, in a variety of industries including real estate, technology and non-for-profit clients. Jackie is a graduate of the University of Toronto and holds both the Chartered Professional Accountant, Chartered Accountant and a Certified Public Accountant designations.

Joseph Robert

Joe has been selling real estate in the central core of Toronto for over 7 years,  the last 5 partnered with his wife, Gillian to form OxleyRobert Real Estate. Prior to that, he spent many years in sales and marketing and sponsorship sales for various companies including his own.

He comes from a family that has been in Toronto for many generations and has watched it grow, expand and change. He is the proud father of 2 adult children and 2 teenage stepchildren.When not spending time with his family, Joe can be found (less than he would like) on the golf course or enjoying his passion for boating and the open water.

Joe is an avid collector of Canadian art and a supporter of various causes close to his heart, from Casey House to the RLP Shelter Foundation.

Shelagh Lemke

Shelagh is the Managing Director & Head of Credit Research at Gluskin Sheff + Associates, an independent wealth management firm. She has over 20 years of experience in fixed income asset management and credit research. She holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics & Political Science from Glendon College, York University and a Master of Arts degree in Economics from Queen’s University.

Shelagh has earned the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and is a former Chair of the Fixed Income Committee for the Toronto CFA Society.

Caroline Bernaba, Head of School

Caroline Bernaba was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon. She was educated as a young child at a private French school. She attended Beirut University College in Lebanon to study business management followed by teacher’s college where she was granted a number one teaching certificate. Caroline began her long career at The Giles School with teaching the Grade 1 class in 1993. Her collaboration with Harry Giles in improving and strengthening the Pre-K through Grade 3 curriculum has been instrumental in the development of The Giles School. She continued her training at York University in the Faculty of Education where she earned her Private School Principal 2 certificate in 2012. Her teaching skills and long commitment to The Giles School was rewarded when she attained her current position of Principal at Giles. Throughout her 25 years at The Giles School Caroline has been a mentor and trainer for many teachers and supported her colleagues on many occasions. She has also established numerous school traditions, among other achievements. Her steadfast dedication to the school through many ups and downs has set an example for the entire Giles community.

Van Malkhassian

Van is a General Manager within the Mercedes-Benz Canada retail automotive dealership network. With over 20 years of experience, he is a senior leader and executive, with a successful track record in implementing high performance cultures and helping companies expand their leadership position in the marketplace. Van has previously served on boards in both the Automotive and Athletic verticals. He is a parent at the Giles School with both his children in attendance. He is also fluent in English, French and Armenian. Van holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Concordia University and an Executive MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business.

Lauren Dade

Lauren Dade joined the Board in February 2019. She received her Doctorate in Psychology from McGill University and has specialized training in Clinical Neuropsychology, and Paediatric Health, Clinical, and School Psychology. She has carried out research at the Rotman Research Institute, worked in the Chronic Pain Clinic at the Hospital for Sick Children, as well as on the Developmental and Brain Injury Rehabilitation teams at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. She now applies all her skills in her current work as a Psychologist for the Toronto District School Board. She also enjoys teaching and mentoring others, and over the past few years has been involved in the teaching and supervision of Doctoral Psychology Candidates at the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto. Finally, she is also on the Board of Directors for Aisling Discoveries Child and Family Centre, an agency focused on supporting children, youth and families coping with mental health challenges and developmental issues.

Lauren has close ties with the Giles School, having been connected with the school since her eldest child started in Kindergarten and is now in the Grade Eight Graduating class! Watching how her two children have grown and developed socially, personally, and intellectually within the academically strong and developmentally nurturing Giles environment has made her a dedicated and long time supporter of the School.

Vanessa Wade

Vanessa Wade is the Coordinator of Student Leadership at Havergal College.  She has also been a member of the Guidance Department for numerous years, both at Havergal and St. Clement’s School, where she has led a variety of wellness initiatives for both students and staff. Vanessa’s passion for leadership and wellbeing has been demonstrated throughout her career.  She completed her Masters of Education in Educational Administration from the University of Toronto.  She also holds her Guidance and Career Education Specialist and Building School Culture certificate.  She has been involved in many teams and committees over the years, with a vested interested in bettering the student and faculty experience at the schools she has been involved in. As a proud graduate of the Toronto French School, also founded by Harry Giles, Vanessa is thrilled to be part of the Giles School’s Board of Directors.