Our board and staff work collaboratively with one another and with all external partners and supporters. We seek community input and feedback, and this has been a key factor in the success of our innovation.

HGHES and the education we deliver are based on the principle of mutual respect, for each other and the human and ecological communities we inhabit.

Dr. Carlos Ormond

Executive Director

For the better part of 15 years the focus of Carlos’ work has been to develop and participate in strategic initiatives to support the continuous improvement of communities and the ecological systems they are dependent on. Carlos brings to the HGHES 10+ years teaching and research experience at the post-secondary level in education, community development, and environmental science. Seven of those years have been spent teaching with Simon Fraser University's interdisciplinary community-based course here on Haida Gwaii. He continues to teach with Simon Fraser University as a sessional instructor in their undergraduate and graduate environmental education program, and acts as a graduate supervisor with the Royal Roads University Masters in Environmental Education and Communication program.

Emily-Sky Collins

Operations Manager

Emily studied cultural anthropology at the University of Northern British Columbia and was a student of the very first Haida Gwaii Semester in 2010. These experiences helped to further her curiosity in the many ways that nature and culture intersect.

As Operations Manager her role involves collaborating with students, community, instructors, and staff to develop and deliver transformative education inspired by Haida Gwaii. While much of her work is behind the scenes, she is focused on supporting best practice place-based education, ensuring that all HGHES operations are running smoothly, and helping students to have the fullest experience possible.

When she is not at work, you can find her at the beach with her bad dog, Jude.

Debbie Pearson

Finance Manager

Debbie arrived on Haida Gwaii as a young adult and to this day remains enthralled with the people, lifestyle, culture and environmental richness provided by the islands. She is passionate about initiatives focused on sustainable community development that serve to protect both the people and environment.

As Finance Manager, Debbie works behind the scenes to balance budgets and report operations to the various levels of government. She has 30 years of management experience working for a wide variety of community-based and not-for-profit organizations. Her past work has included planning and implementation of public works infrastructure projects, numerous social programs, community events and festivals. Currently, she is also employed by the Hecate Strait Streamkeepers and manages projects focused on salmonid education and stewardship, assessment and habitat restoration.

In her spare time, Debbie volunteers as a Director for Literacy Haida Gwaii and spends time assisting at the Queen Charlotte Community Salmon Hatchery.

Debbie is currently working on her thesis in completion of a Master of Arts in Environment and Management, Royal Roads University.

When not working or volunteering she can be found playing in the dirt of her organic garden. She has raised two children on Haida Gwaii, both of whom she is profoundly proud of.

Patrick Shannon (Nang Ḵ'uulas)


Patrick is a First Nations professional creative and social entrepreneur from Haida Gwaii, raised by his Haida elders he endeavours to keep storytelling alive through todays modern art forms. He travels the country empowering neighbouring aboriginal communities in using technology and media, to not only address and heal social issues, but to start forging new cultural identities in the modern world.

Originally from HlG̱aagilda (Skidegate), after a decade of working in several creative industries throughout Vancouver BC, Patrick returned home to Haida Gwaii to reconnect with his community and culture, and to help develop new media industries.

Jana McLeod

Program Coordinator - Old Massett/Masset

Jana has lived on Haida Gwaii all her life. She was CEO of a very busy company with eight people under her. The positon was 24 hours and on call. Some of her roles were: nurse, doctor, chauffer, personal chef and shopper, cheerleader, therapist, body guard and in some cases, search and rescue. She held a masters in anger management which helped keep everyone alive. After an in-depth budget analysis revealed her wage as a stay at home mom was -.75 cents/ hour, she went back to school. She later escaped to take her Certificate in Social Services and counsellor training for children who witness abuse. As well Jana was given the opportunity to take First Nations and Mediation courses at UNBC. She has worked extensively with youth and families as an outreach and social assistance worker. Jana also volunteers for the annual Haida Gwaii Youth Assembly and Conference, and has a heart for the rich culture of Haida Gwaii

Jana is excited to be working with Jason Thompson, as well as alongside the rest of the HGHES team, to set up the new semester in Reconciliation Studies, and looks forward to seeing this program take off.

Jason Thompson

Program Coordinator - Old Massett/Masset

Jason Thompson is a marine biologist with more than 20 years of work experience on the BC coast. He has worked in various sectors including federal and First Nations governments, academia, consulting and has participated in marine industries such as commercial fishing and aquaculture. Jason brings a breadth of experience from academia having been an undergraduate, graduate student and employee at multiple field schools in Canada and the US. Since moving to Haida Gwaii in 2009, Jason has become closely involved in the Masset community including two terms as a municipal councilor. He currently sits on a number of on and off island boards as a representative for his community. He spends most of his downtime chasing after his two daughters, roasting coffee, and pretending to surf.

Jason will be working with Jana McLeod, and the rest of the HGHES team, in coordinating the development and delivery of the Reconciliation Semester in Masset and Old Massett.