CanLearn society CEO Krista Poole is like a
literacy coach: she helps children, youth and adults get off
the educational sidelines and onto the playing field.
She and CanLearn’s team of 25 educational
psychologists, literacy coordinators, physician-associates
and a digital librarian focus on root causes of hampered
learning, the physical equivalent of sprained ankles and
twisted knees. These are often lagging literacy, learning
disabilities and attention disorders. They can lead to
mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression.
Poole comes from an ESL (English as a second language)
background, and describes herself as, “old to literacy,
new to attention disorders and learning disabilities, and
immersed in mental health concerns.
“CanLearn works with anyone facing a learning
difficulty and will work with them until we find a
solution,” says Poole. A common result, she adds, is clients
build competence and unleash confidence and hope.
“We’re at our best when working with people who have
the highest needs,” she says. “We know 30 per cent of kids
start school behind in learning skills; that 30 per cent are
well behind by grade six; and that 30 per cent eventually
Demand is growing for CanLearn’s services. And, Poole
is up to the leadership challenge, according to Gerry Meek,
the society’s board chair and recently retired CEO of the
Calgary Public Library.
Learning you can
Krista Poole and the CanLearn team
help overcome obstacles to literacy
“Krista is positive in her outlook, handles stress well,
enjoys a good laugh, and is sensitive and adaptive,” Meek
says. He describes Poole as insightful, caring, encouraging
and skillful in relationship building.
Under her leadership, CanLearn has become a centre
of excellence in helping families identify, cope with and
overcome learning disabilities.
Poole credits part of CanLearn’s success to reaching
children early, before they enter school. “Early is best, but
it’s never too late,” Poole says.
“We offer a life-changing service at CanLearn. Every
single day I wish I didn’t wait so long to become part
Krista Poole (front) and her team help people get off the education sidelines
and onto the playing field.