Jody Rutherford

Director of Education & Programming - Founder (in Memoriam)

About Me

In Memoriam

Jody Rutherford

September 15, 1956 - September 29, 2019

Jody founded BELA in 2012 with the goal of bringing innovative preschool programming to the families in Brooks and area that was accessible and inclusive for all types of learners.She leveraged her extensive knowledge and experience in early childhood education to create a program that would enrich the lives of children and families for years to come. Under her leadership a team was built and a program went from a dream to reality....   

Jody's dedication, experience and belief in the importance of early childhood education are well known in our community. With a rich and rewarding educational career, Jody's extensive educational knowledge has developed over 32 years as: a teacher in a variety of assignments and diverse leadership positions, including, Brooks Primary School, Vice Principal; Grasslands Student Services Consultant; Central School- the Brooks Early Childhood Development Centre, Principal.

Jody led the transition, as the Principal at Central School, when the school evolved into the Brooks Early Childhood Development Centre. A school focused on meeting the needs of the youngest students in our community. Under her leadership, Central School was recognized by Canadian Today's Parent magazine, as one of the top 25 schools in Canada and in an article published in CASS Connection- the official magazine for the College of Alberta School Superintendents, as providing high quality learning opportunities for children ages three through six years of age.

With a continuous focus on doing what is best for students and their families, Jody's leadership and professional experiences are based on extensive collaboration at a school, district, community and provincial level, including:

  • Executive Director- Southern Alberta Professional Development Consortium, collaborating with school districts within our region and other Consortia Directors, provincially to design and implement professional learning opportunities for educators.
  • Collaborative presentations and support/training for Grasslands Administrators to implement Peer Coaching Strategies -Participation in the Grasslands Leadership & Administrative Development programs - Membership in a Grasslands committee initiating and participating in the CASS Moving & Improving Project.
  • Coordinator & Facilitator of the Grasslands Innovations Pilot Project, one of seven collaborative proactive projects designed to support student emotional and physical well-being, and one of only two to receive annualized funding.
  • Initiation and facilitation of the Grasslands Paraprofessional PD program
  • Initiation and support of the Brooks Parents As Teachers program
  • Initiation and support for the Parenting with Love & Logic program in Brooks
  • A participant in the Grasslands English as a Second language Committee and initiator of the Central School Early English Language Learner Program.
  • Initiator and facilitator of the Brooks Child & Family Services Council

Jody has a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Alberta, with a focus on early childhood education and language arts. Jody received her Master of Education- Educational Leadership from the University of Lethbridge.

The BELA team benefited from eight years of Jody's incredible leadership, knowledge, guidance and passion for education and we will continue to deliver the program she built and uphold the highest standards for early learning in her memory.