Our Staff

Shayla MacDonald: Organization Administrator

Shayla has been ACALA’s Organizational Administrator since December 2018. In her role, Shayla creates and maintains Community Partnerships, creates Programs that meet Community and Learner’s goals, and provides access to education as required. 

Shayla oversees programming and opportunities accessible to ACALA and remains responsive to the needs of our community to create opportunities that empowers learners.

Shayla has completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Arts with a Major in Psychology and a Minor in Studio Art. She also earned a Diploma in Montessori Education and is currently working on a Curriculum and Instructional Design Program to design and create programs. 

Shalya has a passion for sewing! She loves to make clothing for her family and also sells her clothing!


Rebecca Bissell: Administrative Assistant

Rebecca has been with ACALA since January 2023. You may have seen her work with ACALA’s monthly newsletters, website and various projects around ACALA. You never know what is next on her list!

Rebecca completed a Bachelor’s Degree with a Major in Sociology and Minor in English, she then continued her education with Science in Nursing and also completed a diploma in Interior Design.   

When not at work, Rebecca can be found spending time with her children or tending to her animals and growing her farm. She has a love for adventure, whether it be on the mountains ATVing or packing her family up and taking months/year to travel. “The finest education is learned with spontaneous trips, and leaving your comfort zone to try new things, get out there!”  

Michelle Furlong : Instructor 

Michelle has been with ACALA since September 2022 and specializes in Employability. As our Essential Skills Instructor, she teaches Career X, ESAT, Certification Prep and Living it Up! Michelle encourages people to become involved with ACALA programs, especially her favourites : “Boot Camps” & “Living it Up” where she offers a hands on, fun approach to learning!

Michelle is always engaged in Continuous Learning, is a Certified Career Development Practitioner, supporting learners to choose and plan goals, apply for jobs, and assists with interview preparation.  She recently completed the Essential Skills (E3101) Program to add to her own Educational Goal!

On a fun note, Michelle loves to travel! She’s travelled to various places in Canada and the US, some which include: Toronto, Ottawa, Las Vegas, New Orleans (Yes, for Mardi Gras!) and numerous times to her all time favourite Disney World and is known as our “Disney Queen”!


Cristina Silvestri: Instructor (On Leave)

Adult Learning Program (ALP) Levels I, II, and III, GED prep

Cristina has been with ACALA since Fall of 2020 and specializes in GED Preparation and ALP (Adult Learning Program). Cristina feels the most important aspects of her programs are Communication (Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening) and Math Skills. She strongly supports her learners and actively seeks to help them achieve their Learning Goals. Cristina offers small group settings to help prepare for GED testing. She enjoys the ALP program because of the diversity of Learners she encompasses. 

Cristina would love to offer more education in Science and is hoping to incorporate more science based learning in the near future. She believes  this will intrigue learners and broaden their learning horizons.

When not teaching, Cristina can be found walking her Goldendoodle “Gordie”, tending to her beloved collection of houseplants or idulging in her creative side of cross stitch and embroidery.  

Andrew Stalker:  Instructor

Essential Skills for Community, Empowerment, and Life Program

Andrew started as an ACALA volunteer more than 10 years ago and has been working full-time doing employment skills programming at ACALA since 2015.  In this time, he has developed a project-based approach to teaching essential skills where learners focus on teamwork, communication skills and problem-solving in partnering on projects like the ACALA News newsletter and, more recently, our ACALA Express Blog.

Learners are encouraged to explore their common interests through these projects, which seek to celebrate exciting people and initiatives at work in our community.  These inquiries often lead to volunteering for learners and are the basis for future educational planning and employment. 

Andrew also enjoys volunteering with learners for community initiatives like ushering at the Bauer Theatre and hospital welcoming and wayfinding at St. Martha’s Regional Hospital.  He likes to share in the feeling of satisfaction that comes from giving back to our community.  Andrew’s passion for music is also something that he enjoys sharing and he attempts to do so regularly by performing at musical fundraisers and other community events like the Library Open Mic.

Lindsay Chisholm: Instructor

Computer and Technology Instructor in the Essential Skills for Community, Empowerment, and Life program.

Lindsay graduated from NSCC’s Office Administration program in 2016 and started working at ACALA as an administrative assistant in the fall of 2016. She soon started teaching digital tech/computer skills where she still is today! Lindsay has completed several courses (E3, ESAT, CAMERA, NSSAL training etc)  as she is always excited to further her knowledge of adult education.

Lindsay hopes ACALA will continue to provide learning opportunities to the people of Antigonish for years to come. She loves to be involved with various fun and interesting projects through ACALA – like Antigonight displays, community lunch & learns, filmmaking projects, and newsletter articles about people or events in our community.

 A fun fact about Lindsay is that she is a self-proclaimed nerd and proud of it! She loves trivia games, puzzles, crafting (particularly crochet), painting, and she’s recently learned digital drawing using her Chromebook.

Jyotsna Jain: Volunteer Tutor Coordinator

Kathryn Collicott: Instructor (On Leave) 

Essential Skills for Community, Empowerment and Life program; Family Literacy program