GCABC Board Members

PRESIDENT – Lucila Saito

Lucila Saito is the President of GCABC since May 2017. She has two gifted children that attend/ed gifted programs (MACC) in Surrey. Having immigrated to Canada with her young family, she is very grateful for all the resources that were available especially to her son, who in three years moved from being an ESL student to skipping Grade 3, and then getting into the MACC. She has been closely involved with both children’s teachers and school activities, and finds it important to raise awareness about the need of special programs to keep gifted children academically and socially engaged. Lucila holds a BSc in Chemical Engineering from University of São Paulo, Brazil and an MSc in Engineering Management from Stanford University, and works part-time as a tutor since 2016.


TREASURER -Malvina Pradana

Malvina Pradana is a Chartered Professional Accountant with seventeen years of in depth experience in corporate accounting and reporting in both private and publicly listed companies. She and her husband have two young children – 8 and 5.  Both have been assessed as gifted, with the eldest currently attending a Catholic school in Burnaby and the youngest attending an independent school in Vancouver. She hopes to create more awareness and support for gifted children in the Burnaby and Greater Vancouver communities. She has been a member of the GCABC’s board since 2015 and a Treasurer since 2016.


SECRETARY – Lena Normén-Younger

Lena Normén-Younger has a PhD in clinical nutrition from Göteborg University in Sweden. Since 2005, she is the Business Manager at the Younger Facial Surgery Centre in Vancouver.
Lena has two sons who attend French Immersion. Because of their unique learning style, she has had to educate herself about the many different types of giftedness and how parents in BC can navigate the education system in a constructive way, collaborating with teachers and other parents.
Lena has run several large advocacy projects through social media, focussing on her second special interest, multilingualism. Currently, she leads and promotes an international online interest group for expat Swedes. The latter is called Swedish as a Mother Tongue Abroad and has forums on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with close to 8,000 followers worldwide, a blog, an e-magazine and a distance education program for children and teens.


DIRECTOR – Debbie Clelland

Debbie Clelland served as the President of GCABC 2014-2017. She has been involved with families of gifted children since her two gifted sons were assessed in 2003. She was part of the Chapter Leadership for the Maple Ridge GCABC Chapter from 2004-2007.  Debbie was lucky to have a wonderful mentor in Lannie Kanevsky as she earned her doctorate in Educational Psychology at SFU. This PhD has allowed Debbie to learn a great deal about gifted education, and combined with her profession as a counsellor educator, to have an understanding of the social-emotional aspects of giftedness. She has a passion to assist families of gifted children because we are the ones who need to understand our children in order to live with them, and to advocate and help them thrive in our schools and communities.


DIRECTOR – Maureen McDermid

Maureen has served as the Secretary for the GCABC from 2015 to 2017. Her career in education has spanned elementary, secondary and post-secondary teaching.  She holds a Bachelor’s degree in education and a Masters of Curriculum. While with SD38, Richmond, she also worked on District Staff in support of gifted learners and was closely involved with the GCA chapter in Richmond.  She currently works as an education consultant focusing on curriculum designed for critical thinking, makes presentations and provides in-service on programming for gifted learners, curriculum planning, literacy, social studies and critical thinking. Maureen and her husband Gary successfully parented gifted twin boys and now have 5 grandchildren, 3 of whom have been assessed as gifted. The experience gained viewing giftedness through the 2 lenses, parent and educator, has helped her support parents and build understanding with teachers about the challenges and rewards of working with gifted individuals.


DIRECTOR – Laura Bickerton

Laura has experience teaching math and science in the K – 12 system at the secondary and post-secondary levels. Laura spent six years in the Faculty of Education at SFU teaching and supervising student teachers and as an instructor in the areas of curriculum development, case method teaching, professional regulation and professional standards, all areas of study in both her Masters and doctoral programs. She has a special interest in working with First Nations students and schools and in the preparation of teachers who work in BC schools.


DIRECTOR – Carolyn Cowe

Carolyn is the proud Mother of a 13-year-old gifted daughter who currently is in grade 7 at a private school in Coquitlam.  Carolyn and her husband struggled through their daughter’s early elementary years of school and decided to switch to private school and it was there where they suggested that testing for gifted should be done.  Carolyn would like the opportunity to educate the public, parents and teachers on ways to support gifted children.  Carolyn feels there is a lack of knowledge and understanding about giftedness and looks forward to working in her community and with the GCA board of directors to achieve this.  Carolyn is an award-winning Realtor for 18 years and has a background of sales and marketing through BCIT and UBC Sauder School of Business.  In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering with the Shelter Foundation, helping at her daughter’s school, travel and marathon running. Carolyn strongly believes that she can make a difference in helping to make the challenges that the public, parents and teachers face on this issue easier and more accessible for all.


DIRECTOR – Kristina Sachs-Barrable

Kristina Sachs-Barrable has a strong interest in helping children (and their families) who have widely diverging learning styles and are outside the box thinkers (i.e. gifted, dyslexic). Kristina, like many parents, was faced with an uphill battle without clear strategies when her son was struggling in his public school. It all changed with the gifted designation and the change of schools. Kristina and her husband Bill were fortunate to have come across a unique school and environment that supports the learning and social needs like her son’s: Choice School for Gifted Children in Richmond BC.
Kristina holds a PhD in Biochemistry/Biophysics and a Master’s of Science, both from Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany. After her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley she moved to Vancouver to pursue her career at UBC, where for more than 12 years she conducted research at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at UBC.
Her strong passion for bridging the gaps between scientific evidence and the implementation of research findings into better health outcomes made her start her own consulting business. As a mother and a scientist/educator, Kristina has a special interest in giftedness and girls.

Directors are elected by the membership at the Annual General Meeting of the Society.  This meeting takes place in April/May of each year. GCA welcomes interested individuals to attend bi-monthly Director’s meetings and become involved in the governance of GCABC.  Please contact Maureen McDermid at 604-274-5946/mmcdermid@outook.com for information.