Board of Directors

Founder and President – Karine Veldhoen MEd.

Karine has worked for almost two decades with
thousands of children, families, and teachers around the globe. She
founded Niteo Africa to provide a platform to invest in education, thus
breaking the cycle of poverty. The humanitarian work of Niteo, its
Board of Directors, and myriad volunteers, is focused on resourcing
and building capacity for teachers and educators throughout Sub-
Saharan Africa. Currently, Karine functions as Niteo’s Executive
Director, overseeing the day-to-day operation of the organization,
promoting sustainability, and connecting with community. Her vision
drives Niteo Africa forward in fulfilling its mandate, and the
accomplishments of the past 10 years speaks for itself.

Executive Director – Jamie Henderson

Jamie Henderson first joined Niteo in 2011 and has served in multiple roles in the past decade. She has been on the Niteo Board for 7 years. Most recently, she designed and then piloted the microcredential, Leadership in Literacy, at three of Niteo’s literacy centers in Uganda. 

Henderson has a Bachelor of Education and a Bachelor of Arts in religion and politics and can be trusted to jump past small talk and dive right into typically taboo topics at the dinner table. Her brain is always percolating on how to sustain equitable, just, and joyous communities. She is an avid researcher and is constantly tapped into the unfathomable amounts of knowledge online on topics ranging from permaculture and indigenous rights to data analysis and coding. 

Henderson has been a middle school teacher, community organizer for resettling newcomer families, organic farmer, and an electrical apprentice. She grew up in small towns in BC and is passionate about sustainable, local, economic opportunities for rural communities across the world. She believes everyone deserves the same opportunities she was fortunate enough to be born into and knows that the ability to read is an essential key to unlocking those opportunities. 

She is an avid reader and recognizes that the perfect book showing up at the perfect point in her life is how she has learned to see the world in new ways. Niteo’s words Open Books, Open Doors, Open Minds ring true in her life. Some of the most pivotal books in her life are Cry the Beloved Country, the Irresistible Revolution, Bury The Chains, Born A Crime, Braiding Sweetgrass, and All We Can Save. She loves book clubs that actually discuss the book.

Secretary – Shandrea Tesoriere, BA., BEd.,

Shandrea is an educator, currently teaching fourth grade at Willowstone Academy in Kelowna. From a young age, she explored the world through books, and she believes that literacy and education are the key to promoting peace and understanding, and giving children the chance at a bright future. Her journey with Niteo Africa began in 2015, as she was searching for a travel experience more meaningful than that of a traditional tourist. The strength and resilience the African people showed her opened her eyes and heart, inspiring her to give more, do more, and be more. Serving as an educator and humanitarian gives her an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children both locally and globally.

Director – Bruce Merrifield

Director – Quentin Steen

Director – Lynn Fontaine

For the past 5 years Lynn has worked as  an Administrative Assistant for a Union organization in Kelowna.  Her and her husband (of 35 years) moved here from St. Albert, AB  his work.  They have two kids and two grandkids.   Before the move, Lynn was a travel agent for 10 years, which fed her love for exploring and discovering  different cultures.  Outside of work, Lynn enjoys travelling, gardening, yoga, kayaking/SUP, hiking, snowshoeing and hanging out with my husband (when he is not out of town working hard as a Director of Photography/Videographer.) “I hope to one day travel to Africa to visit all the centers that have been created by Niteo. I‘m extremely grateful to work with the other Board Members, as I volunteered a lot back in Alberta and couldn’t find the “right” fit here until now!” she says.

Head Book Wrangler – Russell Stashko

Alberta born and raised (Grande Prairie), a world traveller by age 21 …before trying a summer on a fire lookout. This lead to a career in forestry with Fish and Wildlife for 37 years. Retired, he moved to Kelowna with his wife, Chantal, in 2013. An avid fisherman and hunter – particularly bow hunting, Russell is up for anything done outside, including hiking, swimming and biking. Having moved into the community of West Harbor, Russell was enticed to become involved with Niteo Africa in the book procurement and delivery section. Needing minions for this job, Russell recruited a posse which was instantly dubbed “The Book Wranglers,” and in 2016, Russell joined the Niteo Africa Board of Directors as Head Book Wrangler.