Swan River Adult Education Inc. is funded by the Province of Manitoba and is managed by a volunteer Board of Directors.
We are a community-based program with individualized instruction for adults 19 years of age and older.
At Swan River Adult Education, our learners study in a relaxed, informal adult-friendly environment.
Swan River Adult Education operates out of two sites within the Town of Swan River- the main downtown location (Site 1) and a second site (Site 2) located within the Swan River Friendship Centre.


By Mail:
Box 1330
Swan River MB R0L 1Z0
By Phone: (204) 734-9391 (Site 1)
(204) 734-9301 (Site 2)
By Fax: (204) 734-4965
Drop In:
Site 1- 128-5th Ave. N (beside Madoco’s)
Site 2- 1413 Main Street (S.R. Friendship Centre)


Jo-Anne Saunders- Education Director

I moved from Winnipeg to the Swan Valley in 1980 when I was hired by the Swan Valley School Division to teach Middle Years English Language Arts and Elementary Music. My original plan was to teach in the Valley for two to three years and then find a job in a larger centre. The Valley ended up having much more appeal for me than I had anticipated, however, as this year marks my 33rd year as a Swan Valley resident. Meeting my husband, Rob, was definitely one of the main attractions which encouraged me to become a permanent Valley resident. Rob and I were married in 1996 and enjoy living in Swan River with our adorable, very active, four-year old puppy, Bella. After retiring from the school division, I began my position as Education Director with Swan River Adult Education in January 2008. Working with adult learners has proven to be an extremely rewarding – and humbling experience. I am constantly amazed by the learners’ dedication and strong work ethic as they balance working towards their own educational goals with their home, family, and work lives. What impresses me the most about the adult learners is the compassion and support they provide one another. I am also extremely fortunate to work with such a dedicated, professional, and supportive staff that daily go above and beyond to help each learner reach his/her goals.

Lesley Betcher-Instructor

I joined the Swan River Adult Education team in February of 2005.  Prior to that, I worked for 7 years at various grade levels and subjects within the public and private school systems.  Every year that I am at the Adult Centre, I am always in awe of the determination and courage of the adult learners who come in to take courses, work towards a goal and in doing so, open up doors for themselves and their families.  I am privileged to be able to work with these passionate learners, teaching them math, biology, family studies and/or various computer courses.

Outside of work, I am the wife of a farmer and mother of 4 children so most evening and weekends I am at various sporting events or doing things outside in the yard.   In my free time I also enjoy running, cycling, hiking and camping.

Colleen Cook- Instructor

I am pleased to join the teaching team at S.R.A.E.  I have 22 years of teaching experience in a variety of grade levels.  I’m currently enjoying helping adult learners set and meet their educational goals in our relaxed and respectful environment at S.R.A.E. 

My family includes two adult aged children and my husband.  I live in the country and spend as much time as I can in the out of doors:  golfing, fishing, sledding, and gardening.  I have a passion for travelling with my husband and have been lucky enough to see some amazing places.

It is a joy to work with adult learners and watch them become more confident and productive citizens.  I believe it is never too late to get an education.

Donna Fagnan- Instructor

After graduating from Brandon University in 1997, I substituted at the SVRSS for one year. Prior to going to university, I worked at Wuskwisiphik First Nation as a Childcare Worker for 3 years which lead to being a Para-professional Educator at Birch River School.  This position was still under Wuskwisiphik PENT Program which is where I was prepared to work in the classroom and obtain my Education Degree simultaneously. In 1999, I was hired as a teacher at the Swan River Friendship Centre Adult Education Program.

I love working with the Adult Education Learners and staff. My colleague Melanie is the greatest to work with. There are men and women in my classes who are trying to get somewhere in life–and are finding success in their journey.  The more I get to know my students, the more I find them to be an endlessly fascinating group of people.

I was raised by my Dad and my 2 sisters in Birch River, lived in Swan River for a short time and now I live in Bowsman with my fiance, Ryan.  I have 2 sons and 1 daughter who are grown-up now.  I also have 3 adorable grandsons.  I enjoy fishing whether on the boat or on the ice, growing a garden and maintaining a good size flower garden, ski-dooing, quading around the Porcupine Mountains, camping, and bar-b-queing with friends and family.

Janet White-Riddell- Instructor

I have been employed by the Swan River Adult Education Centre for three years now, and I thoroughly enjoy my teaching position. The staff has been welcoming, supportive and professional. We have a diverse group of adult students who have made the important decision to further their education. Working with these students and helping them accomplish their goals, is the most rewarding part of my job.
Before starting work here, I worked for Indian and Northern Affairs in God’s Lake Narrows, Frontier School Division in Norway House and the Swan Valley School Division.
Swan River Valley has been my home for the past thirty years, and my husband and I raised our three boys here.
The SRAE Centre plays an essential role in our community, and we are fortunate to have this service to help adult learners work toward improving their future through education. 

Carol Larson- Instructor

Melanie Sutherland- Eduational Assistant

In October of 2003, I've enrolled myself into the Swan River Adult Education Program so that I could get my grade 12. I was a single mother with a two year old daughter at the time and have heard about the program through my sister who had attended there and has said some wonderful things about it. It didn't take me long to meet new and interesting people. The staff was especially nice and helpful. I had the opportunity to meet Doreen L. Genaille when I was a learner. She and Donna, directed me in my ELA course which has helped me pass on to graduating in June of 2004.

Later that year in September, 2004; Donna had asked me to apply for the Educational Assistant job that became available at the Swan River Friendship Centre Adult Education Program Site 2. I did and was later interviewed but was unsuccessful. Not soon after in October, I was notified the E.A.'s position became available again and I jumped at the possibility. Having then the opportunity to assist the learners and staff was new to me and exciting because past employment experiences were straining and underpaid. Meeting new and intriguing people thru-out the nine years working here, I guess you could say I have found my calling.

I was born and raised here in Swan River with five sisters and one brother. In 1989, the family moved to Winnipeg and resided there for twelve years. In 2001, I had a daughter, Brianna and figured it was time to get my butt in gear and start thinking of her future. When I was given the chance to work, I seen my life unravelling before me and directing me where I wanted to go, as long as I stayed true to my goals, things would work out. In February of 2004, I had met my boyfriend of nine years and in June of 2007, we had a son, Alexander, who is 5 years old now. In my spare time, I do enjoy fishing, triking, ski-doing and camping. Mainly, just spending time with my family is important to me.

In 2009, I had tried for the Health Care Aid course offered through UCN and Campus Manitoba and have succeeded in acquiring my Certificate for a Health Care Aide. Many people have asked me why haven't I started working as a HCA yet and I just simply say “ I would much rather help people get a start on their lives rather than help those who lived their lives” Having the HCA certificate is a way of keeping my options open to what I would like to do in the future but until then, being the Educational Assistant is where I want to be in my life right now.

Terra Pohl- Administrative Assistant/ Education Assistant

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