Board of Governors & Administration 2017-10-12T19:16:36+00:00

Governance & Administration

Everyone named on this page, in addition to our esteemed Faculty, is committed to a common goal:

Give everyone the best possible experience while they are on the Conservatory campus, whether they be students, parents or audiences.

We love our students of all ages and levels, and we are proud to play a significant role in their journey of discovering the joys inherent in the arts of music and dance. We strive to keep our costs at a minimum to make lessons accessible to everyone.

For those looking to give the gift of music and dance, please consider a one-time donation or monthly giving through CanadaHelps.

Canada Helps logo

Board of Governors

Photo of William Webster, PhD

Chair – William Webster, PhD
Professor & Dean, Health Professions, Dalhousie

Since arriving in Nova Scotia 10 years ago, my family and I have had a close association with the Conservatory. My children, Heather and David, studied voice and violin here, and participated in the MCPA Chamber Orchestra, including its wonderful exchange visit to Iqaluit. For a number of years now, I have played violin in the MCPA Adult Orchestra with Pat Wyman, the weekly practices for which are a favorite time when I can get my head out of my day time job as a university academic. With its 130 year history, the Conservatory is one of those understated and hidden gems of Nova Scotia which has touched the lives of so many families. For that reason I am delighted to Chair the Board of Governors which oversees the Conservatory and, in concert with the broader community, seeks to plan its exciting and bright future directions.

Vice-Chair – VACANT

This position is currently vacant.

Photo of Michael Shellnutt

Treasurer – Michael Shellnutt, MSc, CGA
Shellnutt Professional Accountants

Mike obtained a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from Saint Mary’s University, a Masters of Science in Marketing from the University of Stirling in Scotland, UK and a Certified General Accountant designation from CGA Canada. Mike is currently in public practice in Dartmouth and has extensive experience working with small business, IT systems design and commercial financing. Mike began working with the Conservatory in 2009 helping to design and develop a new backoffice-front desk system to manage student registrations and payment. He joined the Board as Treasurer a couple of years later. Mike has three young children enrolled in various programs at the Conservatory including piano and ballet.

Photo of Olga Milosevich

Member (Voting) – Olga Milosevich

Olga Milosevich studied music at the University of British Columbia, and then Broadcast Journalism at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Her first job was working as a news reporter for a private radio station in Vancouver. In October 1983, she moved to Halifax for a job with the CBC. She spent the first 3 years with CBC TV working as a news anchor on the “Maritimes Tonight”. During the next 11 years she hosted 2 CBC Radio network shows, “Weekender” and “Music Alive”. For the last 15 years of her career, she worked as host and producer of the regional arts show “Connections”, and produced a daily arts report for “Mainstreet”. She also emceed 15 to 20 community events each year. She retired in July 2012. In November 2012, in recognition of her community service, she received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal from the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia. Olga is busy in retirement, sitting on several boards and committees, one of which is the MCPA. She is happy to give back to this venerable institution, which provided her daughter with excellent instruction in piano and flute.

Member (Voting) – Susan Summerby-Murray

Susan moved to Halifax in 2015 with her husband and three sons after spending nearly 20 years in Sackville, New Brunswick, and previously, another ten years in Toronto, Ontario. Long time supporters and sometimes participants in various performing arts communities, they have continued to support and enjoy musical and dance performance art. Susan runs a private practice as a Speech Language Pathologist serving children and adults in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

Member (Voting) – D. Mark Laing

D. Mark Laing has been a designer and art director in film & television since 1990, and from 2006 – 2016 taught in the Screen Arts Program at NSCC. He continues to be a sessional lecturer at NSCAD University teaching production design for film in the Media Arts Division. His credits in television include numerous dramas, comedies and children’s series. He was a set designer on the feature films Buried on Sunday, (1992) Dolores Claiborne, (1995) The Scarlet Letter, (1995) and Two if by Sea, (1996). As well, he was the art director for The Weight of Water (2000) and The Shipping News (2001). For six years he was a National Executive Board member of the Directors Guild of Canada. Before going into film, Mark practiced architecture in Halifax and Toronto. Two of his children studied music (violin and piano) at the MCPA and he is strongly committed to performing and visual arts education in the Maritimes.

Member (voting) – Nicole Porter

Nicole Porter is a Nova Scotian, born and raised. In 1998 she completed her Bachelor of Commerce degree at Dalhousie University (BComm). This was followed by a Bachelor of Applied Arts (BAA) in Radio and Television at Ryerson University (2000). After a year long stint working as an Assistant Editor/Producer at Report on Business Television, Nicole returned to school, earning both a Bachelor of Nursing (BN) and Master of Nursing (MN) degree from the University of Toronto. For the better part of a decade, she worked as a Registered Nurse in the Addiction Medicine Clinic at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).
Nicole brings several years of hands-on Board experience to the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts. In 2004, she was elected to the Board of Scotia Investments Limited. During her four-year term, she served as a member of the Audit Committee and completed the Director Education Program in Financial Accountability and Corporate Governance at the Rotman School of Business, University of Toronto.
Knowing first-hand that Halifax was the ideal place to raise a family, she returned home in 2011. Like most Haligonians, Nicole is a passionate supporter of the Arts and hopes to pass this on to her children. To accomplish this goal, she turned to The Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts. For the past two years, the extremely talented instructors in the dance and music faculties have provided her four young children with a diverse education ranging from the virtues of a well rosined violin bow to the joy found in a Peter Rabbit dance production.

Members (Voting) – bios to be posted shortly

  • Chris McCulloch
  • Kurt MacLeod
Photo of Megan Book

Member (Ex-Officio, Non-Voting) – Megan Boyko, BA Hons

Megan Boyko is a cello teacher, including Suzuki cello lessons, and the Kindermusik manager at the MCPA. Megan lives in St Margaret’s Bay and is also a freelance cellist in Halifax.

Photo of Barbara Dearborn

Member (Ex-Officio, Non-Voting) – Barbara Dearborn

Barbara Dearborn joined the MCPA dance faculty in 1983 as the sole ballet teacher with 5 students. In 1997, Barbara founded the School of Dance’s Teacher Training Program – the only post-secondary program of its kind in Atlantic Canada. Currently, she is the Artistic Director of the Conservatory Ballet Ensemble and, since 2010, is the first MCPA Dean of Dance overseeing hundreds of students annually. An established choreographer, dance examiner and performer, Barbara is a graduate of the Canadian College of Dance (Montreal) and Ryerson University (Theatre Department) with a Major in Dance and is a registered member and certified teacher of the Royal Academy of Dance. She also holds an Honours Certificate in Modern Stage and National Dance from the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance. Throughout her career, Barbara has been an active volunteer with the Canadian Dance Teachers’ Association (CDTA) holding several senior positions.

Photo of Frances Royle

Member (Ex-Officio, Non-Voting) – Frances Royle

BMus, piano performance, Dalhousie University
Frances is an active performer, who has played for numerous opera and musical theatre productions as well as in solo and chamber music recitals. She has served as an accompanist for the School of Dance and the Suzuki Department as well as many private voice, string, and wind students. She teaches students of all ages and levels and particularly enjoys teaching adults.


Photo of Conservatory building


Barbara Dearborn, RAD, CDTA, Dean, School of Dance
Frances Royle, BMus, Dean, School of Music

Administrative Services:

John Murray, Financial Officer/Operations Manager
Jeffrey Hale
Lynn Steeves
Clayton Willie

Custodial Services:

John Richards


Jeffrey Hale, Daytime Front Office Reception & General Administration
Lynn Steeves, Daytime Front Office Reception & General Administration
Clayton Willie, Evening & Weekend Front Office Reception

Upcoming events:

  • Mon

    Heritage Day: Campus Open 12-9pm School of Dance classes running from 12 onward

  • Fri

    MUN Music Auditions and Workshops

  • Sat

    Brass & Woodwind Divisions Chamber Music Day