Board of Directors

Melissa Curtis - President

Melissa has been involved in community theatre in Alberta and BC since 2003 and brings to us her extensive theatre background, as well as her passion for acting, and a love of working with children. In addition to performing on the stage herself, Melissa has participated in numerous productions as Assistant Director, Stage Manger, Technical Director, and Assistant Producer. Melissa has had the pleasure of working closely with various performing arts groups in the Sooke community over the last 5 years. She enjoyed the opportunity of working with the students of Amber Academy as last year's Acting Instructor, and although she has stepped aside from teaching this year, Melissa looks forward to remaining closely involved with the organization as a board member for the upcoming year. Her goal at Amber Academy is to explore and unlock each student’s unique talents through acting and theatre by supporting and nurturing their creativity and confidence. 

Deb Schenk - Vice President & Director, Special Events

Deb has been an avid volunteer in Sooke for the last 6 years with the Sooke Harbourside Lions and loves the dynamics of the community. She has participated in such events as Taste of BC, The Women’s Show, 24 hr Relay (aka Camp Shawnigan), The Day at the Flats for the Duck Race, and the Annual Snowman Contest - any event that she can decorate, mingle with the public and help with kids. She has also chaired the Toys 4 Kids, Shoreline Cleanup, and the Annual Dog Guide Walk events. She is also the President of the Sooke Christmas Bureau.


Deb is excited to join Amber Academy and return to her love of the arts world where children can gain their confidence and feel connected to the community in a way which may enrich them to seek their dreams. Realizing anything is possible if you set your mind to it - how can one not want to be a part of that!

Keli Dunn - Founder & Executive Director

Keli formed Amber Academy Youth Fine Arts Society in honour of her sister, Amber, who died tragically in 2016. Keli’s hope is that through Amber Academy’s programs and mentors, young people will uncover the framework they need to build a positive sense of self and develop a pro-social connectedness that will foster them in becoming confident, productive, and healthy adults.


Keli's work in the non-profit sector spans more than 20 years. Specific areas of expertise include Business Development, Risk Management, Projecet Management, Marketing and Communications, Fund Development and Event Coordinating.


Keli has a passion for volunteering and lending her professional skills to make a difference where she finds a need. 

Sarah Wilson - Secretary & Treasurer

Sarah became a member of Amber Academy as a parent of a participant. Following one season she saw huge growth in her youngest daughter’s personality. Sarah brings to Amber Academy her willingness to help. With a background in business, as well as education in administration and accounting, she enjoys the behind the scenes work.

Brenda Parkinson - Director at Large

Brenda has been involved in the Sooke Arts scene from the moment she arrived in 2003. She is a patron and volunteer of many of the Arts organizations in Sooke including the Sooke Community Arts Council, Sooke Fine Arts Society, Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra and the Sooke Community Choir. She is presently a Board Member with the Harmony Project Society and a volunteer with the Sooke Legion.    


Brenda also serves the District of Sooke as an Elected Official (Councillor) and is the Liaison to the Mayor’s Public Advisory Group for Arts and Beautification and also serves on four other District Committees.    


Having a keen interest in the Arts and in the Youth of the Community, Brenda is pleased to be a member of the Board of Directors for Amber Academy.

Thom Southwood - Director-at-Large

Thom Southwood has been active professionally in music and theatre since 1987. He has authored two musicals, written and produced music that has aired internationally on radio and television, and has produced and directed several local theatrical productions. Thom currently serves as the Community Theatre Coordinator for the Edward Milne Community Theatre. 


“Theatre is a medium where there is truly a place for everyone, where all ages can be empowered to realize their many potentials. Amber Academy is a place where that journey can begin."