Full Time Staff

Executive Director, John Cunningham

John is the Executive Director, overseeing the daily operation and long range planning of the fire school. He has been in the fire service since 1992 spending nearly 12 years with the Howie Centre Fire Department, rising through the ranks to become Chief.  Currently, John is Fire Chief with Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency Service, Station 65, Tantallon. John completed his Level II Instructional Techniques training in 1996 and began instructing at the school in 2000. He began his association with the Nova Scotia Firefighters School as the Director for Cape Breton County, serving from 1997-2003.

Contact:  902-861-3823 ext. 223

E-mail:  jcunningham@fireschool.ca

Business Development Manager, Darrell MacLean

Darrell joined the Nova Scotia Firefighters School in January 2018. Working directly for the Executive Director, Darrell is responsible for the growth of the school through public awareness, curriculum additions, funding and enrollment. Darrell has a complete background with over twenty five plus years in business marketing and business management, combined with both fire and emergency training. Darrell has been a volunteer member of Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency at station 42/43 since 2004 raising through the ranks from firefighter to officer. He has NFPA certifications as class one firefighter, fire officer and fire instructor to name a few. Darrell is from Whitney Pier in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

Contact:  902-861-3823 ext. 230

E:mail:  dmaclean@fireschool.ca

Senior Instructor, Lynelle Vetsch Portfolio: Pre-Employment

Lynelle started in the fire service in 2004. She began her fire service career first as a volunteer firefighter and later as a career firefighter with Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency Services. She then moved into a fire safety consultant role with a fire protection engineering firm in Halifax. Lynelle still does consultant work as a junior fire investigator and code consultant for a fire investigation company. She serves on the IFSTA Fire and Emergency Services Instructor Ninth Edition and Fire Inspection and Code Enforcement Ninth Edition Validation Committees.

Lynelle started full-time at the school in 2013 and is the Senior Instructor for the Pre-Employment Program. She holds NFPA certifications in Firefighter I & II, Haz Mat Awareness and Operations, Instructor I & II, Fire Officer I, and Fire Investigation. She is a Level I Certified Fire Inspector through the Fire Inspectors Association of Nova Scotia, and a NAFI certified fire investigator. Currently Lynelle is enrolled as an honours student at Eastern Kentucky University in the Fire, Arson and Explosion Investigation Program. Lynelle also holds a diploma in Journalism.

Contact:  902-861-3823 ext. 263

E-mail:  lvetsch@fireschool.ca

Senior Instructor, Everett Hiltz Portfolio: MBU

Everett has been with the Nova Scotia Firefighters School since 2007. As a Senior Instructor his main focus is the management of the Mobile Burn Unit, he is also involved in facility operations, and the hiring and promotion of part time staff. Everett has worked with, and instructed both volunteer and career firefighters across Atlantic Canada, and Quebec.

A second generation firefighter, Everett joined the Chester Volunteer Fire Department in 1999 where he became involved with all aspects of the department.  He worked his way up through the Department holding many different positions and ranks, to his current position as Fire Chief. A graduate of Memorial University, Safety and Emergency Response Training Center, Everett holds ISFAC & ProBoard certifications in Level I and Level II Firefighter, Hazardous Materials Awareness and Operations, Fire Apparatus Driver Operator, Level I Instructor, and numerous rescue and specialized courses.

Contact:  902-861-3823 ext. 262

E-mail:  ehiltz@fireschool.ca 

Senior Instructor, Jason MacLeod Portfolio: Industrial

Jason “Jigger” MacLeod has worked at the Nova Scotia Firefighters School since 1998 and currently holds the position of Senior Instructor. His main focus at the NSFS is industrial training for emergency response teams, as well as basic and advanced training sessions for career & volunteer firefighters. In addition to teaching, Jason works on course development, on both new and existing courses, and is currently working on technical rescue.

Jason began in the fire service in 1991, where he became involved with all aspects of the department. He worked his way up through the department, holding many different positions and ranks, and is currently the Assistant (Deputy) Chief of Pictou. Jason is an adjunct instructor at the Blainville, Quebec training academy, Service de le Sécurité Incendie and with the Kativik Regional Government in Kuujjauq. Jason is also an examiner for the Nova Scotia Fire Service Professional Qualifications Board.

Jason has completed his IFSAC and ProBoard Level I & II Firefighter,Level I & Level II Instructor, Hazardous Material Awareness, and Operations and Technician, numerous advanced rescue and specialized courses. Jason is always looking for new opportunities and courses in order to better himself, and the NSFS.

Contact:  902-861-3823 ext. 229

E-mail:  jmacleod@fireschool.ca 

Senior Instructor, Chris MacKenzie

Chris has been working at the School since 2013 and is currently undertaking his 16th year in the fire service here in Nova Scotia. Chris attended Holland College in 2006/2007 and took the firefighting program graduating in early 2007.With a background working in industrial facilities and heavily in building construction and demolition. Chris also served as a Junior Program Administrator, Department Secretary, Fire Prevention Officer, Assistant Training Officer, Training Officer, Lieutenant and Captain. Since starting work at the school in 2013, Chris has worked on many programs at the school including two full years as an Instructor on the fire school’s Mobile Burn Unit. Additionally, Chris was one of the participants of a program on fire dynamics in Ottawa in 2017. Chris officially took over as the Senior Instructor for the Volunteer Program in March 2018 and currently holds the rank of Captain and Training Officer Greenwich Fire Department. 

Contact:  902-861-3823 ext. 226

E-mail: cmackenzie@fireschool.ca 

Instructor, Jennifer Bell

Jennifer’s fire service career began with the Island & Barrington Passage Fire Department. After successful completion of training for Firefighter I, Firefighter II, Hazmat Awareness, Hazmat Operations, Instructional Techniques I, and achieving IFSAC / ProBoard certification in all these courses, Jennifer then worked as a fire service instructor within the Municipality of Barrington. During her time at the IBPFD, Jennifer was encouraged to develop her fire service education, and completed specialized rescue and officer level courses while serving as an active interior firefighter/driver, Fire Prevention Officer and Training Officer.

Jennifer started working for the Nova Scotia Firefighters School in 2015, and made the transition to Full Time Instructor in 2018.  Her diverse instructional portfolio includes working with the Career, Pre-Employment, Industrial, Marine, Mobile Burn Unit and Volunteer firefighting programs at the school and throughout Atlantic Canada. Jennifer currently serves as the Pictou Fire Department Training Officer, and is an active Medical First Responder/Interior Firefighter/driver.

Contact:  902-861-3823 ext. 231

E-mail: jbell@fireschool.ca 

Instructor, Ksenia Zayats

Ksenia “Kaz” Zayats was a Pre-Employment student here at the Nova Scotia Firefighters school and Graduated at the top of her class. Following her graduation, she started as a part-time Assistant Instructor in the spring of that year. Ksenia worked on the Mobile Burn Unit (MBU) her first summer with the school.  She went on to become the full time assistant for the Pre-Employment program. Ksenia obtained her Fire Service Instructor here at the school.  Her focus here at the school is varied with a wide range of courses, including marine, industrial, basic firefighting, and speciality courses.

Ksenia is a volunteer firefighter with Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency with station 41 in Waverley.  She actively participates with the delivery of training for her fellow members.  She has received multiple awards within the ranks of her home department. 

Ksenia has completed her IFSAC and ProBoard Level I & II Firefighter and Level I Instructor, Hazardous Material Awareness, and Operations. She also has certification in technical courses such as Confined Space Rescue, Technical Rope Rescue, Fall Protection Rescue and H2S Alive.   

Contact:  902-861-3823 ext. 224

E-mail: kzayats@fireschool.ca

Executive Assistant, Diane Barbeau

Diane joined NSFS back in June of 2012 as the Executive Assistant.  Her responsibilities include assisting John Cunningham, Executive Director; processing and administering Payroll; dealing with all aspects of Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable and assisting when needed in the front office.  

Contact:  902-861-3823 ext. 254

E-mail:  dbarbeau@fireschool.ca 

Off-Site/MBU Registrar, Lesley Mulvey

Lesley Mulvey joined NSFS in March of 2013. She is responsible for all registration duties related to offsite courses and the Mobile Burn Unit. Lesley has previously worked as a Recruiting Assistant in the Oil & Gas Industry and worked in the Accounts Receivable department of a local Real Estate Investment company. She welcomes the change of working for a not-for-profit company and embraces the culture of working the Fire Service Training Industry. 

Contact:  902-861-3823 ext. 222

E-mail:  lmulvey@fireschool.ca

On-Site/Industrial Registrar, Traci McBride

Traci McBride joined NSFS in March 2018.  Her role includes registration for courses held at NSFS for Volunteer Fire Departments, Industrial Programs, and our Pre-Employment Program as well as reception duties.  Traci brings 20 years of administrative experience - 12 years in market research and 8 years from a hospital/university setting.  She is excited to learn and become part of the fire services training industry at the Fireschool.

Contact:  902-861-3823 ext. 221

e-mail:  tmcbride@fireschool.ca

Bookstore/Totes, Ruth Nilsson

 Ruth Nilsson joined NSFS in January 2017. She is responsible for all totes, survey monkey course evaluations, bookstore sales and shipping, as well as the administration of the on-line course offerings. 

Prior to returning to work after being a stay home mom, Ruth worked in the environmental management field.

Contact:  902-861-3823 ext. 233

E-mail: rnilsson@fireschool.ca

Maintenance, Brendon Williamson

Brendon joined the Nova Scotia Firefighters School in 2016 as an assistant. In March 2018 he took a full-time maintenance position at the school. Brendon is a graduate of the Pre-Employment programs class 24 and has pro-board certifications in level 1 and 2 firefighter, industrial incipient fire brigade, and Haz-Mat awareness and operations. Brendon joined the fire service in January 2013 as a member of Scotchtown volunteer fire department in Cape Breton. Before joining the Nova Scotia Firefighters School Brendon had a background in carpentry. 

Contact:  902-861-3823 ext. 227

E-mail: bwilliamson@fireschool.ca

Part Time Staff (Active)


Adam Williams

Allison Rankin

Andrew Ashford

Andrew Wrainwright

Ashley Brochu

Billy Sampson

Brandon Gallant

Brendan Mosher

Brendon Williamson

Brennan Handy

Bruce Woolridge

Christina Dupere

Cory Chisholm

Cristina Amaral

Dakota Lockhart

Darrell Steeves

Denise MacKenzie

Earl Hebb

Eugene Justason

Hamilton Elliott

James Reid

Janet Langille

Jared O'Sullivan

Jonathan DeWolfe

John Berthiaume

Joy Galloway-Jones

Julien Welsh

Luke Guthro

Lydia Gallagher

Mark Waidson

Matthew Portman

Megan Kenny

Rebecca Wilson

Remy Savoie

Richard Prevost

Sarah Kingsbury

Shannon Newell

Simon Yip

Tanya Snow

Tomy Hoang

Tyler Dyke


Aaron Miller

Alex MacDonald

Andrew Church

Andrew Cluett

Bentley Rice

Chris MacKenzie

Dave Geldart

Dave Kendrick

Dave MacIvor

Gary O'Brien

Greg Conron

Jeff Barry

Jennifer Bell

Jennifer MacKinnon

Joel Sampson

John Nolan

Juergen Weigelt

Ksenia Zayats

Lloyd MacIntosh

Matt Robichaud

Mitchell Shewfelt

Patrick March

Paul Janes

Peter Eaton

Rick MacMillan

Rob Clarke

Rose Luedee

Ryan Geldart

Zachary Ma


If you'd like to join our team either part time or full time, click below for our Employee Application Form or contact info@fireschool.ca should you have any questions.

Board Members

Executive Committee


Preston Ilsley

1st Vice Chair

Mike Lockett

2nd Vice Chair

Bernie MacKinnon


Scott Burgess


Robert MacEachern 


County Reps:

Annapolis  Daniel Cheeseman

Antigonish  Pierre Venedam

Cape Breton  Bernie MacKinnon

Colchester  Wade Jennings

Cumberland  Allan MacKenzie

Digby/Clare  Jamie VanTassell

Guysborough  Shawn Andrews

Halifax  Vacant

Hants  Tim MacNeil

Inverness  Robert MacEachern

Kings  Preston Ilsley

Lunenburg  David Robb

Pictou  John Davison

Queens  Charlie Greer

Richmond  Raymond Ferguson

Shelburne  Eugene Stoddard

Victoria  Vacant

Yarmouth  Lynn Seeley

FSANS  Rod Nielsen

Fire Marshal  Fred Jeffers

At Large  Michael MacIsaac

At Large  Scott Burgess

At Large  Gary MacLaughlin

At Large  David Burnett

At Large  Will Brooks

At Large  jamie Harvey

At Large  Mike Lockett

At Large  Michael Nauss

At Large  Mark Pound