The Ooka Team
DR. KAY MACPHEE
The President and Co-Founder of Ooka Island, Inc., Dr Kay MacPhee is a lifelong educator who has devoted her life to teaching the key literacy skills needed to form the foundation for education. Her knowledge, passion and commitment have helped countless individuals become strong readers. Dr. MacPhee co-created the Ooka Island Book Series and is developing the company’s much-anticipated online game.
Inspired by her son who was born profoundly deaf, Dr. MacPhee – a former principal and teacher – spent 25 years developing techniques enabling the hearing-impaired to form language skills and learn how to read. She spent years continuously modifying and advancing her approach to literacy instruction and, in 1994, launched SpellRead, a reading intervention program designed to aid struggling readers of all ages. The program went on to earn a number one rating from the U.S. Department of Education’s What Works Clearinghouse.
Dr. MacPhee combines her extensive experience as an educator and researcher with her knowledge of curriculum development to build the unique methodology and educational concepts behind Ooka Island. The innovative prevention program is designed to benefit all early readers, not just those with special needs.
Dr. MacPhee is a highly-accomplished professional with specialized accreditations from several educational institutions. She earned both her Honorary Doctorate Degree as well as her Level 5 Teacher’s Certificate from the University of Prince Edward Island. She also completed extensive course work in the area of speech and language at McGill University in Montreal and studied audiology at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts.
See a listing of Dr. MacPhee’s scientifically based reading research reviews and publications.
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER/FOUNDER
A highly respected educator who achieved “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers” recognition for five consecutive years, James A. Barber is the Chief Executive Officer, Co-Founder and Creative Director of Ooka Island, Inc. Together with Dr. Kay MacPhee, Jim developed the Ooka Island Book Series and the Ooka Island Adventure.
Jim authored all 95 books in the Ooka Island Books Series, which includes Emergent, Beginning and Fluency Levels. Jim drove the development of the Ooka Island Adventure launching in January, 2012. He is the creative force behind the design, music and storyline of Ooka Island.
Prior to joining Ooka Island, Jim was a freelance writer and high school teacher. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education.
EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT
Cammy Barber is the Executive Vice President of Ooka Island, Inc. She leads the Reading Partnerships division for the Ooka Island literacy programs and interacts frequently with top educators, researchers and administrators throughout North America. Cammy also directs the international marketing and sales teams and oversees the online book store, customer service and media communications. She is a keynote speaker and provides learning workshops to educators and administrators (e.g. Developing Early Literacy Skills with Technology and Game-Based Learning; Emerging into Reading for Young Learners).
Prior to Ooka Island Inc., Cammy – a former middle and high school guidance counselor – spearheaded the growth of the SpellRead intervention program in the United States, a successful reading program developed by Ooka Island founder Dr. Kay MacPhee. She later served as Director of Reading Partnerships for Kaplan K12 before joining the Ooka Island family.
Cammy is a member of many educational and literacy organizations, including the International Dyslexia Association and the International Reading Association. She holds a Masters degree in Education.
CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
Jason Lee is the Chief Operating Officer of Ooka Island, Inc. With over 18 years of experience in the public, private and non-profit sectors, Jason’s contacts and professional background help him to build and maintain vital partnerships with distributors, government officials and other key influencers.
Jason is the founder of Atlantic Canada-based Spry Consulting, where he assisted small businesses in the private sector. Earlier in his career, he held the title of Special Assistant Atlantic Affairs, Minister’s Regional Office in the administration of the Honorable Peter G. MacKay, Minister of National Defense and Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.
Jason holds an Executive MBA, a certification in Public Administration and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Prince Edward Island.
CORPORATE DIRECTOR OF READING PARTNERSHIPS
Joelle MacPhee is the Corporate Director of Reading Partnerships for Ooka Island Inc. In this role she is responsible for forming and capitalizing upon external partnerships that raise Ooka Island’s profile among educators and consumers. She is also responsible for building Ooka Island’s web channel and executing its media message activities.
Prior to joining the team at Ooka Island, Joelle served as an account manager for 401 Bay Centre, an executive office complex in downtown Toronto. She has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Schulich School of Business, where her academic achievements earned her the prestigious York Alumni Award for Distinction.
DIRECTOR OF IT
Danielle MacNevin is the Director of IT at Ooka Island. She provides technical and business oversight to all IT projects within Ooka Island and offers the technical leadership to the team. She is also the lead technical liaison with school systems, organizations and general customer service.
Prior to Ooka Island Inc., Danielle was an IT project manager for Kaplan and IT Quality Assurance Specialist for SpellRead. She was educated at McGill University where she achieved a Masters in Computer Science with a minor in Mathematics.