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Mary-Lynn Wardle, MA, BEd, BA

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Sessional - Education


Mary-Lynn spent 31 years teaching Grades 6 to 12, with a strong background in teaching humanities. For the past 14 years, she worked exclusively with “free range” justice-engaged youth in the community. For seven of those years, she was a member of the Addictions and Mental Health Treatment Team for students Grades 7 to 12 sentenced to an open-custody justice facility, where, as the only teacher, she taught all core subjects. In addition, Mary-Lynn initiated a strong focus on the trades for justice-engaged youth, placing dozens of gang-entangled students in Registered Apprenticeships, thus facilitating fundamental changes in their lives. She also founded an equine-assisted program that had a profound effect on street-entrenched girls.

A passionate horsewoman, Mary-Lynn informs her practice with concepts learned from her mentor as captured in her thesis, What God Put in ‘Em: Connections Between Natural Horsemanship and At-Risk Learners (2003). Her parallel journalism career as a regular contributor to several publications led to her co-writing the provincial journalism curriculum. A SOCAN registered songwriter who was a member of the first Calgary band to release a CD and to be filmed live by MuchMusic, Mary-Lynn can often be found enjoying music in her long term volunteer role with the Calgary folk fest. She lives with her husband, two dogs, a cat, and four horses.


Mary-Lynn continues to be involved in multi-disciplinary, strength-based research involving justice-engaged and marginalized youth. Her current research team spans the University of Calgary’s Faculties of Nursing, Social Work and Medicine and Mount Royal University’s Faculty of Midwifery.


  • Keynote Speaker: Front Page Kids, Virtues, and Hope: Giving Justice-Engaged Students Their Lives Back in the Community, Hokkaido Career Conference, Sapporo-Otani University, Sapporo, Japan, 2018.
  • Co-presenter: Stories of Courage from the ExCEL Group Home Theatre Performance, Social Justice Encounter, University of Calgary, 2008. Prairie Regional Halfway House Association, Calgary, 2009.
  • Co-presenter: Discovering the Summit: Experiential Mental Health and Addictions Treatment for Justice-Engaged Girls, Forensic Psychiatric Conference, Victoria, B.C. 2007, Alberta College of Social Workers, Calgary, 2008, Calgary Court Liaison, 2008.


M.A. (Gonzaga University)
B.Ed. (University of Calgary)
B.A. (University of Calgary)

Select Publications

Lind, C., Walsh, C., McCaffrey, G., Wardle, M.L., Johansson, B., Juby, B. “Youth Strengths Arise from the Ashes of Adversity.” International Journal of Adolescence and Youth. United Kingdom: Taylor & Francis. September, 2018.
Lind,C., Estefan, A., Walsh, C., Wardle, M.L., Ratzke, L., Forgeron, R. “I Want to Do Good So Bad: Exploring Healthy Capabilities in Youth in Conflict with the Law.” Align Journal. Edmonton. Fall 2017.
Lind, C., Prinsloo, I., Wardle, M.L., Pyrch, Tim. “Social Justice: Hearing Voices of Marginalized Girls Expressed in Theatre Performance.” Advances in Nursing Science: Philadelphia, PA, USA. September, 2010.