POST REGISTRY OF EDUCATORS
Of her 22 years of teaching, Kerstin WyndhamWest has taught the last 20 years at the Country Day School. She was initially hired as the junior school librarian and throughout her two decades at the school has taught every grade from JK to 12. She now spends her days teaching English and Drama, and coaches the public speaking and debating team – which she has done for the last 10 years, and each year they have qualified for the world championships. “The school has become well known in the independent school system for its success in this area,” she says.
Wyndham-West is a proponent of every student being capable of learning. “I believe every student is an individual, and I try to customize my curriculum to give students choices that allow them to best utilize their learning styles. It is my job to help them reach their individual learning goals,” she says and she saw proof of this when she bumped into a former student she had taught 20 years ago. He had struggled as a student and she had told him at the time that he would be successful “because he was always very articulate.” He took those words to heart and now is a
successful businessman. KERSTIN WYNDHAM-WEST ENGLISH/DRAMA TEACHER
The journey that led David Young to join the TMS community as Head of School is one that speaks to a powerful alignment between his experiences and values. The son of Scottish parents working overseas, Young was born and grew up in Bangladesh before returning to Scotland as a young boy. His leadership in education has included schools in England and the Czech Republic, and he has also lived and volunteered in schools in Trinidad and Uganda. The common factor throughout has been that each school community has striven for excellence, both in learning and in the individualized teacher-student relationships.
The journey Young has had makes joining TMS particularly exciting. “To be a part of a school whose entire philosophy, from pre-school to Grade 12, is grounded on such powerful values, whose community captures the beautiful diversity of this city and in which striving for excellence is such a normal and joyful part of each day, is both humbling and inspiring," he says. "Just as important to me is the fact that our students have an authentic love of learning and aspire to become good people. TMS is a fun place to be.” DAVID YOUNG HEAD OF SCHOOL
There is something about building a school from the ground up that makes you inclined to always go the extra mile for it. Yassmina Ganji, the owner and director of Grosvenor Montessori School, makes sure she is involved in all aspects of the school. “A typical day for me begins and ends with making sure the school is all in order for students, teachers and parents,” she says.
When working on her master of education at the University of Toronto, Ganji researched methods to promote the brain’s executive function abilities in preschoolers. It was there she came across the Montessori Method of enhancing these functions. “This enhancement has been shown to set children up for higher achievement in all parts of their lives – whether it be academic, social or careers,” she says, “This was my biggest motivator in becoming an educator; the fact that I could help young people meet their potential and set them up for success.”
Ganji recalls the very first graduation ceremony at GMS with pride. “I had the privilege of witnessing how far our graduates had come since walking in the doors for the first time. It was very special to see how much they had learned and grown. It was this moment that made all the hard work feel like it
was really worth it.” YASSMINA GANJI OWNER AND DIRECTOR
As early as Junior Kindergarten, Tamara Bolotenko has had a passion for languages, quickly learning English and French, in addition to her mother tongue, Ukrainian. She believes differences should be celebrated and wants all children to feel that their unique cultural and familial practices and traditions are a wonderful part of their rich identity. For over a decade, her teaching experience has spanned different parts of the world such as Ukraine, Abu Dhabi and Kazakhstan. She learned more about different cultures and picked up Russian fluently as well. Bolotenko’s passion for global education allows her to make an impact at TFS. Using her international perspective, she contributes to school life, student leadership and experiential learning opportunities, including clubs, assemblies, events and fundraisers. She also discusses current affairs and social justice with grade 6 students. With teachers, Bolotenko organizes theme weeks such as “Empathy and Inclusion,” which are incorporated into the curriculum. She believes that at TFS, “students learn that their school and communities are microcosms of the greater society and, in that context, empathy, compassion, kindness, respect, understanding of multiple perspectives and openmindedness are central to living our lives
as citizens of the world.” TAMARA BOLOTENKO DEAN OF STUDENT AFFAIRS, SENIOR SCHOOL
As the Director of Teaching and Learning for prep and upper school at Bayview Glen, Christopher Federico’s work with teachers and students really focuses on developing global competence through an approach called ‘problem-based learning.’
“The job of teaching used to be very much about passing on information to students, but in 2017, information is not hard to come by. What I do is to help teachers and students think critically and creatively about how to make use of that abundant information to bring about positive change,” he explains.
Doing so means his days are never typical. He could be meeting with a group of Grade 7 teachers one day to discuss plans for a visit from an Indigenous musician and the next day be sitting down with the science and technology department to go over a design for a new robotics project.
The experiences that he finds truly significant are when students engage in real-world problem solving. Federico has even developed a program for high school students to explore solutions to current global problems. This program has grown to become a complete high school curriculum, and he travels right across Canada to help train teachers in
how to deliver it to their classrooms. CHRISTOPHER FEDERICO DIRECTOR OF TEACHING AND LEARNING
Danny Viotto has spent two decades in education – having spent six years as a classroom teacher and 14 years in administration. As the Principal at De La Salle College “Oaklands”, he understands the importance of creating a foundation in the primary and junior years to ensure the success in the students’ senior years. “I understand how every single day is important for every student,” Viotto says, “and how great of an impact we have as educators.” Viotto believes in engaging and communicating with staff, students and parents as it helps him understand and relate to the intricacies of various roles in achieving student success. “In my role as servant leader I listen intently and empathetically, heal myself and my relationships with others, build a positive community of caring, equity and inclusion, and most importantly, inspire those around me in order to create the most innovative and nurturing, learning environment for the students entrusted to us.“A significant experience for him as an educator was when he would take on a leadership role for the annual Pennies from Heaven Campaign at his previous Catholic Secondary School. “Delivering packages to the homes and presenting cheques to the families was always an overwhelming experience for both
staff and students.” DANNY VIOTTO PRINCIPAL
As the director and owner of Northwood Montessori Plus! for the last 27 years, Heather Spear has the ongoing opportunity to spend time with many young children between the ages of one and a half and six years old. “These are beautiful ages because our students are so excited and ready to learn,” she says. “They are like sponges. It is so easy to have fun with them and their progress is so quick and amazing. As well, they are very loving and give great hugs and kisses!” As a teacher and educator, Spear’s goal has always been to facilitate the teaching of others in order to help them learn how to learn for themselves. When teaching, she says it is vital to take into account each individuals’ needs based on their ages, abilities, past experiences, personalities, cultures and interests. “Children need respect, understanding, empathy and love to prosper,” she says. “They are capable of so much when allowed to grow and learn in a trusting, stimulating, happy environment.” Her biggest pleasure is to visit one of Northwood’s classrooms witnessing teachers and children learning together in an atmosphere of caring and encouragement. HEATHER SPEAR DIRECTOR AND OWNER
Roshi Ansari has been working at Central Montessori Schools (CMS) since it was founded over 20 years ago. “I always loved school and learning, but what truly sparked my interest was my mother’s career as a teacher herself,” Ansari says. She also attributes Mrs. Minoo Mohajer, the founder of Central Montessori Schools, as another key inspiration in her life. As Vice-Principal, one of her top priorities is observing classrooms, meeting with academic heads and looking at the individual progress of students to ensure that each child is receiving the kind of quality education they strive to provide at CMS. “The children’s happiness, safety and education are my priorities, which is why I make sure to interact with them and be involved as much as possible,” she says. “The most significant thing I have experienced that surprises me each time is our young students’ abilities to read and write through working with the Montessori materials. It is truly magical and it fulfills the educator’s heart with joy, pride, appreciation and amazement.” For Ansari, the meaning of education is empowerment. “Teamwork and collaboration are some of my main goals and according to school policies. I try to promote a happy, positive and purposeful environment for all the students and
staff/teachers.” MME ROSHI ANSARI VICE-PRINCIPAL
Frank Trentadue has been teaching for 29 years, and this September he will be the new Director of Student Affairs at St. Michael’s College School. Trentadue was inspired to go into teaching by many great teachers he had in high school. “I also wanted to coach sports, and education afforded me the opportunity to educate in the classroom and on the field,” he says. As varsity football head coach at St. Michael’s, Trentadue strives to also “teach the values of industriousness, teamwork, leadership, confidence, enthusiasm, loyalty, motivation, goal setting, personal responsibility and many more qualities that make up not only the successful player, but also more importantly a successful person.” In his previous role at the school, he recalls a student struggling with the transition into high school in Grades 9 and 10. It was quite meaningful for Trentadue to see that student experience a breakthrough and become motivated to succeed enough to gain entrance into university and become a successful doctor. Trentadue believes in student-centred learning. “We should allow each student to realize his potential and his individuality to make required decisions about the direction of his life,” he says. FRANK TRENTADUE DIRECTOR OF STUDENT AFFAIRS
While Wayne McKelvey was a grad student, he worked with young people from broken families who were missing classes. As he noticed the positive impact he had on these students, he became inspired to teach.
McKelvey has been in education for over 50 years. He values being available to his students and their parents. His office opens every day at 7 a.m. and he works with students until 4 p.m. which is when parent hours start until 8 p.m. As Principal, McKelvey, takes great pride in the success rate of Metropolitan Preparatory Academy’s students and the amount of academic and athletic recognition they have received throughout the world.
McKelvey continues to support students until they become successful graduates, with this belief in mind: “I am a strong individualist and try to get all students to focus on their own strengths and make them realize they all have special talents. If they are happy with their lives and realize their talents, they will be extremely positive and productive throughout their lives.” WAYNE McKELVEY PRINCIPAL K aren McCallum-Ryan considers being an educator her true calling in life and has been teaching for as long as she can remember. “Children are my favourite people. They are honest, kind and always interesting,” she says. McCallum-Ryan has taught in five countries – Canada, the United States, England, Hong Kong and Singapore. One of her most significant experiences in teaching was at the Canadian International School in Hong Kong. As a proud Canadian, she recalls at the beginning of assemblies students would sing the Canadian national anthem first in English and then in Cantonese. “It was an overwhelmingly proud moment to listen to a chorus of voices, comprised of students from all over the world, sing my national anthem in two languages.” McCallum-Ryan says it’s a privilege to work at the York School in her role as the junior school Director of Curriculum. “My role is unique. Very few schools have a full-time faculty member whose focus is curriculum at one divisional level. The role involves, what I call, the five “P”s of primary education: pupils, program, peers, principals and parents.” McCallum-Ryan believes in a community of learners. “In a classroom or in a school, the community learns from each other. Education is about more than grades and tests. It is
about creating inquirers and thinkers.” KAREN McCALLUM-RYAN JUNIOR SCHOOL DIRECTOR OF CURRICULUM
Sara Suckstorff firmly believes that students should feel safe, respected and challenged while in school. “I work hard to be a very positive and reliable member of the Crestwood community. I care deeply about my students’ well-being and hope that is apparent in all my actions. I set high expectations for my students and know that I must demonstrate that same work ethic and cooperative dedicated behaviour,” she says. As a math and science teacher, Suckstorff looks to make these subjects interesting, engaging and relatable for her students. “I also want students to be excited to come to my classes – you can get much more out of students if they enjoy being there,” she says, who often incorporates activities that get her students moving around the classroom and working cooperatively. Suckstorff was motivated to become an educator because she had a desire to make a positive impact. A few years ago, Suckstorff had a student who was struggling with depression and was having suicidal thoughts. The student reached out to the school counsellor, and Suckstorff later learned that the student listed her as a trusted adult whom she could turn to for help. “It was a powerful reminder that a teacher’s role is often much bigger than delivering
lessons or marking homework.” SARA SUCKSTORFF GRADE 6 MATH/SCIENCE D r. Terry Sheridan has been Headmaster of Northmount School for Boys for two years. He is a leader in Catholic boys’ education in Toronto and has been involved in Catholic education for almost 20 years. A lifelong learner, Dr. Sheridan received his master of arts in teaching in 2003 and his PH.D. in educational administration in 2013. Dr. Sheridan’s career success has been evident in the classroom and in administration through his portfolios of student discipline, teacher and curriculum development, principal, president and, now, head of school. Dr. Sheridan is a strong administrator who is a collaborative educator and operates from a shared leadership perspective. He possesses highly developed interpersonal and organizational skills and this coupled with a balanced disposition promote a constructive educational environment. These qualities and his educational perspectives go hand in hand with the hallmarks of Northmount School for Boys, a family school with its grounding in Catholic teachings. TERRY SHERIDAN HEADMASTER
Sterling Hall’s Director of IT, Marco Zimbalatti, has been at the school for more than 10 years and is a valued senior staff member and teacher. "The boys here get very excited by technology and its application,” he says. “Even in the primary grades, every teacher and student uses tech to promote critical thinking and creative communication." Along with providing technical support and strategic direction on IT, Zimbalatti also engages with the students in specially-intentioned makerspace programs. Sterling Hall’s makerspaces inspire the boys, assisting them in their creative process, be it in the wood shop or the computer, robotics or science labs. “Our computer lab holds drones, video editing tools, robots and virtual and augmented reality experiences,” Zimbalatti says. As all students engage with these systems and tools, it is important to ensure that their own student agency is at the forefront: their capacity to take purposeful initiative and seek the outcomes they desire. “Technology also promotes adaptability and agility: I hope that when our students graduate, they perceive a spectacular future for themselves and the world and they understand, as with most things, that the future holds an element of uncertainty when working with tech. That’s where the growth happens, and that’s
the excitement!” MARCO ZIMBALATTI DIRECTOR OF IT AND TEACHER D eirdre Timusk has been teaching for 20 years, and in those two decades she has had the chance to teach all over the world. “Travelling has always been an interest, learning about other cultures and about people around the world,” Timusk says, who spent two years teaching at an elite private school in Medellin, Colombia, and then spent four years teaching at a public school in St. Louis, Missouri. “I went from a private school that was fairly elite, to 2,500 kids and two full-time police officers.”
In St. Louis, Timusk observed other math teachers teaching by the book – literally chapter to chapter – and saw they were not having a lot of success. “That experience taught me to teach kids, not chapters. I tried to meet kids where they were and take them on a journey, professionally speaking. I covered less topics, but I made sure they understood before we moved on. Math is math. It is how you’re delivering it that changes,” Timusk says.
Facilitating conversation in her classroom is a huge component of her teaching style, so she greets every kid within the first three minutes whether by a homework check or just a quick hello! She then starts with a nonclass activity, to really get the creative juices flowing. “Anything that gets them thinking and talking to
one another.” DEIRDRE TIMUSK CHAIR OF UPPER SCHOOL MATH DEPARTMENT
Anyone who has ever had a favourite teacher knows there’s more to learning than textbooks and classrooms. It’s the educators who, through their dedication and support, are responsible for igniting the fires of the mind.