Richmond Hill Post - - The Kids -

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


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 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


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


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.

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