Faculty and Staff

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”
― Sir William Arthur Ward

Successful education is about the long term growth and development of the student; not short term gain.  Our goal is to enable our children to become true life-long learners striving to be the best that they can be, inspired by teachers, parents and experts who themselves are scholars.

The unique and fundamental relationship between student and teacher is central to successful learning. In smaller tutorial groups, under the personal and expert guidance of a master teacher, students are skillfully guided into developing analytic and creative skills; challenged to think critically, to reflect, to speak and to write with logic and concision.  It might have become cliche, but it remains fundamentally true that students are not vessels to be filled with knowledge (or with skills), but are lamps to be lit.  This is our project.

Stella Ablett
Head of School, Master Teacher (Mathematics)

Stella_web_ACAn experienced mathematics and science educator, her qualifications include Bachelor degrees (B Sc and B Ed – University of British Columbia) and a Masters degree in Mathematics Education (Simon Fraser University).

Stella taught with the Vancouver School Board for 14 years before joining Mulgrave School in 2004.  Her administrative experience includes responsibilities as Principal of the Senior School and Assistant Head, Academics with overview of the three IB programmes from Kindergarten through to grade 12.

Stella has also worked with the BC Ministry of Education on various curriculum and assessment committees and has co-authored several mathematics textbooks in use across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.  Stella is the co-founder of Alcuin College and the Head of School.  You can follow Stella on Twitter @saeducat3.

Todd Ablett
Master Teacher (Robotics)

Todd_web_ACHonoured with a Prime Minister’s Teaching Excellence Award in October 2011, Todd taught Engineering, Electronics, Animation and Technology courses with the Vancouver School Board for 17 years.  He currently leads the Robotics program at West Vancouver Secondary School, as well as leading the Mechatronics Robotics Academy (West Vancouver School District).  He coached two teams to first and second place at the 2012 VEX World Robotics championships – a truly remarkable achievement.  A major part of his curriculum, Todd’s robotics program is an expression of his passion for teaching.  By putting students of all levels together, he creates a mentoring program where students learn to work as a team while gaining useful skills for the knowledge economy.  He has also previously coached students in building and racing electrathon vehicles, winning 12 competitions over five seasons.

“Mr Ablett taught me the most important skill of engineering: problem solving. I changed my thinking from simply ‘It does not work’ to ‘Why doesn’t it work?’ Now I am in my fourth year of engineering. Without this set of problem solving skills, I could not have made it this far.”
Former student 

Luis Aranda
Teacher (Spanish)

LuisA_web_ACLuis is a native Spanish speaker with 13 years experience teaching Spanish in Japan, the UK and Canada. He holds a BA and a Masters Degree in Linguistics (Málaga University, Spain), a Masters degree in Teaching Spanish (Jaén University, Spain) and a Bachelors Degree in Humanities (Open University, UK). He is also a PhD Candidate in Classics.

Luis´s approach to teaching is very engaging and individualized as his classes combine great expertise with fun activities and active student participation. Besides teaching Spanish, Luis enjoys travelling and participating in good conversations. Luis is a lifelong learner who is looking forward to sharing his love of the Spanish language and culture with the Alcuin community.

Kate Arkiletian
Visual Art Specialist

Kate Arkiletian_web_ACBefore becoming a teacher, Kate taught art as an instructor to elementary school children. She discovered her vocation in teaching art.  After completing her teaching degree, she enjoyed many years teaching Visual Art in both the Vancouver and Richmond School Districts before taking time out to raise her children.  Kate has been one of Alcuin’s favourite teachers since 2013.

In university, she fell in love with ceramics and, after finishing her BFA, she studied ceramics. She now combines her love of drawing with her clay work and is an active member with the Burnaby Potters’ Guild.

Sergio Barbosa
Teacher (Grade 3 – 4)

Sergio_web_ACCombining his love of teaching, traveling and challenges, Sergio completed his Bachelor of Education degree (SFU, 2013) with a specialization in international and global education. Within his program, he had the opportunity to teach in Qu-jiang No.1 High School in Xi’an (China) as well as in Vancouver. After graduating from the PDP, Sergio spent two years in England, teaching at both independent and public schools, before returning to Canada to teach in Richmond. Sergio is elated to be joining the community at Alcuin College and is looking forward to challenging his students and developing lifelong learners. He is passionate about teaching and believes the classroom should be a place that promotes self-growth, exploration, and creativity.

Grace Chen
Teacher (Science, Biology, Mathematics)

Grace_web_AC Grace has had a lifelong passion for learning and the natural world, which led her to pursue a degree in biology before deciding to go into the teaching profession. Grace recently completed her Bachelor of Education degree at the University of British Columbia and is a trained International Baccalaureate teacher. Having interned at St. John’s School in Vancouver, Grace is looking forward to sharing her love for science and discovery with the students of Alcuin College.

Outside of teaching, Grace enjoys reading, writing, and trying out new fitness classes and sports with her friends.

Eddie de Beer

Deputy Head, Master Teacher (English, Creative Writing, Social Media)

Eddie_web_ACAn English and Latin teacher by training, his qualifications include a Bachelors and Masters degree (General Linguistics – University of Stellenbosch, South Africa), Higher Education Diploma (University of South Africa) and Diploma in Educational Leadership (CAIS Leadership Institute).

Eddie was a Senior English teacher and a Senior Examiner in English and Sesotho for the National Certificate Examinations.  He was also a provincial representative on the National Committee for Foreign Language Learning of South Africa.

He served for several years as an Administrator; both in his native South Africa and in Canada.  As Principal Education Specialist in South Africa, he was responsible for a number of secondary schools and adult centres during the time of transition to a post-apartheid education system.  He joined Mulgrave School in 1999, directed the development of the Middle and Senior Schools, and led the school through the implementation of the IB Diploma Programme.  He was the Deputy Head of Mulgrave School, Director of Education Technology and Global Outreach Coordinator until September 2011.  Eddie, the Head of Think3R® Educationis the co-founder of Alcuin College and the Chair of the Board of Directors.  You can follow @edteach3r on Twitter.

Jan de Beer
Teacher (Latin)

Born with a love of languages, Jan pursued a degree in Classics (majoring in Latin and Ancient Greek, including studies in French, English and History) in the bilingual city of Ottawa.  He completed his Bachelor of Arts magna cum lauda in 2014.  In his spare time, he enjoys reading, drawing and walking, as well as tweeting in Latin (@africulus).  As Jan continues his studies in French and Social Studies, he leads Alcuin’s Latin and debate programs on a part-time basis.

Luis Ledesma
Teacher (Grade 5, Chemistry)

Luis_web_ACLuis attended the University of British Columbia where he obtained a Bachelor of Applied Sciences in Chemical and Biological Engineering. Yet, while Luis found the content intellectually stimulating, he realized that he was still looking for the spark in his vocation. Luis subsequently began volunteering with a variety of organizations, which provided valuable experience working with children and families.

Luis completed his Bachelor of Education degree in Elementary Education at UBC and is a trained International Baccalaureate teacher. Embracing the notion that “teaching is not just what I do, it is who I am”, Luis looks forward to continually challenging and stimulating young minds to reach their potential. You can follow Luis on Twitter @ledesmaluisg.

Shannon Leggett
Master Teacher (Social Studies)

Shannon_web_ACShannon, born and raised in North Vancouver, attended the University of British Columbia where she received her Bachelor degrees (BA: double major History and Political Science, and B Ed: Social Studies). She is currently completing her Masters degree in Social Studies Education at UBC. From 1993 – 98, Shannon worked with the West Vancouver School Board (Sentinel Secondary, Hillside Middle School, West Vancouver Secondary), teaching Social Studies, English, PE, Drama and Film, and coaching volleyball and improv. She then took the opportunity to move abroad to teach at the International School of Prague, Czech Republic. For seventeen years, Shannon collaborated with students and educators from hundreds of countries, and was able to travel the world. While there, she taught Social Studies, Film, and International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) History, was Social Studies Department Chair, and coached the cross-country and varsity girls’ soccer teams, winning several championships.

Shannon is an IBDP History examiner. Recruited to become an IBDP History workshop leader, Shannon has trained educators at workshops throughout Europe, the Middle East, and North America. She is the co-author of the 2015 Oxford University Press History of the Americas companion textbook for the new IBDP History course, which also has many connections to the new BC Social Studies curriculum. She is excited to be able to teach in Canada once more, this time in a progressive, liberal arts environment.

Janet Martin
Master Teacher (Mathematics)

Janet_web_ACJanet has been teaching mathematics for 20 years. A trained International Baccalaureate teacher, she taught in Bahrain and in the Philippines before returning to Canada, where she worked at Rockridge Secondary and at Mulgrave School. Janet holds Bachelors degrees (BSc, University of Ottawa and BEd, Queens) and a Masters degree in Mathematics Education (UBC).

Janet is an examiner for IBDP Math Studies and a leader with the Girl Guides of Canada. In her spare time, she enjoys camping and exploring the North Shore with her young family.

Lori McPhail
Learning Support Teacher (K – Grade 12)

Lori_web_ACLori comes to Alcuin with 20 years of experience providing learning support for children in educational settings.  Her previous schools include those in the North Vancouver School District, REACH Learning Centre, Lion’s Gate Christian Academy and most recently, Mulgrave School.  Having a strong understanding of learning differences and how they can impact learning, she works closely with students and families to adapt and enhance programs to assist students in reaching their goals.  Lori holds a BA in Psychology and Rehabilitation Services (York University) and a Special Education Diploma (UBC).  In her spare time, Lori enjoys hiking, gardening, birding, and hanging out with her boys and numerous pets.

Chantelle Menzies
Teacher (maternity leave)

Chantelle_web_ACChantelle has spent a great deal of time travelling and sharing her passion for cultures with others. A former radio broadcaster, Chantelle moved into teaching after completing a BA in History from the University of British Columbia and a BEd from Simon Fraser University.

Chantelle’s love for the Spanish language began in high school and continued into her University education. After a trip backpacking through South America, she knew Spanish and Latin American culture was something she wanted to incorporate into her future career as a teacher. A strong believer in leadership and community, Chantelle has been a youth mentor with at-risk youth for several years. She believes that building meaningful and positive relationships with her students is the key to authentic education.

Chantelle has run marathons and triathlons and inspires her students to get outside, be active, and live healthy. With high expectations for herself and others, Chantelle’s energy and enthusiasm is welcomed by her students.

Renée Pasula
Music Specialist

Renée_web_ACRenée is a passionate and enthusiastic teacher who takes a creative and compassionate approach in her classroom. Born in Northern Alberta, Renée grew up in Drumheller and began her studies in Calgary before moving to Vancouver. Renée holds a Bachelor of General Studies in Education degree (SFU) with specializations in Psychology and Early Learning and a Bachelor of Education degree (UBC) with a specialization in Arts-Based Creativity. She received a certificate of recognition for her Outstanding Practicum Award. Renée has always been interested in the creative arts and is an avid crafter and musician. In her free time, Renée plays keyboards and sings in several local projects, her favourite being a 60’s Motown Girl Group cover band. Renée is very excited to be able to share her love of music and creativity with her students at Alcuin College!

Yvan Saché
Teacher (French)

Yvan_web_ACBorn and raised in France, Yvan first earned a Masters degree in Business. After working in advertising for 10 years, he created his own company in art exhibition events and obtained a second Masters degree in Management of Cultural Projects at La Sorbonne in Paris. In 2009, he fell in love with Vancouver and decided to move with his family to follow his dream of becoming a teacher. Having obtained his Bachelor of Education degree (UBC), Yvan has been teaching French with passion and vigour to all ages, including students at York House, WPGA, Langara College and Cousteau the French International School in North Vancouver.

Yvan brings a “backward design” process to his lessons and he truly believes in project-based learning. He particularly enjoys sharing his native culture and language with others. Using his career experience, Yvan is looking forward to working with his students to connect with the French language and with the world in which we live.

Caitlin Sinclair
Teacher (Grade 6)

Caitlin_web_ACCaitlin is an avid learner who is dedicated to bringing the excitement of wonder and discovery to her classes through inquiry-based teaching. An outdoor enthusiast, Caitlin holds an undergraduate degree from the University of British Columbia in Human Geography and History. Her love of learning and her desire to continue to explore our natural, exotic and unexpected world have led her to teaching. She completed her Bachelor of Education degree, obtaining her IB certification for the Primary Years Programme.

In her free time, Caitlin can be found running the trails in Vancouver parks, skiing on the local mountains or camping in the lower mainland.

Natalie Tsang
Teacher (K-Grade 2)

Natalie_web_ACUpon meeting Natalie, it is immediately evident that she has a great love for teaching young children.  Experienced in working with students up to age 12, Natalie believes that children learn best through inquiry and play.  While earning a Bachelor of Education with an Early Childhood Education specialization from UBC, Natalie was able to put theory into practice through work in early child care and through volunteering in elementary schools.  After graduation, Natalie apprenticed as an Intern Teacher at Mulgrave School.  Natalie operated the after-school care program and taught in the summer program.

In her leisure time, Natalie enjoys travelling so that she is able to experience different cultures and to expand her global consciousness.  She hopes to inspire her students to build strong social values and global awareness.  With her creative spark and her positive enthusiasm for hands-on, minds-on learning, we are thrilled to have Natalie as part of the Alcuin College community.

Jon Wescott
Teacher (Science, Biology, Geology, P.E.)

Jon_web_ACJon is an enthusiastic educator with a strong background in sciences  and a knack to tie them into outdoor learning opportunities.  A science major (Bowdoin College, BA Biochemistry) with a Masters in Education from Antioch New England Graduate School, he has taught students from primary through to high school.  Jon also has a special skill set consisting of nearly 30 years of work as a wilderness guide and instructor throughout North America and India.

Jon’s teaching experiences include working at a small, independent school in Maine for nine years.  Multi-age classrooms, spanning four or more grades, were the norm and he became adept at individualizing instruction for his students.   He also developed an “adventure education” model where the academic curriculum was tied into outdoor excursions that included multi-day camping trips such as bike tours and rafting trips.

Jon embraces Alcuin’s belief that each child has a unique set of talents and gifts, and is looking forward to working with students and staff in what will be an exciting year.

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