Karen is an Ontario Certified Teacher since 2014 and is currently teaching a Grade 2/3 class. She grew up in Toronto and speaks English anad Cantonese. After graduating from Queens University with a focus on Arts-Based Education, Karen pursued her two passions; teaching children and travelling. She started her teaching career overseas in Vietnam and Cambodia. In 2017 she moved back home to Toronto and has since been teaching at various schools across the Toronto District School Board from Kindergarten to Grade 8. Her favourite subject is Mathematics and in her spare time she enjoys tutoring children to discover a love for mathematics. Karen has tutored 1-on-1 for the past 6 years both online and in-person. She builds a strong and positive relationship with children that ensure engagement in learning and developing strategies for problem-solving, reading, writing, etc.. For more information on Karen’s additional qualifications, her OCT number is 652670.



Lesley, or Les as she likes to be called, is a certified teacher of 22 years.  Les came from Montreal to complete M.A. courses at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and then completed her teacher certification as well as specialist courses in Special Education. She later acquired a  Masters in Social Work at U of T with a focus on children and families.
Les loves kids and likes people. She is a kind, energetic and creative person who would like to share her love of teaching with younger learners in the earlier grades.  Les has a profound love of books and reading and art. Even before she had her own child, Les began to collect children’s books and is happy to have a little library of her own.
Les is experienced working with students with diverse learning styles and challenges (including learning differences / disabilities, attention issues and anxiousness).  She is well-equipped to build an effective plan to support young learners on their journey to tackling reading, language and numeracy skills. Les has excellent people skills and will communicate clearly with parents about their child’s progress. She employs creative strategies and engaging resources for learners. Les has a patient, friendly and playful approach to teaching.


Alexandra graduated from Ryerson University with a Bachelor of Arts in Child and Youth Care and a minor in sociology. While at Ryerson, she had the opportunity to complete two full year practicums that allowed her to work as a child and youth worker in schools and residential home care facilities. This opportunity allowed her to gain skills in designing and implementing developmental, preventative, and therapeutic activities to meet the needs of children and youth facing adversity. Alexandra then went on to complete her Masters of Teaching in the primary/junior levels from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto. Alexandra is currently working as a supply teacher for the Toronto Districts School Board which has provided her with an abundance of knowledge and experiences. Furthermore, Alexandra has additional qualifications (AQ) in Special Education Part 1 and Reading Part 1. Alexandra believes in creating a learning environment that reflects, celebrates, and validates the diversity and complexity of all children. In her spare time, Alexandra enjoys being active and adventurous, and spending time with her family and friends. Alexandra loves to travel to experience new cultures and create memories with loved ones. One of her favorite countries she has travelled to is Croatia.


Kristie Cairns is an Ontario Certified Teacher who has taught both internationally and in Canada. She has called Toronto home for nearly her whole life, growing up in the city and completing a double degree program at the University of Toronto, receiving both her Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Arts. Always believing in the power of education to provide exposure to and understanding of different cultures and with a desire to put theory into practice, Kristie realized her adventurer nature by teaching in Beijing, China and Jeju island, South Korea. In these locations, Kristie taught at a private boarding school and an international girls school. It is with a special fondness for these two places that Kristie remembers first growing her elementary expertise and gaining an appreciation for the place of meaningful, culturally-relevant curriculum and teaching for the well-being of learners.

Having taught and travelled abroad for three years, Kristie returned to Toronto and joined the faculty of a prominent independent school where she has taught in many roles including as a teacher-librarian, Grade 5 teacher and most recently, a Senior Kindergarten teacher. Over the course of her teaching career, Kristie has thrived in working with elementary students and has a genuine enthusiasm for guiding students in their foundational learning in the early years. Kristie greatly enjoys teaching reading, writing, vocabulary acquisition and developing social-emotional competencies, but is able to deliver a wide range of elementary curriculum. Kristie has lived the experience of working with students in a virtual learning format as a result of current times and has been commended by parents for connecting with learners despite the obstacle of screens. Even at this moment in time, Kristie strongly believes that building connection with students through engaging learner interests and wonderings is key to helping students feel heard, understood and better able to succeed in both realms of academia and personal development. Kristie enjoys writing stories, rock climbing, spending time with her dog and has been known fondly by students for her ever-changing hair colour!

Shannon P.

Shannon Pappas is a Queen’s University Teacher Candidate who graduated from Queen’s University with a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Global Development and from a Master’s of Education in Social Justice Education from the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Originally from Ottawa, Shannon is a bilingual French-English speaker with teaching specialized for the primary/junior levels with strong abilities up to high school level Social Sciences, History, and English subjects. She is an enthusiastic and compassionate person who has spent years involved in sports, camping, and teaching swimming lessons. Her passion for working with children evolved from the many years she spent working at a summer camp. Having recently added a chocolate lab puppy to her family she is thrilled to see what opportunities lay ahead this year.



Hannah is a Primary/Junior teacher in the TDSB. She is a graduate of Carleton University and the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education where she earned her Masters of Teaching. She is working to be a math specialist in the TDSB. This past year, Hannah worked at two different schools and landed in a grade one position, which she absolutely loved. Hannah’s approach to teaching and learning is about creating relationships where students feel safe and heard. In her spare time, Hannah enjoys running, riding her spin bike and walking her roommate’s dog


Vinuja graduated from the University of Toronto with a Honours Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Sociology, and History. She is currently at OISE (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education where she is completing a Master of Teaching degree with a focus on the Primary/Junior grades. She will be an Ontario Certified Teacher in June 2022. Since the start of her post-secondary journey, Vinuja has taught, tutored, mentored, and led a range of age groups towards accomplishing their academic goals. After completing her first position as a Summer Program Director for young children, she knew teaching was her calling. Since then, Vinuja has worked in education based roles including volunteer teaching in a downtown public school, tutoring students with literacy needs, programming academic activities and lessons for a daily after school program, and others which shaped her love for education. Most recently, Vinuja was a student teacher with the Toronto District School Board. She taught in an online Kindergarten class, creating differentiated lesson plans to accommodate learners and providing culturally responsive/relevant content. Through these meaningful experiences, Vinuja developed a stronger skill set to work with students and their families. She believes that engaging students through their identity, creativity, and curiosity helps them gain confidence and succeed in future endeavours.



Mark is a Primary/Junior Ontario Certified Teacher from Toronto. He graduated from the University of Guelph with an Honours Bachelor of Arts in English, and he completed his Bachelors of Education at Queen’s University. Mark has continued his professional development in teaching by taking additional qualification courses in Primary/Junior Math and Reading, as well as Intermediate English. These studies have helped Mark expand his teaching strategies to help students build on their mathematical thinking, reading, writing, and vocabulary. Mark also has experience as an ESL teacher through TDSB’s Teaching English as a Second Language program. Reading and writing has been a lifelong passion for Mark, and he is always excited to share that passion with his students.


Mark’s passion for teaching started with soccer coaching. This job showed Mark how satisfying teaching can be, in making lessons fun and engaging, as well as watching students progress with each session.​ ​This passion carried over to his practicum experience teaching in Toronto as well as his time as a supply Educational Assistant in Ottawa. Working as a teacher, especially as an Educational Assistant, gave Mark an insight into how impactful a 1 on 1 interaction can be. Mark firmly believes in the importance of getting to know his students on an individual basis. Mark uses students’ individual interests to attach meaning to their learning, and caters the lesson to fit the individual needs of that student. Mark finds his inspiration in teaching by helping students forge their own path as lifelong learners.


Outside of the classroom, Mark enjoys being active and continues his in-home workouts though he misses intramural sports very much. He is an enthusiastic supporter of all the Toronto sports teams. Mark is looking forward to working with his students at Prep Academy.



Emily Agnew is an Ontario Certified Teacher. She grew up in a small town in New Jersey and taught drama and music during the summers at her local theatre, which ignited a love of education and outreach. Emily went on to receive a Bachelor of Music and spent her twenties traveling the world as a singer, dancer, actor and puppeteer. She transitioned into teaching, receiving a Masters of Science in Education, with a focus on literacy in disadvantaged and racially marginalized communities for her graduate thesis. While in graduate school, she was awarded a fellowship to teach reading in the New York City Public Schools. In 2011, after completing a summer music program at Yale University,  she moved to Toronto. In addition to teaching in the elementary grades, Emily has taught art, music, and drama specialties where she has proved to be an enthusiastic and innovative teacher.

Recently, Emily took part in a virtual forum ‘Anti-Racist Education and Parenting: The Life-Long Journey’ with Nastassia Subban to learn about how to model anti-racist education, address racialized communities and work for equity within the schools. She also participated in a virtual choir project, ‘Qilak’, with Indigenous composer Andrew Balfour, and in the summer of 2021 completed a Certificate in Indigenous Canada through University of Alberta. Emily enjoys reading, hiking, singing and being with her family


Gretchen holds a permanent certification from NYS in Mathematics. She attended Suffolk College and the State University College at Buffalo, where she received her B.S. in Mathematics Education with a concentration in computational math. Gretchen received a Master’s in Education from Stony Brook. Gretchen has worked for the Westhampton School district for twenty years, working with children in elementary through high school. She has worked with children with a variety of learning differences and strives to meet each child at his or her level and works to support them in all academic skills. Gretchen has worked with children in special education throughout the year. Gretchen enjoys traveling, gardening, reading, needlepoint and watching anything having to do with Sci-Fi and spending time with her eleven nieces and nephews.