Our Team

Kelly Farrell, B.A.H, OCT

Kelly Farrell, B.A.H, OCT

Founder & Director

Kelly Farrell is the Founder and Director of Oak Learners. She is dedicated to supporting learners of all ages and abilities reach their goals and love the learning journey. Kelly’s philosophy of education is based in the understanding that every child has the capacity to excel and succeed when they are given the tools and taught the skills to help them on their journey.

Kelly is an OCT Certified teacher and has worked in classrooms and alternative learning environments since 1996 and as a certified teacher since 2004, working with students from Kindergarten through Grade 12. Kelly has a passion for empowering students to develop confidence through building on their strengths to support their difficulties, particularly those with learning exceptionalities, including Learning Differences, ASD, social emotional needs, and anxiety.  Kelly subscribes to the tenants of Montessori, Reggio-Emilia and Constructivist methods of teaching and is always looking for ways to bring these strategies into the 21st Century through technology and environmental education. 

Throughout her teaching careers, Kelly has been teaching, leading, and connecting students and staff with a global community of educators leading the way in 21st century personalized learning. In 2014, Kelly was awarded “Project of the Year” at the Water Docs @School Film Festival for her Inquiry-Based Learning project, “Kids Against Road Salt“.  This project has been used to train new teachers on the benefits and processes behind inquiry-based learning. Kelly’s teaching was also featured in Owl Magazine on the “Cool School” page in  2014 for a unique publishing project undertaken by her Grade 7/8 class that year.

Kelly has also founded Teach Me Social in 2012, a social media marketing agency and training organization which continues to empower entrepreneurs to brand themselves online and share their messages through social media. Her experience in business and educational leadership lends Kelly a unique approach to technology training. She offers business owners a different perspective on technology, gaining participation in her sessions by energizing participants and inspiring them to dive into the Social Media world whilst also providing valuable skills, tips and strategies they can use to construct their online presence at their own pace.

Emma van der Jagt B.A., ECE

Emma van der Jagt B.A., ECE

Emma has been working with children in recreation and education for 9 years. She found her passion through working with children and youth at camps around Ontario as well as teaching swimming lessons. She has been working as a respite support worker and tutoring social/life skills for 2 years. She loves to find new ways to incorporate nature and arts into experiential learning experiences. Emma is passionate about creating positive learning experiences that create opportunities for children to step out of their comfort zones and discover their potential.

After receiving her Bachelor of Arts (psychology, philosophy and sociology) from Wilfrid Laurier University she followed her dream to become an Early Childhood Educator at Conestoga College. She loves working with people of all abilities and backgrounds and believes in creating a co-learning environment.

Mark Ritter, B.Mus., ARCT

Mark Ritter, B.Mus., ARCT

Music Teacher

Mark is a graduate of Humber College’s Bachelor of Music program, specializing in guitar. He also holds an ARCT in guitar performance and has over 8 years of experience teaching privately.

Mark believes that learning music should be an organic process that includes components such as technique, theory, composition, ear training and improvisation. Mark also believes that musical development should stem from enthusiasm and immersion in music and the music making process.

Rebecca Reid Payne, OT, OCT

Rebecca Reid Payne, OT, OCT

Willow OT Services

Rebecca is the Head Occupational Therapist at Willow. She works primarily with school-aged children who have mental and physical disabilities such as autism, global developmental delay, hearing loss and visual impairments. Focussing on both home- and school-based intervention, Rebecca is responsible for both program development and implementation. She has over ten years of experience working with children with disabilities and she has a passion for enhancing the wellbeing of her clients. Fostering greater independence and heightened self-esteem are two core elements of her practice and she approaches every therapy session as an opportunity to help the client grow to their full potential.
Emma Vella

Emma Vella

Camp Counselor

Emma has been working as a Camp Counselor at Oak Learners since 2016. She graduated with Honours from Father John Redmond with an Arts Diploma in Drama. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Arts Degree at the University of Western Ontario with an interest in International Development. 

 

Fabiana Scolieri, OCT

Fabiana Scolieri, OCT

Teacher: French, English, Learning Strategies, ABA

Fabiana is a passionate educator and has worked in a variety of fields centring around Special Education. She has a background in Autism and Behavioural Science and has worked as an ABA/IBI Therapist, Tutor, and Public School Teacher. Fabiana is passionate about individualized and differentiated learning.
Donna Reed

Donna Reed

Yoga Instructor

Yoga has been part of my life since age 12. Yoga has helped me to remain strong and flexible throughout my life, as well as keeping my mind sharp and focused. I have been going to the Sivananda Ashram, Bahamas since 1997 and took Teacher Training in 2012. I thoroughly enjoy bringing the experience of Yoga to all.

Teresa Mormile, H.BA, M.Ed., OCT

Teresa Mormile, H.BA, M.Ed., OCT

Teacher

Teresa is an OCT who enjoys teaching through a holistic framework, showcasing her kind and patient pedagogy. Teresa has worked at Oak Learners since 2017, and other diverse education settings since 2014; tutoring children from Kindergarten through Grade 12. 
 
Teresa graduated from her Honours Bachelor Of Arts at the University of Toronto in 2016, double majoring in English and Social Sciences. A recent graduate from the M.Ed. program at OISE, specializing in the Internediate/ Senior divisions. Teresa understands that every child learns differently and enjoys personalizing her lessons to keep her students progressing and confident. Her research focused on curriculum support in Toronto high-schools for students who have experienced grief trauma. Teresa enjoys teaching through a holistic framework, and implementing student voice in her work. 
 
 
Lucia Mormile

Lucia Mormile

Teacher (Math/Science)

A local Mimico resident, Lucia was familiar with the needs of our families and the unique opportunity that Oak Learners offers. She is working towards completing her Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Toronto and hopes to pursue a Masters of Education in the coming years. 

In her own words, Lucia reflected that, “Oak learners has given me the opportunity to gain experience working within a teaching environment. In addition to the welcoming atmosphere, Oak learners has helped me achieve new skills that will support me in my future studies, where I aim to graduate with my Masters in Teaching. Upon entering an inclusive educational space, I have been able to network with other educators and be introduced to progressive teaching strategies.”

  

Katie Hartford, B.Sc.H.

Katie Hartford, B.Sc.H.

Teacher/Tutor, Math & Science

Katie Hartford has an Honours Bachelor of Science in Astrophysics from McMaster University and is currently working toward her MBA at the DeGroote School of Business. She has always had a passion for Math and the Sciences and loves having the opportunity to pass that passion on to others while helping them to find success. She has been tutoring for 4 years now and is thrilled to be a part of the Oak Learners team. 
 
When she isn’t working, Katie loves being active, rock climbing and running regularly, and playing tennis and hockey when the weather allows. She also loves curling up with a good book and spending time with her family and friends. 
Nina Semchyshyn

Nina Semchyshyn

Tutor

Originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Nina graduated from the University of Winnipeg with a BA in French Language, Literature Studies and the Certificate French Language Proficiency Program at McGill University. Currently, she studies public relations at Humber College.
Her passion for working with children began at a young age through the Ukrainian community’s leadership program and coaching rhythmic gymnastics for the past nine years. Through working with students that have faced the difficulties of learning a different language, or the training hardships that her gymnasts faced, Nina believes that best practices come from learning resilience. Recognizing and understanding each student’s learning style and finding techniques to help guide them to their own personal and academic successes is a value that Nina believes will help promote the principle that education is a journey and she hopes to be a supportive influence of that.
Paige Brown

Paige Brown

Music, Art, Camps

Paige is currently a student in Ryerson University’s psychology undergraduate program with a goal of one day becoming a clinical psychologist. Paige is extremely passionate about all forms of art. She has had over ten years of private guitar instruction and has also had the opportunity to learn from many different fine artists at the Whitby Art Gallery. In addition to guitar, she can also play flute and piano and has a grade 8 music theory certificate from the Royal Conservatory of Music. She enjoys sharing her love of art with her students and strives to help them each find their own creative voice.
Nici Shipway

Nici Shipway

ECE, Behaviour Consultant

Nici shipway had been working in the education field for the past 16 years specializing in ABA and IBI for children on the Autism spectrum. She has worked in many centres and homes across the GTA supporting the entire family. She is passionate about art in all forms and enjoys incorporating it into her way of teaching.

Julie Minogue, B. Sc (Honours), B. Ed (with Distinction), OCT

Julie Minogue, B. Sc (Honours), B. Ed (with Distinction), OCT

Elementary Teacher

Julie Minogue is an Ontario Certified Teacher, with a broad range of experiences and expertise, possessing qualifications in Junior, Intermediate, and Senior Divisions, and in Special Education. Julie has been working in various capacities in the field of education for the past seventeen years, as a Classroom Teacher in both the public and private systems (including Special Education Resource Teacher), a Science Specialist delivering STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) inspired curriculum, an Online ESL Teacher, and an Academic Tutor, specializing in reading comprehension strategies, and remedial literacy instruction for Primary and Junior level students, using the Orton-Gillingham Approach, which involves multi-sensory phonics instruction. Julie has extensive knowledge of all curriculum expectations, and has worked one-on-one with students of all levels, ranging from kindergarten to high school, in all subject mattter.

Julie is a passionate and dedicated educator, who consistently focusses on the individual learning styles and needs of her students. Julie has experience in preparing and implementing Individual Education Plans, and she has a proven record of success in developing and executing appropriate learning strategies for various types of exceptional learners. Julie believes that by creating a positive learning environment, including using genuine motivation and positive reinforcement for students, that each and every learner can reach their potential. Julie is an effective communicator and collaborator, who places great pride in her ability to develop strong and meaningful connections with her students, thereby increasing their confidence level and heightening their likelihood for academic success and positive emotional growth. Julie is an educator who believes in the importance of student-centred, active, and hands-on learning experiences to help create a love of learning, and to foster critical thinking and high level inquiry skills in all of her students. Julie is an energetic, creative, and enthusiastic teaching professional, who’s primary focus is upon student well-being and success. She feels fortunate to be able to be a part of the Oak Learner Staff, and consistently welcomes the opportunity to work with children in this unique and meaningful teaching environment.

Claire Buechler

Claire Buechler

Claire graduated from University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education in April 2019 with her Masters in Teaching. Before that, she completed her undergraduate degree in law at Carleton University. Claire has finished additional qualifications in Intermediate Mathematics, Teaching English Language Learners, Special Education, and Reading. Claire also taught at a school for students with learning exceptionalities from April to June, 2019. Claire uses her patience and enthusiasm to engage her students, and keep them on track to achieve success. She is aware of the importance of individual learning, and therefore understands how creating learning plans based on each student’s needs and goals is the most conducive way to see results. Claire figure skated competitively up until grade twelve, which allows her to recognize the important balance between sports and academics. She was also involved in theatre productions at her high school. Claire will be spending this school year supplying with the Peel District School Board.