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Our Team

Our Director

Kelly Farrell, B.A.H, OCT

Kelly Farrell, B.A.H, OCT

Founder & Executive Director

Kelly Farrell is the Founder and Director of Oak Learners circa 2016. 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.

Our Office Staff

Arlen Palfreyman, B.A. Hons

Arlen Palfreyman, B.A. Hons

Literacy Specialist, Extra Curricular Coordinator

Arlen has been a member of the Oak Learners staff since 2017. With a B.A. in Honours Psychology and Sociology, she has been working with a range of students since her graduation in 2016. She understands and supports all kinds of behaviour and unique needs, and tailors her students learning experiences around those needs.

When she’s not at work, Arlen enjoys outdoor activities, reading, animals, and spending time with friends and family.

Jenn St. Denis

Jenn St. Denis

Admissions & Communications

Jenn has been a member of the Oak Learners staff since 2020. With over 30 years of experience working with children, our office manager Jenn is the one to call! Her passion for communication influences her hardworking attitude, and her behind the scenes work is what allows Oak Learners to communicate with its families in a productive manner. We encourage any and all questions to be sent to Jenn, as she is always the one with the answers!

When she is not at work, Jenn enjoys spending time with her family and pets, planning exciting adventures!

 

Nicholas Smith, B. Com

Nicholas Smith, B. Com

Office Administration & Marketing

Nick has been a member of the Oak Learners staff since 2022.  Currently, he is in his fourth year attending Humber College Lakeshore studying digital business management. He also has a diploma in Marketing from Conestoga College and is passionate about technology and sports.

In the summer you can find Nick canoeing and in the Winter find him on the ski slopes.

 

Rhoger Marinho, M.Sc

Rhoger Marinho, M.Sc

Financial Administrator

Rhoger has been a member of the Oak Learners staff since 2022. Rhoger has an M.Sc. in Accounting and over 10 years of experience in the financial industry. He believes education promotes a collaborative space for the citizenship development, so he Co-founded an NGO which acts to help vulnerable people, improving their financial and entrepreneurial skills. Adept at working with students and passionate about helping individuals and organizations achieve their goals, he likes numbers, challenges, and new learning opportunities.

When he’s not at work, Rhoger enjoys outdoor activities, cooking, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.

 

Our Day School Staff

Michelle Pomeroy, OCT, M.Ed, M.A

Michelle Pomeroy, OCT, M.Ed, M.A

Academic Director

Michelle has been a member of the Oak Learners staff since 2016. Michelle graduated from University of Toronto in 2009 with a Master of Arts in Child Study and Education that focused on supporting neurodiverse students. Michelle has worked with children and youth in a variety of settings, including public and alternative schools, camps, and respite centers. She is currently an OCT who enthusiastically spreads her passion for and commitment to outdoor education and environmental conservation.

When she is not teaching, Michelle can be found supporting local bands, practicing photography, and traveling around the world.

Dana Topping, RECE

Dana Topping, RECE

Teacher

Dana has been a member of the Oak Learners staff since 2022. Dana has taught Junior and Senior Kindergarten as an Early Childhood Educator since 2019, using her degree in the arts (Humber Film School, Second City) and her core education in the field of Early Childhood. Dana is inspired by each child’s interests and develops child-directed programming that is personalized, unique, creative, fun, and inspiring! 

In her spare time, Dana is a standup comedian and comedy producer who puts on shows she creates within the city monthly. She also enjoys photography, traveling, standup paddle boarding, riding rollercoasters at Wonderland, and attending concerts.

Doran Reed, RECE

Doran Reed, RECE

Early Education Teacher

Doran has been a member of the Oak Learners staff since 2018. Doran is a certified Early Childhood Educator. Born and raised in The Bahamas, Doran discovered her passion working with children at a young age- starting and running Early Childhood programs at her high school that are still in place today. She has been working as an ECE for the last 3 years after graduating from George Brown College. 

She loves incorporating music and the arts into her classes, always trying to bring a smile to her student’s faces! Doran is passionate and constantly tries to create an inclusive and supportive environment for the children to learn and discover in.

Janet Duffield, OCT

Janet Duffield, OCT

Teacher

Janet joined Oak Learners in 2022 and has been teaching and tutoring in both public and private settings since 1987. Janet brings a passion for personalized learning and enjoys helping her students develop strong fundamental skills in literacy and math during their elementary years.

Jasmine Chan, RECE

Jasmine Chan, RECE

Kindergarten Teacher

Jasmine has been a member of the Oak Learners staff since 2021. Jasmine is an energetic Kindergarten teacher at Oak Learners! She has over 10 years teaching experience and previously taught toddlers and preschoolers in a Montessori school. She loves teaching because she loves making learning fun for others!

During her time away from work, she enjoys creating art, cooking, and her and her family are apiarists!

Julia Taylor, OCT

Julia Taylor, OCT

Teacher & Tutor

Julia has been a member of the Oak Learners staff since 2020. Julia is an OCT certified teacher with qualifications in English, History and Special Education. Before coming to Oak Learners, Julia worked as a camp staff at Autism Ontario Niagara, a one-to-one clinician at a private reading clinic and as an assistant language teacher in an international high school in Japan.

When she is not working, Julia enjoys reading, painting, biking, swimming and cooking.

Maggie Robertson, OCT

Maggie Robertson, OCT

Teacher

Maggie has been a member of the Oak Learners Staff since 2021. Maggie is an OCT graduate from the Bachelor of Education program at Western University. Prior to this, Maggie completed her Bachelor of Kinesiology with the University of Toronto and has spent almost 10 years teaching dance lessons as well as a variety of sport skill/recreation classes.

When she is not working, Maggie enjoys a variety of sports and reading.

Read the Staff Showcase on Maggie HERE! 

Our Child Specialists

Athena Oliver, B.A.

Athena Oliver, B.A.

Child Specialist

Athena has been a member of the Oak Learners staff since 2022. Athena graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with a degree in Honours Psychology and has since been working and volunteering with children in different settings.  Athena enjoys building relationships with and seeing improvements in the lives of the children she works with, as well as working with a team to achieve the best outcome for each child.

In her free time she enjoys trying out new recipes, practicing yoga, being outdoors, and spending time with family and friends.

Marziyeh Rafieian, RECE

Marziyeh Rafieian, RECE

Child Specialist

Marziyeh has been a member of the Oak Learners staff since 2022.  She holds a Diploma of ECE from Seneca College and was a psychologist in Iran, working primarily with children with ADHD, Autism. Marziyeh has a passion for Math and Science and loves designing STEM activities to meet students’ interests and engagement.

When she is not working with children, she is enjoying time with her own family and has a passion for cooking.

Our Extra-Curricular Team

Adam Houle

Adam Houle

Music Teacher

Adam has been a member of the Oak Learners staff since 2021. Adam is a professional drummer/percussionist with a strong passion for music and teaching, He has over 10 years of playing experience in multiple styles (Rock, Funk, Jazz, Latin etc.) and have been teaching music for 7 years. Adam believes a great teacher is one who can assess not only a student’s current musical ability, but determine what style of learning the student thrives in. He is passionate about helping his students develop their individuality as artists.

In his free time, Adam continues to practice his own musical skills and has impressed many other Oak Staff with his amazing covers!

Adrianna Armstrong

Adrianna Armstrong

Teacher

Adrianna has been a member of the Oak Learners staff since 2021. Adrianna is currently in the Concurrent Education program at Queen’s University. She is working towards a major in psychology and a minor in English, and she is also taking a concentration of courses in Indigenous Studies. She enjoys working with kids and has done so as a soccer coach, swimming instructor, and respite care worker. Adrianna is also passionate about mental health work and advocacy and she pursues volunteer work in this field.

In the future she hopes to combine her love for working with youth with mental health work so that she can support youth and foster their overall development and well-being.

Anna Brooks, OCT

Anna Brooks, OCT

Teacher/Tutor

Anna has been a member of the Oak Learners staff since 2021. Anna is an OCT certified teacher who has worked for the publicly funded system for more than 18 years, teaching Kindergarten to Grade 2.

Her qualifications include special education and teaching English as a second language.

In her free time, she loves quilting, reading and being outdoors!

Bianca Picard

Bianca Picard

Tutor

Bianca has been a member of the Oak Learners staff since 2021. She has worked in many different roles with our team. She is a graduate of Centennial College and obtained her diploma in Pre-Health Science and is currently attending Trent University, majoring in English Literature. Bianca has always enjoyed working with children and brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to our team!

She also played an integral part in volunteering projects like Leaders Boomerang in her hometown in New Brunswick, and believes in giving back to her community by bringing her creativity and passion to every work she is given.

David Quashigah, OCT

David Quashigah, OCT

Teacher

David has been a member of the Oak Learners team since 2021 and has been teaching in a variety of settings since 2018.

He brings a passion for English Literature and loves igniting a love of literature in his students.

Eunice Santiago, CYC

Eunice Santiago, CYC

Before and After Care Teacher

Eunice has been a member of the Oak Learners staff since 2021, as a placement student and has recently graduated with a Diploma in Child and Youth Care from George Brown College. She has spent several years working with youth, including in a group home for mental health. She enjoys being with children and youth and being able to help and understand their needs.

In her free time, she loves to spend time with my family and friends, walk my dogs, be outdoors, and try different foods.

Jessica Guignard

Jessica Guignard

Teacher

Jessica has been a member of the Oak Learners staff since 2021. Jessica is an OCT certified teacher with qualifications in the Primary/Junior division. She has additional qualifications in English Language Learning as well as Special Education and has taught professionally in Ontario, Alberta, and Australia. She has a passion for teaching Literacy and phonics. Her teaching philosophy is that all children are unique and have something special they can bring to their own education.

When she is not teaching, Jessica loves to travel and spend time with her family.

Joseph Wentworth, B.A. Hons, PGCE

Joseph Wentworth, B.A. Hons, PGCE

Teacher/Tutor

Joseph has been a member of the Oak Learners staff since 2022 when he moved from London, UK to Toronto. He joined as an Elementary Teacher and was the 2022 Summer Camp Director. Joseph brings almost a decade of experience of teaching and developing program curriciulum in the UK and is passionate about teaching Physical Education and inspiring his students to excel.

In his free time he enjoys watching and playing football (soccer), along with exploring new places!

 

Julia Hess

Julia Hess

Elementary Tutor & Online Program Instructor

Julia has been a member of the Oak Learners staff since 2020. Julia is currently studying in the Concurrent Education program at Queen’s University with a major in Psychology.  She loves getting to know everyone she works with while supporting them in working towards their goals, and she hopes to work as an Elementary Special Education teacher in the future.

She loves working with kids and people with disabilities and spends time volunteering and working in many community settings.

Katie Hartford, B.Sc.H., MBA

Katie Hartford, B.Sc.H., MBA

High School Tutor, Math & Science

Katie has been a member of the Oak Learners staff since 2020. Katie has an Honours Bachelor of Science in Astrophysics from McMaster University and an 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 always loved teaching and has been a strong member of the Oak Learners team since our inception in 2017.
 
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.
Kayla De Oliveria, B.A., OCT

Kayla De Oliveria, B.A., OCT

Tutor

Kayla has been a member of the Oak Learners staff since 2022. Kayla has a B.A. with Honours in Sociology and is currently working towards her Bachelor of Education at York University. She has continued her passion for working with students of different age ranges. She understands the Ontario curriculum and has a passion for studying values in education, human behaviour, and social relationships with institutions.

When she is not at work or school, Kayla is exercising/playing sports, cooking, spending time with family/friends/animals, and shopping.

Natalie Julien

Natalie Julien

Music Teacher

Natalie has been a member of the Oak Learners staff since 2021. She has been teaching music lessons and hosting classes for Little Rebels and holds two post-secondary diplomas in Musical Theatre and grew up studying classical music (RCM). She has been teaching for the last 10+ years in many different capacities and is an active stage and screen performer. She has spent a lot of her life caring for children as a nanny, and brings an empathetic, patient and holistic approach to teaching. Nothing makes her happier than seeing a child’s confidence and instrument flourish!

She is offering drama, voice & piano studies.

Richard Crooks, MSc, PhD

Richard Crooks, MSc, PhD

Upper Level Math & Science Tutor

Richard has been a member of the Oak Learners staff since 2022. Richard is a biological scientist with a PhD in protein chemistry and an MSc in clinical bioinformatics. Before moving to Canada, he worked in universities and hospitals in England, where he is originally from, and also volunteered at an orphanage for disabled children in Armenia. He is extremely knowledgeable about biology and chemistry. He has an enthusiasm for science that he loves to share, and tries to find exciting ways to explain complicated topics.

In his spare time, Richard enjoys learning languages, playing guitar and canoeing.

Samantha Pritchard, OCT

Samantha Pritchard, OCT

Teacher

Samantha has been a member of the Oak Learners staff since 2021. Samantha holds a BA in History & English from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Education from Lakehead University. She spent 6 years teaching in London, UK. Whilst there she developed her passion for teaching and always wants to ensure that every child she works with has the skills to succeed in everything they do. Her teaching motto is, “Always try your best,” which is something she encourages students to do every day.

In her spare time, she likes to spend time with friends and family. She also enjoys trying out new recipes.

Summer Murphy, CYC

Summer Murphy, CYC

Program Facilitator

Summer has been a member of the Oak Learners staff since 2022, and as a placement student in 2020. Summer graduated with an Advance Diploma in Child and Youth Practitioner from George Brown College. She has spent several years working with young children and youth. She enjoys being with children and youth, playing games, reading, and overall getting to know the kids and their needs.

In her free time, she loves to paint, read, reading tarot, doing yoga, spend time with loved ones, walking her dog, and spending time with her cats and dog.

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