Vancouver Staff

EAS Vancouver Leadership

Howard Eaton, Ed.M., Director

I developed a life-long interest in the field of learning differences and disabilities as a result of my own struggles with Dyslexia, diagnosed when I was in Grade 2. Fortunately, I received early remediation and had charismatic adults in my life that guided me towards possibilities and not failure. I completed by B.A. in Psychology at the UBC and went on to earn a M.Ed. at Boston University in Special Education. As well, I have been fortunate to work as a Sessional Instructor at UBC in the Department of Educational Psychology and Special Education teaching courses on Learning Disabilites to teachers in training. The Eaton Arrowsmith Learning Centre has its true beginnings with Barbara Young, the founder of the Arrowsmith School in Toronto, ON. Over the last 25 years she has developed a cognitive remediation program that has provided support for hundreds of children with learning disabilities. She has provided new insights into learning differences and how best to improve neurodevelopmental functioning in children and young adults. The purpose of the Eaton Arrowsmith Learning Centre will be to improve the student’s opportunities for success after their stay at our school and to provide an atmosphere of care, hope and possibilities on a daily basis.

Simon Hayes, Principal

I graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Social studies. In the past I have had the opportunity to work in a variety of classrooms. Before teaching at EAS I had the pleasure of teaching a grade five class which offered an Awasis program. Awasis is the Cree word for child; the program is specialized for the aboriginal student living in the inner city.

Just prior to teaching grade 5, I taught a grade six class in an affluent community that offered the Middle Years International Baccalaureate program. Even though each school differed academically and culturally, students were still faced with a variety of learning difficulties and challenges. This helped me to better understand the ways in which children learn and how important it is to use a variety of techniques to help children reach their academic potential. In my free time I enjoy playing a variety of sports. I grew up playing soccer and basketball, but since have been drawn to biking and running. I also love to relax with a book and spend time with my wife and son in and around Vancouver.

Sarah Cohen, B.A., B.Ed., Vice Principal

I realized my calling was to teach after I graduated with my economics and religious studies degree at the University of Manitoba in 1998. That year I started to work at the Learning Disabilities Association of Vancouver (LDAV) as a tutor. I originally planned to gain some experience tutoring for 1 year and then apply to the Faculty of Education. My plans changed, however, as I realized that it was my passion to work with the students that were seen to be “unteachable”, the students who needed more time to learn things, and the students who had given up on themselves and their dreams because day in and day out they were told that they were failures at school. I delayed my re-entry back into University and stayed at the LDAV for 4 years working as a tutor, a mentor, and a program coordinator. In 2002 I began working at the Eaton Coull learning group and later the Eaton Learning Centre as a self-advocacy tutor, an organizational tutor, and as a program coordinator. Throughout my time working with Howard Eaton I completed my teaching degree at UBC and after traveling the world with my husband for a year, I returned to Vancouver to join Howard and this remarkable team to start this unique school. I worked here at EAS since its first year in 2004 and have worked as a high school teacher, the head cognitive teacher, and now as the vice principal. Each day in my work I am inspired by what our students can do in the positive and supportive environment at EAS. Each year I am so proud of our students and the cognitive changes they have made for themselves by having the courage to say “yes” to their goals and their dreams each day, each period, and each moment that they sit down to work. I am truly blessed to be working in such an encouraging, joyful, and groundbreaking school. Outside of school I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, do daily meditation, run, and enjoy cooking, reading, and music.

Rose Atkins, Admissions, M. Ed

I have worked with people with mental and physical disabilities throughout my life, and I have a particular interest in learning disabilities. In 2005, I completed a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology at the University of British Columbia, where I also dabbled in Math, Physics, and Special Education. I then spent several years working at Eaton Learning Centre, which gave me experience in psycho-educational assessment as well as a better understanding of the needs of students with learning disabilities. My experience as Eaton Learning Centre’s Assessment Manager made the transition to this position a natural one. I joined the staff at EAS in 2008 and I now enjoy the opportunity to work one-on-one with each new student to guide them through the initial assessment. I am also involved in marketing, website development and organizational design at EAS. Currently, I am working on a Masters of Education at UBC, studying Human Development, Learning and Culture. In my spare time, I enjoy music and dancing, particularly ballroom dancing. I also like camping, photography, sewing, watching hockey, cooking, and spending time with friends and family.

Mark Watson, Director of Community Outreach

As the Director of Community Outreach, I work with the school’s management team to increase the awareness of our school’s curriculum for students of various learning abilities. Prior to accepting this position I was the Principal of the Eaton Arrowsmith Learning Centre in Vancouver for almost 4 years.

Learning Differences/Disabilities has been a field of interest for me since I was diagnosed with Dyslexia early on in elementary school. My experiences with education early on helped me to develop an interest in understanding different learning profiles in more depth. I earned my Bachelor’s degree in 2001 from the University of Alberta in Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation. Currently I am in the process of working towards my master degree in Educational Leadership. My formal career in education began in 2001 with the Eaton Coull Learning Group where I worked with education professionals (District Administrators, Principals and Teachers) to help students with learning disabilities better understand the nature of their learning difference/disability and then devise & implement a plan steer around these difficulties in learning. Since September 2005 as a cognitive teacher I have seen first hand the overwhelmingly positive impact that strengthening specific neurological capacities can have in all aspects of a student’s life. As the Director of Community Outreach I look forward to working closely with our Director, Principals, administrative staff, teachers and students to ensure that we continue to provide our students with the highest quality educational experience possible.

Sandra Heusel, B.A., B.Ed., Dip.Sp.Ed., Communications Director

After receiving an undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Victoria, I worked as a Special Education Assistant with the Vancouver School Board. I also volunteered and tutored students with learning differences through the Learning Disabilities Association in Vancouver for four years. I then went on to receive a teaching certificate in elementary education from Simon Fraser University and worked as a resource teacher for the Vancouver School Board for five years, during which time I received my Diploma in Special Education from UBC. Over the past ten years, through my work with Howard Eaton, I have had the opportunity to help many children and adults better understand their learning styles.  I have been very priveledge to have been one of the founding staff members here at Eaton Arrowsmith Learning Centre.  I have had the pleasure of occupying many roles here at the school, from head cognitive teacher to most recently admissions director.   Watching our students build their capacity to learn and become more confident, capable individuals is truly a joy.   As communications director I look forward to reaching out to the public in order to share my knowledge of not only the Arrowsmith Program, but of the incredible community spirit that exists here at the school.  When I am not at the school I enjoy spending time with my husband and two children, Kate and Sam.  I enjoy running, hiking and connecting with good friends.

Cognitive Teaching Team

Sarah McArthur, Head Cognitive Teacher

I have always enjoyed the unique environment of a classroom and at an early age aspired to be a teacher. I attended Queen’s University and in 2007 completed a Bachelor of Arts with Honours concurrently with a Bachelors of Education. During my varied practicum placements I was challenged and grew as an educator of Mathematics, English and English as a Second Language. This is my third year at EAS and I feel privileged to share such an enjoyable environment with the amazing staff and students here. Seeing students blossom in the program is a testament to their hard work, as well as the safe and supportive environment at this school. At EAS I help run the Running Club, Yoga Club, SPCA Club, and the student newspaper, “The Arrow”. I moved fromOntariotoVancouverin fall of 2008, and love the lifestyle, weather, and beauty of the city. I like running, swimming, reading, crocheting, and playing a variety of recreational sports including curling and dodge ball.

Paul Williamson, Cognitive Teacher

I graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 2004 with a B.Ed. (Hons) degree in Physical Education. I went into it with a love of sport and emerged after 4 years with a love for teaching. There were many aspects of the course I found intriguing, but none more so than the effect learning difficulties can have on children’s motor development. I used this as the basis for my dissertation and have maintained my interest ever since. I taught for just over a year in a Glasgow secondary school before moving home to Edinburgh to take up a position as the PE specialist in four different primary schools. Although challenging, I found this position extremely rewarding. It allowed me to gain a rounded picture of a child’s motor development and enabled me to implement motor skills programs in several schools. I am in my 4th year at EAS and 3rd teaching the senior cognitive class. It is a pleasure to work with such dedicated students on a daily basis and they frequently amaze me with the challenges they overcome. Outside of school I enjoy a variety of things including travel, sport, books, music and film.

Daniela Francis

Ever since I can remember I wanted to be a teacher. I have a personal connection to learning disabilities as my brother struggled with his learning early on which was hard for me to watch. It was his experience in education that helped me to narrow down my career path to teaching students with learning challenges. After receiving my Early Childhood Teacher diploma in 1994 I decided to move onto pedagogical studies with a focus on elementary teaching at the University of M. Bella in Slovakia. In 1998 I moved to Canada where I have spent the past ten years working with children and young adults in various educational capacities. Along the way, I took General English Studies at Vancouver Community College and Langara College. In 2005 I obtained my B.C. ECE Certificate, Fun Family Phonics Teacher Certificate and Montessori Teacher Diploma which I then applied to my work as a Montessori Preschool and Kindergarten Teacher. My desire to help students with learning challenges led me to Eaton Arrowsmith Learning Centre in 2007. Teaching children, supporting and learning from them is my passion and has been for as long as I can remember and I look forward to continuing this passion here at EAS. I love to learn and experience new things and have found Vancouver to be an amazing city for opening up doors to endless possibilities. When I find some spare time I like to spent it with my husband and daughter Kaija. Also I love to read, sew, knit, make jewelry, cook, and try to fix and renovate anything around the apartment.  I love to get back to Europe in the summer months, whenever possible, and spend some quality time with my family there.

Luciana Johnson, Cognitive Teacher

After completing my Bachelor of Arts in English at SFU I decided I wanted to teach very young children and received my Early Childhood Educator Certificate from Capilano College. I taught preschool until the birth of my first child and then worked only part-time until my youngest was in grade 3, always enjoying most the time I spent volunteering in my children’s classes. I became an Orton-Gillingham tutor when my youngest son was diagnosed with dyslexia, and began working at Eaton Arrowsmith in 2008. I joined the Cognitive teaching team in 2009, and I am thrilled that my journey led me back into the classroom. It is so exciting to help my students understand how to change their cognitive capabilities (and their lives), and watch them blossom into more confident eager learners. When I’m not teaching, I love hiking and skiing the trails of the North Shore mountains, cooking, reading, and spending time with my children.

Jenna Garratt (On maternity leave)

I entered university with the aspiration to become a teacher and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Lethbridge in 2003. Throughout college and university I volunteered in various elementary schools across Calgary, working with children of all ages. In 2004 I obtained a position working as a program assistant for children with learning and developmental delays with a company called Leaps and Bounds. I moved to Vancouver in the summer of 2005 and decided to go back to school to work towards my teaching degree. I discovered Eaton-Arrowsmith School during this time and started to volunteer with them while continuing my studies. I was inspired by the program and knew that this was a place that I wanted to be. In April of 2007 I was hired on as a full time aid and continued with my Arrowsmith training that following summer. I was thrilled to become a full time cognitive teacher in September of 2007 and have been enjoying my journey with the staff and students ever since! During my spare time I love spending time with my friends and family. My favorite activities include bike rides to the beach, snowboarding, wakeboarding, yoga, relaxing at home, and of course shopping.

Kelsey Hanna, Cognitive Teacher

I always enjoyed school as a child, and as I grew up, this developed into a desire to teach. I was inspired by my parents who both were teachers, and by teachers who reached me with their enthusiasm for what they taught. After high school I found my way to UBC where I earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History. I then earned a Bachelor of Education Degree, specializing in Elementary and Special Education. Since joining Eaton Arrowsmith Learning Centre in 2007, my learning has continued as I learned the Arrowsmith Program, studied the science behind it, and worked with fellow teachers and our students daily. The more I have learned about this program, the more passionate I have become about teaching it. I have seen the students achieve their goals by combining their hard work and determination with the Arrowsmith Program. I am excited about teaching at Eaton Arrowsmith Learning Centre, as I have a wonderful opportunity to help my students by guiding, motivating, and inspiring them reach to their goals every day. It is truly a remarkable experience teaching at Eaton Arrowsmith Learning Centre. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my wife and our young son as well as our cat. My interests include traveling, reading, volunteering, gardening, cooking, spending time outdoors, playing with technology and watching the Canucks!

Jessica Culpitt, Cognitive Teacher

In July 2006, I completed my Bachelor of Education Degree at the University of British Columbia. While studying at UBC, I worked as an English tutor at the UBC Writing Centre. This position gave me an understanding of the varying needs and abilities of learners and provided me with a greater appreciation of the benefits of one-to-one and small group learning. While working as a teacher on call, I developed a stronger awareness of the support needed for students with learning disabilities. I strongly believe that individualized educational support is essential to improving personal well being and educational performance. Eaton Arrowsmith Learning Centre provides an excellent opportunity for students to reach their full potential and it is for this reason that I have chosen to continue my teaching career at EAS. Outside of school I love to snowboard, bike, hike, spend time with friends, and cook. I look forward to being a part of the EAS team and experiencing the achievements of our students!

Melanie Sidney, Cognitive Teacher

When my Grade Two teacher asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up, I enthusiastically said “Teacher”, and it is with that enthusiasm that I am living my dream. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of British Columbia in 2001, I continued on to obtain a Bachelor of Education with a specialization in Early Childhood Education in 2004. I began working that year for the Delta School District and taught in a multi-age primary classroom. I also began working with Howard Eaton at the Eaton Learning Centre as a Self Advocacy and Organizational Tutor. It was here that I discovered my passion for working with children who learn differently. I joined the Eaton Arrowsmith Learning Centre in our first year, as the Head Academic Teacher. I now work as a Cognitive Teacher in the primary classroom. When I am not teaching, I enjoy spending time with my husband and my daughter Emily. I also enjoy sailing, baking, knitting and watching the Canucks. I look forward to the new school year and can not wait to celebrate with my students all the successes this school year will bring.

Leah Meinhardt, Cognitive Teacher

I graduated from the University of British Columbia in 2001, with a major in Sociology and a minor in Anthropology. After taking a year off to travel throughout Central and South America, I returned to UBC to pursue my life long passion: education. In 2005, I graduated from the Faculty of Education with a focus in Diversity and a specialization in Early Childhood Education. Before graduation, I was hired by the Vancouver School Board as a Teacher on Call, and in the spring of 2006 taught kindergarten. Through my own life experience as a person with learning disabilities, I know the challenges one must face when their way of thinking does not fit into the prescribed curriculum. My hobbies include walking my dog, Ava, traveling, swimming and running. I believe in the Arrowsmith program and am proud to be a part of the cognitive team.

Academic Teaching Team

Meagan Trayers, Head Academic Teacher

I graduated from SFU in December 2004 with a Bachelors degree in Education specializing in Math Education, as well as receiving a minor in Educational Psychology. Before starting my career at Eaton Arrowsmith Learning Centre I worked as a professional tutor/teacher for many years and I became acutely aware of the difficulties many students have with mathematics at all levels. My goal as an math educator is to successfully help students achieve their goals by restoring their self-confidence and teaching them new ways to learn and understand the principles of Math. I always stressed the importance of good study habits, as they are essential for success in mathematics. Having experienced it also, I am always able to sympathize with the frustration my students often feel and can enjoy in the sense of achievement with them when they’re able to accomplish their goals. My aim is to always present the course material to the students in the most interesting and inspiring manner possible. During my spare time, I enjoy many outdoor activities such as swimming, camping, hiking and have been known to be a regular at the seawall and dog park too. I look forward to another year of teaching and working with the students and staff at Eaton Arrowsmith Learning Centre.

Natalie Poirier, Academic Teacher, M. Ed

Since childhood I have dreamed of becoming a teacher. In 2004, I graduated from Memorial University of Newfoundland with a Bachelor of Primary/Elementary Education with a specialization in Mathematics. I taught for four years in various rural communities along the coast ofNewfoundland. Shortly into my teaching career, I realized that I had a passion for teaching mathematics. This passion led me to participate in a math mentorship program with my school district. I have had the opportunity to work with theNewfoundlandandLabradordepartment of education on two committees. The first committee was formed to create a family mathematics brochure for the province; the second was to introduce the kindergarten Math Makes Sense program to teachers inNewfoundlandandLabrador. I have also had the opportunity to collaborate on the national level with the Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network (CLLRNet) on the Foundations for Numeracy resource kit. My passion for Mathematics teaching and learning led me to pursue graduate studies in Mathematics Education at theUniversityofBritish Columbiawhere my research interests included children’s mathematical engagement and family math.  In May 2011, I graduated with an M.A. in Mathematics Education. My goal is to make mathematics instruction meaningful, understandable and fun. I believe that all children are capable of learning mathematics and I strive to encourage my students to experience the beauty of math. I am excited to be a part of the Eaton Arrowsmith teaching community and continue to work with its amazing young mathematicians!

Ingrid Monderman, Senior English Teacher

I had always dreamed of becoming a teacher; however it wasn’t until my final years of high school that my love for the English language really flourished, thanks to an enthusiastic and inspirational teacher. One of my teaching placements for my B.Ed was at a school for struggling students and I had the pleasure of teaching English with a locally developed curriculum and remedial reading. I was ecstatic when I was offered a full time position teaching high school English in England. This experience solidified my passion for teaching and my enthusiasm for connecting students with their learning in a way that excites and engages them. In England I taught children of varying abilities and loved it. When I returned to Canada I knew I wanted to continue working with and making a difference in the lives of students who learn differently. I am honored to be working at EAS and look forward to exploring the wonders of English with your children!

Kimberley French, Junior English Teacher

Choosing teaching as a career seemed a natural progression for me having worked with children and youth in varying capacities before obtaining my education degree. My introduction to learning disabilities began when I was an after school volunteer tutor helping children learn to read. From this experience, my interest in the field of learning disabilities blossomed. I consider it a privilege to have worked over the last decade with students who face various learning challenges. My experience has been at the elementary level specializing in math and language remediation as well working as a learning resource teacher for students in the middle years (Grades 6-8). I am very excited to be part of the team at Eaton Arrowsmith Learning Centre. Having moved several times during my elementary school years, I can particularly relate to the social and emotional impact on learning that may make school an uncomfortable place to be. As a teacher, my aim is to get to know each student and offer an accepting classroom environment where they can explore their learning potential. Outside of school I enjoy hiking, biking, singing, cake decorating, creative writing and spending time with family and friends.

Administration Staff

Naoko Yamaguchi, Office Manager

After graduating from Notre Dame University in Japan with my Bachelors in Linguistics, I began my career as an Office Manager working for an English conversational school in Japan. Here I helped students and parents in a variety of capacities. Just over 5 years ago, I was transferred to Canada as a Human Resources Manager, hiring English teachers to teach in Japan. In the last 9 years, I have worked with a variety of people – from little children to seniors. In July 2007, I had the good fortune to join Eaton Arrowsmith Learning Centre as the new Office Manager. I am thrilled to be a member of the school! In my spare time, I like hiking, fishing, rollerblading, shopping, and salsa dancing! I love talking to people, helping people, and sharing a good laugh! I am looking forward to meeting you at the school!

Mark Bleasdale, IT & Facilities Manager

I am very excited to be part of the Eaton Arrowsmith Learning Centre as the Information Technology and Facilities Manager. I feel fortunate that my knowledge of technology can, in some small way, help to support the teachers who change the lives of children for the better every day. I have a great love of music and enjoy playing piano and guitar, and listening to music of all kinds. I also enjoy photography and kayaking.

Leanne McNivin, Reception

After graduating from University of Guelph in 2003 with a History Degree, I went to the UK to work and live in London for 2 years. While there I got a chance to travel around Europe. I then went to Australia to work for the following year. I moved to Vancouver in 2008 and have finally found a place I want to make some roots in. The combination of a cultural city and a great place for hiking and outdoor activity is what I like best here. I am coming to Eaton Arrowsmith Learning Centre from VANOC, where I was an Assistant to a Transportation Director. With the onset of a new school year, I am looking forward to meeting the students and their parents and becoming a part of the EAS team. Outside of work I enjoy snowboarding, soccer, reading and traveling.

Yuki Ihara, Reception

I came to Vancouver from New York in 2006 to study at University of British Columbia. In 2010, I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with specializations in Human Development and Social Psychology. Following graduation I began studying Non-profit Management at BCIT and worked as an Administrative Assistant at the WISH Drop-In Centre.  I have worked with children in different settings, including the Kumon Learning Centre and Canuck Place Children’s Hospice. I am delighted to join the EAS team to work with a wonderful group of staff and students and grateful to have the opportunity to pursue my interests in psychology and community service. In my spare time I enjoy playing volleyball, lacrosse, piano, music and following the Canucks.

Ivonne Tolentino , Reception

Bio coming soon.

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