Our teachers are experienced, dedicated, and passionate educators. They are determined to help each student reach their academic potential while building a life-long love of learning. The teachers work together to ensure continuity throughout the curriculum from Junior Kindergarten through Grade Seven.
At Pythagoras Academy the teachers and management staff work in partnership with both parents and students to create a school environment that is comfortable and welcoming for everyone. We strive to create strong relationships and open dialogue with parents, as we believe that they are crucial to a child’s progress and success.
Additionally, teachers provide a solid foundation for enhancing students’ learning through well-developed, inspiring educational programs tailored to each child’s interests, skills, and needs. Teachers work to encourage students to develop friendships and positive attitudes while promoting independence. On a daily basis, teachers look forward to both learning from their students, and to being inspired by them in return.
What you can expect from Pythagoras Academy Teachers:
- Hard work, discipline, and an extraordinary work ethic
- Passion for teaching, profound knowledge of one’s teaching subjects, and extensive professional experience
- Fine Arts instructors that are masters in their own field
- Nurturing and warm individuals who seek to truly connect with one another and with their students, and who care profoundly not only for their students’ academic success, but also for their overall well-being
Mr. Michael Bouchard
Michael holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Victoria. Michael’s teaching experience ranges from three year olds through to the university level. He has over twenty years of teaching experience in the public and independent school systems. As a principal, he has a decade of experience leading innovative schools in concept-based and arts-infused learning. He believes that all students have great potential for academic, social, and creative learning. Michael attributes his success to the collaborative partnerships he builds with teachers, parents and students. When learning communities come together to support students, Michael believes, the sky is the limit.
Ms. Alexandra Baumbusch
Ms. Baumbusch is originally from San Antonio, Texas, and moved to Ontario to complete her Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Western Ontario. She then ventured on to explore the west coast, and received her Bachelor of Education Degree at the University of British Columbia, with a specialization in elementary education. For the past year, she has taught Kindergarten at West Point Grey Academy. Ms. Baumbusch is a life long learner, and places a high value on building strong relationships with her students. Here at Pythagoras Academy, she wishes to inspire each of her students to reach their full potential, as unique individuals. In her personal time, Ms. Baumbusch enjoys passions such as painting, working with animals, playing piano and singing.
Ms. Tara Mayer
Mrs. Mayer is a graduate of Simon Fraser University, obtaining an education degree specializing in Early Learning and Learning and Developmental Disabilities. Mrs. Mayer has been teaching at Pythagoras Academy for the past three years, in the Junior Kindergarten department and is currently teaching Kindergarten in the elementary department. Along with her interest in education, she also enjoys athletics, including instructing swimming and snowboard lessons for children between the ages of 3 to 12. She is an enthusiastic educator who strives to provide her students with a caring, exciting and inspiring environment and is thrilled to bring her passion for education to the Kindergarten program at Pythagoras Academy.
Ms. Sally Carr
Grade One Teacher
Ms. Carr is originally from Manchester, England and completed a Bachelor of Education in Primary Education with specialisms in science and physical education at The University of Bedfordshire. She taught at the primary level for four years in the UK before moving to Vancouver in November 2012. She joined Pythagoras Academy in January 2013 where she spent two years as the junior kindergarten coordinator before joining the elementary team as team lead. She strives to create an exciting and inspiring learning environment which celebrates individuality. In her spare time she particularly enjoys the outdoor lifestyle that Vancouver offers and is a keen horseback rider and skier.
Ms. Kelly Simpson
Grade One Teacher
Ms. Simpson graduated from the University in Alberta with a Bachelor of Education. Ms. Simpson is currently working on completing her Masters in Educational Leadership at Vancouver Island University. This will be Ms. Simpson’s third year teaching grade one at Pythagoras Academy. Ms. Simpson enjoys participating in recreational sports such as basketball, volleyball and softball and she loves running and yoga. She holds a yoga teaching certification that she earned in Bali. Ms. Simpson loves to travel the world. Ms. Simpson believes that every student is able to achieve any obstacle with the strong support and the right cognitive strategies.
Ms. Simone Smith
Grade Two Teacher
Ms. Smith is originally from Toronto, Ontario, and came to BC to explore Outdoor Education at Camp Summit in Squamish. She ended up moving to the West Coast, attending the University of British Columbia and receiving her Bachelor of Elementary Education. After completing her practicum in the Vancouver School District, Ms. Smith spent a year as a Junior School Teacher Intern at an independent school in Vancouver, and then arrived at Pythagoras Academy. She has a strong background in the performing arts and loves to incorporate it into her every day teaching. She is a creative educator with a true passion for learning and is looking forward to another year working with the students at Pythagoras.
Ms. Vasti Barry
Grade Three Teacher
Mrs. Barry believes a teacher is responsible for guiding each student to reach his or her potential in all areas. Her goal is to inspire a lifelong love of learning in all students. She received a Bachelor of Elementary Education from the University of Victoria. Mrs. Barry has taught at Pythagoras Academy since September 2013 in a variety of grade levels. She was born in South Africa and moved to North Vancouver when she was five years old. When she’s not teaching, Mrs. Barry enjoys reading, traveling, and exploring the beauty of North Vancouver with her friends and family. With her training and previous teaching experience, Mrs. Barry hopes to challenge and encourage the students at Pythagoras Academy.
Ms. Emily Konantz
Grade Three Teacher
Ms. Konantz always knew she wanted to be a teacher, growing up the eldest of four children. She coached skiing, sailing, field hockey, and tennis throughout high school and university. Ms. Konantz graduated from the Elementary International Baccalaureate cohort at the University of British Columbia in 2014 and is enthusiastic about student-centered inquiry based learning. Ms. Konantz believes that it is essential for students to love learning in order for them to thrive in her classroom. Outside of teaching, Ms. Konantz enjoys skiing and playing tennis. She is an enthusiastic educator and is excited to see her students thrive in a welcoming, caring classroom at Pythagoras Academy.
Mrs. Lois Powell
Grade Four and Five Teacher
Mrs. Powell brings over 25 years of classroom experience, leadership and the love of children and teaching. Originally from Winnipeg, she has lived and taught in international schools in Cyprus, China and Malaysia, and has also taught in independent schools in BC throughout her teaching career. Mrs. Powell is now a homeroom teacher and team leader at Pythagoras Academy. With an extensive background in literacy, she also works within the school library and coaches the staff on assessment and instructional strategies. Mrs. Powell models effective leadership and provides challenging and engaging learning opportunities for her students.
Mrs. Meghan Wells
Grade Six and Seven Teacher
While completing her Undergraduate Degree in Geography and Sociology at UBC, Mrs. Wells worked as a lifeguard and swimming instructor, and discovered her passion for teaching. She returned to UBC in 2009 to complete her Bachelor of Education. She spent her first two years of teaching in the incredible city of London. Mrs. Wells returned to Vancouver to teach in an Independent School in August of 2012, and joined Pythagoras Academy in September of 2013. She brings a wide range of experience teaching various subjects and grade levels, and is looking forward to continuing to encourage students develop a love of learning at Pythagoras Academy.
Ms. Lauren Gilgan
Grade Six and Seven Teacher / IT Special
Miss Gilgan graduated from the University of Lethbridge with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree, New Media major with distinction and after completed an Education degree, Art major with great distinction. She had the opportunity to teach in the UK and spent 2 years in London, England and she moved to Vancouver in January, 2016 and worked as a TOC in a number of schools in the lower mainland. She has had experience teaching media classes at the high school level, and integrating technology across the curriculum in the lower elementary years. Information Technology has become increasingly important in our lives and Miss. Gilgan is looking forward to teaching children the skills and techniques they need to utilize the tools we have.
Ms. Rebecca Isherwood
Ms. Isherwood graduated with Honorable Distinction from Emily Carr University of Art and Design with a Bachelors of Visual Arts, and was the recipient of the Mary Plumb Blade Award upon graduation. Following this, she graduated with Honors from Simon Fraser University with a Bachelors of Education. She shows compassion and empathy towards all of her students, and respects individual differences by understanding and accommodating different learning styles. As an art teacher her goal is to empower students to have the confidence to think creatively, to strive for learning greater skills, and to have an awareness of global responsibility.
Mr. Art Zhang
After receiving his Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and a Master’s study in Piano performance, Mr. Zhang studied Elementary Education at the University of Alberta. He holds teaching certificates from both the Province of British Columbia and Alberta. Before moving to BC, Mr. Zhang was a beloved music teacher in Edmonton Public School for 15 years. He became a semi-finalist for an Excellence in Teaching Award of the Province of Alberta in 2013. In addition to teaching in schools, Mr. Zhang has spearheaded the organization and delivery of over 35 multicultural performances in the last twenty years as Producer/Artistic Director/Stage Manager/Performer, and was the winner of the 2010 RISE Award in Arts (RISE: Recognizing Immigrant Success in Edmonton).
Mr. Jose Teran
Mr. Jose Teran graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education and Coaching from Douglas College in 2011 and obtaining his Bachelor’s degree in Education from Simon Fraser University in 2012. Before joining Pythagoras Academy in 2014, Mr. Teran worked for an independent school in West Vancouver teaching in the upper elementary level. His passion for sports and recreation has led him to have over 10 years of volunteer coaching experience at many different levels. When Mr. Teran is not teaching, he enjoys participating in traditional sports like basketball, softball, skiing and running. As an outdoor enthusiast, he spends his summers exploring the natural beauty that British Columbia has to offer by camping and hiking throughout the province.
Ms. Britny Oliver
Ms. Oliver spent the last seven years enjoying island life in the beautiful city of Victoria, BC. During her time on Vancouver Island, she completed her Bachelor of Education Degree at the University of Victoria, specializing in Physical Education and Geography. Upon graduation, Ms. Oliver spent time in the Yukon Territory substitute teaching elementary and high school. This is her first year teaching elementary physical education and she couldn’t be more excited. Ms. Oliver strives to create a fun, engaging and positive learning environment for her students. In her spare time, she loves spending time at the beach, enjoys playing a variety of recreational sports with friends, and finds joy and balance in daily yoga practice.
Ms. Emma Swords
Musical Theatre Specialist
Originally from the UK, Miss Swords gained her Bachelors Degree in Music at the University of Liverpool in the UK, before obtaining her PGCE and qualifying as a Secondary Music teacher in 2011. She also has her Masters in Education. She is the founder of ‘Swords Stage School’ and an experienced director of seven whole school musical theatre productions including ‘Oliver’, ‘Aladdin’, ‘Les Miserables’ and ‘West Side Story’. With her passion for teaching and skills gained at various international teaching opportunities, Miss Swords hopes to promote performance opportunities and confidence building here at Pythagoras Academy, whilst ensuring each student has fun as they learn.
Mr. Raymond Mah
Raymond Mah was born and raised in Vancouver, and received his Bachelor of Education at UBC specializing in teaching English language learners. He is a certified ESL teacher who has elementary school qualifications. Prior to receiving his teaching certificate, he obtained his TESL certificate and taught English at private colleges and academies in Japan, South Korea, and in Vancouver for over six years. In addition, he moved back home to Vancouver after spending the past three years teaching the B.C. curriculum at a B.C. certified offshore school in South Korea. During his free time, he enjoys playing ball hockey and going cycling on the weekends. Raymond is very excited to be a part of the Pythagoras Academy community.
Mrs. Janis Severloh
Janis graduated from the University of Winnipeg with a Bachelor of Arts (French major) as well as a Bachelor of Education (Integrated Program, K-8). She also studied at the École de langue française et de culture québécoise at the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi. After graduation, Janis spent three years teaching at an international school in South Korea. She is very excited to get to know the students at Pythagoras Academy and to teach them la belle langue française!
Ms. Jada graduated from Simon Fraser University with an honours degree in Psychology, Counselling and Human Development. She is originally from Yukon, where she began teaching dance at age 12. Ms. Jada loves working with kids and currently does so through dance, yoga and art therapy. Ms. Jada advocates for including art in children’s education and lives for sharing her passions with others. Aside from working with children, she spends her time dancing professionally, cooking and travelling the world.
Adriana Suh was raised in Vancouver, where she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Arts Major in Psychology, prior to receiving her Bachelor of Education Degree at University of British Columbia in 2014. For the past year, Adriana spent time working with students at a B.C. Certified Offshore School in South Korea. Adriana loves the energy that children bring, and is delighted to be a part of Pythagoras Academy. As an educator, she strongly believes that social learning is essential to each student’s growth, and will strive to teach them to work through their emotions and challenges in a positive way.
Ms. Christina Jeeves
Junior Kindergarten Teacher
Ms. Jeeves completed her Bachelor of Education at the University of Victoria, specializing in Elementary and Art Education. Ms. Jeeves has always had a passion to teach, coaching gymnastics with certification from the National Coaching Certification Program, leading and coordinating summer camps for youth at risk, tutoring adult and child English language learners, as well as volunteering as a “Big Sister” for the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization. Originally from the Cowichan Valley, Ms. Jeeves moved to Vancouver in 2014 and began teaching at Pythagoras Academy in January 2015. Ms. Jeeves strives to build strong relationships with her students and foster a safe, inclusive learning environment.
Mrs. Sabrina Meng
Junior Kindergarten Teacher
Prior to relocating Sabrina’s family to a new country she was an educator and an administrator. She has over ten years of teaching experience. She is currently completing a Bachelor of Education at Capilano University, and plans to get a Master of Education at UBC. The journey as an Early Childhood Educator began when she started a position with the Vancouver School Board; her experiences brought her joy which motivated her to complete the International Montessori Teaching Diploma, Early Childhood Education Certificate, Special Needs Certificate and Infant and Toddler Certificate. She has been teaching at Pythagoras Academy for nearly three years and she enjoys spending time with children and watching them grow.
Mrs. Jen Proverbs
Junior Kindergarten Teacher
Originally from Australia, Ms. Proverbs completed her Bachelor of Primary Education in Melbourne, Australia. After teaching at a Primary Years International Baccalaureate school in Melbourne, she took her knowledge to England where she spent two years teaching in London and Brighton. She has traveled through many countries and enjoys learning about each country’s customs and culture. Ms. Proverbs is passionate about creating authentic, engaging and hands-on tasks for students to develop their inquiring mind and foster skills for life-long learning.
Ms. Anne Ndofunsu
Junior Kindergarten Teacher
Anne Ndofunsu completed her Bachelor’s Degree in applied languages at the University of Tours in France in 2008. She then went on to the university of Orléans to complete her Master’s degree in early childhood and Elementary education in 2012. It has been Anne’s long standing goal to work with children as she believes being a teacher is the most rewarding of vocations. After various teaching experiences in France Anne wanted to experience teaching abroad and because of its rich multicultural diversity, was drawn to Canada.
Mrs. Selina Lee
Early Childhood Educator
Ms. Selina Lee has been working with children for over 20 years, since she was in elementary school. In her younger years, she provided childcare at her school library for younger children, babysat on a regular basis and participated in an international buddy pairing program with her local community center. During and after graduating from the University of British Columbia, she worked as a Summer Camp Coordinator for the Military Families Resource Center and as a Youth staff for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. Being in various environments has given Ms. Selina her confidence and experience in interacting with children. Since completing her ECE license in 2009, she has worked in non profit early childhood centers, preschools and day cares.
Ms. Melissa Lugrin
Early Childhood Educator
After volunteering at Pythagoras Academy, Ms. Lugrin became inspired to become a teacher and work with children. She has recently graduated from Langara College, where she received her Early Childhood Educator Diploma. Ms. Lugrin is also in the process of completing her Certificate of Fine Arts at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She finds inspiration learning alongside children, and is dedicated to creating a learning environment that encourages children to explore their own ideas, and to think creatively. In her spare time, Ms. Lugrin enjoys creating art, hiking, and playing the ukulele. She is excited to share her enthusiasm and joy for learning with children and families here at Pythagoras Academy.
Mrs. Dragana Hajduk
Early Childhood Music Educator
Dragana has been teaching for twenty years and loves it. She had been working as a Music Psychologist at Music Conservatory of Subotica (Serbia) and is currently working as an early childhood music teacher (Carl Orff approach oriented). Dragana has created and facilitated many music workshops for children. Dragana has 12 years of extensive music education, majoring on the flute. In addition to music she also has BA in Psychology and Postgraduate studies in Body Psychotherapy. She has two beautiful daughters and enjoys bicycling.
Ms. Justine Xavier-Cochelin
Junior Kindergarten French and Visual Arts Educator
Ms. Justine Xavier-Cochelin is a graduate of the Ecole Superieure d’Art in Aix en Provence, France where she received her Master’s degree in Visual Art. After working in French public schools for two years, she moved to Canada in 2013 and obtained her Early Childhood Educator Assistant license. For the past year she has been working in an Early Learning Center in Richmond where she has passionately taught French and Art to young children. With her background as a visual artist, Ms. Justine relishes guiding her students in their creative exploration and development. She is ecstatic about passing on to them her love for art and culture, and providing them a joyful experience learning the French language.
Junior Kindergarten Teacher
Ms. Rodrigues graduated from the University of British Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology, and also obtained an Early Childhood Education Diploma from Capilano University. Her motto in life is to live by the three P’s: Passion, Persistence and Positivity. She also enjoys creating art through various mediums, the company of her pomeranian and family, physical activity, and traveling the world. Leilani was an Orton-Gilligham educator specializing in Dyslexia and other learning disabilities. In life, having the right mentor can make all the difference, and she want to be that difference in a child’s life.
Junior Kindergarten Teacher
Ms. Chow graduated from Queen’s University with a Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in Biology and minoring in Psychology, before going on to receive her Bachelor of Education. She has always been passionate about teaching, literacy and working with children. Before coming to Pythagoras Academy, Ms. Chow was a literacy support teacher at a school for gifted children. She spent a year as an intern at an independent school where she assisted children of all ages and coached basketball. In her own time, Ms.Chow loves to draw, read and travel the world. She believes in building strong connections with her students, and learning and growing alongside them in an inclusive environment where each student feels supported and cared for.
Junior Kindergarten Teacher
Ms. Sandy Lee is a licensed Early Childhood, Infant-Toddler and Special Needs Educator with great love for children and a strong passion for early learning. She has been working with preschool and kindergarten aged children for over ten years in both Korea and Canada. As a teacher, she is committed to continuously working to improve her practice and classroom management techniques. Sandy is exceptionally creative and dedicated in her work. She is delighted to be part of the Little Pythagoras teaching team.