Meet the LDS team

Our Staff

LDS staff are experts in their fields, with degrees in Law, Biomedical Engineering, Applied Psychology, Creative Writing, Communications, Mathematics, Global Development, English, and Linguistics

Our staff have deep educational and lived experience in a broad array of disciplines. All staff are required to undergo annual working with vulnerable populations training as well as provide current criminal record checks for working with the vulnerable sector. Staff attend group training and professional development, and their own specific professional development is noted in their biographies.

Rachel S. Forbes, JD

Executive Director

Rachel (she/her) has a formal education in social geography, communications and law. Over the past 20 years, she has worked with dozens of nonprofits, charities and companies, including serving as executive director, program lead, staff lawyer, and also in a volunteer capacity on various nonprofit boards. 

She enjoys utilizing her breadth of experience in governance, fundraising, strategy, project management and communications to build capacity within LDS as it continues its strategic growth journey. Rachel is thrilled to be leading and building the energetic and committed professionals who make up the LDS team. As a parent and as someone who grew up knowing the education system closely, Rachel is passionate about ensuring every child has access to the supports they need to thrive in their education and throughout their lives. 

Rachel graciously lives, works and plays within the traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh peoples. 

Professional Memberships: 

  • Law Society of BC, non practicing member 

Recent Professional Development: 

  • Attended and presented at the 2022 Early Years Conference (UBC)
  • Foundations in Diversity and Inclusion (Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion, 2021) 
  • Public speaking and media training, Dr Mark Winston, SFU Centre for Dialogue  
  • The Art of Effective Digital Workplaces: A Communication Style Workshop 

    Jennifer Fane, PhD, BC Certified Teacher

    Director of Education

    Jenn (she/her) holds an interdisciplinary PhD in education, public health, and social policy from Flinders University (Australia) and a Bachelor of Education degree from SFU. She is a passionate advocate for responsive and transformative education that prioritizes the learner and their needs and goals. She began her teaching career as a kindergarten teacher in the New Westminster School District and has been working in a range of educational settings such as schools, early years centres, and universities in both Canada and Australia for the past 15 years. She is a published author and scholar in the areas of education, early years, and teacher education, authoring over 20 peer-reviewed academic publications and a co-authored book. Her work as a teacher educator has been recognized nationally through the Australian Awards for University Teaching where she was awarded a Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student LearningIn her roles as a teacher, teacher educator, professor, and educational researcher, Jenn is keenly aware of the challenges children, parents, and schools alike face in supporting children with diverse ranges of abilities, and the very real struggle this creates for children and families with diagnosed or suspected learning disabilities. Jenn enjoys using her education and skills to support the exceptional work within the organization and serve its students, families, and the broader community. 

    Professional Memberships 

    • British Columbia College of Teachers 

    Recent Professional Development: 

    • Attended and presented at the 2022 Early Years Conference (UBC)
    • Will attend and present at the 14th International Development Coordination Disorder Conference (2022)
    • Public speaking and media training, Dr Mark Winston, SFU Centre for Dialogue  

    Abigail Lobo, MA, BCISE

    Senior Manager, Education

    Abigail (she/her) holds a Master’s Degree in Applied Psychology and a Board Certification in Inclusion in Special Education (BCISE). She began her journey in the field of special education as an ABA Therapist at a special needs center in Dubai. For over 5 years she worked closely with children with a range of learning difficulties and developmental delays, and supported them at schools and within the community to forward their academic, social, emotional and behavioural learning. In 2017, she founded the Inclusion Department at a school in Dubai where she worked closely with students and their families from diverse backgrounds and learning differences. She supported teachers and caregivers in reducing barriers to learning, encouraged the use of appropriate accommodations and strengthened the need for adopting a growth mindset.

    Abigail believes every individual has their own set of strengths and limitations and views ‘disability’ as just a matter of being differently-abled. She values the importance of community and believes in the adage ‘it takes a village to raise a child’. She enjoys learning from her learners, credits powerful provision (no matter how small) and strives to ensure no child is left behind.

    Abigail grew up in Dubai and moved to Vancouver in January 2021. She is still childishly awestruck by nature and can get easily swayed at the sight of mountains in the distance or by squirrels crossing the street.

    Recent professional development:

    • Board Certification in Inclusion in Special Education (BCISE), National Association of Special Education Teachers 

    Alice Bromfield, MA

    Family and Student Services Manager

    Alice (she/her) has a MA with Honours in Linguistics at the University of Edinburgh. She wrote her thesis on Indigenous Language Revitalization, a passion that was sparked through her year abroad at the University of British Columbia. Finding a way that Applied Linguistics knowledge could help others is what brought her to LDS. Her professional background is primarily in marketing and communications, in addition to 1.5 years working in all facets of LDS’s programs and operations. She relishes using her varied skill set to help move mountains for our students and families

    Recent Professional Development: 

    • Women’s Leadership Certificate (American Management Association, 2022)
    • Women’s Economic Empowerment: Practical Tools for Gender-responsive Poverty Measurement (2021)

    Check out this Mission Makers blog post about how Alice is connecting with kids! 

    Chelsey Leas

    Family and Student Services Coordinator

    Chelsey Leas (she/her) holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of British Columbia in Social Work. She was born and raised in the Yukon and made her way to BC to pursue her studies. Her varied professional experience lies heavily in direct work with children of varying ages and abilities. Chelsey believes that every child should have the opportunity and support to grow and learn, while also being provided with the time and space to focus on and showcase their strengths and areas of interest. Guiding her work with the approach and belief that there is much she can learn from the people she is supporting and working with, no matter their age. 

    Helen Sawchuk, CPA, CGA

    Finance Manager

    Helen (she/her) has used her CPA, CGA skills to support the financial and accounting needs of various nonprofit organizations such as the Law Foundation of BC, which supports social justice causes, and Ronald McDonald House BC, which provides accommodation for families whose children are in medical treatment. During her time at RMHBC, Helen led the finance team through the transition from the small 13 family home in Shaughnessy to the 70,000 square foot building on the grounds of BC Children’s Hospital, while acquiring leadership skills in change management. 

    Both of her children, now young adults, have learning differences which made traditional education models a challenge, and she understands some of the stress that these differences create for both children and their families. 

    Mike Gray, MASc

    Assistive Technology Manager

    Mike (he/him) has a BSc in Mechanical Engineering (mechatronics option) from the University of New Brunswick and a MASc in Biomedical Engineering from U of T, working in Dr. Elaine Biddiss’ group at the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital’s PEARL lab (Possibility Engineering and Research Lab). His thesis focused on the gamification of upper limb therapy for children with cerebral palsy. Post his Masters degree, Mike also worked at the University of Victoria’s Assistive Technologies Lab and worked on the development of modular assistive robotic platform. 

    Mike enjoys advancing the LDS Assistive Technology program, including our socially assistive robotics initiative, and to advance LDS IT priorities that will enable us to build further capacity and streamline operations to support more students more effectively.

    Recent Professional Development: 

    • Certified Associate in Project Management (2020) 

    Read about how Mike is helping families use assistive technology in his Mission Makers blog post here!

    Thaisa Gorniak

    Community manager

    Thaisa (she/her) has a background in public relations and worked for years in the field with different clients and industries. Volunteering for several nonprofit organizations since she was a teenager, she developed a huge passion and desire to work at an organization where she could contribute to the community. Thaisa moved to Vancouver in 2017 and since then she has been working in the education industry, between advising and administrative departments. Thaisa started with us as an Administrative Coordinator and has been promoted to Community Manager; in both roles LDS benefits from her warm, positive energy, her dedication to accuracy, and her vibrant passion for our families and community.

    Vivian Nguyen

    Administrative Coordinator

    Vivian (she/her) has worked in a variety of roles and industries, gaining a spectrum of skills. She explored the wonders of school and completed the New Media and Design program at BCIT with distinction. The program gave her insights on marketing, design, project management, coding, and video editing. She soon realized that through all her experiences, interactions, and projects, she had a strong desire and passion for helping people That passion motivated her to create positive impacts on those surrounding her – she enjoys all the opportunities at LDS to help people and bring positivity to their lives. Her biggest ‘weakness’ is that she just adores dogs!

    Morgan Frey

    LDS Access Support

    Morgan (He/Him) is currently working towards his Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science at UBC, with hopes to complete a master’s degree in public health. Through previous employment/volunteer positions as well as personal experience, Morgan has developed a desire to help children in the community with learning differences achieve their full potential. He is looking forward to raising awareness of LDS within the community and increasing their community involvement and impact. He relishes the opportunity to help expand the learning experience for the current and future students of LDS.

    Edward Kyaw

    Learning Centre Assistant

    Edward (he/him) is currently attending Killarney Secondary School and is working towards his high school diploma. He has been an LDS student for three years and  is also a RISE TEAM graduate. He is looking forward to the opportunity to work with the LDS community. He likes sports, fashion and nature. 
    During RISE TEAM Summer Training, he learned how to write resumes and cover letters. This helped him to be more comfortable and confident with his communication skills. 

    Matthew Leung

    Learning Centre Assistant

    Matthew (he/him) is currently attending Argyle Secondary School and is working towards his high school diploma. He is a graduate of the 2021 RISE TEAM program here at LDS. Throughout his RISE TEAM training, he learned interview skills and how to write resumes and cover letters. This course has helped him improve his communication skills. He is looking forward to working with the LDS staff and community.

    Our Instructors & Early Childhood Educators

    LDS instructors have specialized training as:

    • BC-certified Teachers
    • Special Education Assistants
    • Orton-Gillingham (OG) Instructors
    • Speech-Language Pathologists
    • Inclusive Education Instructors
    • Certified Early Childhood Educators

    Aime M.

    Instructor

    Aime (she/her) started with LDS with summer camps. She has over seven years of experience working with children with special needs. She worked in the school district as an Education Assistant and currently works in the district as an Applied Behaviour Analysis Support Worker. She also holds a Creative Writing Associates degree. Aime currently tutors one-on-one with children at LDS both online and in person. She enjoys being creative and building rapport with the students she teaches to make lessons unique and meaningful for them.  

    Alison M., BC Certified Teacher, OG trained

    Instructor

    Alison (she/her) has worked in the field of Special Education for over 10 years, most recently as a Learning Assistance teacher. Her BA degree in English is from UBC Okanagan and she is also a certified Orton-Gillingham (OG) therapeutic tutor and a trained Behaviour Interventionist. Alison enjoys working with students 1:1, both in-person and online, and is also looking forward to being a part of the Early Risers program team.

    Alison believes that every student is unique and thus has their own unique potential. Her goal is to help students in reaching their full potential by creating an environment that is engaging, supportive and fun. Working with students who have learning differences is her passion and she loves the LDS team!

    Ali M.

    Early RISErs ECE

    Ali is an early childhood educator, both working at and currently completing her ECCE degree at Capilano University. She was born and raised on the west coast, growing up specifically on the traditional, unceded territories of the Coast Salish Peoples. Ali holds a passion for attending to and engaging with inclusive, equitable and diverse ways of living and learning, and is dedicated to a practice of care, kindness and gentle curiosity

    Alison C.

    Instructor

    Ali (she/her) holds a Bachelor of Education from the University of Alberta where she completed her initial teacher training with additional specializations in math education and assessment for students with special education needs. She has experience working with elementary and middle school aged students in public schools in BC and Alberta as well as summer camp programming and 1:1 tutoring. Ali is passionate about providing the support that children need that allows them to be successful and help them to recognize/develop their own unique learning style. Alison values being part of the LDS team and serving our students.

    Anisa C., BC Certified Teacher

    Instructor

    Anisa (she/her) is a BC Certified teacher and is currently completing her Diploma in Special Education from the University of British Columbia. Anisa has worked with students at all levels, from elementary to high school, and she has taught a wide range of subjects, including chemistry, math, and English—her favourite to teach being math. She teaches because she loves the “Ah-Ha’’ moments and enjoys seeing students achieve success. In addition to keeping busy with teaching, Anisa is kept on her toes by her two daughters, who are also navigating learning online. As both a parent and instructor, Anisa offers a unique perspective on setting children up for home learning success. 

    Recent Professional Development:  

    • Level B Assessment (2020) 
    • Mathematics Strategies for At-Risk Students 

    Anna L.

    Instructor

    Anna (she/her) is an English instructor and holds a master’s degree in English Studies. She has a passion for helping students with learning disabilities, and she took Basic and Advance Course on Catering for Diverse Learning Needs at the Education University of Hong Kong. She is a competent and flexible teacher with twenty years of experience teaching students with diverse backgrounds.   

    She taught English through a communicative and task-based learning approach at a secondary school in Hong Kong. Throughout her teaching practices there, she benefited enormously from various opportunities in organizing school-based enhanced English programmes and conducting English cultural activities. Anna is currently studying Master of Education in Teaching Languages in Global Contexts at Simon Fraser University. She understands that it is crucial to take students’ voices and experiences into account in a multi-cultural and multi-lingual society. She sought to work with LDS since she appreciates the fact that LDS not only provides academic support for students but also facilitates personal development in the workplace. Therefore, she believes that it is meaningful to be an instructor at LDS and assist students in learning.

    Anotidaishe G.

    Instructor

    Anotidaishe (she/her) is an instructor with a great passion for seeing students reach their full potential in all aspects of their life. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Simon Fraser University and has a background in learning and developmental disabilities.  She has worked with children from various backgrounds with different learning needs. Her experience also includes helping children diagnosed with Autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), as a Behaviour Technician. A quote Ano finds inspiring is from Winston Churchill: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”  

    Recent Professional Development: 

    • Self-Regulated Strategy Development for writing instruction (2019) 

    Click here to read a Mission Makers blog post about how Anotidaishe is finding the gem inside each student! 

    Bana A.

    Instructor

    Bana (she/her) holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of British Columbia. She is currently working towards her Master of Arts in School and Applied Child Psychology at UBC. Bana values building students’ motivation and joy of learning through her role as an LDS instructor. She has various experiences working 1:1 with children, particularly through her role as a behaviour interventionist. She enjoys seeing children build their confidence and master new skills

    Baylee W., BC Certified Teacher

    Instructor

    Baylee (she/her) is a BC-certified educator currently working as a grade six classroom teacher with the Vancouver School Board. Baylee holds a Bachelor in Liberal Arts and Science from Quest University, and both a Bachelors of Education and a Diploma in Guidance Studies from UBC. Baylee has taught in New Zealand and Canada and has experience in independent and public-school settings. Baylee is passionate about working with a range of learners, and enjoys learning, growing, and working alongside those at LDS! 

    Becky B., MaSc, BEd

    Instructor

    Becky (she/her) is a holistic educator with a diverse background and an extensive history of educative experience. Becky has a Bachelor of Science in Human Geography, a Master of Science in Human Dimensions of Wildlife, a Bachelor of Education, and a Teaching Skills Enhancement Certificate. Teaching students from age three to sixty-three, Becky has a good understanding of the multitude of ways we learn. Her teaching philosophy involves developing interpersonal connections with students to help foster an understanding of the self-learner and the best ways to learn as an individual. As a self-proclaimed avid learner, Becky has a wide range of interests, which makes it easy for her to relate to others and encourage and empower them on their individual learning journeys.

    Brittany W., BC Certified Teacher

    Instructor

    Brittany (she/her) is a certified teacher currently working as a Grade 1 and Resource Educator with the Vancouver School Board. Brittany holds a Bachelor of Arts from Carleton University, a diploma in Teaching English as a Second Language from the University of the Fraser Valley, and a Bachelor of Education from Simon Fraser University with a focus in Fine Arts Education. She has taught dance and performing arts to children aged 3-15 and has worked with children with various physical abilities. Brittany is passionate about working with children from all walks of life, discovering with makes learning fun, engaging, and memorable for each child. 

    Carly F.

    Instructor

    Carly (she/her) holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology with minors in education and marketing from McGill University. She is currently working towards her Master of Education in School and Applied Child Psychology at UBC. Carly brings her expertise in child psychology to her role as an LDS instructor hoping to foster positive learning experiences for her students. Carly values building rapport and promotes a growth mindset in her tutoring practices. She has experience working with multicultural families within international education settings. Carly loves to use her creativity to best engage her students according to their needs.

    Emma L., MOT

    Instructor

    Emma (she/her) holds a Bachelor of Kinesiology degree with a minor in Psychology from UBC. Driven by her desire to learn more about increasing accessibility to support services, she recently returned to UBC and has now completed her Master’s in Occupational Therapy. Over the years, Emma has worked as an Education Assistant and Youth Programmer at local schools, community centres, and nonprofit organizations. She has formal training in working with children and youth to facilitate positive learning outcomes through Equitas and the Coaching Association of Canada. Emma is passionate about empowering children and youth to be independent and confident in their skills. She values providing equitable learning experiences and individualized support to her students with the LDS team! 

    Recent Professional Development:  

    • Partners for Youth Empowerment Creative Facilitation workshop (2018)

    Read about how Emma is giving back to the community that once supported her in her Mission Makers blog post here! 

    Gaurika D., MEd

    Instructor

    Gaurika (she/her) recently finished her Master of Education in Special Education (Learning Disabilities) from the University of British Columbia. She holds a Bachelor of Education in Special Education and a Bachelor of Science in Home Science (major in Human Development) from India.

    She spent over two years in India as a Learning Support Teacher for students with learning differences.  She enjoys encouraging kids to realize their full potential in a way that is comfortable for them while also fostering a fun and positive learning environment. Furthermore, she believes in building socio-emotional competencies in her students to help them develop resiliency and have a sense of belongingness. Gaurika deeply enjoys providing personalized intervention to students and being a part of the LDS team.

    Goran P.

    Instructor

    Goran (he/him) has more than 15 years of experience in providing academic support to students with learning disabilities. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree and has worked as an Educational Assistant at Vancouver School Board. Goran’s work as a team member of the Learning Hub at our school includes intense engagement with different types of learners. His goal is to provide the students with knowledge and skills that will help them reach their full potential. Also, Goran has been a tutor for over 10 years and my area of expertise includes high school Math, Science, and Chemistry. His tutoring style is supportive and easygoing, encouraging positive learning outcomes in his students. In his free time, he likes exploring nature, hiking, listening to music, and travelling. He is very happy to be part of the very highly skilled team at LDS.  

    Jacob C.

    Instructor

    Jacob has worked in the educational field for seven years and hails from England. He supports students with learning differences by creating a supportive and welcoming environment to accommodate all their needs. While teaching students, he loves to learn alongside them, so the students feel like they are teaching him too. His passions include baking, reading, drumming, rugby, and various other sports. Jacob loves the supportive and caring environment created by the LDS community.

    Jennie L., BC Certified Teacher

    Instructor

    Jennie (she/her) is a BC certified teacher and holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Language and a Bachelor of Education from the University of British Columbia. She loves to teach early reading skills, Language Arts, writing and math. Jennie loves being a part of the LDS team, where students receive one-to-one, personalized instruction, and where teachers are provided with ongoing professional development and resources to provide the best support for their students.  

    Jennie supports children with learning differences by treating each student as a unique learner, working with them to identify learning stretches to focus on, fostering a ‘can do’ outlook/attitude and celebrating efforts made. 

    Jennifer W., OG trained

    Instructor

    Jennifer (she/her) has years of experience working with children including over a decade at LDS. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography from the University of British Columbia and an Orton-Gillingham (OG) Tutor Training certificate. Jennifer enjoys building a bond with her students and increasing their confidence so they can feel successful in school. She currently tutors children one-on-one, both online and in person.  

    Recent Professional Development:  

    • Training for conducting student assessments using the DIBELS Administration and Scoring (2020) 
    • Self-Regulated Strategy Development for writing instruction (2018) 

    June M.

    Instructor

    Originally from Scotland, June (she/her) moved to Vancouver in 2019. She is a linguist (a French and Italian speaker) who is passionate about helping students with learning differences, and she specializes in students with specific learning disorders. Trained originally as an elementary school teacher, she has a wealth of varied teaching experience in English as a Second Language, (ESL) and Remedial Teaching to children and young adults. She trained as a Specialist Dyslexia Teacher at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2009, and she taught at a large High School in Cheshire as a 1:1 remedial teacher for the last ten years. She’s relishes being a member of the LDS team. 

    Check out this Mission Makers blog post about how June is providing a transformative learning experience for students!

    Kaleigh O.

    Instructor

    Kaleigh got her Bachelor degree in Theatre, Film, and Psychology from the University of Manitoba in 2012-2015. She later followed with a degree in Education, from the University of British Columbia in 2017-2018. She has been a teacher within the Vancouver School district for 5 years now. Kaleigh enjoys working in smaller settings so that she can really provide quality education for learners. Her experience ranges from teaching multiple subjects as a coverage teacher, to a few full time positions. She was the resource teacher for an elementary school in the 2021-2022 academic year. Her favourite part about being a resource teacher was finding multiple avenues to deliver content for students. As an educator, Kaleigh’s philosophy is centred around inclusion. She focuses on creating equal artistic opportunities for those with disabilities, and strives to be a bridge between the Arts and the disability community. Some organizations Kaleigh has worked with include Los Angeles’, The Miracle Project, and New York’s theatre, Beat Festival.

    Katherine M.

    Instructor

    Katherine has over 10 years of experience working with children with special needs, in schools, at home, and at Summer camp. She has worked 1:1 with students but also as an Education Assistant and class instructor. Katherine has a Drama degree from The University of Hull. She loves working with learners and aims to bring creativity and humor to her sessions. Katherine has worked with a wide range of young people including those diagnosed with ASD, ADHD, ADD, and ODD. She feels strongly that each learner should be treated as an individual and aims to build confidence and self-esteem in her learners by finding and working with what makes them thrive. Katherine is a huge believer in equal opportunities and works hard to ensure all of her learners feel confident and valued for who they are, she uses positive reinforcement and believes that building relationships with the learner is vital for success. Katherine values the ability to make a positive impact on her student’s lives and the LDS team. 

    Marlo H., MA

    Instructor

    Marlo (she/her) is an engaging and inclusive educator who has over eight years of experience with children’s programs. She holds a Master of Arts in Children’s Literature from the University of British Columbia, a multidisciplinary program that draws from the departments of Education, Language and Literacy Education, English, and Library Science. Marlo’s enthusiastic approach to education stems from years of volunteering with various children’s organizations, including the Winnipeg Public Library, Vancouver Public Library, and the children’s hospitals in both Winnipeg and British Columbia. Before joining LDS, she worked as a preschool education coordinator overseeing early literacy and mathematic programs for learners ages 3 to 6, as well as tutoring children of all ages, skill sets, and language levels. Marlo believes every learner is unique and that celebrating our differences makes us stronger. 

    Maryum C.

    Instructor

    Maryum (she/her) has more than 6 years of teaching experience, working with both children and adults alike, all from a diverse range of backgrounds and cultures. Maryum has earned a Bachelor of Neuroscience Honors degree at the University of Windsor and is currently completing a Master’s of Public Health at Simon Fraser University. Maryum enjoys being a being part of the LDS team where they provide students with a safe and welcoming learning environment that will foster confidence and growth. Maryum’s teaching philosophy centers around ensuring her students feel listened to; a quote by John Maxwell summarizes this perfectly: “Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” 

    Megan M.

    Instructor

    Megan (she/her) has an extensive background in the education field, having worked in the community and in school settings for over 7 years. As an educator, her motto has always been the 4 “F”s and that is to be Fun, Friendly, Firm, and Fair to all students. Megan’s methods are always to take lessons step by step towards an ultimate goal all while having fun and learning along the way. Her individualized learning support is personalized to fit well with students’ strengths and goals. LDS has given her a great platform to continue to be a positive advocate and educator in helping support students with special needs. Overall, Megan enjoys to learn with her students and be a supportive member of their learning journey! 

    Michelle B.

    Instructor

    Michelle (she/her) has supported a wide range of children with learning challenges in numerous settings including the West Vancouver school district and Shenton College, Western Australia. As an Education Assistant pursuing a major in Psychology and minor in Special Education at the University of British Columbia, she is an advocate for finding specific strategies that will help individuals succeed. She creates a warm, safe learning environment where children’s confidence and self-efficacy can flourish as they navigate how to manage challenges.

    Minyeong C.

    Instructor

    Minyeong (she/her) holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Alberta where she completed her honours psychology degree. She is currently working towards her Master of Education in School and Applied Child Psychology at UBC. Departing from her expertise in child psychology, she believes accurate identifications of a child’s needs and early delivery of interventions can greatly influence their future outcomes. As an LDS instructor, she wants to advocate for children to receive an appropriate education under safe educational environments, regardless of their background.

    Missy M., BC Certified Teacher

    Instructor

    Missy (she/her) is a BC-certified teacher currently working as a grade seven classroom educator with the Vancouver School Board. Missy holds a Bachelor in Arts in History and a Bachelor of Education from the University of British Columbia (UBC) with a focus in the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program from UBC. Missy has taught in Germany and has experience in both middle years and secondary settings. Most specifically, Missy is passionate about empowering learners to reach their personal level of success.

    Naslishah T.

    Instructor

    Naslishah is an OrtonGillingham (OG) tutor who works in LDS’s in-school program. Previously, she has worked at Vancity Credit Union as a Health and Wellness. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from the University of British Columbia and a Holistic Health Practitioner Diploma from Langara College. She is also a Virtues Project Facilitator who believes that we can change the world by using the language of virtues within our communities. She enjoys working with children and is passionate about helping them achieve their highest potential. Naslishah loves encouraging students to take ownership of their own learning by providing them with simple and effective strategies to enhance their reading and writing. 

    Nikolina E., BC Certified Teacher

    Instructor

    Nikolina (she/her) finished her Bachelor of Education from Vancouver Island University. She also is a certified Behavioural Interventionist with a concentration in Autism.

    As a Behavioural Interventionist, Nikolina worked with families and their children to create engaging lesson plans tailored to each student to support their academic progress. Nikolina continues to use her expertise in behavioural intervention in the classroom as a BC Certified teacher. She frequently enjoyed captivating her students with STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) by providing real life examples to help them to relate to their surroundings. Nikolina believes learning is important for a person to grow their network of knowledge and awareness of the world. Nikolina is excited to be a part of the LDS team.

    Rachel Y.

    Instructor

    Rachel (she/her) holds a Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology from McMaster University, and is currently a student at the University of Alberta pursuing a Masters in Occupational Therapy. She has a range of experiences working one on one with children, from academic settings to summer camps. Rachel creates a learning experience that is focused on a student’s strengths, and that builds confidence both in and out of the classroom. 

    Raquel C.

    Instructor

    Raquel (she/her) has training and experience as an OG Tutor teaching spelling, reading and writing. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from the Philippines, as well as an Education Assistant Diploma in BC. She has over 10 years of experience working with children in school and in the community. She is currently working in the school district as an Education Assistant. Raquel likes to help children reach their full potential in spite of learning differences and other challenges they face.

    Renee C.

    Instructor

    Renee (she/her) is a life-long learner with a range of educational experiences spanning over two decades. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree with a major in Ecology, Evolution, and Behaviour and minors in Geology and Environmental Studies, a Bachelor of Education Degree, and a Master of Arts Degree in Elementary Education. Teaching in different International Schools, Renee spent twenty years in South America living in Chile, Ecuador, and Colombia. She is passionate about helping others discover who they are as learners and supporting and empowering them to become the best they can be.

    Scott L.

    Instructor

    Scott (he/him) has been working with people with learning disabilities in a variety of settings for the past 25 years following his training at Douglas College. His areas of expertise include precalculus, chemistry and physics. He values the ability to act as a guide for people to unearth their gifts and talents yet to be discovered. 

    Sofia L., MaSc

    Instructor

    Sofia (she/her) is a psychopedagogy specialist and holds a Master’s Degree in Neuropsychology and Education.  

    She is involved in the Educational world and creates engaging and effective educational content and experiences for students with learning disabilities, both in English and Spanish. 

    She is passionate about learning disabilities and psychometric testing.  

    Her psycho-neuroeducational approach ensures the development of cognitive skills in students for both their academic and personal life.  

    She began her professional experience in the education field as a bilingual elementary school teacher in Guadalajara, Mexico. She founded and directed Minds to Shine, a center that provided individualized services to children with learning disabilities.  

    Sofia is currently specializing in Early childhood education in Vancouver Canada.

    Wen H.

    Early RISERs ECE

    Wen (she/ her) is a passionate Early Childhood Educator (ECE) that specializes in taking care and providing extra support to children. She has worked in this field for over 20 years, and has experience with education overseas in China as well. Her achievements include an ECE diploma and a bachelor’s degree from China’s degree for education. 

    Our Board

    LDS directors have expertise and multiple decades of experience in areas including education, governance, legal and compliance, human resources, finance and audit, communications, advancement and development, information technology, operations and administration.  

    Our Directors are dedicated to the advancement of our mission to support all children and youth with learning differences to achieve lifelong confidence and success.

    LDS Board Chair Greg Sullivan

    Greg Sullivan, PhD

    Chair

    Shoreline West Asset Management, President and CEO

    Greg has worked in a variety of areas including investment management, capital markets, energy, power, and natural resources industries. For the past 12 years, Greg has managed an investment fund in Vancouver. Greg holds a B.Sc. in Engineering Science from the University of Toronto and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Aeronautical Engineering from Caltech. Greg is currently a director of Learning Disabilities Society, Social Venture Partners and Vancouver College.

    In his spare time, Greg enjoys outdoor recreation activities with family and friends including hiking, trail running, mountain biking and skiing.

    Greg is privileged to work with the inspiring staff and instructors at Learning Disabilities Society to support children and youth with diverse abilities. Greg shares the LDS vision to transform individual learning and life outcomes and collectively effect system change with significant and profound societal impacts. Greg draws inspiration from the many heart-warming daily stories of dedication, perseverance, and bravery that shape LDS and its community.

    Joyce Wagenaar

    Vice Chair

    West Fraser, Director Communications

    Joyce joined the LDS board in 2020. She is a communications and public affairs professional with 20 years of progressive experience and is recognized for effectively managing the public perception of an organization’s reputation through strategic advice, issues management, media relations and proactive public awareness initiatives.

    Joyce has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Simon Fraser University located in British Columbia. She is trained in public engagement and has a Certificate in Public Participation from the International Association of Public Participation as well as having a Certificate in Digital Marketing from Red Academy.

    Kevin Riley

    Treasurer

    Amazon, Senior Accounting Manager

    Kevin is an actively licensed Chartered Professional Accountant (CA) and has served as the Treasurer for the LDS Board for over five years. Previous to his experience with LDS, Kevin worked with numerous nonprofit and charitable organizations in a volunteer capacity. 

    He is passionate about providing governance to LDS from a financial perspective, ensuring the organization maintains a strong financial position from which it can deliver the services needed for all of our students. As someone who has seen the positive impact the right support can have for a child with a learning disability, Kevin is excited to see LDS continue to expand and provide services to more children in need.

    Brian Duong

    Secretary

    Hunter Litigation Chambers, Counsel

    Brian is honoured to be able to both support and help shape the inspiring work done by LDS.  He is a lawyer at Hunter Litigation Chambers, maintaining a generalist practice in civil and administrative litigation. 

    Brian holds law degrees from the University of Toronto and the University of Cambridge and is a former clerk of the British Columbia Court of Appeal. He has been a member of the Massachusetts and British Columbia bars since 2009.  Brian graduated with a degree in finance from the University of British Columbia.

    In his spare time, Brian can often be found on a squash court or with his boys.

    Hon. Wendy J. Harris, QC

    Director

    BC Supreme Court, Retired Justice

    Wendy is a retired justice of the BC Supreme Court and was a founding partner of Harris & Company, where she was a leading practitioner in the area of school law for over 30 years. She was appointed to the BC Supreme Court in 2013 and was appointed a Queen’s Counsel in 2008. She was called to the BC Bar in 1980 and has an LLB from the University of BC; an MA from the University of Toronto; and a BA from the University of BC.

    Wendy taught education law to graduate school students at the University of British Columbia from 2004-2011 and 2018. She has been a frequent lecturer at school boards, universities and professional organizations. She has written extensively on legal issues related to schools. Wendy served as President and Executive Board Member of the Canadian Association for the Practical Study of Law in Education (CAPSLE) and was an active member of this national organization since its inception. She received an honorary lifetime membership in CAPSLE in 2014.

    Wendy supports the commitment of LDS to eliminate the barriers facing underserved and at-risk children and youth with learning and related disabilities – through research-based programs that are designed to address their individual learning needs and thereby create the potential for transformative change in their lives. 

    Nancy Perry, PhD

    Director

    University of British Columbia, Professor and Dorothy Lam Chair in Special Education

    Nancy Perry worked as a classroom and resource teacher in school districts in British Columbia, Canada, before obtaining her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1996. Today she is the Dorothy Lam Chair in Special Education and Professor of Educational and Counselling Psychology and Special Education at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada. There, she teaches courses in two program areas—Human Development, Learning, and Culture; and Special Education—and supports students in a B.Ed. cohort that focuses on promoting self-regulated learning (SRL) in the middle years. She is a recipient of UBC’s Killam Teaching Prize and the Robbie Case Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to Educational Psychology in Canada.

    Her research has two main goals: (a) understanding how children’s develop self-regulated learning (SRL); and (b) working with teachers to design activities and structure interactions with students to support SRL. Dr. Perry is a main contributor to our understanding that young children can and do regulate for learning and how classroom tasks, instructional practices, and interpersonal relationships influence their SRL. She is also a leader in the development and use of assessments that reveal children’s self-regulation in situ. Dr. Perry is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA), has served as President of Division 15, Educational Psychology, of APA, and the Canadian Association of Educational Psychologists, as Associate Editor for the Journal of Learning and Instruction, and on editorial boards of the top journals in Educational Psychology, including the Journal of Educational Psychology, Educational Psychologist, Journal of Learning and Instruction, and Metacognition and Learning.

    Dana Montalbano

    Director

    Community Advocate

    Dana Montalbano is a community advocate serving as a trustee with various organizations.  Before her role as a nonprofit board trustee, Dana worked 15 years as an Enterprise Account Sales ConsultantAfter a successful career at Bell Mobility and OC Tanner Recognition, Dana now supports nonprofits and charities as a volunteer board director providing oversight for governance & nominating and revenue development.

    Dana’s background in strategic sales, as a nonprofit board trustee with a focus in revenue development and governance, and Chair roles in Governance, Revenue Development, for both a Capital Campaign and two major galas provide meaningful experience as a director at LDS.  Besides her trustee and sales experience, she brings first-hand experience with learning differences.  Dana has a teenage son who was diagnosed with dyslexia at 7-years old and because of that, she understands the exponential difference learning supports and advocacy provide for children with learning disabilities.  She is passionate about ensuring all children with learning differences have the supports they require, and as a result, can have the opportunity to thrive academically, emotionally, and socially.  Dana sees that LDS provides the learning supports children with learning differences need to meet their full potential and achieve their dreams.

    In November 2019, Dana with her husband was awarded the Giving Hearts Awards – Outstanding Philanthropist. In June 2021, she was awarded Science World Patron.  During Dana’s sales career, she was recognized for her sales achievements receiving multiple awards including President’s Club nationally and Top 10 salespeople in North America.  

    In addition to serving as a Board Director for LDS, Dana is serving as a Board Director for the Glenn Gould Foundation and as a member of their Revenue Development and Governance & Nominating Committees.  Most recently, she served as a Board Trustee for the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and was a VSO committee member for Revenue Development, Governance & Nominating, Human Resources, VSO’s Inaugural Virtual Ball 2021 and Pandemic Scenario Planning 2020.  Prior to becoming a VSO Board trustee, she acted as an At-Large committee member for the VSO’s Development Task Force. She has acted as a Board Trustee for Arts Umbrella’s Association and Foundation Boards, Co-Chair and Board Liaison of Arts Umbrella’s Capital Campaign, Chaired the Governance and Nominating Committee and Co-Chaired the Revenue Development Committee, and was a member of Arts Umbrella’s Development Task Force. She has also been Vice Chair and trustee at the Community Arts Council of Vancouver, and Gala Chairs for the YWCA’s Women of Distinction and the inaugural Vancouver Public Library Foundation Gala.  Prior to her board and gala work, she volunteered as a Wish Granter at the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

    Dana enjoys alpine skiing, cross country skiing, wake surfing, swimming, Pilates, Yoga, hiking with her friends and dog, traveling with her family, and reading.

    Hamlet Abnousi

    Director

    NovoBind Livestock Therapeutics Inc., CEO and Co-Founder

    A Chartered Accountant (CA, CPA) with a significant transaction history in corporate finance, Hamlet obtained his Bachelors of Science in Analytical Chemistry and Cell Biology from UBC before pursuing his CPA at Deloitte. As founder of Abnousi Corporate Finance and Abnousi Capital, Hamlet worked to build and commercialize technologies that improve lives.

    In 2012 he launched SciTech Global Ventures, an incubator for companies addressing global issues in medtech and, in 2016, assumed the role of CEO at NovoBind, one of the companies incubated by SciTech. Hamlet has since been focused on the development and execution of NovoBind’s global ambitions. With his passion for science and business, he dedicates his efforts, both professional and philanthropic, to projects that have a significant impact.

    Hamlet recognizes the enormous potential for the delivery of technology through expert educators to break down barriers and facilitate meaningful, positive change. Hamlet fully supports LDS’ strategic investment in and development and deployment of assistive technology that ensures accessibility to critical tools that empower children and youth with learning differences.

    Shelley Gray

    Director

    Industry Training Authority, CEO

    Shelley Gray is the Chief Executive Officer of the Industry Training Authority (ITA), a Crown Corporation responsible for managing, supporting, and promoting British Columbia’s trades training and apprenticeship system. As the first woman to hold the position of CEO at ITA, Shelley is highly motivated to work towards creating a more inclusive skilled trades and apprenticeship system that reflects our diverse population.

    Shelley’s strategic leadership style is backed by 20+ years of experience driving business results through the implementation of customer-focused strategies for some of Canada’s top public and private sector organizations. Recently, her leadership was recognized by YWCA as a Women of Distinction nominee (2021) and by Business in Vancouver as an influential leader on their inaugural top 500 leaders list (2021).

    Shelley sits on industry Boards and Committees, including the Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeships, Vancouver College, and the Vancouver Board of Trade Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Council. In addition, she is a volunteer mentor with Minerva BC, an organization that is dedicated to advancing the leadership of women and girls.

    Shelley has a Bachelor of Arts in International Business from the University of Alberta, a Leadership Development Certificate from the UBC Sauder School of Business, and an INSEAD Executive Leadership Certificate in Driving Value through Business Acumen.

    Shelley is very inspired by the early intervention work of LDS, which allows each student the ability to see and realize their full potential from early on in their life. She knows first hand how important it is for young learners to know their options won’t be limited by their learning strengths and stretches.

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