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.

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: 

  • 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 

    Interim Executive Director

    Carol (she/her) was born in Taiwan and obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from the University of Michigan. She immigrated to Canada in 1999 with her family. Over the past 14 years, Carol worked for a non-profit destination marketing organization and oversaw administration, human resources, finance, research, and technology. She has held a CPHR designation since 2012. Carol also volunteers as a member of the Economic Advisory Committee at the City of Richmond and serves on the Board of Directors for a local senior housing and advocacy society. In the past, she also served on the Education Committee of the high school her children attended, and where her youngest daughter currently attends. She is passionate about connecting people from different backgrounds to achieve common goals. Carol is grateful for this opportunity to serve the LDS team and the community while Rachel is on parental leave. During this time of transition, Carol is committed to building and enhancing a cohesive LDS team that is inclusive and respectful. 

    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 is excited to be 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 2021 ACEWIL BC Symposium 
    • Capilano University Land-Based Learning Seminar Series (2020) 

    Associate Director of Learning Support

    Melissa (she/her) is a BC certified teacher with fifteen years of experience working with children and youth that have special needs in both public and private settings. While completing her Master’s in Education at The George Washington University, she taught diverse student populations with learning disabilities in a special education classroom. She became very interested in the field of Behaviour Analysis and later worked with several organizations to implement early intervention programs for children with Developmental Disabilities. 

    After seeing the positive impact individualized instruction had on her students over many years, Melissa decided to create a small school where she focused on the unique strengths, needs, and interests her of students, and was responsible for implementing the curriculum for grades 4-7. She managed a team of multidisciplinary specialists to address academic, social, emotional, behavioural, and executive function goals, while nurturing maximum student engagement through interest-based learning. She is grateful to be a part of LDS, where she continues to collaborate with specialists, instructors, students, parents, schools, and staff to help children and youth reach their full potential. 

    Recent Professional Development:  

    • Level B Assessment (BC) Certificate, Queen’s University Continuing Teacher Education (2020)  
    • BC First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Peoples, Queen’s University Continuing Teacher Education (2021) 
    • Public speaking training with Dr Mark Winston, SFU Centre for Dialogue 

    Lead Case Manager

    Abigail (she/her) is an Inclusion Specialist and holds a Master’s Degree in Applied Psychology. 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 behavioral 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.

    Community Manager

    Sarah (she/her) brings kindness, positive energy, and a big-picture vision to our team. Sarah has a background in public relations and communications from Humber College and has a BA in Global Development from Queen’s University. She believes in and is excited to be furthering the goals of LDS to impact and support individual lives to help create positive change both personally and in communities. Most recently, Sarah has enrolled in a nonprofit management certificate at Simon Fraser University to take a new approach to management and support LDS to reach its vision and mandate. 

    Recent Professional Development: 

    • Non-Profit Management Certificate (Simon Fraser University, 2021)  
    • Designing for Accessibility: How to Make Your Comms Accessible and Inclusive (Alice Corner, Keela, 2020)  
    • The Art of Storytelling in the Digital Age (Julia Campbell, Keela, 2020)  
    • Respect Your Donors with Gender-Inclusive Data (Jude Shimer, Keela, 2020) 
    • Yes! You Can Build A Strong Relationship with Your Virtual Event P2P Fundraisers (Maureen Wallbeoff, Keela, 2020) 

    Communications & Fundraising Manager

    Sierra (she/her) is the parent of an adult child with a learning disability and a former LDS parent. Sierra returned to the LDS family, bringing ten years of experience writing for digital communications, grants, and fundraising and 15 years of volunteer and paid work with non-profit organizations. She has a BA in History and Sociology and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. Her passion is writing, and her literary nonfiction has garnered a National Newspaper Award and a National Magazine Award. As the Communications and Fundraising Manager, Sierra’s priority is to ensure that LDS effectively spreads awareness of learning disabilities and engages the community to participate in removing the intersectional socioeconomic barriers to success for children with learning differences. 

    Professional Memberships: 

    • The Writers’ Union of Canada 
    • The Author’s Guild 
    • Creative Nonfiction Collective 

    Recent Professional Development:  

    • Canadian Business Law (Camosun College, 2021) 
    • Foundations in Diversity and Inclusion Certification (Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion, 2021) 
    • Building Donor Diversity: Professional Growth that Leads to Broader Communities (Yolanda F. Johnson, Keela, 2020) 
    • The Art of Storytelling in the Digital Age (Julia Campbell, Keela, 2020) 
    • Creating a Nonprofit Brand Guide (Keela, 2020) 
    • Respect Your Donors with Gender-Inclusive Data (Jude Shimer, Keela, 2020)

    Check out this Mission Makers blog post to learn more about how Sierra is propelled by her experience as a parent!

    Family and Student Services Manager

    Alice (she/her) majored in Linguistics at the University of Edinburgh and 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, so she’s excited to use her varied skill set to help move mountains for our students. 

    Recent Professional Development: 

    • 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! 

    Finance Manager

    Helen (she/her) has used her CPA, CGA skills to support the financial and accounting needs of various not-for-profit 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. 

    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 is very excited to advance 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) 

    Administrative Coordinator

    Thaisa (she/her) has a background in public relations and worked for years in the field with different clients and industries. Volunteering for several non-profit organizations since she was a teenager, she noticed a huge passion and desire to work at an organization where she could contribute to the community. Thaisa moved from São Paulo, Brazil to Vancouver in 2017 and since then she has been working in the education industry, between advising and administrative departments. To LDS, she provides positive energy and a welcoming experience to the centre’s daily visitors.

    Communications Coordinator

    Communications & Fundraising Support

    Rie (she/her) just completed her Bachelors in Communications and Economics at Simon Fraser University. She hopes to use this opportunity as a way of exploring meaningful work in the field. She is passionate about social issues and creating environments of inclusivity and open dialogue. Rie graciously lives and works on the unceded territory of the Syilx people. 

    Recent Professional Development: 

    • Google Analytics for Beginners (2021) 
    • Google Tag Manager Fundamentals (2021) 

    Saturday Administrative Coordinator

    Nathan (he/him) is currently a 4th year Computing Science student at Simon Fraser University. He has experience working with individuals of all ages, in public environments. Nathan has volunteered at the Richmond Olympic Oval Museum, guiding guests around the facility and introducing them to various Olympic Sports. He also ensured that each guest has a safe and memorable visits as they experience sports simulations. Nathan has also volunteered in an environment with kids of all ages and backgrounds at a TMD Martial Arts, guiding students towards their goal of a Black Belt. During his time there, Nathan has taught a wide variety of students at all levels.

    Passionate about helping and leading, Nathan is excited to have the opportunity to greet each visitor and ensure that each visitor has a safe and welcoming experience at the centre.

    Our Instructors

    LDS instructors have specialized training as:

    • BC-certified Teachers
    • Special Education Assistants
    • Orton-Gillingham Instructors
    • Speech-Language Pathologists
    • Inclusive Education Instructors 

    Our team of caring instructors have many years of experience in education. We take pride in matching each student with an instructor who is best suited for their learning difficulties and goals.

    All instructors are required to undergo annual working with vulnerable populations training, as well as provide current criminal record checks for working with the vulnerable sector. Instructors and staff attend group training and professional development, and their own specific professional development is noted in their biographies.

     

    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.  

    Instructor

    Alyssa (she/her) has been working with youth and adults with diverse abilities in one-on-one and group settings through various volunteer, work, and practicum opportunities. She holds a Bachelor of Human Kinetics degree from UBCO and has a strong health promotion and psychology background. Alyssa is passionate about creating equitable and accessible opportunities for students to receive individualized support. This fall, she will be beginning her Master’s in Occupational Therapy and pursuing her interest in enabling individuals to overcome various psychological and physical barriers. Alyssa is excited about collaborating with students to accomplish their personal goals and promote independence and confidence in the community

    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 

    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! 

    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. 

    Instructor

    Chris is a recent Microbiology and Immunology graduate from the University of British Columbia who has tutored high school students in math, biology, chemistry and physics for the last 5 years. Chris enjoys helping youth of all ages achieve their goals in a variety of different subjects. Previously, he has volunteered for several years with the Canucks Autism Network and Pathways to Education, while recently acting as a childcare leader at after-school care programs and summer camps. He enjoys developing connections with youth and following along to see their growth and progress. In his spare time, Chris enjoys listening to music, playing sports and travelling, and can’t wait to join the LDS team.

    Instructor

    Corrine (she/her) holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from The University of British Columbia and is currently working toward completing her Bachelor of Education. A full-time tutor for several years, Corrine comes to LDS with a strong background in Orton-Gillingham tutoring and early phonics support. Corrine believes in making the learning environment friendly, fun, and accessible to all students. She feels strongly about finding the best teaching method for each individual learner, so they may feel a strong sense of accomplishment when understanding a new concept.

    In addition to her work with LDS, Corrine tutors at The Looking Glass Foundation, a residential home for youth and young adults struggling with eating disorders and mental illness. In this role, she utilizes her previous experience in university admissions to help the residents with resume and cover letter writing, and career and future planning. 

    Corrine loves to teach social studies, history, early phonics, and reading comprehension. She is thrilled to become a member of the LDS team. 

    Instructor

    Ella (she/her) has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of British Columbia. Her degree focused on learning, child development, and progress assessments. 

    From a young age, she knew that she desired to work in the field of education, specifically with children with learning challenges. This passion was ignited by her own experience with a tutor that specialized in working with children with learning disabilities. She wants to be able to pay it forward due to how impactful her experience was. She is eager to help students meet their full potential by providing extra support for students in whatever form that may be. 

    Recent Professional Development: 

    • DIBLES assessment training (2021)
    • TCPS 2: Core Certification (2019)
    • Mercer, S., Cannon, J., Squires, B., Guo, Y., Pinco, E. (2020). Accuracy of Automated Written Expression Curriculum-based Measurement Scoring. Canadian Journal of School Psychology.
    • SRSD training (2020)
    • Sound Partners training (2020) 

      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 is currently completing 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 non-profit 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 is excited to provide equitable learning experiences and individualized support to her students with the LDS team! 

      Recent Professional Development:  

      • Partners for Youth Empowerment Creative Facilitation workshop (2018) 

      Instructor

      Gabe (he/him), originally an aspiring mathematician, has turned his sights to education and looks forward to building on his experience as a tutor and teaching assistant. Gabe is passionate about inclusive and accessible pedagogy — particularly as it relates to mathematics, a subject with a history of traumatizing and exclusionary teaching practices. He finds this especially unfortunate because mathematics can be an incredibly uplifting subject, full of elegance and beauty. 

      At LDS, he seeks to help students of all backgrounds achieve their mathematical goals. He is also excited to support students in reading and writing and to learn more about doing so in an effective, learner-focused way. A favourite quote of his comes from the mathematical physicist Michael Atiyah: “I always try to understand why things work. I’m not interested in getting a formula without knowing what it means. I always try to dig behind the scenes, so if I have a formula, I know why it’s there.” 

      Recent Professional Development:  

      • SRSD Teacher Training Course  
      • DIBELS 8th Edition Administration Training 

      Instructor

      Hiu (he/him) has 15 years of combined experience as a BC Certified Teacher, RCM Music Teacher, and Volunteer Tutor at the BC Dyslexia Centre. Growing up in Vancouver, he attended the University of British Columbia and completed a Bachelor of Arts in English, Bachelor of Education, and Teaching English as a Second Language Diploma. Hiu is also certified as both an IDA Structured Literacy Dyslexia Interventionist and OGA Associate Member. Hiu takes great joy in tutoring children with learning differences and is excited to be involved with LDS. In his spare time, Hiu can be found travelling with his wife and two children or going flat out on a racetrack. 

      Recent Professional Development: 

      • DIBELS 8 Assessment Training 
      • OG Dyslexic Academic Math Training (2021) 
      • Annual OGA Conference attendee (2021)

      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 is excited to be 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. 

      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 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) 

      Instructor

      Jessie (she/her) holds a Master of Public Policy in Immigration Policy from Adler University and a Bachelor of Global Studies. She is also a certified TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) educator and has taught English literacy and math to both children and adults since moving to British Columbia from the United States in 2016. Jessie loves helping students grow and succeed by understanding their inner and outer worlds more deeply. She is interested in policy solutions that create a more equitable and welcoming society and is thrilled to advance this work at LDS!

      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 delighted to ba member of the LDS team. 

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

      Instructor

      Larry (he/him) has a Master’s Degree in science and engineering and previously taught night school math and chemistry at Sierra College in California. Later, Larry became a certified flight instructor and worked extensively with youth cadets in aviation training. After retiring from engineering management, Larry wanted to be involved again in teaching youth, so he completed the initial training to be an Orton Gillingham Certified tutor in 2019. In addition to teaching at LDS, he has volunteered as a youth mentor for non-profits, including Covenant House Vancouver. He also volunteered in his community at the Kitsilano Community Centre by leading English Conversation Circles for non-English speaking youth and adults. Larry enjoys seeing his students thrive and discover they really can do what seemed so difficult until receiving instruction especially tailored to their learning needs.  He says, “Nothing compares to working with students once they find their confidence when they realize how capable they really are”. Now, Larry teaches the LDS RISE at Home program, allowing students to work virtually from the comfort of their own homes. 

      Recent Professional Development:  

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

      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. 

      Instructor

      Mekdes is a math instructor with over 5 years of experience teaching students of different ages, from high school to college level. She worked as a course instructor, teaching assistant and a one-to-one tutor, and she taught high school and university entry-level math courses. She received a Bachelor of Education and a Master of Science degree in mathematics. She also holds a Postgraduate Diploma in mathematical sciences. Her application to the BC teacher’s certificate of qualification is now in progress. She believes that motivating students is the crucial aspect of teaching and she thrives to draw students’ attention to learning. In her free time, she volunteers as a choir head, teaching songs for children of all ages. She also enjoys exploring different places and takes part in outdoor activities with her family.

      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 and looks forward to joining the LDS team. 

      Instructor

      Naslishah is an OrtonGillingham 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. 

      Speech Language Pathologist & Instructor

      Penelope (she/her) holds a PHD in speech language pathology with a focus on speech rehabilitation for people with hearing loss from the University of British Columbia. She completed her master’s in Speech Language Pathology at Western Washington University. 

      She is a passionate advocate for people with communication and learning differences and their needs and goals. She began her career in Washington State working with children from preschool to high school and in an integrated Head Start Preschool Programme. Penelope has worked with a wide range of clients from children with hearing loss to preschoolers to adults in stroke recovery.

      She is a published author and scholar in the areas of speech language pathology, authoring over 15 peer-reviewed academic publications. She is a clinical professor with the School of Audiology and Speech Science at the University of British Columbia and has taught for 20 in the schools of Speech Language Pathology, Linguistics and Education. She continues to supervise and mentor Rehabilitation Assistants, Speech Language Pathologists as well as Communication Health Assistants in clinical placements.

      In her roles as a teacher, clinician, professor, and researcher, Penelope is aware of the challenges facing all stakeholders and people with diverse ranges of abilities. She is excited to be part of the LDS team, to think out of the box, and to collaboratively create novel approaches to changing the lives of people with learning and communication differences.

      Professional Memberships 

      • Speech-Language & Audiology Canada
      • College of Speech and Hearing Health Professionals of BC
      • Speech and Hearing BC
      • American Speech and Hearing Association

      Selected Training

      • Orton Gillingham Method
      • Auditory Verbal Therapy Method
      • English as a Second Language Instructor Training
      • Hanen Program- It Takes Two to Talk

      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 hopes to act as a guide for people to unearth their gifts and talents yet to be discovered. 

      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.

      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

      Communications Consultant

      Joyce joined the LDS board in November 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 four years. Previous to his experience with LDS, Kevin worked with numerous non-profit and charitable organizations in a volunteer capacity. Kevin is from Vancouver and currently lives in Seattle.

      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.

      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 in this national organization since its inception. She received an honorary lifetime membership in CAPSLE in 2014.

      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.

      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 significant impact.

      Lauren Minogue

      Director

      Connor, Clark & Lunn Private Capital Ltd., Vice President

      Lauren Minogue is a Vice President at Connor, Clark & Lunn Private Capital. She works with a diverse range of clients including families, business owners, and foundations. She engages her passion for helping families preserve and steward their wealth over successive generations, while also supporting clients as they journey towards achieving their life goals. Lauren is a CFA Charterholder and has a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Victoria. She’s an active supporter of her local community. Lauren currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Social Venture Partners Foundation and for the Learning Disabilities Society. In her spare time, she enjoys playing tennis, running the seawall and hiking the North Shore mountains.

      Brian Duong

      Director

      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.

      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.

      Early RISErs for 3-5 yr olds: applications open now!Learn more!