Mr. Paul Bamberger | Principal

Mr. Bamberger is a graduate of the University of Waterloo and Queen’s University and he has been working in education since 2001. Mr. Bamberger brings a wealth of classroom experience and was nominated as Educator of Character for the Region of York in 2015. In addition, Mr. Bamberger holds many qualifications including the Private School Principal’s Qualification as well as Special Education Qualifications.

Mr. Bamberger is committed to Junior Academy’s philosophy of inclusive and well-rounded education, including supporting both the academic and social-emotional development of every student. Prior to joining Junior Academy, Mr. Bamberger was Co-Principal of Foundations Private School in Aurora for 3 years and Vice Principal for an additional 3 years at the same institution.

Mrs. Cathy Hibbert | Vice-Principal

Mrs. Hibbert has a BA from Western, Counseling Diploma from George Brown and a Masters in Education from Canisius College. Teaching is her 3rd Career! She previously worked as an Addictions Counselor for CAMH and as a Professional Water Skier before teaching. In addition to her role as Vice-Principal, Mrs. Hibbert is the school’s Athletics Director. She teaches PE, Math and coaches school teams.

“I love the celebrated individuality coupled with the enormous sense of belonging here at Junior Academy. I love knowing each student’s name! Coaching badminton and leading the dance crew are among my favourite extra-curricular activities.”

Mr. Nicholas Johnson | Director of Administration

Mr. Johnson graduated from Bishop’s University with a degree in Environmental Studies and a minor in Entrepreneurship. Prior to Junior Academy, Mr. Johnson was working in the business world for a number of different start-ups.  He has also worked with a number of different volunteer kids programs ranging from reading buddies, hockey H.E.R.O.S and rugby and hockey coaching at both the U-14 and U-18 level.

” I am excited to be a part of this amazing community of students and staff.”

Mr. Matt Johnson | Chief Operating Officer

Mr. J majored in Environmental Studies and minored in Entrepreneurship while attending Bishop’s University. As an alumnus of Junior Academy, Mr. J feels a strong connection to the school and it’s family values.

“I love the overall atmosphere of the Junior Academy. We are a small family-run school and in turn, our atmosphere is inviting, family oriented and close-knit.”

Ms. Nicole McGown | Kindergarten Teacher

Ms. Nicole McGown has a Masters degree from York University as well as a Masters in Elementary Education from Medaille College. Ms. McGown is a Special Education Specialist and has most recently been working at Brighton school, since 2011, with significant experience with young learners.

Ms. Jessica Jakymyc | Kindergarten Teacher

Jessica Jakymyc graduated from Humber College with a diploma in Early Childhood Education. Previously she worked as a preschool teacher for 4 years. Jessica has been with Junior Academy since 2016 and has preformed many different roles during her time. 

I love working at Junior Academy because they focus on the individual needs of each student, they are inclusive and supportive of each and every student and staff member.”

Mrs. Sarah Fox | Homeroom Teacher

Mrs. Fox completed her Undergraduate degree in Communications at the University of Windsor. After completing her Undergraduate Degree, Mrs. Fox moved to Australia where she went to teachers college. From Australia, she moved to London, England where she taught for 3.5 years before moving back to Toronto. Mrs. Fox has been with the Junior Academy since 2003.

“One of the things I love most about Junior Academy is that we offer a wide variety of leadership opportunities for students, allowing them to contribute in a positive way to the school community. Our Leadership Crew and “Helping Hands” program helps students in grades 5-8, especially those who might not otherwise be in a leadership role, gain important skills to become role models.”

Ms. Zoe Stark | Homeroom Teacher

Ms. Zoe Stark graduated from Queen’s University in the Concurrent Education Program with a B.A.H. in Psychology, and a specialty in Arts Integration and Exceptional Learners. She went on to complete additional qualifications in Special Education and teaching intermediate grades. Outside of school, Ms. Stark runs programming for the Down Syndrome Association of Toronto and volunteers for a dance/drama company for individuals of all abilities. Prior to Junior Academy, Ms. Stark assisted in different classrooms across Toronto and ran arts programming in Toronto, Kingston and New York. Ms. Stark has been at Junior Academy since 2016.

“Junior Academy is an inclusive community that values exploration, physical and mental well being, and a passion for a life-long love of learning.”

Ms. Emily Duron | Homeroom Teacher and Behaviour Therapist

Ms. Duron holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Kinesiology as well as a Bachelor of Education degree and over a decade of experience in a variety of school settings. Ms. Duron has significant experience working in special education settings and differentiating instruction for a diverse group of learners. In addition to her teaching qualifications, Ms. Duron has training in mindfulness, social and emotional coaching and has both developed and workshopped the ACE Approach, a formal approach for Social-Emotional Learning. Most recently, Ms. Duron has received qualifications in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and has help positions as both a classroom teacher and a behaviour therapist.

Ms. Tanis Simmons | Homeroom Teacher

Ms. Tanis Simmons has a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Education as well as additional Special Education and Reading qualifications. Ms. Simmons joins us with a decade of teaching experience, a significant background in Literacy, Social Thinking and developing differentiated curriculum.

Cody Hoffman | Homeroom Teacher

Ms. Hoffman has a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education degree as well as a diploma in Communication Disorders. Ms. Hoffman has been teaching since 2016, working in England and China. Ms. Hoffman has taught Kindergarten through grade two and has experience with a variety of learning profiles. Most recently, she has been working with a Speech Pathologist, supporting students with communication disorders.

Tahira Mckella | Homeroom Teacher

Ms. Mckella has a background in psychology and a degree in education. She is also in the process of achieving her Masters Degree in education. Ms. Mckella joins us from Ruth Rumack’s Learning Space where she has been providing remediation and literacy instruction. Ms. Mckella has over five years of experience in elementary education, working with students to develop their social, motor, academic and adaptive skills.

Ms. Bari Handelman | STEPS Teacher

Ms. Handelman has a Masters in Education from the University of Toronto with a Specialty in Special Education. She is also a Special Education Specialist, trained in Social Thinking, Direct Instruction and has most recently been teaching at Willowwood School.

Mrs. Lisa Silver | STEPS Program

Ms. Silver has a Bachelor of Education degree from McGill University and is a Special Education Specialist. She has additional qualifications in reading and writing and training in a variety of literacy intervention approaches, including Orton Gillingham and Structured Word Inquiry. Early in her career, she spent time teaching in Mexico before coming back to Toronto where she has worked as a classroom teacher, private tutor, and education consultant for more than 18 years.

“What I love about Junior Academy it is a collaborative community where teachers have the opportunity to get to know students as learners and individuals, helping them develop a love for learning and the foundational skills to succeed.”

Mr. Melvin Mak | Resource Teacher and Outdoor Education

Mr. Melvin Mak has joined Junior Academy after spending the last ten years teaching both elementary and secondary students at fly-in First Nation reserves. Most recently, Mr. Mak was teaching in a small community in Nunavut. Mr. Mak has a Bachelor of Fine Art Degree, a Master of Fine Art Degree and a Bachelor of Education, with Special Education Qualifications. Mr. Mak is teaching Outdoor Education for our grades one through eight classes as well as some visual art classes.Mr. Mak is a strong supporter of inclusive education, geared towards every student’s unique talents and abilities.

Mrs. Sammi Lee | Music Teacher

Ms. Sammi Lee has acquired a Master of Music Therapy (MMT), Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours; specialized in classical piano (BFA), and International Baccalaureate (IB) Educator Candidate. Ms. Lee has a passion for sharing her music, not only with performances, but also through teaching and encouraging her students. She has been teaching Preschool to Grade 12 in ministry approved private schools in Ontario for many years. Ms. Lee’s teaching methods are adaptive to varying aptitudes in each student and instill the joy of learning. At her music class, she utilizes repertoire of all types of music literature, including traditional and contemporary that are appropriate for all ages and skill levels to provide creative music class. She keeps a positive and cooperative working relationship with all students in different age groups, attitudes, learning styles and abilities. She prioritizes psychological, emotional, physical, spiritual, cognitive, social needs, and wellness of the students and efficiently maintains detailed documents of her “fun-learning” classes.

“I am happy to share the joy of music with all of you in Junior Academy!”

Ms. Allison Leach | STEPS Teacher

Ms. Leach is an Instructor Therapist with extensive ABA training, an Early Childhood Educator and Special Education teacher with over a decade of experience working in Special Education settings. Ms. Leach uses an ABA style approach to teach a highly specialized, skills based program to a small group while coordinating and liaising with additional therapists.

Mrs. Kristine Locklin | Occupational Therapist

Ms. Kristine Locklin has over 10 years of experience working in pediatrics and is our on-site Occupational Therapist and Therapy coordinator. Kristine completed her Bachelor of Science and Degree in Occupational Therapy from Queen’s University and she has completed a wide array of Professional Development including training in sensory motor integration, cognitive behavioural therapy, social thinking, self-regulation, executive functioning and strength-based education. Kristine also oversees our FLEX program at the school and consults with all staff on a weekly basis

Leigh Hochman | Behaviour Therapist

Ms. Hochman is our Behaviour Therapist and BT Co-ordinator who works with students both in the classroom and in 1:1 settings to support skill development. Ms. Hochman has over a decade of experience in both school, in-patient and out-patient facilities, supporting mental health initiatives. Ms. Hochman uses strategies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy to support the students with whom she works.

Mrs. Tamara Leszner-Rovet | Music Therapist

Tamara Leszner-Rovet is a registered psychotherapist (RP), certified music therapist (MTA), and registered music teacher (RMT) with over 20 years experience working with individuals with neurological disorders and developmental delays.  She holds an Associateship of the Royal Conservatory of Toronto (ARCT), an Honours Bachelor of Music Therapy Degree from the University of Windsor (BMT), and has received additional training as a Neurologic Music Therapist (NMT). Since 2007, she has been the owner and director of Tamara’s Piano Studio and Music Therapy Services (TPSMTS), a private practice specializing in providing music therapy services and adapted music lessons. She believes strongly in presuming competence and the right to high quality music lessons and music therapy services, regardless of an individual’s age or ability.

Mr. Guy Charles-Antoine | French Teacher

Mr. Guy Charles-Antoine  has an extensive background in French and Primary PE instruction. Mr. Charles-Antoine has a Bachelors degree from Le Sorbonne in Paris and a Masters from Amhurst University in Denver. He has over ten years of teaching experience in both French and Physical Education as well as significant coaching experience. Mr. Charles-Antoine has taught in several Private School settings in both Canada and the United States and he is excited to utilize the AIM Program and Project Based Learning to facilitate French language classes.

Ms. Nicole Doiron | STEPS Program & SSP Coordinator (Maternity Leave)

Ms. Doiron’s teaching career started back in her hometown, Charlottetown, PEI.  She graduated with a B.Ed specializing in Early Years and International Education. After teaching at a primary school in Meru, Kenya, as part of the international program, she moved to London, UK working in various classroom settings until finding work as the Speech and Language Resource Provision Teacher at a school for grades 4-8. Upon returning back to Canada she decided to move to Toronto to pursue a Masters in Education at OISE. Course work was completed in the Developmental Psychology and Education program, with a focus on special educational instruction.

“I am very much looking forward to being part of the Junior Academy team this year. It is my aim to create an inviting and engaging environment for all students to reach their full potential.”

Daycare Staff

Ms. Lisa Forrest | Preschool Teacher

My name is Lisa Forrest and I am a bilingual, Early Childhood Educator. I graduated from George Brown College in 2017 and started working at Healthy Earth Bilingual Nursery School. I have worked in a Private School setting before, but I’ve decided to work at Junior Academy for its welcoming, family-like environment and their dedication to each child’s success.

Ms. Giselle Azadeh| Toddler Teacher

Giselle is a graduate of York University with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology, Seneca College with a Paralegal diploma, and most recently Centennial College with an Early Childhood Education (ECE) diploma. Giselle has always loved interacting with and helping children learn, and after years of working in corporate environments, Giselle decided to pursue her passion of working with children. She completed her ECE student placement with us and returned as a Registered Early Childhood Educator to continue working alongside our friendly and caring team. Giselle looks forward to delivering memorable experiences for our youngest learners and their families.

Ms. Candace Mohammed | Daycare Director (Maternity Leave)

My name is Candace Mohammed and I am a Registered Early Childhood Educator since 2010. I started my ECE journey at the YMCA where I worked with various age groups and at different locations. After 7 years, I left to go on maternity leave and in 2017 I became a mom. My journey continued as a Supervisor at a Montessori school for 3 years. In Spring 2020, I found my new home at Junior Academy as the Daycare Director. Junior Academy is my family away from home! My parents always told me, it is important to work in a positive environment that is welcoming and fair. That is exactly what I found at Junior Academy!