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.

Ms. Emily Duron | Vice-Principal

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.

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 so happy 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. 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.

Ms. Carly Sherman| Homeroom Teacher

Ms. Sherman has a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Studies and Bachelor of Education degree. She has worked in both public and private schools since 2020.  Ms. Sherman has also completed additional qualifications in Special Education and specifically worked with students who were deaf or hard of hearing. In addition to her teaching background, Ms. Sherman also has an extensive camp background as a counsellor, supervisor and staff trainer. 

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.

Ms. Nicole Doiron | STEPS Program & SSP Coordinator

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.”

Ms. Fanny Achampong | STEPS Teacher

Ms. Achampong has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, an MBA and a Masters of Education in Special Education. Ms. Achampong worked as a Special Education teacher in Colorado from 2017 through 2021 and most recently, has been a Special Education Teacher at Bright Start Academy

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.

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 and Teacher

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.

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. Bari Handelman | STEPS Teacher (Maternity Leave)

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.

Daycare Staff

Ms. Candace Mohammed | Daycare Director and Preschool Teacher

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!

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. Janique Clark| Preschool Teacher

Ms. Isa Lugo| Toddler Teacher

My name is Isa Lugo and I’m a Centennial College Registered Early Childhood Educator. Completing my field placement at Junior Academy solidified my passion for fostering young minds and being able to be a part of the staff is an honour. I had the privilege of immersing myself in a unique cross-cultural childcare role which broadened my horizons and enriched my practical knowledge in the field of child development. Child development is a calling that fills me with enthusiasm and purpose as I guide young minds to flourish. I am dedicated to connecting and making a lasting impact on each child.