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 the 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. Nadia Mansouri | Kindergarten Assistant

Ms. Nadia Mansouri who has a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from York University. Ms. Mansouri also has a diploma in Child and Youth Care at George Brown College and she is a trained and experienced Instructor Therapist. Ms. Mansouri has worked in a variety of settings, most recently she was working in a TDSB school until classes ended due to the pandemic.

Ms. Jessica Jakymyc | Kindergarten Assistant (Parental Leave)

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. 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.

Ms. Melshean Boardman | Homeroom Teacher

Ms. Boardman graduated from Bishop’s University with a B.A. in English Literature, and received her B.Ed from OISE at the University of Toronto. She spent two years teaching for Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board, earned additional qualifications in Special Education, and worked as an academic coach for students with learning disabilities at Ruth Rumack’s Learning Space. Outside of school, she is a contractor to The Mehrit Center and is working towards earning an M.Ed from OISE, with a specialization in Educational Policy. 

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.”

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.”

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

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. Anne Goad | Teacher

Anne is excited to be the newest member to the Junior Academy faculty teaching math, science, social science and outdoor education. Her love for outdoor education began at the Toronto District School Board’s Outdoor Education School (SOES) up north in Kearney Ontario, where she worked for almost 8 years. Anne received her Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance with a minor in Theatre, at the same time as completing the Concurrent Education for the Intermediate/Senior Level in 2012 from York University. Her second love to teaching and the outdoors is acting and comedy. Since graduating University, Anne pursued acting professionally and is a known comedic improvisor and producer in Toronto with credits on camera and on stage. She’s excited to bring her skills in communication and engaging children in new experiences to her students at Junior Academy.

Ms. Leigh Hochman | Behavior Therapist

Mrs. Leigh Hochman has over 10 years of experience working with children and youth in areas such as, non-for profit organizations, school boards and clinical acute paediatrics. This is Leigh’s second year at Junior Academy as our on-site Behaviour Therapist. Leigh completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Western Ontario, and later went on to obtain her Child and Youth Counselling Advanced Degree at Humber College. Recently, Leigh completed a Cognitive Behaviour Therapist certification through the Social Work program at Wilfred Laurier University. Leigh works one-to-one with students who require additional support. Leigh teaches social skills, coping strategies, self-regulation, goal setting and tools to improve self-esteem.

Ms. Bari Handelman | Homeroom 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.

Ms. Candace Mohammed | Daycare Director

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. Teresa Gallardo-Lovo | Toddler Teacher

My name is Teresa! I am a registered Early Childhood Educator and I have been working in the field for more than 5 years. I attended Seneca College for two years and received my Early Childhood Education diploma in 2016. I have experience working with all age groups from Infants to Kindergarten. Working at Junior academy has been great, as I love the inclusive and team-like atmosphere.

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.