Teacher and Staff Directory

Our teachers are the best in their field.

Many of our teachers have come to teaching as a second, or even third career. They bring varied experience into the classroom. They were drawn to teaching because they can’t imagine doing anything else. At the core of every great teacher is a life-long thirst for knowledge. At River Valley School we foster continuous improvement in our teaching just as we do in our students’ learning. We are preparing children for professions that don’t yet exist.

Teaching has never been more divergent. More exciting. More demanding, More fulfilling.

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Ms. B

Teacher - Upper Elementary

Ms. B

Teacher - Upper Elementary

Jyoti Basarke started at RVS in 2008


What brought you to RVS?

I started working here in 2008, after relocating from Montreal. I was looking for just the right environment and found it here at RVS. I enjoy working with our school families and the staff – we love working here and treat each other like family.

My inspiration for becoming a teacher was to ensure that children, no matter what their learning style, would be able to learn in an environment where they will thrive. River Valley School is exactly that place.


More about Ms. B

I grew up in Montreal and before coming to Calgary, I worked at a Montessori school in Morin Heights, Quebec.

I like to spend time outdoors, running or hiking and – like many other educators, enjoy a good book! Travelling and painting are also things I enjoy.

Miss Mardi

Teacher - Junior Kindergarten

Miss Mardi

Teacher - Junior Kindergarten

Mardi Francis

I enjoy being a Teacher at River Valley School,  in the Junior Kindergarten classroom. Working in a creative environment with a group of diverse students is an opportunity unlike any other. My previous experience focused on early intervention with special needs students, which strengthened my ability as an educator in any classroom. The community atmosphere in our school provides benefits, not only to the students, but to the entire River Valley staff. When not in the classroom, I enjoy spending time with my partner traveling, skiing fresh snow, and raising an energetic blood hound.

Miss Lennon

Art Specialist

Miss Lennon

Art Specialist

Lennon Kelly started at RVS January 2013


What brought to RVS?
When I walked into RVS for the first time I knew I was home. I started working here as an Instructional Aide within multiple classrooms. Immediately I was welcomed as part of the staff. The sense of community and commitment to students was evident and it was exactly what I was looking for in a school.


What did you do before coming to RVS?
My passion for art and teaching started when I worked at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia during their summer camp programs. This experience changed my life and I knew teaching was the only career path for me. After I finished my BFA at NSCAD University I enrolled in the teaching program at Mount Saint Vincent University. Before I came to RVS I worked in England as a substitute teacher.


What do love most about your job?
I am living my dream. Combining my passion for art and teaching is something I have always wanted to do in my life. I love how I get to teach my favourite subject every day and I enjoy watching the students get inspired by art and art history. I love teaching the different grades because I get to see them all grow up. I have developed personal relationships with each of these students and I think it’s important to know them as individuals. I love those moments when a student tries a new medium for the first time, a skill, a technique, and pushes themselves to keep going. It’s very exciting to watch students succeed.


How do you describe River Valley to people?
We are a family consisting of diverse philosophies in Progressive, Montessori, and Arrowsmith education. We value academic excellence and social development equally. We cater to all learning styles and meet the needs of all students.


More About Miss Lennon

I am always up for an adventure and love travelling.
I love to read all types of books but my favourite series is Harry Potter.

My favourite book is The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.
My favourite artists are: Leonardo Da Vinci, Audrey Flack, Louise Nevelson, Robert Rauschenberg, Jean Paul Riopelle, Banksy, Yousuf Karsh, Ansel Adams, and Chuck Close.

I love Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn.
One of my favourite movies is Roman Holiday.

One of my favourite songs is Imagine by John Lennon
When I need to relax I listen to Elton John. My favourite song is Your Song.

My husband and I love to cook anything Mexican and enjoy our cottage in Ontario every summer! I enjoy photography, printmaking, Gothic and Victorian architecture, museums, art galleries, long walks, swimming, exploring new places, Earl Grey tea, eating all kinds of delicious food, leggings and dresses, laughing with friends, watching movies, listening to my record collection, classic rock, and anything related to the 1950s/1960s (music, clothes, art, and movie stars).

Ms. Lana

Drama Specialist

Ms. Lana

Drama Specialist

Lana Skauge started at RVS in the fall of 2013


What brought you to RVS?

The openness to cross-curricular study using drama to weave creativity with core learning and capture the amazing capabilities of children!


What were you doing before coming to RVS?

I have been a professional performing artist for almost 40 years. I have written 24 one-woman shows, 11 plays and have three books published.  I am a recording artist and have toured extensively throughout Canada and the UK.  I taught Theatre for Young Audiences core courses at the university level for numerous years and was honoured to be a juror for students earning their masters in this field of study. My unique position at RVS has allowed me to continue my dual stream career.


What is your teaching approach?

I celebrate the treasured voice of the individual through dramatic exploration in full body creation and encourage commitment to descriptive words in original collective story creation with direct curriculum ties.  Anything is possible when we focus on what compels us, laugh often, dive in and grow with our community!


Do you have special areas of expertise or interests within teaching/education?

I want to change the world with a story!  I want children to acknowledge their own power in work that inspires them!  I want to remind them how important creativity is to develop their full intelligence.  As a professional actor/singer/practitioner/playwright and director, I bring an original approach to drama where each student is honoured with challenging concepts and ideas as they risk and celebrate their achievements in dramatic summations using mixed media presentations, role play and living installations of learning.  The echo back to their core learning is imperative as they meld concepts with skills.


More about Ms. Lana

The children teach me to be brave as I continue to build my own skills and watch their work flourish. My next goals are to apply for a BP A+ for energy grant based on hydro energy for my students, complete my fourth book, embark on film short productions and stay awake to the opportunity that creation always brings!
I am deeply moved by natural landscapes that remain my profound teachers. As a recipient of a BP A+ for energy grant entitled The Legacy continues, Harness the Wind I have built another layer of skill in Foley Artistry, Radio play construction, wind harp design and recording sound production that I can share. I am humbled by the gift of each moment, embrace easily and love always.

Madame McIntyre

French Specialist - Grades 1-6

Madame McIntyre

French Specialist - Grades 1-6

Dawn Anne McIntyre subbed for two years then started full-time at RVS in 2013


What were you doing before you came to RVS?

I taught French immersion a number of years ago then owned my own businesses, including Once Upon A Child.


What brought you to RVS, how did you end up here?

We were done with owning a businesses and I wanted to get back to what I love – teaching kids En Francais.


What do you love most about your job?

When kids begin to believe in themselves and take the risks to speak their own words. They learn that they can do it.  It’s so rewarding to be a part of that and to witness them do what they thought they couldn’t. Very cool.


How do you describe RVS to people?

Awesome place to work – great supportive staff, & a strong, caring leader.


More About Madame McIntyre

Favourite Book – Flowers for Algernon – Grade 7 teacher read it to us and I recently reread it.  Such a great story.

Favourite Movie – On Golden Pond – such a feel good movie about family, love and respect.

Favourite Food – anything with salt & crunch.

Pastimes - Curling, reading, hiking, singing, playing games, personal growth, camping & I want Mrs. Bingley to teach me how to crochet.

Pets – Sammy the chat and Tibbers le chien

Miss Jamie

Music and French - Early Learning Campus

Miss Jamie

Music and French - Early Learning Campus

Jamie Popowich started at RVS September 2014


What brought you to RVS?

Jan Taylor-Belinki, music specialist at the Elementary Campus


What were you doing before coming to RVS?

Before I came to RVS, I taught music for 12 years at a Montessori school in Calgary as well as conducted various children's choirs in Calgary.


More about Miss Jamie

I am the proud mom of 3 boys, ages 12, 10 & 7. I love making and enjoying music of all kinds, especially folk and classical music. I love to read and to craft, but mostly to spend time with my friends & family. I also teach with the Junior Program at Calgary Girls Choir.

Coach Wilson

Physical Education Specialist

Coach Wilson

Physical Education Specialist

Angel Wilson started at RVS in the Fall of 2001


What brought you to RVS?

Passion. I really enjoy working with kids. 


More about Coach Wilson

Before coming to River Valley School I did many things including Boys and Girls Club Director, Life Skills Coach, and Marketing Coordinator for a Grain Company, to name just a few.

My interests are sports–yoga, the outdoors, reading and spending time with my family and friends. I grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan.... Go Riders Go!!!!!

Coach Leah

Physical Education Specialist

Coach Leah

Physical Education Specialist

Coach Leah Marshall started at River Valley School in 2003


What did you do before coming to RVS?

Before coming to RVS I ran a Children's recreation program at Kerrisdale community centre in Vancouver. Then worked at a Montessori preschool in Calgary for six years.


More about Coach Hall

I love to be active - anything outdoors. 

My favourite outdoor activities are hiking, x-country skiing, and kayaking.

I have a little dog named Ferb, and a 17-year-old son who is my best buddy!  

Miss Kim

Teacher - Grade 3

Miss Kim

Teacher - Grade 3

Kimberly Forgay started at RVS August 2013

She taught JK for 1 year, K for 2 years, and now is in Grade 3!


What were you doing before coming to RVS?

Prior to RVS I was in school at the University of Calgary and I also worked seasonally at Calaway Park in every role from running the rides and games, to groundskeeping, and making candy apples in the candy shoppe!


More about Miss Kim

I have a cat which I adore named Jet, I am an avid Muay Thai kick boxer and overall gym fanatic! I love to snowboard as well! I am currently working towards my Masters degree in Learning and Technology!

Mrs. Harris

Resource Specialist

Mrs. Harris

Resource Specialist

Kate Harris started at RVS November 2014


What brought you to RVS?

I love working with young people and enjoy discovering how my students learn best. I try to encourage children to individualize their learning and take it in a direction that interests them personally. I help my students to identify their own learning targets and I feel very happy when they recognize they have made progress.


More about Mrs. Harris

We came to Canada from the U.K. and are really enjoying life here in Calgary. During the winter my husband and I ski with the kids, our daughter is 11 and our son is 8. We love to ski at Lake Louise (as long as it is above -15!) and are looking forward to exploring as much of Canada as we can.

Last year we adopted a cat from the Calgary Humane Society. She is called Purdy and has a VERY loud purr! 

Mr. Karran

Teacher - Grade 6 / Outreach Coordinator

Mr. Karran

Teacher - Grade 6 / Outreach Coordinator

Jeff Karran started at RVS October 2014


What brought you to RVS? 

The inclusive program creates a unique learning environment that values student individuality, and really allows students and teachers to develop strong relationships. The collegiality and positive workplace attitude make coming to work everyday rewarding and enjoyable.


What were you doing before you came to RVS?

I was a general manager in the food and beverage industry.

After acquiring my Bachelor of Arts degree from University of Alberta, I found myself immersed in the food and hospitality industry. I returned to academic live in 2013, earning my Bachelor of Education degree from Nipissing University, before returning to Calgary in 2014.


What drew you to teaching?

Above all else, I wanted to make a positive difference in the world. I've worked in the oil and gas sector, as well as construction, and spent 15 years in the food and hospitality industry. After achieving my overarching goal, which was to successfully navigate the role of restaurant GM, I found myself ready for a change; I packed up the car and drove 3600 km across Canada to pursue my BEd. When I interviewed at RVS and met Erin Corbett, I knew I'd found something special; four years later, I feel like I've found my calling.


Mr. K

Teacher - Arrowsmith Program

Mr. K

Teacher - Arrowsmith Program

Kris Koloff started at RVS in 2013


What did you do before coming to RVS?

I was educated in my hometown of Windsor, Ontario.

I have an honors degree in History with a minor in Philosophy.

I also received my BEd at the University of Windsor.

Prior to teaching Arrowsmith, I worked as a one-to-one and a classroom aide. 


More about Mr. K

I like asking the big questions, digging deeper to inspire a love of learning in all my students. Life experience is the best teacher and I use mine to encourage the children to challenge themselves every day. My battle with cancer in 2008 was victorious and from that experience I found a deeper insight and appreciation that I hope is contagious:  “Life is short and each stage of life is special, so let’s make the most of it.”  

I love watching the students learn and grow, come into their own. I do my best to help them along the way. I teach with a smile and laugh as often as I can!

I’m a father of two, a husband and a brother. Family is the cornerstone of my life and when I’m not with the children at RVS, I’m with my own. I’m an avid chess player, movie watcher and gym goer. 

Mr. M

Teacher - Grade 6

Mr. M

Teacher - Grade 6

Cyrus Mirshahi started at RVS in 2013


What brought you to RVS?

I’ve always enjoyed helping others achieve their goals and realize their full potential. I also just really love working with people and expanding on my own point of view through the things I learn from others. 

I started working at River Valley School in 2013 after I was referred by my aunt who works here doing outreach and teacher support for the JUMP math program.  I’ve never worked in a more welcoming environment or been part of a more supportive and good-natured staff. I’ve also made many good friends at the school, which makes coming to work every day that much better.

There is exceptional leadership here at RVS and an unparalleled environment of acceptance.


What did you do before coming to RVS?

Before I came to RVS I worked as an adult ESL teacher, math tutor and basketball coach. I spend my spare time with family, play/watch/coach sports (particularly basketball), watch classic films, read, cook, travel and enjoy a good crossword puzzle. 


More about Mr. M

I grew up in Toronto, did elementary school in French and high school in English. I took my BA in Psychology at York University and my BEd at OISE.

My fiancée is wonderfully supportive in all that I do and the positive impact she has had on my life is immeasurable.

My brothers and sisters were my first friends and have taught me so much.

My Mother is and has always been my greatest teacher and the person whom I admire most the in the world.

Mrs. P

Teacher - CASA

Mrs. P

Teacher - CASA

Margaret Petropoulos has been teaching at RVS for more than 25 years.


What brought you to RVS?

A very good friend of mine who has been teaching for more than 30 years introduced me to the Montessori Philosophy and a light went on in my head that inspired me to enrol in the Vancouver Training Centre on “the barge” on Granville Island. That was in 1985 and a truly amazing experience!

After graduation, I was an assistant at a Montessori school in North Vancouver then went on to lead the program at the prestigious West Side Montessori School the following year.  Once I married and moved to Calgary, I immediately connected with the local Montessori community and have been with RVS, in many roles for more than 25 years! 


More about Mrs. P

I love spending time with my family and playing board games with them.

Mrs. Robinson

Teacher - Junior Kindergarten

Mrs. Robinson

Teacher - Junior Kindergarten

Starla Robinson started at RVS September of 2011


What brought you to RVS? 

I’ve worked exclusively with 3 and 4 year olds for more than 12 years and I’m certified in Child Development. I recognize how special these early years are and I’m passionate about providing a nurturing and fun environment and programming that enriches learning and growth. I am so fortunate to work at RVS with these very impressionable young people to help them prepare for Kindergarten and beyond. I love to watch their confidence grow through engaging experiences and new challenges they tackle each and every day.


More about Mrs. Robinson

When I’m not at school, I enjoy spending time with my family, I’m a fitness enthusiast and a (really) big hockey fan!

Mrs. R

Teacher - Tots - ELC

Mrs. R

Teacher - Tots - ELC

Laureen Rohm started at RVS in 2013


What brought you to RVS?

I heard about RVS from my friend, a teacher here at River Valley School. When she told me how wonderful it was to work here and how passionate the teaching staff was about their jobs, I was hooked. 

I believe children’s first years of learning should be positive ones so they can grow in their self-esteem, self-confidence, have a wonderful school experience, have fun exploring their world and living through wonder. I enjoy learning from my students and they help me become a better educator every day!


What did you do before coming to RVS?

I was a preschool teacher’s assistant for six years.


More about Mrs. R

I participate in Zumba and yoga and I love photography. My favorite movies always include Audrey Hepburn because she’s a classic!

I value family and friends and my school community, especially the littlest ones. Any chance I get I am outdoors in nature hiking, walking, exploring or camping. I abstract paint and enjoy the freedom to be creative and use my imagination in everything I do. 

Staff photo Yvonne Snyder

Miss Snyder

Teacher - Upper Elementary

Staff photo Yvonne Snyder

Miss Snyder

Teacher - Upper Elementary

Yvonne Snyder

What brought you to RVS?

I had a few wonderful teachers during my formative school years that inspired me into the profession. I love being a teacher because it keeps me young and engaged with the world! I first experienced RVS as a student teacher – I love the sense of community between the staff and students. I feel like I go to work everyday with a big group of friends that share a common passion – a commitment to helping kids on the path to success.

So many things makes RVS a stand-out school. The amazing staff, the variety of programs, the leadership, the location to name a few!


More about Miss Snyder 

I try to travel as much as possible. I’ve been to China, Cuba, Vietnam, Thailand, France, Mexico, England and Cambodia.

When I’m not at school, I like to steal a few moments to read, collage, try new recipes and go to yoga. I was born in Toronto but grew up in Calgary, just minutes from RVS!

Ms Tannis

Teacher - Grade 2

Ms Tannis

Teacher - Grade 2

Tannis Williamson started at River Valley in 2011


What brought you to RVS?

When I was ready to return to teaching, I heard about RVS from a parent at the preschool.  She suggested I apply.  The school seemed to be a good fit with my own philosophy about children, learning and teaching.  


What were you doing before you came to RVS?

I had worked for the CBE as an elementary school generalist.  After nine years in the classroom I took some time off to raise a family.  During my parental leave, I helped to run a preschool in Bearspaw.  


More about Miss Tannis

I am born and raised in Calgary.  Growing up, my Mother was a teacher and I was inspired to follow the same career path.  I spent a great deal of time in my teen years coaching sports and working with young children as well.

I was a high jumper, dancer (ballet, tap and jazz) and a rhythmic gymnast for most of my childhood and youth.  I became a National level competitor for rhythmic gymnastics and my background in sport brought opportunities such as traveling for competitions and running with the Olympic torch on 1988.   I have many wonderful memories…and of course a number of creaky joints to remind me of my younger years.

Today I am the proud mother of two beautiful children.  They hold my heart in their hands and make me thankful every day.  Together we enjoy reading, biking, hiking and camping.  We are an active team who enjoy the simple things in life.

Mrs. Hawkes

Teacher's Aide - Grade 2

Mrs. Hawkes

Teacher's Aide - Grade 2

Suzanne Hawkes started at RVS three years ago


What do you like most about RVS?

I am thankful for the atmosphere of inclusion and acceptance that exists amongst both staff and students at River Valley. I love to witness and celebrate the 'aha moments' that occur along the path of student learning.


More about Mrs. Hawkes

I moved to Calgary two years ago from New Brunswick.  Not counting childhood years, this is my 11th relocation, encompassing six provinces, and nine cities.  My husband and I have been married for 30 years, and have one son and two daughters.  In my spare time I enjoy running, hiking, and reading.

Miss Laura

Teacher's Aide - Junior Kindergarten

Miss Laura

Teacher's Aide - Junior Kindergarten

Laura Klumpp started at RVS September 2011


What brought you to RVS?

A parent of a child at RVS hired me to be her child's Aide in RVS.  I worked with her for two years and then RVS hired me as an Instructional Aide.


What did you do before coming to RVS?

Working one-on-one with children in their homes, as well as home schooling my daughter who has Autism.

I love teaching children how to learn for themselves and instilling in them the desire to learn.  I call it “Learning to Learn.”

I have many years of experience working with children with special needs, and have a passion to help them succeed.  I do this by breaking down tasks and skills into manageable pieces.  I help develop their self-confidence by building on successes and encouraging independence.


More about Miss Laura

I am married and have a son and a daughter.

I used to have a motorcycle. I cannot carry a tune. I hide chocolate in the fridge in a container under the vegetables and so far no one in the family has found my hiding spot. 😉

Ms. Tara

Occupational Therapist

Ms. Tara

Occupational Therapist

Tara Kuervers

Ms. Robin

Speech Language Pathology

Ms. Robin

Speech Language Pathology

Robin Tiller

Mrs. Duthie

Library

Mrs. Duthie

Library

Shannon Duthie started with RVS in October of 2010.


What did you do before coming to RVS?

I spent four years working as a library assistant at Webber Academy. Before that I spent 15 years working and travelling with the Airlines.

I love working with children. My favourite is watching the expression on their faces when they find a really good book that interests them.


More about Mrs. Duthie

I have two kids–a daughter, Cassidy, age 18 and away at school now, and a son, Carter, age 16 and in Grade 11. We have a dog named Muffins that is very much a part of our family as well.

My favourite thing to do for relaxation is getting into a good book.

As a family we enjoy travelling and Scuba Diving in warm climates. I spend my summers at the lake boating and golfing.

Mrs. Taylor-Bilenki

Music - Grades 1-6

Mrs. Taylor-Bilenki

Music - Grades 1-6

Jan Taylor-Bilenki arrived at RVS in 2006 with a passion for teaching music to children in a way that is hands-on and aligns with children's natural music development. This follows with her many years of teaching experience in Alberta.


What did you do before coming to RVS?

Jan has 26 years of experience in applying her post-graduate training in Kodály music pedagogy.


More about Mrs. Taylor-Bilenki

As a life-long learner, Jan lives by the words, “the more you know; the more you know you need to know.” She loves to participate and speak at conferences and workshops near and far to continue her learning and to share her knowledge about children’s music and beyond.
Jan loves being the silent observer of “watching the light bulb turn on” as her students unlock the world of music ideas. Her joy of teaching continues to grow with every new class she gets to teach at RVS!

Ms. Reimer

Teacher - Grade 3

Ms. Reimer

Teacher - Grade 3

Erin Reimer

Mrs. Allan

Teacher - Grade 5

Mrs. Allan

Teacher - Grade 5

Lindsay Allan

Miss Maggie

Teacher - Lower Elementary

Miss Maggie

Teacher - Lower Elementary

Maggie Volke

Ms. Dalia

Teacher - CASA

Ms. Dalia

Teacher - CASA

 

What Brought you to RVS?

During my Montessori Diploma I was fortunate to meet a parent whose kids are students at River Valley School; she always talked positively about RVS and how it’s a place in which learning and teaching are interesting, fun and challenging. I wanted to be part of the RVS team because I am always inclined to work in a safe, healthy and supportive environment which develops compassion and mutual respect between the teacher and the students; and I knew that RVS was the perfect fit.


What did you do before coming to RVS?

After I earned my Bachelor degree in English Language and Literature I worked as an ESL teacher for a couple of years in an elementary school in the Middle East. After moving to Canada and finishing my Montessori Teacher Assistant course and volunteering in several Montessori preschools here in Calgary, I decided to apply for the Montessori Teaching Diploma at the Montessori Teachers College in Toronto. I worked at Aspen Hill Montessori in Calgary for five years where I was lucky to finish my internship and graduate.


More about Ms. Dalia

I believe in the Montessori philosophy and teaching has always been my passion. I always strive to build independence and confidence in the students.

My favorite quote is: “The greatest gifts we can give our children are the roots of Responsibility and the wings of Independence.” Maria Montessori

I am a lucky mom of an extremely athletic daughter and son; my daughter plays field hockey and my son is a swimmer. I love travelling and my favourite and unforgettable trip was the one to the Bahamas. I love music, reading and walking.

Mr. Stuart

Teacher - CASA

Mr. Stuart

Teacher - CASA

Stuart Goss started at RVS in September 2016.


What were you doing before coming to RVS?

I had previously worked at the same Montessori school in Calgary for many years.  When I came to Canada from England I lived in Toronto. I worked at the Bloorview Macmillan school as a gym teacher. In England I worked in Nursery School and special needs schools.

I visited Canada a long long time ago and after hitchhiking and traveling across the country decided it would be a great place to stay for a while.... I now have a partner, three children and a dog: so it's looking pretty permanent now.

I have worked in Romania in an orphanage and hospital. El Salvador ( Habitat for Humanity) and the THMC children camps in Canada as a volunteer, which were all wonderful experiences that I am very proud of.


More about Mr. Stuart

I love all sports. I played semi-professional soccer in England and still enjoy playing today. I like skiing with my family and would love to travel more.

Miss Zoe

Teacher - Lower Elementary

Miss Zoe

Teacher - Lower Elementary

Zoe Donaldson started as a substitute teacher at RVS September of 2015.

I was then hired on as an instructional aide in the kindergarten classes for the remainder of that year. For the last two years I have been teaching in the Lower Elementary classroom and have really enjoyed learning about the Montessori philosophy.


What did you do before you came to RVS?

Before I came to RVS I was teaching in London, England for two years.  In those two years I worked as a substitute teacher, a one-on-one instructional aide, and had my own kindergarten class.


More About Miss Zoe

My favourite hobby is traveling the world. I love to experience different cultures and have had the opportunity to live in Canada, Europe and Asia. A life goal I have set for myself is to travel to every continent in the world!

Miss Sue

Teacher's Aide - Junior Kindergarten

Miss Sue

Teacher's Aide - Junior Kindergarten

 

What were you doing before coming to RVS?

I was lucky enough to find my way to River Valley School via a company I was working for doing financial accounting that was going under.  I am now back working in a profession I am passionate about.


More about Miss Sue

My favourite colour is green and favourite food is apples. I love swimming, running and cycling. Yes triathlons!  My favourite place is Christina Lake where I cherish my mornings of water skiing and living outside.

I teach Yoga and Water Fitness for the City of Calgary part-time and am currently working towards a diploma in Early Childhood Education.

I live for the moment, breathe often and love my family–three things I never take for granted.

Photo of Jennifer Janzen

Miss Jen

Instructional Aide

Photo of Jennifer Janzen

Miss Jen

Instructional Aide

This is Miss Jen's fifth year at RVS.


What brought you to RVS?

I began working at River Valley School’s before and after-school care program (Kids Club) while I was attending university. I then gratefully accepted a position as an Instructional Aide. I am currently enjoying my third year in Junior Kindergarten.


What did you do before you came to the school?

Before I came to RVS, I was working towards a degree in Social Work, with a focus on youth.


More About Miss Jen

My two favourite hobbies are running and reading. I also enjoy any opportunity to be out in nature. A life goal is to run a full marathon.

Miss Marilou

Teacher's Aide - Tots

Miss Marilou

Teacher's Aide - Tots

Marilou Fajardo started at River Valley School in 2016.


What did you do before coming to RVS?

Before coming to River Valley School, I taught Grade 4 students for 12 years in the Philippines. Luckily, I was able to come to Canada and worked as a caregiver for over three years for an 11-year-old autistic child.


More about Miss Marilou

My favourite hobby is reading educational books, playing badminton and I love travelling to various parts of the world. I've had the great opportunity to visit United States, China, Hong Kong, Spain and Morocco, where I had the chance to mingle with people from different cultures. But the greatest opportunity I ever had was to live in the Land of the Maple Leaf – Canada. A dream come true!

Mr. Josh

Teacher - Lower Elementary

Mr. Josh

Teacher - Lower Elementary

Josh Ramirez started at RVS in 2015 at Big Kids Club while completing his last year of university and joined in September 2016 as an Instructional Aide.


What brought you to RVS?

Miss Jamie, the music and French specialist at the Early Learning Campus.


What did you do before you came to the school?

Before I came to RVS, I was in the after-degree program at the University of Calgary and before that, I was living in South Texas and teaching immigrant children in a youth shelter.


More About Mr. Josh

I lived in South Texas most of my life before making the move to Canada. My first degree was a BSc of Biology before I found my love for teaching. I am an avid reader—I have way too many favourites to list! I also love to travel whenever I get the chance and love to visit new places.

Miss Krista

Teacher's Aide - Grade 1

Miss Krista

Teacher's Aide - Grade 1

Krista Lawrence

Staff photo Neeraj Gill

Mrs. Gill

Instructional Aide

Staff photo Neeraj Gill

Mrs. Gill

Instructional Aide

Neeraj Gill

Staff photo Kiran Sangha

Miss Kiran

Resource - Health and Wellness Coordinator

Staff photo Kiran Sangha

Miss Kiran

Resource - Health and Wellness Coordinator

Kiran Sangha started at RVS in 2014 as an Instructional Aide. This past summer, she completed her Masters in Social Work, which has enabled her to further assist children with their learning and development needs.


What do you love about RVS?

I love the atmosphere of RVS! I work with incredible educators and staff. Furthermore, the familiar faces of students brighten my day–it is amazing to see the students grow before my eyes!


What drew you to teaching / your work?

I have always had an interest to work with children. During my clinical placement, one of my tasks was to facilitate a socialization group for adults who had a sustained a brain injury. This experience taught me the value and importance of socialization to enhance individual well-being. My previous experiences inspire the work I do at RVS by integrating additional programs which aim to enhance a student’s social and emotional development.


More about Miss Kiran

I grew up in a small town in British Columbia, as a child I spent most of my time outdoors-swimming in the summer and skating in the winter. As an adult, I still prefer the outdoors and laying poolside with a good book!

Mrs. Keay

Teacher - Grade 1

Mrs. Keay

Teacher - Grade 1

Alyssa Keay

Mrs. Johnston

Teacher - Grade 1

Mrs. Johnston

Teacher - Grade 1

Reagan Johnston

Ms. Caitlin

Teacher - Grade 2

Ms. Caitlin

Teacher - Grade 2

Caitlin Beames started at RVS in December 2016 working in Resource. This year she is one of the Grade 2 teachers.

What brought you to RVS and what do you love about RVS? 

I initially came to RVS to work in Resource using my background experience in teaching English as a Second Language while working with English Language Learners (ELLs). What I love about RVS is that we are so open to different styles of teaching and learning, and we make a point of adapting our instruction to meet the needs of the students.

What drew you to teaching / your work? 

I've always enjoyed school myself, and I feel that as a teacher  you are constantly learning new things, from new experiences, students, and colleagues. I love sharing my interests with the students, and finding the things that really drive them to learn more.

More about Ms. Caitlin 

In my free time I enjoy yoga, hiking, skiing, and lots and lots of reading! I also really enjoy travelling, and worked abroad in Japan for 2 years. It was an exciting opportunity that gave me a new perspective on many things!

Ms. Fuhrman

Teacher - Grade 4

Ms. Fuhrman

Teacher - Grade 4

Maia Fuhrman

Mrs. Bounds

Teacher - Grade 4

Mrs. Bounds

Teacher - Grade 4

Leanne Bounds

Ms. Powell

Teacher - Grade 5

Ms. Powell

Teacher - Grade 5

Cori Powell

Mr. Fry

Teacher - Lower Elementary

Mr. Fry

Teacher - Lower Elementary

Paul Fry

Mrs. Block

Arrowsmith Program - Teacher's Aide

Mrs. Block

Arrowsmith Program - Teacher's Aide

Erin Block

Ms. Cydney

Teacher's Aide - CASA B

Ms. Cydney

Teacher's Aide - CASA B

Cydney Hawkes

Miss Jenn

Teacher's Aide - Grade 1

Miss Jenn

Teacher's Aide - Grade 1

Jennifer Janzen

Mr. Richard

Facilities Supervisor

Mr. Richard

Facilities Supervisor

Richard Lester

Ms. Dee

Teacher's Aide - Grade 2

Ms. Dee

Teacher's Aide - Grade 2

Dee Dhaliwal started at RVS early 2017, starting in the Grade 3A classroom and moving to the 2B classroom in September.


What drew you to RVS?

Shortly after finishing my Bachelor of Child and Youth Studies at Mount Royal University a colleague proposed the idea of working at RVS. I have always wanted to make education a fun and enjoyable time for younger children. I have my major in Early Learning and a minor in Counselling. My main goal as an educator is to ensure that I can implement strategies to foster a strong foundation for younger children. I hope to always make a positive impact on the lives of young children.


More about Ms. Dee

Aside from working at RVS, I have a passion for hair and makeup. I operate my own freelance company, DolledupbyDee. During my university life I worked at MAC for four years, which allowed me to explore my creative side. I enjoy spending time with my family and learning about my Punjabi heritage. I have been fortunate enough to travel to India many times and can speak Punjabi and Hindi fluently. I love travelling and learning about different cultures around the world.

Mrs. Gill

Teacher's Aide - Grade 3

Mrs. Gill

Teacher's Aide - Grade 3

Neeraj Gill joined RVS in 2015 as a substitute teacher. She also worked as a supervisor at Little Kids Club and as an Instructional Aide in Kindergarten and Grade 3.


Where were you before coming to RVS?

I have more than 10 years of experience in Education. I did my Masters in Mathematics in India and upgraded my B.ED at the University of Alberta.


What do you love about RVS?

Being part of RVS has been a rewarding experience and every day is a new learning opportunity. My passion is inspiring children to reach their full potential and helping them achieve their goals. I enjoy painting, baking and reading books in my free time.

Miss Lana

Teacher's Aide - Grade 3

Miss Lana

Teacher's Aide - Grade 3

Svetlana Pushkar

Miss Andrea

Teacher's Aide - Grade 4

Miss Andrea

Teacher's Aide - Grade 4

Andrea Morrison

Mr. Nigel

Specialist - Art

Mr. Nigel

Specialist - Art

Nigel Murphy began working at RVS as a videographer in the spring of 2017 assisting the grade 5 class with creating a short film called The Consumer Monsters. After the success of this project I was asked to return to provide further instruction in visual art, videography, and animation.


What do you love about RVS?

The enthusiasm students here have for expressing themselves and putting their unique mark on any project they are given is second to none. Their access to and grasp of complex technologies and digital platforms allows for the level of instruction that would be impossible anywhere else.


What drew you to teaching / your work?

The opportunity to teach critical thinking, expression, and kindness is my life's calling. As an author, researcher, artist, and lecturer at the university level, I am acutely aware of how vital digital presentation skills and media awareness are, no matter what subject a student chooses to pursue. My goal is to see every student I am teaching today in front of me at the university level down the road.


More about Mr. Nigel

There are three principles that I choose to live my life by. The first comes from Benveunito Celini–a true renaissance man–who said that "A well-rounded man is an artist, warrior, and philosopher." The second comes from Plato's Apology of Socrates "an unexamined life is not worth living." The third quote I live by, and perhaps the most important, comes from a lesser-known pair of philosophers, musicians, and travellers, who said very correctly to "Be excellent to each other." My personal interests include historical martial arts, graphic novels, and ruthlessly dissecting popular culture.

Ms Margaret

Teacher - Kindergarten

Ms Margaret

Teacher - Kindergarten

Margaret Keith-Chester

Mrs. Benia

Teacher's Aide - Tots

Mrs. Benia

Teacher's Aide - Tots

Benia Szewczyk-Lagowska

Mr. Pat

Transportation Coordinator / Bus Driver

Mr. Pat

Transportation Coordinator / Bus Driver

In 2015, I was lucky enough to be offered a position as  school bus driver at RVS. Two years later, I took on the additional role of Transportation Coordinator which has allowed me to be more involved with providing busing solutions for both the daily full-time riders and group-oriented field trips.


What do you love about RVS?

What has impressed me about RVS is the positive environment created by staff, parents and students with a focus on respect, responsibility and politeness.


What were you doing before you came to RVS?

In my past life I was quite involved in coaching soccer. The culmination of that activity came in the form of taking a team of U16 Boys to Brazil for a two-week immersion into the culture of Futebol Brasil style.

 

Miss Jullie

Bus Driver

Miss Jullie

Bus Driver

Jullie Caron started with RVS in 2016. I am one of three awesome professional drivers her!


What were you doing before you came to RVS?

I have been driving School Buses professionally for about seven years now and also enjoy driving tourists through the Rocky Mountains when I can, among some other local company venues. I also enjoy regular weekly volunteering where I feel that I can make a lasting positive difference in the lives of others. I am also a busy parent to my own four children and proud that my oldest is almost 19 and already in first year at UVIC!  My passion has always been where people are, so this led me into the customer service industry where I spent the majority of my time in Retail and Finance.


What brought you to RVS?

I believe it's crucial to support local/small business as much as possible. I also live in this greatly diverse river community of Bowness. I am confident in the varied programs available to the children here and enjoy their unique creative approach.


More about Miss Jullie

I actually love driving! I get pleasure out of being able to interact with children and show them that a bus ride can be respectful, pleasant and even creative.
When I drive in the mountains with tourists, I get to share in soaking in all the beauty of this great Country of ours, along with creating wonderful memories!
I enjoy quality time with my family exploring via travel, arts & culture, and just spending as much time outdoors as we can!

Our family also hosts International Students, which is a great experience. We get to participate in assisting them with their "Canadian Education" as well as being their home away from home and a sampling in tour guiding. In return, we are more flexible, open-minded about all cultures and satisfy some of the curiosities of life in other Countries!

Mr. Bob

Bus Driver

Mr. Bob

Bus Driver

Bob Clark has been driving for RVS since later October 2015.


Where were you before you came to RVS?

Prior to driving for RVS I drove for First Student for two years.


What brought you to RVS / your work?

I first applied to RVS because of the School's proximity to where I live, here in Bowness. Since beginning my duties, I have come to experience River Valley School as a warm and inviting place to work. What originally drew me to driving a school bus? Well, I enjoy being in contact with kids: it's a stimulating and altogether rewarding for an older person–certainly ideal for a recent retiree who has always valued humour and structure in his daily life.


More about Mr. Bob

When not driving, I write fiction and practice advanced classical piano–with a passion bordering on 'obsession' (or so I am told!).

I also keep busy playing computer chess, maintaining our house and pond, and assisting in the upkeep of my wife's extraordinarily beautiful garden–sometimes simply by staying out of her way!