Grades K-9 Vice Principal
Grades K-9 Vice Principalsborley@schoolathome.ca
Steve has taught in Christian schools in Richmond, White Rock and Comox; he has homeschooled his own children at different times; and he firmly believes in the rights and responsibilities of the family to help govern the educational process.
Steve believes that an education is very important for every individual, and an individualized education promises more success than a cookie-cutter education. Schooling should fit into life rather than fitting life around schooling, and absolutes only apply to the Divine. Success can be measured more accurately by looking at one’s joy and contentment than at one’s bank account or trophy cabinet.
Steve hopes to succeed in providing good service that meets people’s needs and encourages them to enjoy all that the Good Lord brings our way. No better example of joy and contentment exists than the life of Jesus, for he knows his Father can handle things just fine.
Kara lives in Smithers, BC with her husband James (who is also a teacher) and their three young children. Kara has been working as a Home Teacher with TLA for many years and appreciates being able to stay at home with her children while working with families to pursue an excellent education for their children.
Kara enjoys cross country skiing, and the family built a skating rink in the backyard. Kara looks forward to summers and spending time at the lake camping with family and friends.
Cara Lee Buzza
Cara Lee Buzza
Cara Lee lives in Mission with her husband, David and her three amazing children, David, Connor, and Emily.
Cara Lee has been working with TLA families since 2002 as a DL teacher for students living in Maple Ridge and Port Coquitlam.
David had a long history of teaching in the Independent school system before transitioning into the role of pastor of a church in Maple Ridge. As life often goes, he has come full-circle back to teaching at TLA while continuing to pastor.
David married Cara Lee in 1994 and 5 addresses, 3 kids, and a dog later – they’re still going strong!
Julie Chetty has been part of the TLA team since 2008. She is a Home Teacher for students living in Vancouver, Burnaby, the North Shore and Richmond.
Prior to joining TLA, Julie spent 9 years teaching English and Home Economics at a high school in West Vancouver. She has also taught in Lithuania and Zambia where, among the world’s least privileged children, she learned the value of using nature’s tools as a powerful resource.
Julie holds a Bachelor of Education in English and a Bachelor of Home Economics from the University of British Columbia. She is an avid photographer and enjoys traveling the globe with her family.
Alisha Deddens is an installation artist currently living and working in the Vernon area. She also works with a range of other media including painting, drawing, sculpture, video and sound.
In 2014, Alisha graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of the Fraser Valley. She has been involved in several juried group shows, installations, murals and community engagement pieces including Buy One Get None: Conformity, Consumerism and The Collective Voice, exhibited at The Reach Gallery Museum and the 2015 Fraser Valley Biennale. Alisha was recognized at the 2015 Abbotsford Arty Awards and won the Christine Caldwell Arts Advocate Award.
Alisha’s projects often focus on specific themes including her personal experience with epilepsy, the fear of losing control, and the fragility of self. She has had the opportunity to teach and engage with students in various workshops and classes, sharing her knowledge of and passion for the arts.
Jen lives in Fort St. James with her husband Steve and four children. Her homeschool journey began in 2008 with the entry of her eldest, Aidan, into kindergarten. Having taught English at high school prior to having children, she was excited to start her journey as a support teacher. Connecting parents and combating isolation are two ways that Jen helps improve the experience of homeschooling for Northern families.
In her “free” time, Jen loves to scrapbook, play with clay, and spend time outside with her family. Summer is one of her favourite times as she gets to spend it at Echo Lake Bible Camp, which her husband directs.
Home & Blended Teacher
Home & Blended Teachereegan@schoolathome.ca
Elda has lived and taught in Prince George for the last 28 years. Her teaching experiences range from being a Teacher-Librarian to being an elementary and high school classroom teacher to being a Special Education teacher. She is passionate about teaching and finding ways to reach all learners.
Elda homeschooled one of her own sons while he was in high school. She enjoys her role at TLA as a Home teacher.
In her free time, Elda is very involved with her church where she leads Bible Studies, teaches Sunday School, and is part of the Pastoral Care group. She also likes to jog with her dog, and bike, kayak, and do crosswords with her husband.
Jessica Ens joined the TLA team in 2013 as a Home Teacher and enjoys helping TLA families find the flexibility they need to meet their educational goals for their children.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Victoria and a Bachelor of Education from Simon Fraser University, and has taught in both independent and public schools.
Having grown up in Northern BC and lived on Vancouver Island and in Surrey, Jessica now resides in Kamloops with her husband and three adorable children. She likes coffee, knitting, public libraries, her vegetable garden and writing letters.
Home & LSS Teacher
Home & LSS Teachermfriesen@schoolathome.ca
Melissa Friesen has been a part of the TLA team since spring 2014. Melissa loves working for TLA and partnering with families to educate their children at home. She enjoys building relationships with families, and the wonderful opportunity to create customized learning plans for every child.
Melissa grew up in Langley and graduated from TWU in 2002 and SFU in 2003. Prior to working for TLA, Melissa taught in several schools in the greater Vancouver area. She also had the wonderful privilege of homeschooling her own children for three years.
Melissa has been married to Corey since 2000 and they live in Langley with their three school-aged children. They love to travel, especially to their favourite sunny destination – Maui!
Assistant K-9 Vice Principal, Home Teacher
Assistant K-9 Vice Principal, Home Teachermjohnson@schoolathome.ca
Michelle loves working for TLA as a home teacher and assistant Vice Principal as it allows her to combine her passions – helping families be successful in their educational endeavors through support and encouragement, and having the flexibility to be at home with her family.
Michelle lives on a small acreage just outside Armstrong, BC with her husband Wayne and her three beautiful girls, Morgan, Madelyn, and Livia. Before moving to Armstrong, she lived in Calgary, AB, where she taught for 5 years at a Christian school. While staying home with her young girls, she was a private tutor and became certified as a reading therapist.
Currently she keeps busy with checking out new curriculum and websites, hanging out with her girls, reading new books whenever she has time and of course, working with her wonderful TLA families!
Home & Blended Teacher
Home & Blended Teacherajones@schoolathome.ca
Amy Jones lives in Cloverdale with her husband, Marty, and her 3 children, Judah, Myah and Joshua. She and her husband are also foster parents.
Amy graduated from university with her Bachelor of Education in 1998 and specializes in teaching French as a second language. She is currently part of the K-9 Home Program serving families in the Lower Mainland.
Amy loves spending time with her children, going to sporting events, visiting family and friends and working on the odd DIY project. She is very thankful to be a part of the TLA team.
Jessica Kotanen lives in Mission, BC with her husband Jonny and daughters Olive, Fern, and Juniper. She has worked as a Home Teacher for TLA since 2012. Jessica was raised traditionally homeschooled through her elementary years, and although she obtained her teaching degree with the goal of being a public school teacher, her heart was eventually drawn back to the world of homeschooling as something she deeply believes in and loves.
Jessica particularly enjoys working alongside enthusiastic families of young children who are new to DL.
Rita has been a part of the TLA community for over a decade as a homeschooling parent. For the past seventeen years, she has dedicated her life to educating students, from her own three children as well as other children, in a variety of settings. In addition to homeschooling, she worked as an Education Assistant in the Catholic school system and as a volunteer catechist at her parish. Her own passion for learning fueled her desire in nurturing and teaching her own children, with the goal of imparting a life-long love of learning and with the idea that learning can take place anywhere.
Prior to having children, Rita taught university-level students as a Teaching Fellow while pursuing her graduate studies in Economics in the United States. She was excited to come back to TLA, this time as a Blended Teacher, entering a new chapter in her life.
When she’s not busy with all her commitments, Rita enjoys the outdoors with her husband and children, kayaking, hiking, and camping.
Cara lives in Langley with her husband and three lovely children: Kolya, Julitta and Jovan. Cara graduated with a Bachelor of Education from the University of Regina but moved immediately to Montreal to teach at a private school while her husband pursued his Graduate studies. They have now lived in BC for 10 years, and Cara spent 7 of those years having the pleasure and joy of homeschooling her own children.
Recently, Cara was certified in the Orton Gillingham approach to teaching children struggling with reading and writing and has spent time privately tutoring children in their literacy skills. Cara considers herself a lifelong learner and loves sharing information she has learned with those around her.
Cara fully believes in homeschooling as a wonderful choice for families and is excited to blend her experience as a classroom teacher, and dedication as a homeschool parent to address the unique needs of all learners in creative, effective and caring ways.
In her spare time, Cara is usually driving her sons to soccer or her daughter to horse riding, but she also loves reading, cooking, taking dance classes, and enjoying a good cup of coffee.
Home & Blended Teacher
Home & Blended Teachercmcgrath@schoolathome.ca
Chris has worked with TLA before in 2003-2005 as a DL teacher before moving to Kelowna where he continued his work in Distance Learning, classroom teaching, curriculum development, career planning for high school students, and even dabbled in administration work and was excited to return to the DL environment.
Before working at TLA, Chris taught grades six and seven before moving into teaching a variety of humanities courses in high school. Chris enjoys working with the TLA program, and assisting families as they meet the challenge of educating their children by blending the British Columbia’s curriculum into their home environment and online education.
Chris lives in Kelowna with his wife Karen. They have 4 grown children.
Susanne Munro enjoys working with some of the Catholic homeschoolers in the TLA family.
Susanne taught for a number of years in the Catholic school system before starting a family. As the kids kept coming, she kept her hand in teaching by TOC-ing and working with some homeschool families to support their learning in English and Literature.
She and her husband, Harold, have six children and live in Surrey. Susanne thrives in the world of wonder and learning through the Home program.
Aili has been a teacher for more than a decade, earning her Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Science at the University of Lethbridge.
Aili grew up in the Peace Country region on a mixed grain/cattle farm. She grew up loving school and being in 4-H. She returned to the Peace Country when her post-secondary education was complete and has resided there ever since. She lives in Dawson Creek with her husband, Stirling, and their three children, Hunter, Marley and Briar. Winters are filled with hockey and figure skating while summers are filled with camping, planting and relaxing. She enjoys playing games, reading, listening to music and baking in her spare time. They are active members of the Dawson Creek Alliance Church with Stirling leading the worship ministry and Aili volunteering in the children’s ministry.
Aili is excited about the possibilities and flexibility homeschooling brings to families. As the most northern TLA Home teacher, she is looking forward to helping TLA support even more families face-to-face.
Blended & Online Teacher
Blended & Online Teacherjpoehnell@schoolathome.ca
Janice is excited that God has brought her to TLA. She has been a teacher for a number of years, teaching a range of subjects and grades. Having spent many years in South America as a missionary, Janice is fluent in Spanish and works with the online Spanish students in addition to her Two-Day Blended program.
In her spare time, Janice likes to go to the movies, to the beach, and out for coffee. She also enjoys the doodle craze called Zen Tangle.
PJ is an avid outdoorsman. He has been an educator/administrator for over 28 years in public, First Nations, and Christian Schools.
In his spare time PJ enjoys soapstone sculpting and painting houses. He has two grown children and resides in Kamloops.
Home & Online Teacher
Home & Online Teacherjrene@schoolathome.ca
Jaime is a veteran homeschool mom of three beautiful children – Lily, Gabriel, and John – who brings a love of home education to her role as DL teacher.
Having received a Bachelor’s degree in history and music from Trinity Western University, Jaime returned to school later in life to enhance her education skills by attaining a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of British Columbia.
Jaime loves exploring the innovative educational opportunities that are enabled by blending online learning with homeschooling. In addition to a love of learning, she enjoys reading, music performance, directing her church choir, and the art of homemaking.
Christina was born in Victoria, BC and has lived with her husband and two children in the Metro Vancouver area for over 20 years. She enjoys gardening and taking long walks. At church she has been a bible study teacher, a member of the choir, and a craft leader for the Sunday morning children’s program.
Christina graduated from the University of Victoria with a Bachelors of Science and taught with the Surrey School District for over 10 years. After that, she chose to be a stay-at-home mom for 8 years before joining TLA in 2013. In her classroom, one can expect to participate in hands-on activities, games, project-based learning, presentations, and discussions.
Peggy joined TLA in 2008. She enjoys seeing students develop to their full potential in their home setting with the ultimate goal of a lifelong joy of learning. Peggy loves working with the limitless resources in curriculum and studying techniques and learning alongside her families.
Peggy’s interests includes sailing, kayaking, and enjoying numerous outdoor activities in beautiful British Columbia.
Darren enjoys quiet time, walking somewhere/anywhere and sitting under the clouds and trees next to water.
Darren relishes time at home playing intensely with his kids. He loves his wife’s hugs, his eldest’s ideas, his middle one’s playfulness and his youngest’s eyes.
He appreciates competition, the predictability and unpredictability of sport, the life illustrations found in chess and the making something out of nothing in the game of backgammon.
He’s amazed at the fingerprints of God throughout nature and is humbled by the voice of Yahweh on the Page and in his heart, learning His ways are perfect and his aren’t, the precious gift of repentance and a broken heart.
Darren is thrilled by learning about history and that Solomon was right, the alphabetical symbols and all their permutations of combinations of meaning and playing board games with friends.
And yes, he salivates over wholesome-rich-thick-nutritious-tasty-mmmm toxic-and-gmo-free grown yourself food, as well as savouring three shot espressos in the morning.
Finally, he anticipates “the-lights-came-on” look in the eyes of his students and the search for truth, working in a professional field where what he does makes families stronger and children more confident and creative.
Ann brings 10 years of experience in homeschooling 3 of her children to the team at TLA. She also has six years of experience teaching at both the high school and elementary levels.
She appreciates the flexibility and creativity offered by the DL program and fully enjoys supporting families and students in blending the offerings of the DL program with the gifts and talents each brings to the setting.
Ann lives in New Westminster with her husband and youngest son Simon. Gardening, hiking, and canoeing activities are high on her priority list.
Home & Blended Teacher
Home & Blended Teacherawilkinson@schoolathome.ca
Amy lives in Prince George with her husband, Clayton and their four fantastic children, Josiah, Faith, Levi, and Luke.
Her journey into home education started in 2013 when she left the classroom on maternity leave with her youngest child and decided to try homeschooling her oldest who was entering grade 1 at the time. She brings her experience as a home educator to her role as DL teacher. Amy helped pioneer the One Day Blended Program in Prince George in 2017 and thoroughly enjoys spending time working face to face with her students and their families.
After completing her Bachelor’s Degree in Education, Maureen worked in the Catholic school system for two years before starting her own family. Since then, life has been an exciting and rewarding adventure of learning along with her nine children whom she has home-schooled “since the beginning”. Learning is an adventure that begins with birth and never ends!
Maureen was a member of the TLA community as a parent for many years before joining the K-9 Staff as a Home Teacher in 2013. She feels privileged to assist other families in their own homeschooling journey while still homeschooling her youngest child.
Maureen lives in Burnaby where she is a member of St. Michael’s parish. She finds her Catholic faith central to all aspects of her life. In her spare time Maureen is an avid gardener, loves music, playing board games, sewing, and spending time with her husband and their children.
Libby Voth lives in Abbotsford with her husband and two children.
Originally from the UK, Libby earned her BA from the University of Stirling. Several years later, she took the teacher education course at SFU part time while working as an EA with special needs students. She taught for 6 years in an independent Christian school in Abbotsford before joining the TLA team in 2017. She is passionate about connecting with students and is excited to be part of facilitating their learning and growth.
In her spare time she enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, taking photographs, and drinking chai.
Shelley has always loved anything active and athletics related. She has years of experience playing
a wide variety of sports and volunteering as a coach for various teams and sports camps. She is
excited to be able to share this passion with the students of TLA in the blended PHE program.
Shelley lives in Langley with her husband Paul. She feels blessed to spend the majority of her week at
home managing her active household of five sons and one daughter. She also loves to volunteer for
activities at her church.
Trina was originally born and raised in Terrace, BC but currently lives in Langley with her husband and son.
Trina has been teaching since 2007 in independent schools but was excited to embark on a new journey starting with TLA. She began working with TLA in 2018 as a home teacher and is currently also a part of the LSS department.
Mylene enjoys working at TLA and is proud of her students learning new things in her Blended Visual Art classes. She graduated with a Bachelors degree from UBC and possesses education from Langara College in Graphic Design. As a working artist, she also enjoys being a member of Art Focus Artists’ Association (AFAA) in Port Coquitlam. She’s displayed her art work in group art shows with AFAA for several years in their fall and spring shows. Mylene served as Secretary on their Executive Committee but is now in charge of designing and creating the society’s new website and print ads for their art shows.
Mylene also enjoys providing art lessons to students out of her home studio and provides after school art programs to elementary to middle school students in the Tri-Cities area through a leading art centre in Coquitlam. She lives in Coquitlam with her husband and son.
When Mylene is not working, she enjoys volunteering at her son’s school by hosting art parties as a fundraiser, attending mass at church, reading, exercising, and spending time with family.
Abby lives in Richmond with her husband, Vic and their three bright and beautiful girls Michaela, Livia, and Ava. She enjoys connecting with other moms over coffee and a playdate for the children. She is also involved in her church’s care group and young adults group and strongly believes in community-building.
Abby was born and raised in the Lower Mainland and earned her Bachelor’s of Education and Bachelor’s of Arts from UBC. She has experience in both the public and independent school system. For the past ten years she has taught in a Christian school in Vancouver.
Diane currently resides in Langley, with her husband Nick and two sweet daughters.
She graduated from TWU with a degree in Education and started teaching at a Catholic Independent School in Surrey. During her eight years there, Diane became passionate about early literacy and numeracy. In 2019 she began working in the TLA K-9 Home Department serving the Lower Mainland. Diane is excited to help families with the rewarding work of educating their children and is eager to share her enjoyment and passion for learning.
In her free time, Diane enjoys going to the library and finding more books to read! She also enjoys looking through cookbooks (of course also from the library) to create delicious meals for her family. You can also find her going on fast, or slow, walks taking her girls to the park.
Wendy Levasseur first earned a bachelor of Outdoor Education at University of Alberta, then an Education Degree at the University of Calgary. For ten rewarding years, Wendy taught at a First Nations public school near Grande Cache, Alberta. During those years, her and her wonderful husband Marc received their life’s greatest gifts, three beautiful children; Kail, Maelle and Talie-Anouk.
In 2012 the family followed a life dream and moved to a hobby farm near Dawson Creek. It quickly began to remarkably look like Noah’s ark with two every kind of farm animal.
On the farm they also started the adventure of home-learning. They are grateful for this opportunity to understand their kids hearts and gifts. Wendy so appreciates this time and loves supporting other home-learning families.
Most importantly Wendy is grateful for Jesus’s kind and enduring love. For His forgiveness and gentleness in early morning hours, gently guiding her and moulding her spirit to be more like His own.
My teaching adventures include a B.Ed. from UBC and a diploma in Christian Studies from ACTS, in Langley. Most of my teaching experience has been as a Christian-school teacher in Colombia, South America, and in British Columbia. I’ve also been a teacher-support for DL students and a tutor. I’m excited about teaching project-based learning and supporting parents in the Blended 2-Day Program with TLA.
I live in Maple Ridge and enjoy music, gardening, reading, being outdoors, and volunteering at a local animal rescue. And when football season starts, out come the Seattle Seahawks and BC Lions jerseys.
Mary lives in North Delta with her husband Edward and two homeschooled children. Her journey with homeschooling started in 2012 when her oldest, Alice, started Kindergarten. Holding a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and having taught Science and French at BC high schools prior to having children, she was excited to start her journey as a teacher parent.
Mary leads the Blended Two-Day K/1 program in Surrey as well as the One-Day Blended K/6 program in Vancouver.
When not teaching or homeschooling, Mary likes trying new recipes, reading books, and having nature walks with her family.
Charis Hammermeister was homeschooled all through her grade school years, which instilled in her a desire to help other families along their homeschooling journey. Joining the TLA team in 2019 as a Blended teacher allowed her to combine this desire with her love of classroom teaching. She is passionate about educating through inquiry and investigation and about tailoring her instruction to meet the individual needs of each child. Her hope is that each of her students will leave her classroom having developed a lifelong love of learning.
Driven by her passion for mentorship and discipleship, Charis is active in her local church through counselling and women’s Bible studies.
Most of Charis’s free time is spent teaching, coaching, training in, and competing in taekwondo. Her other interests include reading, creative writing, music, visual art, and 20th century Russian history.
Charis holds a Bachelor of Science in Education from Maranatha Baptist University and a Master of Arts in Theology-Biblical Counselling from Central Baptist Theological Seminary.
Pauline and her family live in Cobble Hill on Vancouver Island. She has been involved with TLA for over 15 years as a homeschooling parent, and on the ‘other side’ as a Home Teacher. Pauline’s real passion is for close and healthy families, as well as for fostering the opportunities homeschooling offers for students to develop their own unique gifts and interests in the way that best works for them. Pauline has experienced these benefits through the homeschooling of her own children, and her goal is to be an encouragement and support to other families.
Prior to receiving her Education degree, Pauline had a B.A. in Psychology as well as her Early Childhood Education Certificate and her Montessori teachers diploma.
During her spare time Pauline enjoys the outdoors, hiking, reading, and painting. She continues to develop her family’s property into a fruitful endeavour.
Blended Spanish Teacher
Blended Spanish Teacherbgastelum@schoolathome.ca
Hester van Breda
Hester van Breda
My name is Hester van Breda and I just wanted to send a quick note to say hello. I was very happy to learn that I will be your home learning support teacher for the coming learning year. I thought I would tell you a little about myself. Born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa we (Johann, myself and two Dalmatian dogs) immigrated to Vancouver, Canada in 2000, which were our permanent home for about 15 years. It seems that we have too many interests which makes it very difficult to list everything however apart from being a lifelong learner, working and experiencing life, enjoying our 13-year-old son Joshua-Johann, studying, teaching, and our Dalmatian dogs (Trinity & Rosie), we keep ourselves busy with a number of hobbies and interests. Together we enjoy running, cycling, golfing, touring, camping, skiing and spending time with family and friends. We recently moved to the beautiful Peace River North. We now enjoy the outdoor attractions that the Peace River has to offer. I look forward to meeting with you.
When we meet, we will talk about what support you feel is needed. That support will include what you would like from me, and we will also talk about other forms of support we would like to put in place to round out the learning team. How will we navigate these times? The answer is, together! We need each other to test out ideas, to share what we’re learning, to help us see in new ways.
You CAN do this!! You’re ALREADY doing this. You’ve been teaching your child(ren) since the day you came home from the hospital. This is just taking another step. Your teacher (Hester van Breda), and our school are all committed to your success, and most importantly, I am so excited that you’ve invited me along to witness with you the amazing and inspiring adventure that learning at home, in family, is.
Andrea lives in Cloverdale with her husband and four children, Kate, Marie, Kyle and Ryan, and a budgie named Perri. Andrea grew up near Winnipeg, Manitoba. She attended Providence Bible College, where she enjoyed playing volleyball and basketball and where she decided to change her career from Youth ministry to Education. After marrying her husband Russ, she attended UBC and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and a Bachelor of Education. She taught at a private Christian school in Vancouver until Russ was elected a Member of Parliament (2004-2015) and her first child was born. For so many reasons, homeschooling became the best option for their family. She continues to homeschool while being a Home Learning Support Teacher with TLA. Along with Russ, she serves on the board of the Home School Legal Defense Association of Canada.
Having been classroom teacher and a homeschool parent in a busy household, Andrea knows the challenges parents face when wanting to lead their children into life long learning. She believes that parents are the first and best educators of their children and is excited to help support them in that role.
Andrea’s ideal day involves books, coffee and a kid or more cuddled up and reading. Her family can often be found having some hiking adventure somewhere in the Lower Mainland or enjoying a good book or movie together.
Sharon has been teaching since 2008 at an Independent school in Richmond. She completed her BA and BEd at UBC. She lives in Burnaby with her husband, three children and their cat.
She has a passion for play, child-led learning and social-emotional education. She loves to see students light up when they discover new things, express creativity and solve problems. She is fascinated by human diversity and how individual capabilities are distinct and amazing.
In her spare time, she enjoys coffee, crochet, nurturing relationships, and being outdoors.
Elizabeth is TLA’s new Blended 4/5 teacher as well as a Home Teacher. Her learning journey into education has been a blend of Christian education, public school education, and online learning. She has over a decade of experience as a teacher in the private sector as a music teacher teaching both one-on-one and group lessons, which centred around a close partnership with families. Most recently, she is graduating from UBC with a Bachelor of Education with training in the most current strategies in education for K-12. Part of her experience of practicum was actually online due to the recent COVID-19 public school adaptations. Elizabeth is passionate about working to make K-12 education work in the best way possible for each child and their family.