At Nanaimo Innovation Academy, we hire professional, experienced ECE and ECEA teachers that are young at heart, excited about teaching and learning, and are creative with how they engage students. Our teachers imagine the future of our students and work with them through trusting relationships that bring out growth and achievement.
Please read more below about our current teachers and their passions...
Rachael - ECE TEACHER
Rachael graduated from the ECEC diploma program at Vancouver Island University in June 2017. Rachael is passionate about child development and loves to work with young children over time, helping them to uncover the tools they need to become more independent in their daily routines and in their relationships with their peers.
She thrives in having meaningful connections with the children and families she works with. In the spring of 2017, Rachael spent her 5th practicum abroad in Surabaya, Indonesia. She taught in both a pre-school and kindergarten class, collaborating with university students from Widya Mandala’s English department to help translate. This experience helped to shape the kind of ECE she is today.
Rachael loves to write poetry, paint, make art and get messy! She loves to be outdoors and enjoys the summer time. In addition to her work as an ECE, Rachael is the facilitator of the 'KidZone' at Diversity Festival which happens every July near her home town, Powell River.
Varenka - ECE / SPANISH TEACHER
Hola! My name is Varenka. I was born and raised in Mexico City, where I obtained a BA in Psychology, with a Clinical focus. I moved to Canada 14 years ago. I lived in the Kootenays for 6 years and currently live in Ladysmith. I have been working with children all ages for over 15 years as a teacher, counsellor, psychologist and support worker among other things.
I love children and I love doing and sharing yoga. I am a Certified 500 hr Yoga Teacher for adults,children, families. My certifications include 95 hr Children’s Yoga Training thorugh Young Yoga Masters, a training with Rainbow Kids Yoga, as well as several other yoga trainings, including Acroyoga, which I currently teach in Nanaimo. I have been teaching for over 10 years and practicing for 12 years.In my free time, I share my life with my husband Mike. We play Acroyoga, enjoy the outdoors, hike, forage for mushrooms and rocks, canoe in the ocean, cook all sorts of Mexican, Japanese and other delicious foods! There are still many more things I want to do and learn and I'm excited to share part of this journey with you.
Wen - ECE TEACHER
Hello, my name is Wen Li and I’m a registered early childhood educator in both BC and Ontario.
I graduated in 2016 from ECE program at Conestoga College in Ontario, and have been working
in different childcare settings and kindergarten since then. After graduation, I worked in
Conestoga college experimental childcare centers where offer care for infant to Grade 6
children, as well as children who have special needs. I found this job filled with challenges and
learning opportunities which helped me grow my practical knowledge, professional experience
and confidence.I believe children are competent, capable of complex thinking, curious, rich in potential, and learn best when they construct their own knowledge through playing. As an educator, I enjoy being a lifelong learner and always open to different educational philosophies: Play-based learning, Reggio-Emilia Approach, Waldorf, and Montessori. I believe belonging, well-being, engagement and expression are the foundations for children to grow and flourish in a childcare setting. I am excited to have the chance to collaborate with other educators to create engaging environments and experiences to foster children’s learning and development.
I enjoy reading, cooking and travelling, when I have free time. My husband and I recently moved
to Lantzville from Ontario, so we spend lots of time explore this beautiful island.
Chloe - ECE TEACHER
I have always been interested in child development and have pursued learning and working alongside children all my life. I began regularly babysitting for a family at the age of 15 and also spent time as a live-in nanny. From there, I went on to working in a Childcare Center as a summer student.
I fell in love with the field of child development and have completed my ECE diploma at Vancouver Island University with a specializations in infant toddler/ diverse abilities. I have worked in a variety of daycares, in ECE and IT positions. Most recently, I ran a multi-aged classroom in a dual language culturally based Childcare Center in Port Alberni.
I believe that children are much more capable than they are often given credit for, and I strive to help foster their own independence and learning through play, imagination, and exploration.
Katy - ECE TEACHER
My name is Katy and I am so excited to be apart of the amazing team at the Nanaimo Innovation Academy! I graduated from the Early Childhood Education and Care program at VIU in June of 2015 with a specialization in infant/toddler and diverse abilities. I first became interested in working with children when my sister was born when I was a teenager. Having the opportunity to be apart of her development and watch her grow was a wonderful experience for me! During my time as an early childhood educator, I have worked in both programs for 3 to 5 years and infant and toddler programs.
Giving children the tools be able to recognize, express, and eventually regulate their own emotions is an area of importance to me when working with children. Sometimes we need to be reminded that children are people too, who have good and bad days! It is our job to give children the tools to help them navigate successfully through the big feelings they will have throughout the day. Emotional development is just as important as other areas of development.
I feel that there is something unique and special about every child and it is important that we cherish and celebrate these qualities! Early childhood is a time for exploring and discovering the world around us. Children should have lots of opportunities to explore materials, their environments and get messy, whether it be mud or paint! When children are able to explore and discover the world around them, the learning opportunities are endless!
Kozue - ECE TEACHER
Hello, my name is Kozue, I first came to Canada from Japan with the working holiday program which was an exchange program for young adults between Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. The program allowed young adults to travel and work for a year within the alliance. The culture in Japan is more formal and rigid compare to the one in Canada. Naturally, the education system including early childhood education is close ended and rule oriented with focus on unity as a group. As I grew up I learned to follow the rules at school and to focus on the tasks given to me by the teachers.
My journey as an ECE started in a beautiful small town in Alberta where I met many wonderful children and families. My focus has been creating the environment and relationship for the children to be able to flourish as themselves. I would like children including my own to have the least rules possible. Instead of telling them to be nice, I would like to show them what kindness is and what kindness can do. Instead of telling them how to behave, I would like to create the environment which captures their interest and keeps them entertained. Being an ECE has given me the opportunities to be a part of children's lives and create a strong connection with them as well as the families and the community as a whole. I am excited to be a part of the Nanaimo Innovation Academy community.
Sarah - HEAD CHEF & NUTRITIONIST
Hi, my name is Sarah and I am so honoured to be cooking for your children while they attend Nananimo Innovation Academy. My daughter, Juniper, is in the 3-5 program and we live only a short walk from the daycare. Downtown/South Nanaimo has been my home for over 10 years.
As a long-time Nanaimo resident, I am still in awe of the bounty this island provides us. We truly live in one of the most beautiful places in the world! I believe that what we put in our body can either hinder or help us reach our full potential and help us live our happiest life.
I have been a Red Seal Chef for over 15 years and recently graduated from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition (CSNN) as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist. I've done everything from manage restaurants, to creating cooking shows, to running my own Meal Prep/Buddha Bowl business.
I am very passionate about sharing my knowledge of food and the importance of fueling our body and feeding our soul. I look forward to working with the community in providing as much locally grown and sourced ingredients as possible. Not only will this give us high quality, nutrient dense meals but it also creates a strong community and local economy.
When I'm not in the kitchen, I am either exploring the outdoors with Juniper, at the gym, or in our garden. I love learning. Subjects close to my heart include Indigenous Culture, sustainable food, and spiritual growth. I'm so excited to start this new chapter and use this meal program as a way to educate others and continue learning myself.
Eddy - ECEA TEACHER
Amazing bio coming soon!!!
Junko - ECE TEACHER
Amazing bio coming soon!
Katie - ECE TEACHER
Hi my name is Katie. I’m so excited to be joining the amazing team at NIA! I entered the childcare field when I was 19 and obtained my ECE in 2017. Early education has been a career path that has come organically to me. My natural abilities with children and patient nature have been assets to me throughout my career. I’ve worked with children for 10+ years, in preschool settings and out-of-school care. My passion has always been the early years!
I believe in the power of learning through play, and I believe the best teaching and guidance comes from a mutual respect between the child and teacher. I understand how important it is for children to feel understood and respected, and I know how powerful it is for a child to be in control of their own lives and have as many appropriate choices as possible; they are learning, and so are we, everyday!
In my spare time I enjoy exploring this beautiful island, hiking, and spending time with my dog Oliver.
Larissa - ECE TEACHER
Hi, my name is Larissa. I am currently in my second year of the Early Childhood Education and Care program at the Vancouver Island University. I'm on track to graduate in June 2020.
I have always had a passion for working with children of all ages and have spent my high school years babysitting, teaching swimming lessons, life-guarding and teaching CanSkate through Skate Canada. I really discovered that this was the right program for me when I began my work experience at the local Strong Start program in Gold River in my last year of high school.
I started my Infant/Toddler practicum at Nanaimo Innovation Academy in the beginning of January 2020 and immediately fell in love with the centre. I am very excited to be staying here after my practicum is finished and go get to know all of you better!
Tarena - ECEA TEACHER
Hi my name is Tarena and I’m currently a first year ECE student at Vancouver Island University. I am excited to be a part of the team at NIA and hope to be able to learn and grow with everyone!
A little about me... I come from a small country called Sri Lanka where I did a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interior Design. I have always had a passion for working with children and that passion only grew stronger with time, and so I decided to pursue a career in ECE. I have over three years of experience co-heading the Sunday School Teens department in my home church as well as being a volunteer teaching assistant at a Kindergarten school back in Sri Lanka. I also coordinated the child care program at Project OASIS, for war orphans and children affected by conflict in Northern Sri Lanka. In my early 20’s I had the opportunity to work with the 5-6-year-old age group of under-privileged children in my city, providing after school tuition in Math and English.
I have completed two practicums in Nanaimo which I believe has provided diversity in my experiences with children and helped me further understand and relate to them.
Some things I enjoy doing are traveling, baking/cooking, dancing, being creative, and playing board games. I’m looking forward to meeting and getting to know everyone in this new journey of mine at NIA.
Justine - ECE TEACHER
Hello, my name is Justine. I'm very excited to be a part of Nanaimo Innovation Academy. I believe that all children have the natural instincts inside them to play. It is important that they develop at their own pace. We just need to provide the time, space and appropriate guidance. I also strongly believe that developing positive relationships with each child will help them grow as individuals.
I have a variety of experience with children of all ages. I have worked in daycare centers for 3 years, and I have learned many things by being a big sister to both my younger siblings. I'm an Early Childhood Education Assistant through Pacific Rim Early Childhood Institute. My goal is to finish my full ECE training by September 2020. I am also in the Bachelor of Education program at VIU graduating in 2022.
In my free time, I enjoy reading, baking and painting. Creating and experiencing is an amazing part of life that I value very much. I am looking forward to meeting all of your children and your families.
Kaleigh - ECE TEACHER
Hello, my name is Kaleigh and I moved to Nanaimo in summer of 2019 from Ontario.
The last 5 years before I moved here, I worked for the school board in various kindergarten settings running outdoor classroom kindergarten programs. I've been in the field of child care since 2010 before I started my education at Loyalist College. Since then I have worked in a variety of different aged programs as well as had my own in-home daycare. Since I moved here I have been involved in an outdoor education program in town. I've always loved being outdoors and I feel that it is very important for children to spend time in nature.
In my free time I like to go hiking and exploring the island with my husband. I have three cats at home. I enjoy yoga and reading.
I'm excited to start this new adventure at Nanaimo Innovation Academy! Looking forward to meeting everyone!
Lindsay - ACADEMIC COORDINATOR
Amazing bio coming soon!
Sibyl - ECE TEACHER
Amazing bio coming soon!
Myriam - FRENCH TEACHER
Amazing bio coming soon!