Colleen is the Founder and Director of Arrowsmith Independent School and Preschool. She also happens to be the Mom of one of our students! She has a passion for educating youth that is 'second-to-none' and a desire to get it right when it comes to preparing youth for a promising and fulfilling adulthood.
In her early career as an occupational therapist, Colleen developed the perspective that there's a way to approach learning that engages all children. When her daughter's previous school closed down, Colleen, along with her partner, Ryan, and their respective families, decided to begin fresh. It was their joint passion for a young girl's education that was the catalyst for the birth of Arrowsmith Independent School & Preschool in August of 2016.
When she isn't raising chickens and children, Colleen is an avid outdoors-woman.
Principal & Grades 3 & 4
Leslie is our Principal and Class 3/4 Teacher and the mother of two of our students. She holds a BC Teachers Certificate, a Bachelor of Education from Vancouver Island University, a BA in Journalism and Communication from the University of Regina, and has completed training in Waldorf Education.
After teaching for several years in Japan and Ireland, Leslie and her family moved to Vancouver Island where she has taught a Waldorf-inspired, nature based curriculum since 2012. She believes in a balanced approach to learning that provides children with quality academics, life skills, nature studies and an appreciation of art and music. Did we mention she LOVES children?
Leslie is also a certified Yoga teacher and spends her free time camping, gardening, and exploring with her two young sons. She is an avid runner and you might even see her competing in local events!
Volunteer Office Manager & Teacher-on-call
After a 20-year career in Human Resources working with entry-level job seekers, Lois felt that young people were not being prepared properly for real life. Her keen desire to change the education system led her to Arrowsmith Independent School where she has been able to put her office experience to good use, and engage in her passion of teaching life skills to young people.
Lois has a Masters in Leadership & Management and a second Masters in Counselling Psychology and researched the factors that influence young girls in becoming successful later in life (ask her about them!). As a result of her education, she was able to obtain her B.C. Teacher's Certificate and happily teaches students about money and how it works, emotions and how to manage them, and she teaches them about working together while they build things, like gingerbread houses...when she isn't managing the office!
Lois loves dogs, horses, hiking, skiing and her husband, Glen.
Emily is our young blood! Recently graduated with an Education Degree from Vancouver Island University, she has a Minors in First Nation & Canadian History as well as a background in Spanish and 4-H.
For as long as she can remember, Emily has dreamed of becoming a teacher for the main purpose of having a hand in providing students with a nurturing and memorable school experience. She strongly believes in creating a cohesive classroom community where students are provided with the proper tools to allow them to become independent and mindful young people.
Emily has grown up in the Parksville area and is now living in Coombs with her partner, Takoda, and two cats. She is passionate about reading, biking, travelling, nature, and animals.
Teacher, Grades 1 & 2
Sue is a wife, a proud mother and grandmother, and believes in strong family values. She has been a teacher for more than 20 years across 2 continents.
Born in England, Sue spent most of her life in South Africa, where she received a Bachelor of Education from Witwatersrand University. She completed a further degree in Special Education with the focus on Remedial Education.
Sue taught Elementary school for many years in South Africa, and was Head of the Department of Science before immigrating with her family to Canada. She continued teaching and took several courses to assist her with teaching and tutoring, before semi-retiring in Qualicum Beach.
As Sue says, "But once a teacher always a teacher" and when she crossed paths with AIS, became excited to teach again. She believes there is no greater reward than to share the delight a student experiences when beginning to read for the first time, or when she hears the words “I love school”. She believes learning should be fun, exciting, hands-on, and relevant, and her aim is to develop well-rounded individuals, who are both confident and competent to meet the challenges of today's demanding world. She believes we need to 'develop balanced kids in an unbalanced world' through a safe and caring environment, catering to all student needs.
Sue's love of art, nature, hiking and preserving the environment is a perfect fit for Arrowsmith. Her caring philosophy and love for her students is reflected in her daily interactions with them.
Nicole began her career as an Assistant Teacher at a Preschool outside Vancouver before getting her Early Childhood Educator's certificate and eventually operating her own daycare center. She brings almost 20 years experience to her role as our Preschool Manager, and thrives on creating entertaining and educational programs for preschoolers.
She is also a certified Children's Yoga instructor and regularly incorporates yoga practices into the children's daily rhythms. Her focus is on building their life skills for emotional and mental well-being, and providing them with mindfulness practices for managing their emotions.
In her spare time, Nicole likes to go for long walks, do yoga, camp, hang-out with her two children, and in the wintertime, she enjoys curling.
"A Canadian with British roots", Anne arrived in Canada in 2008, having previously worked in both private and public sectors of the Elementary school system in the U.K. Anne taught at several Independent schools in BC, primarily teaching children K to Grade 7. Her enthusiasm is at its greatest when teaching singing and when she's directing plays. This is fortuitous for all of us because it also provides an outlet for her great sense of humour!
Anne believes there is music, rhythm and harmony in every child and her job is to draw out those musical notes from each student, and weave it into a fabric of joyous unity. “Music brings a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” Plato
Allison Shaw began teaching in 1986. After several years of teaching in primary classrooms, she began teaching music for the entire school where she was working, from Kindergarten through Grade 5. Later, she ran music programs simultaneously at two different schools including students from Kindergarten through Grade 7.
Allison joins us on a casual and part time basis, and enjoys working with the students at both schools as our fabulous Co-Music Teacher and Teacher-on-Call.
Jenn is our French teacher and new to the team this year. She discovered her love of languages as a student in French immersion. She continued to enrich her language learning through study and travel in Quebec and France, which led to major in French at Simon Fraser University, where she earned her Bachelor of Education.
Jenn has taught K-8 in both FSL and French Immersion programs in BC, Alberta and New Brunswick. She has also been a PE specialist and is a trained Yoga Instructor, so movement and body awareness are a big part of her teaching.
She and her family spent 10 years in the Maritimes, where Jenn took a break from teaching to be a full-time Mom. In 2015 she and her family relocated back to the West Coast and have been home schooling in the Cowichan Valley for the past 3 years. Jenn and her kids are all returning to school this fall; they are very excited to call Qualicum Beach home and start the next chapter of their learning journey at Arrowsmith! Parlez-vous francais?
Teacher, Grades 5, 6 & 7
Doree is a mother of 3 kids AND 3 dogs. She has spent close to 10 delightful years teaching in BC public schools, 5 years homeschooling, and she holds a Master's Degree from the SelfDesign Graduate Institute (now called GIFTLearning). Her childhood heroes were Pippi Longstocking (she loves lifting heavy things too!), Nancy Green (Olympic Skier), and Nadia Comăneci (Olympic Gymnast). She loves to learn and has many interests. One in particular is entrepreneurship. She has run numerous businesses (HR consulting, tea house, raw food educator, EmpathFit.com). She loves to write, solve tricky problems, and create beautiful meals, spaces, and friendships. She loves people and works well with Highly Sensitive types. Her philosophy on learning is simple: when we feel safe and have a sense of belonging, we learn. She loves to create vibrant learning experiences and to model, for students and their families, a love of learning!
Michelle is known for her love of arts and crafts, and sharing that passion with kids. When she isn't thinking up new activities, she spends her time in the garden, hiking local trails, and enjoying beach days with her kids.
Michelle earned her Bachelor of Arts at VIU in 2012, majoring in Sociology and Minoring in Geography. In 2014, she put that on hold to be a stay at home mom; something she full enjoys and cherishes! Her dream job was to be a teacher, and now that dream is starting to take fruition again. She is currently studying for her ECE-A and working towards her ECE.
Christene comes to us as our new Preschool Teacher! She was born and grew up on Vancouver Island and recently moved back home with her family after living in Kamloops for 15 years. Christene holds ECE Certification and graduated from Vancouver Community College. She has over 25 years of experience in the field.
While in Kamloops, Christene worked at the Kamloops Child Development Centre where she cared for toddlers, children aged 3-5 years, and with children who have special needs.
She is married and has a 22 year-old son and a 20 year-old daughter, a sweet puppy dog named Henry and two cats. Christene loves to challenge herself and really enjoys dragon-boating, doing stairs, gardening, and cycling.