Faculty

Samantha Michaels

Samantha Michaels

B.A. & Liberal Arts Certificate (SFU), STEP (UBCO), B. Ed (UBCO- in progress)

Areas of Expertise:
English, ELL, Social Studies, History, Technical and Creative Writing

“Even though I am a city girl at heart, I grew up in Kelowna where I enjoyed the hot summers, being out on the water and tubing down the ski hills in the winters. I am happy to be back in the city I love, Vancouver where I lived and acquired most of my education: Bachelor of Arts; English major & Liberal Arts Certificate (SFU) and Technical Writing Certification (SFU).”

“Before university, I attended Douglas College and worked at the DC Learning Center for two years, predominantly tutoring English as a Second Language students where I got my Academic Peer Tutoring Certificate. I went on to tutor privately for 20 years and even recently this spring on a movie set for the main teen actor. In 2008, I became a BC Certified Teacher, taking the Secondary Teacher Education Program at the University of British Columbia Okanagan, as well as a History minor. I also have an extensive writing background and worked for several publishers, so I bring some expertise to any budding authors.”

Both as an educator and personally, I strongly believe that knowledge is power! I think that it is also important to recognize that students learn at different levels and competencies; therefore, it is essential to set a multifaceted learner-centered teaching approach. I would like every student to succeed to reach their educational goals, leading to a successful and happy future. As stated by Nelson Mandela: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

Se Joon Park

Se Joon Park

B.S. (UC Riverside) , M.Ed. (UCLA)

Areas of Expertise:
Mathematics

I was born and lived in South Korea until I was about 12 years old, until my family decide to move to Los Angeles. I received most of my education in Los Angeles, from middle school all the way to post undergraduate education. A city known for its diversity, Los Angeles has taught me the importance of being culturally sensitive toward others, regardless of other’s cultural backgrounds.

I received my bachelor’s in mathematics from UC Riverside, with focus on mathematics education for high school students. I then moved on to receive my master’s degree in education from UCLA, where I met wonderful leaders and colleagues who taught me the value of education especially in multicultural settings.

I started my teaching career in the heart of Los Angeles during my second year at UCLA. Teaching in an urban setting has taught me that being a teacher in a multicultural city is no easy task and requires extra effort and attention to detail. I gained most of my three-year experience as a teacher in Los Angeles, where I learned how to work hard, manage my time, and build rapport with students and colleagues. I recently had moved to Canada because I wanted to venture out into the world and learn more about the world outside of the U.S.

Outside of school, I like to read, spend time with friends, watch TV shows and play the guitar.

Catalin Vulcan

Catalin Vulcan

B.A. (U.B.C.) , B.Ed. (U.B.C.)

Areas of Expertise:
Social Studies and Literature

I have called Vancouver, British Columbia my home for the last 11 years, yet I was born and raised in the Transylvanian region of Romania. I currently speak three languages (English, Romanian and German) and am fascinated with the study of cultures and peoples across time and space: History.

My ultimate goal as an educator is to establish strong connections for my students between formal and informal learning environments. This ultimately leads to a learning experience that translates beyond the classroom: it is a lifelong process involving an understanding of our presence in this world, while also making sure our voices are truly valued and heard.

The passion I have for teaching comes both from my family and from working with young learners in daycare settings and outdoor education. Other than being a book lover, I enjoy cycling, exploring and music.

Saraphina Shooshtarian

Saraphina Shooshtarian

B.A. (English Literature, & Fine Art/UBC) B.Ed

Areas of Expertise:
English,Arts

My family immigrated from England when I was six years old. We lived in Calgary and Abbotsford before finally settling in the beautiful city of Vancouver. I completed my Bachelors degree in English literature and fine arts at the University of British Columbia. After taking about four years off to pursue my artistic interests, I completed my bachelor's degree in education at UBC. with a focus in English and art.

It is my earnest desire to help young people realize their potential as purpose-driven, engaged, fulfilled beings. I am most experienced and interested in the areas of English and Art education. I am passionate about these subjects, as they offer so much in the way of learning and deepening our understanding of our human experience and the art of living. Through reading and writing we learn more about this world, our communities, ourselves and our values. As we learn to express ourselves more succinctly, and with more eloquence, we open up the opportunity to develop deeper connections with ourselves and others.

It is an honor to be a positive guide to young people as they discover who they are and what they want to do with this life. I have been thoroughly enjoying engaging with the students at Columbia Academy, and supporting them in their learning process.

I have enjoyed bicycling around this city and building connections for eleven years. I am currently most interested in musical pursuits and have more intentionally been practicing singing and song writing for a few years, with a strong interest in street performance.

Eugene Lee

Eugene Lee

B.A. (SFU), TESL

Areas of Expertise:
IELTS

“I have been an English teacher for a number of years, especially in the area of test preparation. I am considered an expert on IELTS and TOEFL because I have about 17 years of success preparing students for those exams. Some of the highlights of my experience has been starting and running a successful school, and receiving wide recognition as an educator.”

“I love helping students achieve their academic goals, especially students with a strong motivation to learn.”

Dale Craniford

Dale Craniford

B.A.(MUN of NL), B.Ed (MUN of NL); TESL

Areas of Expertise:
English

“I especially enjoy helping students with their writing and reading. I am a published writer, including human interest articles, and helped train copy editors for a Vancouver Financial magazine. I successfully completed a UBC post graduate course in reading methodologies.”

“I play piano, once professionally, and volunteer at a local hospital.I moved from my hometown of St. John's, NL to Vancouver in 1995. I enjoy the beautiful environment here, opportunities for more travel, and the more temperate weather.”

Quincy Dai

Quincy Dai

Sci Ed (UBC) Post-Doc (UBC)

Areas of Expertise:
General Science, Chemistry, and biology

"I have ten years teaching experience in general science, chemistry, and biology in BC certified offshore schools in China. I served for three years as a Vice-Principal and two years as a BC Representative of a BC certified offshore school. Outside of teaching, I held a three year post-doc fellowship at UBC where I also served two years as a research scientist. I received a Permanent Professional Teacher Certification (K-12) from the BC Ministry of Education and have a strong understanding of the culture and education systems of Canada and China."

"I know and understand students: how they develop and how they learn. A teacher’s responsibility as an educator is to be an effective diagnostician of students’ interests, abilities, and prior knowledge. The teacher should use his knowledge to expose his students to modes of critical thinking which can encourage the students to analyze, apply, synthesize, and evaluate all they have deserved and obtained in classroom settings and through project learning."

Caitlin Cole

Caitlin Cole

Bachelor of Communications, Social Sciences (University Technology, Sydney), Masters in Secondary Education (Western Sydney University)

Areas of Expertise:
Social Studies, History, Geography, English

“I have been teaching in Senior Schools in Sydney, Australia since I started my Masters in Education in 2015. I have recently moved to Vancouver to broaden my horizons and experience education in as many different contexts as I can, and to share my passion for teaching."

"As a teacher, I aim to share my passion for learning and knowledge with my students, and to enable them to become resilient, curious and independent learners that aspire to reach and exceed their goals. I believe that high expectations, clear goals and community based learning is paramount to a successful classroom environment. Learning must be relevant to the students' context, engaging, and forward thinking.”

"In my spare time I enjoy functional fitness training, and reading as widely as I can."

Ariel Bitton

Ariel Bitton

B. Ed (SFU), B.A. History (Concordia University)

Areas of Expertise:
English, ELL, Social Studies, History, French

"Originally from Montreal, I completed my BA in History at Concordia University. I was fortunate to develop a focus on contemporary history under the mentorship of inspirational educators.”

"¨I then pursued a Bachelor of Education with a minor in secondary teaching at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia in accordance with the BC new curriculum. "

My passion for academia and teaching experiences throughout various schools and tutoring has provided me with the necessary leadership qualities to inspire future generations. I constantly strive to create the most positive impact on students in order to best set them up for success.

Daryl Villarin

Daryl Villarin

B.Sc. (University of San Carlos), M.Sc. (University of San Carlos)

Areas of Expertise:
Physics and Mathematics

"I was a university lecturer for more than ten years teaching physics and mathematics courses to students working toward their paramedical and engineering degrees in the Philippines. I earned my Master of Science in Physics and Bachelor of Science in Physics degrees at the University of San Carlos – Cebu City, Philippines. Since moving to Vancouver, I have been tutoring and teaching students."

"I have a deep passion for Physics, and I want to infect my students with the same passion and enthusiasm, no matter what profession they are interested in. I do not want my students to only view me as a teacher, but a mentor and an inspiration as well. I want my skills, knowledge and experiences to be shared with my students for which they can draw from for their further development. "