2020-2021 Faculty and Staff
In addition to Mr. and Mrs. Yip, these are our current teachers and staff. We believe God has richly blessed us with wonderful colleagues!
Mrs. Mei Fung – Assistant to the Administrator and Principal: Mei returned to staff in August, 2006, and brought previous office experience and a facility in Cantonese and English to her new responsibilities. She is in her fifteenth year of a wide range of office duties, as well as having responsibility for first aid and the infirmary, and as an emergency supply teacher. Her son, Ryan, and daughter, Vanessa, graduated from our Grade 8 in 2006 and 2010 respectively. Both Ryan and her other son, Derrick, have helped in our After-school Program.
Mrs. Daitz Lee – Junior Kindergarten: Daitz is in her tenth year on staff, having joined us in January 2011 to take over a Grade 2 class when Mrs. Song-Choo went on maternity leave. Daitz has a Bachelor of Arts (with concentration in visual art and drama) from Trinity Western University, a Bachelor of (Elementary) Education from University of British Columbia, and Special Education Specialist Certification AQ course: Behaviour from Queen’s University. She was employed from 1999 to 2009 by Three Fishes Christian Elementary School as a Grade 3, split 3/4, art, and special ed teacher, and as supervisor of the primary division in programming and planning. During that time, she acquired some familiarity with the A Beka curriculum. Prior to those years, she taught Chinese, art, and crafts to children in several settings. She has also been involved in church summer camps and Awana, and, more recently, Sunday school at Markham Chinese Baptist Church.
Mrs. Janice Fan – Senior Kindergarten (except for maternity leave in 2012): Janice ably taught our JK for nine years, then, in 2010, jumped at the chance to head up our new Pre-Kindergarten program that she had been advocating. Once again, she made the jump to Senior Kindergarten, when the opportunity presented itself. She holds a Certificate in Child Care from Lee Wai Lee Technical Institute, Hong Kong, and an Equivalency of Early Childhood Educator from the A.E.C.E., Ontario. Prior to joining us, she had extensive experience teaching in daycare centres, and working with disabled children in Hong Kong. In addition to her responsibilities with her class, she also supervises Grade 1-4 Lunch. At her church, she is involved with the children’s worship team. Janice and her husband have three children: Bessie started in our JK in 1999 and graduated from our Grade 8 in 2010; Josie graduated from our Grade 8 in 2014; and Wesley is in our Grade 4 program.
Mrs. Mavis Ma – Grade 1; Mavis is an experienced teacher who has taught in Taiwan and Canada. She holds a Bachelor of Education from University of Centro Escolar, Philippines, and she has received further training in Canada from the Canadian Montessori Education Institute. She is in her second year on staff at the Academy. Mavis has a love for reaching young people for Christ and is actively involved with her church’s Sunday school and outreach programs. She is happily married with two children. Her son, Gabriel, is in our Grade 7 program ,and her daughter, Kaitlyn. is in our Grade 3 program. She enjoys cooking, baking, and traveling. Mavis is dedicated to preparing the next generation for excellence to the glory of God.
Mrs. Kerri Halonen – Grade 1: Kerri is in her third year on staff and is an experienced teacher with a degree in education from Lakehead University. She has worked with the York Region Board of Education and has taught at Holland Landing Public School. Kerri and her husband have a heart for mission, and they have served the Lord in Ukraine for three years. She also has extensive experience in tutoring. Mrs. Halonen and her husband have three children.
Miss Darmae Reyes – Grade 2: Darmae is in her third year on staff and had the privilege of completing her high school career from FaithWay Christian school that uses A Beka curriculum. She attended FaithWay Baptist College of Canada and earned a Bachelor of Religious Education with a minor in Christian Day School while consistently being on the Dean’s List of academic achievements. She also had the opportunity to work at a Kumon Math and Reading Centre. Darmae is looking forward to training up the next generation in academic excellence.
Mrs. Helen Assikopoulos – Grade 2: Helen is in her third year on staff. Previously, she has been supply-teaching for the Academy for the last four years in various grades and settings. Her training is in International Business from Seneca College and for many years she was one of the Communication Administrator for a global marketing research firm. Her love for preparing the next generation for God’s service has led her to many children ministry opportunities at her home church. Mrs. Assikopoulos and her husband have two children: Demetrios, who is going into our Grade 7 program, and Stavroula is going into our Grade 2 program.
Mrs. Marlene Hadden – Grade 3: Marlene spent her first two years on staff as an SK teacher, nine year as a teacher of Grade 1, four years as a teacher of Grade 4, and now on her third year as a teacher of Grade 3. In addition to a certificate in office administration from Fanshawe College, Marlene has a diploma in Early Childhood Education from Niagara College of Applied Arts and Technology. In November of 2007 she was awarded the A.C.S.I. Teaching Practitioner Certificate. Her many years of prior teaching experience include positions in Yip’s Children’s Choral and Performing Arts Centre, Chapel Place Daycare Centre, and Kindergarten at Stouffville Christian School.
Mrs. Fjoralba Spahija – Grade 3: From Vision International University, Fiori holds an Associate in Biblical Studies, and a Bachelor of Theological Studies in Christian Education, graduating with honours and first in her class. She has a Master’s Degree in Christian Education in process. She is fluent in English, Albanian, and German, and has a working knowledge of Italian and Greek. Fiori had nine years teaching experience at Athens Christian Academy in Greece. There, she taught mainly multi-grade classes, including 4 years with Grade 1, 2 combined. All her work was in English, using the A Beka curriculum primarily. Fiori joined us in 2009 to teach a combined 1, 2 class. In 2010-11, she taught one of our Grade 1 classes. After returning from maternity, she took over Grade 3A from Mrs. Smith who went on maternity, and is this year’s teacher of 3B. She and her husband, Altin, were active in the Sunday School work of Glyfada Christian Centre in Athens. They now have two children: Tomas, in our Grade 8, and Kate Elizabeth in our Grade 4.
Mrs. Dania Edwards – Grade 4: Dania holds a Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in Zoology and Botany from the University of the West Indies, a Bachelor of Education with Highest Distinction from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, and a Master of Education from the University of Manitoba. She also holds an Ontario Teaching Certificate in the Primary-Junior Division. She has taught in Jamaica, Istanbul, Turkey, and here in Canada for 18 years, including this, her eleventh year on our staff. Dania has a passion for Christian dance and drama and was the lead choreographer and playwright for many school concerts while teaching in Jamaica. For two years, she was Director of Bible Teacher’s Church Youth Group and for fourteen years, she was a teacher in the Bible Theatre Academy of Dance and Drama. Dania enjoys floral design, arts and crafts, and cooking, and has created several after-school clubs at RHCA that involve these interests.
Miss Lynn Tran – Grade 4: Lynn had the privilege of completing her high school career from a Christian school that uses A Beka curriculum. She attended FaithWay Baptist College of Canada next and earned a Bachelor of Religious Education with a minor in Christian Day School while consistently being on the Dean’s List of academic achievements. Lynn is in her fourth year of teaching here at RHCA. She enjoys singing and playing the piano as well as graphic design. Lynn has a love for working with young people as she has been involved with summer camps, many Vacation Bible Schools (VBS), as well as working at Kumon. She is looking forward to challenge students academically and encouraging them to grow spiritually.
Miss Stephanie Lui – Grade 5: Stephanie is a graduate of the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Music Education. She has extensive teaching experience in that field and is an accomplished musician. Stephanie has worked with students ranging from kindergarten to middle school. This is her third year on staff. She is committed to inspire and help her students reach their highest God-given potential.
Mrs. Najwa Oweis – Grade 5: Najwa, originally from Jordan, has a Bachelor in English Literature and a minor in Archaeology from the University of Jordan. She has about 4 years of teaching experience in Jordan. Since coming to Canada, she has supply taught and volunteered at various elementary schools. She began as a teacher assistant two years ago in our Senior Kindergarten class but her teaching experiences have allowed her to teach at the Grade 5 level when the opportunity arose. Najwa also has been very involved with Sunday School teaching for the past 14 years. Her desire to train children both spiritually and academically has led her to our school. Mrs. Oweis and her husband have three children with their youngest, Daniel, graduated from our Grade 8 program in 2020.
Mrs. Tina Garabedian – Grade 6: Tina holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sacred Music (Piano Performance) from Bob Jones University, and has had many years of experience as teacher, performer, composer (woodwinds, strings and brass), accompanist and arranger. As the wife of a busy pastor, she has served in many church ministries, including music director, ladies’ leader, conference organizer, and children’s work. She home-schooled three of her children from JK to high school using the Advanced Training Institute and Bob Jones Home Sat curricula, and is particularly adept at math. Tina joined RHCA in March, 2006, as a Teacher Assistant in the Grade 2, 3 programs. From 2007 to 2012, she taught Grade 4, and was the instrument coach in the senior music program. She has also taught Kindergarten gym and home economics. We particularly appreciate her skill and creativity on the piano at many concerts over the years. She is in her fifteenth year on staff. Both of her two youngest children, Gary and Karissa, have graduated from RHCA.
Miss Janice Gibbs – Grade 6: Janice has extensive experiences in finance, counselling, and working with children and youth. She is a graduate of the University of Windsor in the area of Child Psychology and Criminology. She has received further training in child and family counselling as well as crisis counselling. Through her love for young people and working with troubled youth, she started an organization – Bethesda Christian Ranch Association – to help them. She has also been the director of Beacon Bible Camp for more than 30 years. Janice is working towards her Master of Divinity in Christian counselling from Tyndale. This is her third year working at RHCA. She counts piano, viola, art, hiking, camping, reading, traveling, financial budgeting (showing families how to budget and be responsible with their finances), and singing as some of her hobbies. She is looking forward to encouraging students to live for the Lord and to train them for His service.
Mrs. Brenda Song-Choo – Grade 7: Brenda has been on staff (except for two mat leaves) since 2006. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with an English/History major from York University, and has completed a variety of additional professional qualifications. She taught Grades 3, 4 and 5 for five years at Holy Cross Armenian Day School, and Grade 5 and Senior Kindergarten in the public system. In addition, she has ESL and Special Education experience, and has taught Sunday school at the Full Gospel Mission Church for eight years. She joined our staff as a Grade 1 teacher and has taught Grade 2 ever since until last year, where she began teaching Grade 7. She is conversant in Korean and enjoys a variety of sports. She and her husband have been on missions together. They have three children; Rocky graduated from our Grade program in 2019, Marcus in Grade 8, and Elisha in Grade 4.
Mrs. Laura Gam – Grade 7: Laura holds a B.R.E., Missions from London Baptist Bible College, and a B.R.E., Christian School Education from Heritage Baptist College. She is accredited as a teacher by the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI). Laura has several years of experience in children’s ministries and as a youth leader. She has had training in and has had administrative responsibilities in a school using the Accelerated Christian Education Curriculum. She has also taught ESL students and tutoured in English grammar. Prior to joining us in 2002, she had eight years of teaching experience in Christian schools, including two years teaching Grade 3/4 in Korea, where she met and married Jin. Laura taught our Grade 4 for four years, and then the family moved to Korea in 2006. In the winter of 2010, the Gams returned to Canada, and Laura took up the Grade 6 position vacated by Mr. Bennett. Since her return from Korea, she is teaching Grade 6A language, Grade 8A science, Bayview JK/SK and Grade 1 Gym, and she assist with our BASC in the afternoon. After taking a sabbatical year to study for her Master of Divinity program from Tyndale University College and Seminary, Laura is back at RHCA and is our Grade 7B homeroom teacher. She and Jin have two children: Noah, now in university, and Rachel graduated from our Grade 8 program in 2015.
Miss Grace Brant – Grade 8: Grace is a RHCA alumnus that has returned to teach at her alma mater. She has a Honours Bachelor of Arts in English from York University. She also has training from the American Sign Language and Deaf Studies from George Brown College. Grace has been working with young people extensively since 2010. Her area of interests is in interacting and teaching those who are hearing impaired and working with young people in youth camps. Since returning to RHCA, Grace has taught in our high school English program, Grade 7 and 8 English programs, and she has been one of our teacher’s assistants for Junior Kindergarten. Grace is in her second year as a Grade 8 homeroom teacher.
Mr. Charles Snelgrove – Grade 8; IT Director: Charles is in his tenth year on staff. He has an Honours Bachelor of Mathematics (with majors in Computer Science and Combinatorics & Optimisation) from the University of Waterloo. He has been an Elder, Sunday School Teacher, and Worship Leader at Celebration Presbyterian Church. Following twenty years in senior software support and administration positions in industry and government, in 2008, Charles decided to make a career change to teaching children. He enrolled at Tyndale University College, earning a Bachelor of Education in June 2009, where he was awarded Most Outstanding Teacher Candidate in the Junior/Intermediate Division. Charles joined our after-school staff in 2009. When we discovered that he was also experienced as coach in a variety of sports, he was our first choice to head up our Senior Phys. Ed. Program afternoons, and for three years, teaching Grade 4 in the morning; he is now to teaching Grades 8 and is the Academy’s IT Director; he joined our staff full-time in September, 2010. Charles and his wife, Susan, have two children, Connor and Mackenzie.
Mrs. Ashley Barry – Grade 7 Math and High School; Academic Assistant to the Administrator and Principal : Ashley is in her tenth year on staff. She has an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Pure Mathematics and a three-year concurrent Bachelor of Education (Junior-Intermediate Division) from York University. Her practicum was most of a school year in Grade 7 at Aldergrove P.S. In addition, she taught English for five months at Cornerstone English School in Uzgorod, Ukraine. While at Unionville High School, she received up to Grade 10 in French; this enabled her to teach Grade One French for us in her first year. Ashley has several years’ experience as Children’s Group Leader and Youth Group Leader at Markham Missionary Church, and a year assisting the Education Advocate of the Catholic Children’s Aid Society. Ashley’s husband, Sam, is on the pastoral staff at Markham Missionary Church. They have two children, Logan is in our Grade 3 class, and Marlie is in our SK.
Mrs. Shirley Goh – High School: Shirley has a Master of Divinity specializing in Educational Ministries from Tyndale Seminary, a Bachelor of Education from York University, and a Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature in bilingual stream also from York University. She has been one of our former French teachers but for health reasons, have had to step back from a full-time position. Currently, she is teaching part-time in our high school division’s English and History department. Mme Goh has a heart for students and desires to encourage them to grow in their relationship with God. She is fluent in English, French, has a good command of Korean, and basic understanding of Spanish. Shirley and her husband, Rev. Alan Goh, have two children; Nathan and Luke.
Mr. Elijah Wong – After School Club Supervisor; Grades 5 to 8 Computer Teacher; Physical Education Teacher for Grades 2 to 8; and After School Sports Club Coach: Elijah graduated with a Bachelor of Science, Mathematics from York University. His work experience includes retail and customer service. For three years, he was a counsellor with Kids Clubhouse, a summer program at Richmond Hill Chinese Baptist Church. At Logos Baptist Church (York Region), Elijah is a teacher assistant for the pre-teens worship, and is also the coordinator for the university group. Elijah plays and coaches the team sport of ultimate frisbee. He joined our staff in October of 2012. Besides teaching at RHCA, he is currently pursuing a Master of Divinity from Tyndale Seminary and teaching.
Mrs. Wendy Ledgister – Senior French: Wendy is in her sixteenth year on staff. She holds a B.A. Ordinary French Language and Literature with minors in economics, English and linguistics from Glendon College, York University. She has both business administration and teaching experience. For several years, she counselled at Beacon Bible Camp, and is involved in the music program and Sunday School at Rossland Ridge Bible Chapel. She is also fluent in Italian. She has her Grade 8 Piano (Royal Conservatory) and served for a number of years as our primary and junior grades music teacher. Wendy and her husband, Marco De Venezia, have two children; Jonathan graduated from our Grade 8 in 2011, and Rebecca graduated from our Grade 8 in 2015.
Mme Margrate Gebreal – Junior French; Margrate received a Bachelor of Arts in French Literature from the University of Windsor. She has about 11 years of teaching experiences in both French and English at several private and public Lebanese schools. She is in her fourth year of teaching at RHCA. Mme Gabreal has a love for people and a desire to encourage her students to strive for excellence. She is fluent in French, English, and Arabic. Mme Gebrael and her husband have three children.
Mrs. Fenny Lau – Senior Music: Except for one year on sabbatical, Fenny has been on our staff for twenty-one years. She holds a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Toronto. She is a conductor, pianist, accompanist, church musician, and arranger of choral and band music. She teaches a variety of instruments: strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion. She has her own piano studio and has taught for 33 years, from beginners to grade 10, ARCT in piano performance and ARCT in piano pedagogy. In church, she co-ordinates worship ministry, children ministry, and senior ministry. She is the mother of five grown up boys. Her husband is Rev. Dr. Michael Lau, senior pastor of Logos Baptist Church, York Region.
Ms. Mimi Fung – Junior Music: Mimi has an honours degree in Environmental Studies from York University and has studied at Seneca College in Computer Graphics Design and Layout and at Ryerson in Publishing. She has her Grade 10 Piano from RCM. For many years, she has been the Conductor of Children’s Choir, Music Director of Summer Vacation Bible School, and pianist for Sunday worship at Carmel Logos Baptist Church. Mimi was employed by the Toronto Stock Exchange for ten years but is now fully committed to a teaching career. She has received an Advanced Certificate in Early Childhood Music Education at the Royal Conservatory of Music and Ryerson University. She joined our staff in 2011 as a TA and kindergarten music teacher.
Mrs. Cecilia Liu – Junior Kindergarten Teacher Assistant: Cecilia joined our staff in September 2009. She earned a Bachelor of Arts with a Major in Mathematics for Commerce from York University in 1989, and worked as a medical secretary for 10 years. Cecilia has been an Awana leader, and taught Sunday School. As a teacher’s assistant to one our kindergarten teacher for more than 8 years, she assumed the role of a full-time teacher when the opportunity presented itself. This year, she is back at assisting in our Junior Kindergarten program. She has three children: Kristopher and Anthony both graduated from our Grade 8 program, and Victoria graduated from our Grade 12 program in the summer of 2020.
Mrs. Daphne Cheng – Senior Kindergarten Teacher Assistant: Daphne is a graduate of the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Applied Science. She is also a member of the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario. Despite her credentials, she has a love for children and has extensive volunteer experiences as a Sunday School teacher, Day-Camp Director, and teaching assistant at Pioneer Club. Her desire is to share the love of God with the next generation. Daphne and her husband have two girls – Ashleigh in our Grade 3 and Natalie in our Grade 1.
Mr. Dan Carels – School Vehicle Manager and Traffic Control: Dan has a B license and is our main bus driver and school vehicle manager, shuttling the classes to and from the Bayview Hill Community Centre, RHCCC gym, and taking out the occasional field trip. He drove school buses for Stock transportation for three years. In addition to being awarded Infrastructure Health and Safety Associations’ safe driver two years in a row, Dan is a certified mechanic.
Mrs. Shirley Sung – After School Supervisor: Shirley has been assisting in our after school clubs for a number of years. She worked with younger students. We are pleased to have her help during these uncertain times due to the global pandemic. She is experienced with supervision of students and is up to date regarding school and government health and safety protocols.