In a fundamental sense, West-Mont is the staff. West-Mont's faculty is a collection of people who are not only qualified and proficient, but also truly caring.
Our hallmark is individual attention for every child. In a personal and professional way, each teacher and staff member takes the time to connect with the child.
Student and teacher create a special relationship to ensure that the student is developing the skills and the confidence to become the best he or she can be. Each teacher cares about the whole child, and works to foster self-reliance, personal responsibility and fundamental respect.
Our staff is proud to be at West-Mont. They dedicate their time, their expertise, their heart and souls for the educational betterment of every child. We are fortunate to have a collection of people who strive to make a difference every day.
Cory has taught for over 20 years in a variety of schools and positions. He began his career in BC after earning his B. Ed. at the University of Victoria. He soon moved on to teaching overseas and has taught in international schools in Costa Rica, Venezuela, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. After obtaining his Masters of Education in Leadership he returned to BC and is now teaching in Redwood classroom (Grades 5 – 8) and working as Vice-Principal.
Cory believes in experiential teaching and ‘learning by doing’. He uses the amazing natural surroundings of West-Mont school to enhance his rigorous academic program. He encourages students to develop their leadership skills and to walk thoughtfully through life using the school’s virtues program.
Barbara received her Certified General Accountant (CGA) degree in
1989 and has worked in the accounting and business field for over
30 years, nine of which have been as the West-Mont School Business
spent many years working in public practice, became a tax specialist,
including cross border taxation and ultimately moved into private
business. During her time at West-Mont, the school’s financial
picture has strengthened considerably, including operating surpluses
each year, a very strong balance sheet and a first rate credit rating
with financial institutions.
After working part-time at West-Mont School for a year, Barbara was so impressed by what she saw going on at the school that she and her husband enrolled their sons, who were home-schooled at the time, into West-Mont School. They had an excellent experience at West-Mont and both boys have gone on to do very well in their subsequent schooling, achieving top student standings in many areas.
Barbara very much enjoys interacting with the students, parents, staff and being part of West-Mont’s administrative team. She believes in an open door policy and being welcoming and approachable.
Barb first came to West-Mont as the parent of a three year old son. After seeing him “blossom” in the Montessori environment, she became intrigued with this method of education. Her son’s passion was Math, and in this enriched environment he was free to explore the Montessori math materials – he had spontaneously learned the times tables at the age of 4! Then Barb began her Montessori training and has never looked back. Barb taught many years in the Early Primary rooms, and for the last three years has been enjoying a K/1 class.
Barb’s credentials include: E.C.E. diploma, B.A. in Child and Youth Care, Montessori Teaching diploma and B.C. Independent School teaching certificate. Barb is also the Admissions and Early Primary Coordinator.
Jason is a graduate of the University of Winnipeg and has a B.Ed. He has taught in the public school system in Nunavut and has worked with youth in South America and Africa. Jason has a long history of working with youth in outdoor education settings and summer camps.
He is a passionate educator with a strong focus on hands-on learning. Jason brings his extensive travelling experience to the classroom and encourages students to take on new learning challenges and experiences.
Jason enjoys exploring novels, mathematics, the beauty of science, and sea kayaking with his students. He has been a member of the West-Mont team since August 2007 and currently teaches in the Redwood room with Grade 4 to 8 students.
Daralee received her B. Ed. from the University of Calgary in 1994 and has taught in Alberta, Manitoba and British Columbia in a variety of elementary and junior high settings: regular classroom, Montessori, and Student Services (Resource). Daralee is committed to ongoing Professional Development. She has received Elementary Montessori training through the Western Montessori Teacher’s College and 3-6 year old training through the West-Mont Montessori Training Program.
Daralee also brings a strong background in extracurricular activities. She competed competitively in cross-country skiing and swimming; has coached swimming, basketball, volleyball and cross-country running; holds a certificate in photography from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology; and has a love for outdoor pursuits such as hiking, kayaking, and running.
Jodi Laurie gained her Masters degree in Education Administration in 1996. Her Elementary and counselling experience includes teaching from Kindergarten to Grade 8.
As a resoure teacher, Jodi works with students in all classes, supporting teachers and educational assistants with programming.
Debra comes to West-Mont via Kyoto Japan. She worked in Japan teaching English to all ages.
Along with her Education degree she also has a degree in Agriculture.
Debra is working on her Montessori training through our school Early Years Montessori Program.
Jan worked in the business world when, with her first son, she was introduced to Montessori Education.
Jan then pursued Montessori Education by getting her certification in Sri Lanka which also gave her Early Childhood training.
Our newest member to our teaching staff Michelle has been running her own day care out of her home in Sooke for the past six years.
She has a wealth of experience of working with pre-school students both here and in Japan.
Michelle has completed her Montessori Training here in Victoria through the Angela Martin Centre and is also a fully qualified Early Childhood educator.
Michelle is a committed Montessori Teacher who loves working with young children.
Linda has a Bachelor’s degree in education and is a licensed Early Childhood Educator. Linda has eighteen years of experience working with children in both the independent and public school systems as well as in a variety of preschool settings.
Linda is dedicated to fostering positive, enriched early learning experience for her students and is particularly interested in promoting early literacy skills through storytelling and songs.
Liz has been with West-Mont since 1993 when her son enrolled in Grade 2. At that time she and a few other parents collected books from the classrooms and a closet to form the school Library. Liz volunteered as Librarian until 2007 when the position became a paid one. Both of her children attended West-Mont to the furthest grades available – Grade 9 for Jake and Grade 6 for Katie.
Liz and her husband John have been very strong supporters of West-Mont over the years with John serving as a Director on the Board in the 1990’s. Liz held various positions on the PAC, in addition to the Library during her years at the school.
The Liz Koolman Volunteer Award was developed to honour her participation through the years and is awarded annually to a deserving volunteer. In 2006 the staff honoured Liz by naming the Library of her. Liz enjoys the library work and likes nothing better than helping students and teachers find the books they need from the thousands which make up the Library collection.
Norma received her B. Ed from Simon Fraser University in 1978 and has been in the field of education for 29 years. She has taught Kindergarten to Grade 6, worked as a learning assistant teacher, student achievement teacher and a reading specialist. Norma has extensive training in Balanced Literacy and has assisted other teachers with the implementation of the program. She has taken graduate courses in special education and continues to be a life long learner.
Norma believes in ensuring that children have a supportive and enriched learning environment. She challenges and coaxes each child she works with towards success.
Norma started her career in Abbotsford and Coquitlam and then spent 20 years in Edmonton. After raising two sons, she and her husband moved back to BC in 2008.
Norma enjoys working outside on their property, hiking, and canoeing. She is involved in the community as an active member of Metchosin Search and Rescue.
Megan E. Gilbert is an American born artist who has recently moved from Paris, France to Victoria, BC. Her work predominantly includes illustration and installation as well graphic design and art education. She received a B.A. in Art Education from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, California in 2006.
She has been a Montessori assistant teacher as well as the Monart art instructor at the Montessori School of San Diego, and is currently pursuing her Montessori credential at West-Mont. Please visit her website: megan-gilbert.com for a better picture of Megan's art and background.
Lorraine's original connection with West-Mont was when she and her husband enrolled two of their sons at the school when they were in Grades 5 and 7 respectively. Parents were asked if they had any expertise they could share with the students on Friday afternoons, so she volunteered to teach Zimbabwean marimba to one of these groups. It was supposed to be a six week commitment, and she taught them in her garage with borrowed instruments. It turned out to be so popular with the students that it became a whole year project and the school purchased its own set of marimbas.
Presently all students from Grade 4
through Grade 8 learn marimba. Lorraine's goal as a teacher is to have
the students give their best and most enthusiastic effort, and not to
worry about making mistakes. This way they can feel free to learn how
to improvise new variations to their song parts and above all,
experience the fun it can be to create music together.
Lorraine's educational background is in classical music (BMus. at UVic,) and she taught private and group piano for 18 years both out of her home studio and through various public and independent schools. She teaches using the traditional Zimbabwean method, through which students learn by imitation, but also incorporates many principles of Western composition, notation and theory. She also performs with Chikoro marimba ensemble, which includes current and past teachers from WestMont and alumni students.
Kim received her B. Ed. from University of Victoria in 1991 and taught for many years at a school in Richmond that specializes in gifted education. During this time, she took Professional Development courses at the University of British to further her understanding of multi-exceptional children – those individuals with more than one designation. After moving to Victoria in 2008, Kim worked as a teacher-on-call and started a tutoring company, both of which kept her extremely busy. When a teaching position at West-Mont became available, she jumped at the opportunity. Kim is absolutely thrilled to be teaching at the school and is currently taking the Montessori training course (6-9) through the Vancouver School Board.
Lucille joined the West-Mont Family as a parent in 2000 when her daughter Molly enrolled in Grade 5. She taught art and sewing as a volunteer until the spring of 2003, when she was hired as an educational assistant. In addition to her work as an aide, Lucille teaches Art to the Maple, Redwood, and Willow classes. She has helped Lorraine Buchanan teach Marimba for the past three years, and is a tireless worker for many of the school`s special events.
Lucille`s background is largely in tailoring and design, and in graphic design for the commercial printing, newspaper, and magazine industries.
Magnus recieved his B.Ed from the University of Calgary in 1997, and has taught primarily in Grades 7-12 in Math, Science, and Computers. In addition to his role as a teacher, he has been the technology co-ordinator for all the schools he has worked at.
Magnus left teaching for several years when he obtained a Masters in Environmental Design with an emphasis on Sustainable Product Design from the University of Calgary. He has subsequently worked professionally as a product designer in the medical, boating, furniture, and graphic design industries. Magnus returned to teaching in 2007.
Upon completion of her B.Ed at the University of Regina, Nancy moved to Hawaii where she pursued her Montessori training and spent 14 years teaching at a Montessori school. She was also involved with several student exchange programs and taught ESL to students from Japan. She was thrilled to make the move from one beautiful family-oriented island school to another and is in her second year at West-Mont School.
Betina Pickelein comes to us from Germany, where she completed both her Bachelor of Education and her Montessori Diploma. She has taught for many years in Germany and Canada, with children from 3 - 9 years of age. Betina has two children aged 1 and 3, and her older daughter attends West-Mont. Betina loves the family-friendly atmosphere at West-Mont and the wonderful opportunities for nature studies that are available with the garden, pond, forest and ocean near by. Betina shares her passion for the Montessori method with both her students and the entire Early Primary team, for whom Betina is the head directress.
Caroline is thrilled to teach the French program to all students at West-Mont for a second year. She also teaches various subjects in the Garry Oakand Douglas Fir classes. She loves being able to connect with every student in the school. Caroline received her B.Ed in 2007 along with a B.A. in Anthropology with studies in French. She is currently completing her Montessori training.
Shannon graduated from Malaspina University in 2002 with a concurrent degree in Education and Arts, with a major in English. She has worked with all ages of children for most of her life in a variety of public, private and recreational settings. Shannon has experience working as an aide for children with special needs, a private teacher of home school programs and as an ESL instructor for children and adults.
West-Mont is where Shannon has come to share her love of teaching and learning. She truly believes in the Montessori philosophy and is currently working toward obtaining her Montessori teaching diploma. She feels fortunate and proud to be a part of the West-Mont family for a second year now, both as a member of such a dynamic teaching team, and as a parent.
Though Shannon has a colourful list of personal and professional interests and pursuits, including photography, paper crafts, collecting vintage finds, horseback riding and other outdoor adventures, Shannon’s daughter is her true inspiration and guide.
Jessica comes from a Recreation background and has worked with children in preschool programs, skating lessons, after school care, summer camps and other sports programs. She also works privately as an aide for children with needs on the Autism Spectrum.
She completed her undergraduate Psychology degree focusing on child and adolescent development in 2004, and her Masters in Leadership studies in 2009. Currently Jessica is completing the Early Years Montessori Program at West-Mont. Jessica was drawn to West-Mont when considering her sonís future education, and she became a regular substitute last year. She is now very excited to be working on staff as a teacher and an educational assistant and her son will be joining the Intro to Preschool program later in the year.