There is no doubt that it is the quality of teaching and learning that makes students’ success at school. At St. John’s Academy Shawnigan Lake, we make sure that teachers address each student’s unique learning needs and guide them toward personal success in each subject and interest area. We invest measurably in building responsible and experienced teaching staff, whose primary objective is academic excellence.
Mr. Joseph Adams,
English, Socials and Drama Instructor
As a teacher who has worked in Europe and North America, Joseph is looking forward to the exciting challenge of teaching at St John’s Academy Shawnigan Lake. Having come to teaching after a career in the Arts, he has always relished the creativity and growth mindset that teaching can present. “We have an opportunity at St. John’s Academy to provide a creative curriculum guided by the needs and interests of the students.” Joseph, his Canadian wife, four children, and Labrador dog moved from Oxford, England, to the island in 2016 (after twenty years in Europe) and fell in love with the Shawnigan-Mill Bay area. Joseph enjoys messing about in boats, the arts, and hiking, so this area was an instant fit with its breath-taking natural beauty and easy water access. He continues the transition of becoming a Vancouver Islander, enjoying a sense of new belonging in this spectacular West Coast setting.
Mr. Nick Yaremchuk,
Applied Design and Skills Instructor
Nick is a Canadian teacher who has had the privilege of working in a diverse group of international and independent schools from Bowen Island to Trinidad & Tobago and Argentina. He teaches because he feels content and alive when he learns and shares that learning with others. Nick was born in Saskatchewan, but Southern Vancouver Island has been home base for him for over 20 years. St. John’s vision and mission align with his values and goals. Nick believes good communities positively transform everyone within them, and he sees the makings of something special in Shawnigan Lake.
Ms. Martha George,
Art and French Instructor
Originally from Nova Scotia, Martha spent time living abroad in Switzerland, Australia, and South Africa before beginning University. Her travels broadened her knowledge of languages, cultures and the art world. After graduating from Memorial University, Martha worked as a sculpture technician in the wood, welding and clay studio at Grenfell Campus and grew her interest in ceramics. Continuing to build her knowledge in ceramics, she attended the Kootenay School of the Arts before making her way to Vancouver Island. The creative process, working together in a community, sharing ideas and different perspectives emphasizes what she brings to her classes and her own art practice. Her artistic interests include drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, and ceramics. She also enjoys fishing and foraging.
Mr. Travis Visscher,
Head of Physical & Outdoor Education
As a teacher, Travis has enjoyed a wonderful career working in different schools in Calgary and on Vancouver Island. After completing degrees from Trinity Western University and the University of Calgary, he proceeded to teach Physical Education and Outdoor Education in Calgary for the next 17 years. As a physical and outdoor education teacher, Travis has worked hard to build strong physical education, outdoor education, and athletics programs. He is an educator who is driven to promote positive school culture by assisting students to become well-balanced individuals with the desire to live life with integrity, compassion and a desire to find ways to make the lives of others around them better. Travis is very excited about the unique opportunity of being a part of the team opening St. John’s Academy Shawnigan Lake.
Mr. Jeff Trapp,
ELL Coordinator and Humanities Instructor
As an English language specialist, Jeff began his career in Japan. For his final two years in Japan, Jeff worked as a teacher-trainer, instructing new teachers on ESL methodologies and curriculum planning. This experience pushed him forward to take his Master’s in Second Language Acquisition at the School for International Training. This new knowledge led Jeff to teach at the UWC located in Victoria, BC where he became familiar with the IB program, an educational system designed to bring out the best in motivation and engagement. Working with highly motivated students in the IB program spurned him on to eventually take a sabbatical to start his own International Student Consulting business, providing tutoring, activities, and other support services for students. He also made a personal goal to sponsor the creation of a Rotary Interact Club, whereby youth can participate in the Rotary movement and gain valuable leadership experience in the Cowichan Valley.
Mr. Steve Sparling,
Steve has a BSc in mathematics, a Masters in Distance Education as well as an Associate of the Society of Actuaries, and is a teacher member of the Royal Statistical Society. He has taught both struggling students and gifted students from grade 8 to grade 12 including Advanced Placement calculus and statistics as well as the International Baccalaureate at both standard level and higher level. Steve was an exchange teacher at Malvern College in the UK for one year and taught International Baccalaureate mathematics at a boarding school in Wales for three years. He has twice been on the curriculum revision committee for the province of British Columbia and marked Government Examinations many times for both mathematics 12 and physics 12.
Julie earned her Bachelor of Mathematics (Honours) as well as Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology degrees both from the University of Waterloo. She is a certified teacher for Independent schools in the areas of Math and Business at all grade levels. For the past twelve years, she has been tutoring students at Elementary, High School, Undergraduate, and Graduate levels. Julie tutors in the areas of math, economics, stats, accounting, and finance. She has been working one-on-one with students for many years and is thrilled to have the opportunity to help a large number of students in a classroom setting. She enjoys working with youth and loves to hear things from her students like “I get it now” or “Hey, I’m smart.” Julie believes in the IB curriculum at St. John’s and its goal to create innovative thinkers and leaders which will be vital to our future. Julie was in a pi contest in University where she recited 154 digits which was part of a documentary film.