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Our Faculty

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 helping to found a new school 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 mind-set 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, Outdoor Education, and Physical & Health Instructor 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. Along with his family, he loves exploring different places, hiking, camping and enjoys walking down on local beaches. 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 abroad, teaching in Japan at the largest language school company in the country. 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 United World College located in Victoria, BC where he became familiar with the International Baccalaureate (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 international students and their families. 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.
  • Ms. Mar Martínez, Science and Junior Math Instructor Mar’s scientific journey has been exciting. She has over 30 years of experience working in the fields of science and education. Mar started as a Marine Ecologist and later entered the world of remote sensing. She has participated in aerial and field missions (nationally and internationally) monitoring biophysical changes worldwide. She has presented at mine reclamation and oceanographic conferences, organized scientific sessions and workshops, and liaised between diverse sectors and cultures. Mar is a life-long learner, and she is always taking courses in a variety of topics from Climate Change to Reconciliation Through Education. Ms. Martínez did her Master’s in Environmental Practice through Royal Roads University and has received the Chancellor’s Award.Mar is grateful for all the opportunities and mentors that have guided her journey. Her work with First Nations has taught her about her duties as ‘elder.’ It is her turn now. She wants to do her part to guide the next generation by sharing her knowledge and perspectives. Mar will provide all the support to help the young in their journey onwards. The vision and core principles at St. John’s Academy are Mar’s very own. She is looking forward to working with people with the same values and understanding of what education can be.
  • Mr. Steve Sparling, Math Instructor Most of Steve’s career has been teaching high school mathematics on Vancouver Island but he started his career in high school teaching swimming, tutoring mathematics, and counselling at a wilderness summer camp in the rugged west coast of British Columbia. 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. For ten years Steve taught adult education: everything from basic arithmetic to high school mathematics and physics.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.