Possessing world class expertise and experience, Claren Academy's educators, advisors, and directors are dedicated to providing the best possible education for our students.
Tracy Gates has over 25 years of experience teaching learners in K-7, as well as student teachers from UBC and SFU. Tracy holds a B. Ed from the University of Saskatchewan and an M. A. from UBC in Curriculum and Instruction. She has experience writing curriculum, piloting social entrepreneurship programs for children, and working with diverse learners in Canada and abroad. Her previous administration experience involved being a District Mentor in the Vancouver School Board and Vice-Principal in the New Westminster School District. Her passions are literacy, social justice and supporting teachers’ growth. Tracy is also one of the founders of Project Maltioxinem, a registered charity that provides free English classes to elementary school-age girls and mothers in the rural Mayan community of San Pedro La Laguna. When not consuming educational books, she likes to play beach volleyball, listen to podcasts, and spend time with her family.
Primary Teacher and Literacy Coordinator
Sally acquired her Bachelor of Education in Primary Education from the University of Bedfordshire in England. She has over 10 years of teaching experience both in England and Vancouver’s independent schools since moving to Canada in 2012. Throughout her career, Sally has strived to provide exciting learning experiences which spark curiosity, and develop creative and critical thinking skills. She is a lifelong learner, who is continually in awe of the world around her and the students she teaches! In her spare time, Sally loves to be out in nature hiking with her puppy and skiing in winter. She also enjoys spending time with her family, reading, watching Netflix, or trying new recipes. Sally is delighted to join Claren Academy’s dynamic teaching team and is looking forward to supporting the school’s continued growth through sharing her knowledge and expertise.
Teacher and Technology Coordinator
Douglas obtained his H.B.Sc and Masters of Teaching from the University of Toronto. During his education he conducted independent research on teachers who use technology to promote real world connections with the curriculum. Beyond teaching, Douglas is a published neuroscience researcher who investigated memory through novel and innovative imaging techniques. He has been a performing musician for over 15 years and shares the same level of enthusiasm he demonstrates on stage with the students of Claren Academy.
Christina graduated from Maynooth University, Ireland with a Bachelor of Education, Honours in 2016. She spent two years teaching in Ireland in the upper primary grades and in Learning Support, and a summer teaching English abroad, before taking the plunge and moving to Vancouver. She joined Claren Academy as a Kindergarten teacher in 2022. Christina is passionate about sustainability and literacy and is looking forward to exploring those areas further. When she isn’t teaching or thinking about teaching, Christina likes to read on the beach, bake up a storm in her apartment’s teeny kitchen or see what new craft she can attempt to master. She is excited to be part of a passionate and supportive team of educators, focused on the youngest learners at Claren Academy.
Rose Jannati received her Bachelor of Early Childhood Education from Capilano University where she gained a lot of experience working with children through attending engaging practicums. After working with younger children for a few years, Rose decided to continue her education at UBC and become an elementary school teacher. Rose’s philosophy is Reggio Emilia and she sees children as active learners and capable individuals. Teaching students through hands-on activities such as visual art, music, and drama are her goals. In her free time, Rose teaches children to reach their social and academic goals. She also enjoys cooking, hiking, swimming and exercising. Rose is excited to be a member of the Claren Academy team and teach new skills to her students.
Primary and Intermediate Teacher
Noah Waspe has been teaching for over 15 years. He received his teaching degree back in 2006 (University of Cincinnati, USA) and completed his Masters in 2018 (Miami University, USA). His Masters research focused on the impact of makerspaces and inquiry-based activities, such as Genius Hour. When he’s not teaching, he’s probably either writing about teaching or podcasting about teaching. Noah is a contributing writer for popular teaching blog, MovingWriters.org and he produces the Write Answers podcast for the Ohio Writing Project. All that said, he is also an avid tinkerer and musician. He is obsessed with creativity and learning. In their spare time, Noah and his wife enjoy hiking with their two goofy dogs and exploring the city. Noah is thrilled to be part of the Claren Academy community..
Intermediate Teacher and Language Specialist
Wendy Lo has been teaching for over 15 years. She holds a Master of Education degree in Educational Studies (HKU), a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology (UBC), a Bachelor of Education degree with an elementary concentration (UBC), and a Teach English and a Foreign Language Certificate. As a BC Certified teacher, she has taught in Vancouver and aboard. Wendy is excited about using her experience in different countries to ignite the potential in all children to become successful and independent learners. She aims to foster experiences that encourage lifelong learning and fond school memories at Claren Academy. In her spare time, Wendy enjoys baking, exploring new recipes, experiencing new cultures and foods, cycling and spending time with her family and friends.
Middle Years Science and Math Teacher and Visual Arts Specialist
Katherine obtained a Bachelor of Education from the University of Calgary and Bachelor of Science specialized in Environmental Earth Science from the University of Alberta. Prior to teaching she worked as an Environmental Scientist specializing in hydrogeology and wildlife biology. Often working in remote wetlands and forests, she always found the time to do community outreach with local conservation areas and teaching children outdoor education. One day in a swamp, she realized her true love for elementary science education and never looked back. She has acquired over 5 years of classroom teaching experience, and countless more as an outdoor educator. In her spare time she still feels at home walking in a forest, but equally loves oil painting, pottery, and creating mixed media. She also enjoys visiting museums, swimming and travelling.
Middle Years Humanities Teacher and Music Specialist
Anne Bonnycastle has been teaching in K-12 public and independent schools for over 25 years. She holds a Bachelor of Music, an M.A. in Educational Psychology from SFU and a Doctorate in Music Education from Boston University. Her experience ranges from directing large music ensembles, to teaching humanities, to instructional coaching. Her doctoral thesis focused on school culture and she has a passion for educational research. Anne serves on a number of non-profit boards, including the Board of the Vancouver Chamber Choir. In her spare time, she loves to go hiking in the amazing country surrounding Vancouver. She is thrilled to join the staff at Claren Academy, and to be part of the students’ learning journey.
Education Assistant & Teacher-On-Call
Shauna is pleased to join the Claren Academy team as an Education Assistant & Teacher-On-Call supporting student learning and assisting teaching staff in the classroom. Shauna graduated from Dublin City University with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education & Biology in 2019, obtaining first class honours. She has three years teaching experience in secondary schools in Ireland covering PE, Junior Cycle Science, Leaving Certificate Biology and learning support. In her spare time, Shauna enjoys playing basketball, going to the gym, running, yoga & paddle boarding. She has a passion for performing arts and choreographed school musicals in her previous work in Ireland. She is excited to be a part of the Claren Academy community.
Sydney Marino performs both administrative and classroom duties at Claren Academy. She is the point of contact between parents, teachers, and students and helps to foster the growing Claren Academy community. Sydney is an educator and writer who holds a BFA in Creative Writing from UBC. She has been teaching theatre and writing for over five years at Arts Umbrella, where she worked with students aged 2-19. Sydney has also worked with The Arts Club’s education department, and currently teaches their Intro to Playwriting classes. She loves working with kids, and encouraging them to be imaginative and creative. Sydney is also a playwright whose work has been produced by Killarney Theatre and the Brave New Play Rites festival. She is the artist in residence at Killarney Secondary School, where she is writing and directing an original play for youth. Sydney is excited to be a part of Claren Academy’s wonderful school community!
Andrea Freytag earned her Master’s degree in Education in Vienna and worked as a primary school teacher and tutor in Austria until her family moved to Vancouver in 2008. She worked as an educational assistant and special education assistant at a private school in Burnaby for several years prior to having her son, who also attends Claren Academy. In addition, she gained teaching and supervision aid experience at the Vancouver Westside German School and the Vancouver School Board. Most recently, Andrea was the receptionist at a private school responsible for various administrative duties. She is thrilled to be part of the Claren Academy team and hopes to bring her experience and passion for children to our amazing school community.
Charles Fadel is the Founder and Chairman of the Center for Curriculum Redesign, and has many affiliations including Harvard’s Graduate School of Education where he is a Visiting Practitioner exploring curriculum redesign concepts. He is a global education thought leader, futurist, and expert, author and inventor. His latest book, Four Dimensional Education – The Competencies Students Need to Succeed has been greatly influential for governments, parents, and schools.
Yong Zhao is a Foundations Distinguished Professor in the School of Education at the University of Kansas. His research interests include educational policy, computer gaming and education, diffusion of innovations, teacher adoption of technology, computer-assisted language learning, and globalization and education. He explores these subjects in over 30 books, including World Class Learners, which is a must-read for parents and teachers interested in curriculum reform.
Zoe Si is a cartoonist and illustrator with a lifelong passion for laughing at her own jokes. She believes in the power of words, but also that wherever words fail, a cartoon can usually succeed.
Zoe holds a Juris Doctor degree (2013) from the University of British Columbia and practiced law for a number of years. She now spends her days making children’s books, cartooning and writing funny articles for The New Yorker, and drawing comics of everything in sight. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia with her husband and a fluffy dog. In her spare time, she enjoys climbing mountains and petting other people’s dogs. Instagram: @zoesees
High School Advisor
Andy is an international education consultant, based in West Vancouver. He retired from the Vancouver School Board in 2010, having worked in public education in BC for 36 years, starting off as a History and Economics teacher. He became a curriculum consultant with the Vancouver School Board, and in the concluding 15 years, serving in the capacity of Secondary School Principal at three VSB high schools. Andy has also served on numerous educational Boards including the Canadian Multicultural Education Council and the International Board for International Baccalaureate. In his capacity as consultant, Andy has worked with a number of educational organizations, including the IB, as well as school districts, and private education networks in the field of curriculum and educational leadership. In a volunteer capacity, Andy also serves on numerous Boards in his community. He brings his expertise to Claren Academy on the High School Planning Committee.
John is an educational leader and senior administrator with over 10 years of experience in developing and sustaining non-profit educational organisations. He has headed and served as advisor in schools with diverse settings and curricula. With a passion for individual learning needs, John volunteers in extra-curricular teaching and parent education. John has been involved in Claren Academy since its founding, and contributes valuable expertise in communications and admissions.
Co-founder and Executive Director
Kathryn Sykes is a Registered Social Worker with over 15 years of experience working with and advising non-profit organizations. Kathryn is the chair of the Claren Academy Society Board of Directors, as well as the Executive Director of the school. She is also a mother to two young boys, and is committed to providing them with a forward-thinking, world class education at Claren Academy.
Co-founder and Director
Ryan is a serial entrepreneur and an award winning video game developer. He holds a degree in Microbiology & Immunology from UBC. A self-taught programmer and game designer, Ryan knows first hand the value of “learning how to learn” and hopes to ignite that same love of learning in Claren Academy’s students.
Katherine is a practicing lawyer and Partner at McMillan LLP, one of Canada’s leading business law firms. Katherine’s desire to help Claren succeed stems in part from her law practice, where she regularly assists tech entrepreneurs with legal matters, and sees first hand their motivation and passion. She is also an advisor and volunteer with App Camp For Girls, a summer day camp aimed at addressing the gender imbalance in the software development profession.
Jamie founded Klei Entertainment in 2005 in a rented basement, and steadily built it to be a thriving independent developer of original games. Klei’s award-winning games are played by millions of people worldwide. Jamie holds a B.Sc. in Computing Science and is a programmer, producer, and game designer.
Jennifer has over ten years of experience with non-profit organizations. After completing a Bachelor of Science at UBC, she went on to earn her accounting designation (CPA, CA) while working at Deloitte. Since 2011, she has worked with the Chartered Professional Accountants of BC in a number of leadership roles, and is currently in the Professional Development Department. Her combined love of numbers and continuous learning serve her well both in her career, and in her role on the board of Claren Academy.
A Math and Language Arts teacher by training in such diverse locations as Swaziland and the Kainai Reserve in Alberta, Rob’s career turned 90 degrees into administration while working in the United Arab Emirates when Ramadan crept into his teaching practice. Upon returning to Canada, he joined the Sauder school of Business and is currently Director of Learning Services. Rob’s interest in contributing to Claren stems from his involvement over the past few years with the public education system. He believes that Claren Academy can positively influence significant change within the public system for all students in the province by modelling a new paradigm. Helping a school such as Claren navigate the waters as an educator, an educational technologist, a parent (whose son attends UHill Secondary), and a senior administrator at UBC will go a long way in helping all children of BC.