Mrs. Christine Andrew taught at Port Moody for two years and moved schools every year before that. She enjoys sharing knowledge and helping other people. “I discovered that I wanted to become a teacher when I worked with kids at the BC Aquarium” said Andrews. Her first teaching experience was when she went to Japan to teach English language for three years. “It was absolutely amazing! We lived in tropical islands and the environment was great; the kids were great and that really got me into teaching.” Mrs. Andrews’s philosophy for teaching is to try and reach out to all learners. “There are so many different learners, so I got to do what it takes to get to everybody.” If Mrs. Andrews wasn’t teaching, she would probably do something with food and dogs. She also enjoys playing badminton, snowshoeing and snowboarding. She is teaching Math and Science here this year in Riverside but will be taking a leave soon due to pregnancy.
Riverside students are welcoming a new member of the staff, Mrs. Claudia Durand, who taught at Summit Middle School for 15 years and is now teaching Socials, Planning and Keyboarding at Riverside Secondary. She is very passionate about teaching and she absolutely loves her job. “I knew I wanted to become a teacher when I was in university and I absolutely love spending time with the kids and opening their eyes to new knowledge and being able to make an impact in their lives” said Durand. “I believe that all students can learn when they are accepted for who and where they are in their educational journey. This learning needs to also take place in a positive environment which definitely includes laughter.” She mentions that she cannot imagine herself doing anything other than teaching and even if she had to go back, she would still do teaching and go back to the same field. Mrs. Durand favorite activities outside of school includes hiking, walking, scrapbook, photography and reading (when she can of course).
In addition to the new teaching staff, Riverside has also welcomed two new counselors to the team; Mr. Jamal Ahmelich and Ms. Alessia Calla. Almelich was a counselor at Riverside five years ago. He left to work at a customized learning center before returning to Riverside. “The other school was an alternative setting so it was a very small, flexible place and environment compared to Riverside” said Almelich, as well as “I love it here at Riverside! Since I was here five years ago, I had the experience of being able to know what I was getting into and what it was like here and how amazing the students and staff are!” Almelich enjoys helping people one on one which is one of the many reasons he decided to become a counselor. “Being able to see individual students progress through the four years is a real great.”
Previous to Riverside, Calla was a teacher on call while taking a master degree in counseling. Calla decided to become a counselor because she feels that the social and emotional health are both very important to the wellbeing of a student: she wants to help students with all their struggles. During her free time, Calla enjoys travelling, exercising, and just spending time outdoors. This is Calla’s first time working in a high school setting; she was part of the elementary school chain before. “I really enjoy the high school level and here the counseling department works as a team, while in elementary schools it sometimes feels more isolating, because there you’re just a single counselor,” said Calla.
Another new staff member is Mr. Grant Colegate. “With and ‘e’” he said, “not like the toothpaste brand”. Mr. Colegate worked at an Alternate Ed. Program in Coquitlam for two years where teachers can work one on one with students. Mr. Colegate had his most unique experience teaching a refugee newcomer program for people coming from war-torn countries. “They come from mostly in the Middle-East, and it was the students first time in Canada, first footsteps, and we were the first classroom they were ever in so it was cool I got to witness all of this”. He is happy at Riverside so far and he mentions that the students are outgoing and nice. “The staff are also extremely friendly and welcoming.” Mr. Colgate is teaching English and also is the teacher sponsor of Riverside’s swim team. Riverside welcomes him and he hopes he enjoys his time here.
Riverside has also welcomed the new librarian, Mrs. Susan Henderson. Prior to Riverside, Mrs. Henderson worked at the Blakeburn elementary library, at the Learning Collins Library at UBC, and at the Terry Fox Secondary Library. Mrs. Henderson has also taught English, having completed her masters in library science. She chose to become a librarian not only because of her love for books, but also because her job allows her to meet, interact and help a variety of students. “In this job I get to meet every kid in the school, work with every teacher in the school, and it’s just such a great opportunity. When I was an English teacher I would see 250 kids a year, but here were seeing between 700-900 kids a day” said Henderson. As a librarian, every day is very different which allows you to meet new students all the time. “From the day I walked in the door here, it’s been so positive and the kids are so polite, it just blows my mind how kind and gracious they are. The staff is also super supportive and collaborative.” Outside of school, Henderson loves to ski, having lived in Switzerland for two years, and she also loves to sail.
Another new staff member is Mrs. Atkinson, the assistant librarian. Atkinson has been to many schools, being a teacher on call for six years. “Riverside is amazing, and the students here are incredibly friendly. Everyone always has a smile on their face, and that was the first thing I noticed here.” Atkinson said. One of the reasons why Atkinson wanted to become a librarian was because of her love for books. “Picking a favorite book is tough but for right now, I’d have to say my favorite is the Harry Potter series”. In her free time, Atkinson enjoys sewing and appreciating the outdoors by going for walks.