Our Team

Our educators are not only passionate about the topics they teach, they are also committed to helping our learners explore their love of learning, become curious of the world around them, and feel confident in their abilities and sense of self.

Donna Richmond | Founder, CEO & Educator

I’m super grateful you dropped by!
I have been leading social emotional based classes for both children and adults for more than a decade. I hold a B.Sc. (H, Psy) and a M.A. Psych as well I’m certified and licensed in many coaching modalities including Erickson Coaching, Louise Hay Heal Your Life, MBSR, IIN Health Coaching, & others. I’m mom to four amazing boys! Two by birth, two by luck! I currently home educate my 12 and 14 yr old, this is currently our fourth year, and we are loving it!
However, for many years I held off on home educating my boys. Feelings of inadequacy and doubt plagued my mind, and that gave me a unique perspective on supporting children’s educational needs. For me and my family, home educating has become a wonderful decision that fulfills our family’s needs. However, I also know each family makes different decisions that will help their children and their unique education journey. With this knowledge in mind, I chose to start Northern Lights Academy to support other families like mine in creating educational experiences for their children that fits their needs and curiosities.

NLA Online Educator

Nicola Crowhurst| Onboarding Specialist

My name is Nicola and I live with my husband, 2 daughters, 1 dog, many fish and 4 ducks (out of comfort zone). I have a great diversity of personal interests, skills and passions.

I studied music at UBC and have enjoyed playing saxophone for the past 2 decades. I teach saxophone to local students and believe that music is powerful in so many ways, including brain development and therapy.

I work part-time grooming dogs which I find very satisfying as I really enjoy the end results. I trained in 2001 and have greeted puppies and said goodbye to senior dogs. My grooming dogs, and their humans, always have a special place in my heart. I am never afraid of a large job; my body will fail before my spirit does.

I have a supreme passion for mathematics and am in complete awe of the qualified mathematics applicants. I was raised by parents who taught mathematics at high school and college level, but I did not pursue this in university due to my focus on music. You can ask my homeschooled daughters what my favourite subject is and the answer would be “math” without hesitation.

Angela Alania| Community Coordinator

My bio is coming soon!

Cristel Umbaña | Assistant

Hi there! I’m Cristel and I work as a Virtual  Assistant here at NLA. I’m an outdoor person who loves going to the beach on a Saturday.

NLA Online Educator
Martha Camson| Social Media
Hello! My name is Martha and I joined the Northern Lights Academy team as social media manager and content creator. I have had experience teaching in preschool for about eight years as well as working with special needs learners in private tutoring sessions after completing my degree in Early Childhood Education and training in the Orton-Gillingham approach for reading. 
With my experiences and passion for education and design, I enjoy creating content that aims to spread positivity and add value to learners and their families in their learning journey. That’s why being part of the Northern Lights Academy team is like a dream for me since it gives me an opportunity to do that and work with amazing educators. 
Besides constantly brainstorming on design and creative content, I also like to journal, sing, play the guitar, and go out for walks to enjoy nature. 

Mahith Madhanakumar | Educator

I am a graduate research student in the Physics faculty of the University of New Brunswick (UNB) specializing in Space Physics. I also have completed a Masters in Theoretical Physics from Cochin University of Science And Technology, India, before coming to UNB where I worked on Cosmology trying to understand the reason why our universe accelerates – my publication entitled Expansion law from first law of thermodynamics could be found at 2018 J. Cosmol. Astropart. Phys. 2018 042; (arXiv:1808.00393).

 I teach Physics and Mathematics for students from grade 8 to university level. I am the teaching assistant and laboratory co-ordinator for undergraduate students in Physics at UNB since 2019 and have been tutoring students on a variety of Physics and Mathematics topics since 2016. I have worked with students from a variety of background, culture and ages, and feel highly obliged when told that I am a great mentor and a great team player. Additionally, I also volunteer for a Science centre where I help students in understanding the Physics behind various Science exhibits and also teach computer programming/coding.

 

My teaching style employs the SQI(Structured Quantitative Inquiry) approach, which is a framework for teaching inquiry and critical thinking where the students are encouraged to work through iterative cycles of comparisons and deciding how to act on the comparisons, thereby enabling my students to develop their knowledge and skills at their own pace.

During free time,  I do acrylic painting of landscapes and abstract posters of ideas from my mind, read sci-fi books and spent the night watching the stars and the moon using my mini telescope.

Marie-Ève Denis Bordeleau | Educator

All my life I have been attracted to the environment, wildlife and teaching others. I decided to pursue my studies in the field of environment and obtained a bachelor’s degree in ecology and environment. I gained field experience through various research opportunities, notably on the biotic impact of white-tailed deer on the regeneration of the Eardley Escarpment.

My professional experience has taken me into the field of land management and biology, where I have worked on everything from environmental rights to microbiology. I have always enjoyed sharing my knowledge in this field and in my other areas of expertise. By combining my two passions, I could talk about the environment and its protection while getting young people to explore the components of the environment.

Silvia Nunez | Educator

Miss Silvia has been working in the Education field for more than 10 years. Her experience, as a Montessori teacher, coordinator, and director, has grown her understanding of the development of young minds, acknowledging the importance of bonding and differentiating to support each child’s needs. As well, by integrating mindfulness into her classes, she offers a safe place where students can take the best of each moment. During her educational journey, she has completed a B. Ed. In Early Childhood Education, a B. A. In Industrial Design, an M. Ed. in Management and Leadership of Innovative Educational Institutions, and an M. Ed. in Second Language Learning at McGill University.

Wei Wang | Educator

I am Wei Wang, a Registered Early Childhood Educator from Ottawa. Now I am very proud of being an educator at Northern Lights Academy.

Eight years ago, I immigrated to Canada from China. I had ten years of working experience in China. Once I was a certified teacher in a junior middle school. I achieved a bachelor’s degree in English. After marriage, I moved to Beijing, and worked in the education service company. All my working experience was related to education. This profession gave me a great sense of achievement, and because I enjoyed the time with my children, I studied again a two-year early childhood education program at Algonquin college in Ottawa, in the hope of pursuing the course of education.

I believe that the children are active learners who are curious and capable. As an early childhood educator, I will provide them with play-based, developmentally appropriate, and interesting learning experiences to stimulate their imagination and exploration. My educational goal is supporting children’s learning and development in physical, cognitive, social emotional and lingual domains.

Dean Ingram | Educator

Hello.  My name is Dean Ingram and I am looking forward to being part of your learning journey.  I have been teaching for 29 years primarily as a Science Teacher in the Province of NL.  I hold a B.Sc (Biology), B.Ed and a M.Ed (Leadership) from Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador. I live in Clarenville, NL. I have been happily married for 24 years and I have a 20 year old son who is also pursuing
Education.  

In my spare time I enjoy watching sports of all types and I will admit I cheer for the Toronto Maple Leafs.  I enjoy outdoors activities and do my best to stay active.  I believe that learning is best achieved when the student is part of the process and engaged in the learning.  

The more the student is involved the more meaningful the material becomes for them.  When it is meaningful it is more likely to be understood and retained.  Fundamentally however it is important to have a positive relationship with the student.  We teach learners through the curriculum not the other way around.  

See you in class!

Ingrid Jamault | Educator

Ingrid is a Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Integrative Health Coach who is passionate about family, food, fitness, and fun!

She is a mom of three with a background that includes nursing and special education.

Ingrid’s mission is to teach life skills and healthy habits that incorporate nourishing food, joyful movement, and stress management into every day with ease.

She believes that healthy choices improve our bodies and our minds, and in turn enrich our lives immeasurably!

Luis Vega | Educator

Hi! I am Luis Vega, I’m 19 years old and I am a Graphic Design student living in Kingston, Ontario.

I am passionate about arts and tech, as well as video games and I like teaching what I know about these topics. I believe that learning can happen naturally, by experiencing the thing you’re learning.

During my free time you can catch me watching movies, making music, taking pictures outside or trying new games online.

Ricardo Loza | Educator

Hello! I’m Ricardo Loza and I am so excited to share my many years of experience in the field of learning technology to help students to achieve academic success. I hold a BSc in Computer Science from and a Masters in Adult Education from Central Michigan University. During my master’s degree, I completed a research thesis focused on the effective use of reading technology (text-to-speech) along with reading strategies to help students with reading difficulties to improve reading comprehension.

I am passionate about incorporating adaptive technology and learning strategies in education to support students in their journey to academic achievement. I believe that Educators can help students to accomplish academic success by providing opportunities to become actively engaged and interested in their learning. This is possible with the creation of engaging learning situations that give students an active role to make independently choices with the resources they use during learning.

On the flip side, I live in Mississauga, Ontario and I enjoy the nature and outdoor activities such as growing vegetables in my garden and jogging very early in the morning which help me to maintain a positive mindset and great enthusiasm throughout the day. I’m looking forward to meeting you virtually!

Malhar Kendurkar | Educator

Hello, I am Malhar Kendurkar, and I am an observational astronomer. Having always been fascinated by the night sky, my passion for pursuing astronomy and astro- physics began when I was completing high school, and it was the driving force behind my chosen field of studying post-secondary education. 

Living in Northern British Columbia has given me the extraordinary opportunity to practice Astronomy first hand locally and become a part of the wider Astronomy community. 

In my spare time, I enjoy nature adventures with my wife, exploring the mountains, taking photos of wildlife, stargazing, Astrophotography and playing guitar.

I believe every child can learn and contribute, andI look forward to being an education ally to the students of Northern Lights Academy

Rachel Barrington | Educator

Hello! I’m Rachel Barrington and I’m a biologist from central Ontario. I love being outside and learning about the natural world, and I’m excited to share some of that learning here at Northern Lights Academy.

I hold a BSc in Environmental and Resource Science from Trent University, and a post-graduate diploma in Environmental Management and Assessment from Algonquin College. For the last decade, I’ve had richly diverse experiences working with provincial parks, conservation authorities, non-profit environmental organizations and environmental consulting industries. In all of these roles, I specialized in environmental education and outreach for kids and adults. My favourite areas of focus are herptiles (reptiles and amphibians) and wetland ecology, though I also love birds and wildflowers! 

I’m married with many fur children; a dog, cat, fish, and two horses. I love houseplants and I’m gradually making my home look more and more like a jungle.

My classes will focus on natural science and biology, and will include games, group discussion, and hands on activities as much as possible. If that sounds like something you’re into, I hope to see you soon in class!  

And remember, of all the paths you walk in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.

NLA online educator
Mari MacDonald | Educator

Hello! I’m Mari, (pronounced M-are-ee) I am a passionate performing artist, currently based out  of Georgetown, Ontario. I am a trained triple threat performer who has been involved in the arts since the age of 6. I am a recent graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where I received my Master’s Degree in Musical Theatre Performance, as well as a graduate of Randolph  College for the Performing Arts, in Toronto. Performing is my first passion, however, teaching is  a very close runner up! I want to share my knowledge and love for the performing arts with  young minds who are intrigued by all aspects of dramatic arts. I am currently teaching musical  theatre at a local theatre company for learners ages 4-19. I am also a certified nanny/ caregiver  and have been looking after children of all ages for over 10 years. It is my goal to create a fun,  positive, uplifting learning environment where students feel comfortable and confident enough to  take risks, fail, make choices, and play! I am so excited to guide learners on their path with  performing arts and can’t wait to meet you and your family! 

Laura Velazquez | Educator

My name is Laura, and I am currently a PhD candidate in Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, at the University of Alberta. I also work for the Spanish department as an educational technologist, at the same University. I hold a BA in Classical Philology, an MA in Chinese Studies, and an MA in Comparative and World Literature (with focus on Classical Reception & Spanish).

I am a member of the Latin American Studies Association, and the Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association. I have been teaching languages, literature, cinema, and cultural studies in different countries for more than ten years. When I am not teaching, I enjoy traveling, watching movies, dancing, and playing different types of sports. Go Oilers!

I am an energetic supporter of foreign language study, as I think it builds bridges of understanding between people and it helps us develop flexibility. My main goal as an educator is to create a safe and friendly environment where students can discover the new worlds that language and culture learning opens up. 

Tyler Dilnot| Educator

Hello! My name is Tyler Dilnot, and I am a lifelong learner and teacher. I am currently pursuing a doctorate at York University in Toronto. I am interested in social and political movements in Latin America. I completed a Master of Education at the University of Toronto in 2017.

I’ve travelled and worked all across Canada and the world. Some of my fondest memories include teaching English in Southern China, hiking in Nepal, studying on exchange in Italy, and touring the Andes mountains through Argentina and Chile. These life experiences have fostered a lifelong passion for meeting new people, learning new things, and sharing what I’ve learned with others.

Today, I live between Toronto and rural Quebec with my partner and our dog. Together, we enjoy hiking, canoeing, reading, and communicating with learners of all ages who wish to pursue a thoughtful and engaging life of the mind.

Carolyn Dupont| Educator

I’m Carolyn Dupont and I’ve been working with young children for as long as I can remember.  

As an Early Childhood Educator, I’ve worked in a variety of childcare settings; in daycare centers with infants, toddlers and preschoolers, in schools with kindergarten and school aged children and as a home daycare provider.  

When I’m not working directly with children, I write about common parenting issues on my blog.   I live in Ottawa with my husband and son, where we enjoy visiting museums and riding our bikes along the Ottawa River.

educator janet featherstone
Janet Featherstone| Educator

Janet is passionate about photography and yoga. She began her film photography with learning how to develop her own photos, and went on to photograph weddings and corporate events. In 2008, she moved to digital photography, becoming passionate about travel, nature, and candid photography. Janet also completed the Yin & Taoist foundations training to teach Yoga and is currently working on completing the 500 hour training. Yoga is something Janet practices daily, adding to her meditation and living a holistic lifestyle. 

Lee Boothe | Educator

Hello! I am a proud Nutrition Nerd with a desire to share honest, accurate, science-based nutrition knowledge. I have a Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition and have been teaching human, equine and small animal nutrition for more than 20 years. I love to help students develop strong critical thinking skills when it comes to food and health claims.

I live in London, Ontario with my husband, dog and two cats.  I also have a horse named Barry, who happily carts me around the countryside on his back in exchange for carrots.

Shea Henderson| Educator

My name is Shea Henderson and I currently live in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  I have been an educator for 10+ years, focusing my career towards experiential education, and the benefits of community-connected learning opportunities.  I love everything from camping and canoeing to foraging from the land, and everything in between.

I also have a great passion for the culinary world. I have worked in a number of kitchens and have run my own successful catering company, developing custom, gourmet menus for a variety of audiences.  I love traveling the world to places like Fiji, New Zealand, the Galapagos Islands, and Ireland, all of these places giving me inspiration for great recipes.

Great conversations and learning can happen when people gather to cook great food and share their love for culinary exploration.  I look forward to sharing some of my ideas and also learning some new tricks along the way!

educator janet featherstone
Ashley Perry| Educator

Going back to school later in life, I found my passion in psychology,  youth and teaching. While gaining a diploma in Police Foundations, I  was able to do a fourteen week placement in a Durham District School  as an educational assistant, as well as attend and gain multiple  mental health related certifications. This is when I decided to  further pursue my interest in the brain and developmental psychology,  earning a bachelor degree with honors in Forensic Psychology. For over  four years I have been an educational instructor for youth 3-16,  turning virtual in the last two years,  as well as a recreational  therapist for neuro-diverse children. I have a passion for education,  psychology and also creativity. My hobbies include painting, baking,  making jewelry, documentaries, the outdoors and reading. I look  forward to sharing my combined passions and knowledge to create an  educational,  creative, inclusive space for all.

educator janet featherstone
Zaira Castillo| Educator

Hi, my name is Zaira. I am a child and youth care practitioner and have worked with children
and youth in different settings. I worked at an intensive day treatment program where I
implemented activities to enhance children and youth’s social, emotional and behavioural skills
while supporting their needs. As well as at a school and child care centres to support children
with their academic performances and encourage students to become lifelong learners. On my
free time I love to read and be active, whether that’s going on hikes with my dog or playing
different sports.
I’m excited to be part of the Northern Lights Academy team. My main goal is to create a class
that is engaging, positive, and welcoming environment that all students will enjoy. I look forward
to meet you!

Northern Lights Academy Educator
Meaghan Gaudet| Educator

Hello! My name is Meaghan and I am from Victoria, BC. I have a BSc with a major in Psychology, and have been working in childcare for the past five years. My focus of study has been children and youth mental health, and I have experience working one-on-one with supported children as well as with youth in crisis.
My number one passion is art, and I have been watercolour painting from the time I could hold a paintbrush! I run my own online art store and do freelance painting part-time. I strongly believe in art as a form of therapy,and incorporate my knowledge of mental health into my teachings. I have loved my time teaching art in childcare settings and am excited to teach online.
In my free time I enjoy baking, gardening, and all things crafty!

educator janet featherstone
Khushi Kamboj| Educator
Hi! My name is Khushi. I’m currently a student in Toronto, Ontario, earning my Bachelors in Graphic Design and Literature. I have over three years of experience teaching individuals and students in a variety of subjects such as Art, Design, English, and Creative Writing via online and in-person classes. I have worked with students ranging from complete beginners to those with intermediate experience. Teaching is something that I’m very passionate about and I would love to help you achieve your academic or non-academic learning goals.
educator janet featherstone
Dierdree Glassford| Educator

Well hello there, 

My name is Dierdree, feel free to call me Ms. Red! I am thrilled to be a part of the Northern Lights Academy team of Educators. It has always been a passion of mine to have a part in teaching the next generation of creative and critical thinkers. My education has been varied, as an artist you are always encouraged to get a “back up” career. I did just that, while pursuing my career in the Theatre simultaneously. So, as a “Jill of all Trades”, I have some pretty amazingly varied skills that I have attained through my education journey. From my years with Northern Essex Community College pursuing my degree in Theater, to Southern Maine Community College where I graduated in 2016 from their Hospitality Management program with a minor in the Culinary Arts program as well. Most recently, I graduated from CDI College with my degree in Medical Office Administration with honors’. In my spare time I have always yearned to learn more, which has led me to spend years learning about outdoor recreation & wilderness skills, knitting, and playing the fiddle. As a longtime student myself, as well as a working professional, I know how important it is to feel comfortable and safe in your classroom environment. I make it a point to create a sensory friendly and inclusive classroom for anyone who decides to have some fun and learn along the way with me. I look forward to offering options that hit upon all of my passions in life and cannot wait to be a part of your educational journey. See you in class!

Northern Lights Academy Educator
Connar Tague| Educator
Thanks for stopping in! My name is Connar (pronounced just like Conner or Connor), I’m a recent graduate of the Victimology program at Algonquin College and I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Forensic Science and Biology from Trent University. I’m passionate about making a difference in the world — whether it be advocating for victim’s rights in the legal system, contributing to research papers, or simply being a listening ear for those who need it. This passion has opened my eyes to the difference educators can make, no matter what the subject is. Thanks to Northern Lights Academy, I have the opportunity to teach about one of my favourite hobbies – crocheting!! I’ve been an avid crafter for my entire life, with crocheting being the one I find myself coming back to the most, especially in the last two years. I would love to pass on the skills I’ve learned to others who want to learn how to create their own beautiful masterpieces. I believe that crafts in general are a wonderful form of self-care, and crocheting has especially become an integral part of my own routine. When I’m not working or crocheting, I love going for walks at local nature trails, gardening, and reading! I hope to see you in class!
educator janet featherstone
Leona Lazarus| Educator

Hi! My name is Leona Emma Lazarus and I am excited to join the NLA team as a Creative Interest Educator. I have a Bachelor of Education degree with Honors in English Literature and a Master of Education Degree. I have additional certificates in Mental Health Studies and Psychological First Aid as well. I was born and raised in India in an Anglo-Indian family of educators, artists, musicians and dancers who have been my inspiration along my journey of building a career around what I am most passionate about- socio-emotional development through education. This journey brought me to Canada in 2018 where I now live in Kamloops,BC with my partner and our two cats. My many creative interests form a big part of maintaining a healthy mental balance in my personal life that have also found their way into my teaching practices. I spend my free time painting,reading, researching and writing, making
jewellery, knitting, cooking and baking.I also love the outdoors and gardening. I believe every individual is unique and this individuality must be nurtured through education for it to reach its full potential and socio-emotional development is a large part of the process. My classes aim to use creative skills for children and youth to connect with their inner selves and hope that it helps them in the way it did for me growing up. I look forward to seeing you in class and learning and growing together!

Morgan Braid. Educator with Northern Lights Academy
Morgan Braid| Educator

Hello! I’m Morgan Braid and I’m an artist and writer. I live in Summerland, British Columbia, with my husband and our two dogs. While I work on developing a professional portfolio and establishing myself as an illustrator, I keep myself busy by painting, woodburning, block printing, crocheting, writing short stories, reading comic books, being part of a pottery club, and upcycling thrifted clothes.

I have a BA in Linguistics and Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia, and have volunteered as a tutor and writing mentor for several years. I love learning new things and I’m very excited to be able to share my knowledge with students who are also passionate about the creative arts! Can’t wait to meet you!

nla educator
Don Michael Vickers| Educator

I am from Sydney Mines, Nova Scotia, Canada.

I discovered the memory world in June 2020 because I believed I had a poor memory and I searched ways to improve it. I worked relentlessly, and in a few months, I was able to memorize a deck of cards in less than a minute. Since this time, I have become a top 20 ranked player on Memory League including becoming the 5th ranked in the Words discipline, and have previously memorized 50 random words in 30.78 seconds. In October 2021, I finished 3rd in the Russia Memory League Open Championship in the pro division. My goal is to teach children these techniques so they can have greater success when studying for school and to make learning a fun, enjoyable experience in any subject matter. If you believe you have a poor memory, you don’t, you just don’t know how to use it.

 Samantha Thibault. NLA educator.
Samantha Thibault | Educator

Hi there! I’m Samantha, an Alberta-certified K-12 teacher with teaching experience across a wide range of subject areas. I graduated with my undergraduate degree in Latin American Studies prior to graduating in 2020 with my Bachelors of Education through the University of Calgary.

Throughout my life I have always had a love of food and a love of baking. Through traveling and studying, my love of food grew as I began to really see how deeply connected food and culture are, and just how much food brings people together. The coolest thing about food? The same three ingredients can be transformed into completely different dishes.

Being in the kitchen is a time to be creative and let your personality shine through your food so, in my classes, students are encouraged to put their own spin on the recipes that we will be making together. When I am not in the kitchen baking, I enjoy reading, listening to music, and spending time with family.

NLA Educator Amie Amendolia
Amie Amendolia| Educator
Hi! My name is Amie Amendolia, and I’m currently a Secondary Education student studying at the University of Alberta. I have a strong passion for both creative and academic writing, hence why I decided to pursue English as my major. Though I love writing and story telling, my true passions lie in language learning and the arts. Creativity has been a huge part of me for as long as I can remember!

With my students, I believe that communication is very important; Whether that be through writing, foreign languages, or through drawing, I hope we can share our stories with one another! I’m excited to meet all of you, and I’ll see you in class!