SelfDesign High feels fortunate to have a diversity of people involved in the vitality and functioning of our learning community. Our community displays a true passion for education, community spirit, and the benefits of engaging learning experiences. Our mentors are knowledgeable in many areas and have great interest in diverse approaches to learning.
Why Mentor and not "Teacher"?
This conscious choice of the use of the term mentor is deeply related to our approach and the SelfDesign™ methodology. Mentor as we are using it: "wise and trusted guide", is from it's etymological ancient Greek roots. The image is individuals sitting side by side, learner and mentor gazing out at a shared interest, subject, and passion.
Meet our Mentors
Alison Talbot Kelly - English 12, World Religion, BC First Nations, Peace Studies.
Alison came to Nelson from Montreal where she was a teacher at college level for 8 years in the Humanities, Philosophy and Religion departments. She has degrees in Philosophy (McGill) and Religious Studies and a Master's in Anthropology/Religious Studies (MacMaster). Along with sporadic engagements teaching at Selkirk College Alison has been involved with SelfDesignHigh developing curriculum and administration/PR work. The questions lurking behind much of what interests Alison are "What do we need to know? " and "What influences how we know?"
Amber Santos - Street Art, Independent Studies, Media Savvy, Portuguese and Photography.
Kootenay-raised Amber Santos is an educator and artist who loves to dance and paint on the streets. Her formal education includes studying photography at Concordia University and Fine Arts at Universidade Estadual de Santa Catarina in Brazil. However, she considers her greatest university to have been the communities of Recife, Brazil, together with street educators and youth, transforming it in a positive way through art and community media.
Amy Forget - Science
Amy holds two degrees from Nipissing University in Ontario with a BA (teachable in geography) and a Bachelor of Education. Her progressive approach to learning supports a student centred and enquiry based techniques that encourage individual expression and diversity. Along with course development Amy has been providing SelfDesignHigh staff and students administrative and learning support.
Barbarah Nicoll - Humanities, Peace Studies
Barbarah Nicoll is passionate about human beings as learners in the process of dynamic unfolding. This passion is currently being expressed at SelfDesign High in administration, course development and mentoring peace focused courses and experiences. Barbarah holds a Bachelor of General Studies Degree, a Waldorf High School Teacher Diploma and a Masters of Arts in Integrated Studies with a focus on Understanding The Heart in Connection to Learning and Education. A musician and dancer, and a new grandmother, Barbarah loves life.
Colleen Burke - Math, Chemistry 11
With a passion for experiential education, living is learning has always been Colleen's personal life stance. She has worn many hats, exploring the world as a tall ship sailor, wilderness guide, Japanese kindergarten sensei, youth worker, and civil engineer. Not long after completing her B.Sc. in Civil Engineering, Colleen craved the challenge of academic pursuits and returned to school to earn B.Ed. in Mathematics and Physics. A problem solver by nature, Colleen loves melding her leadership experience with math learning here at SelfDesign High.
David Russell Lowen - Social 10 & 11, P.E., Planning 10,
David's philosophy of learning is essentially based on Vygotsky's constructivist approach to learning. David values the SelfDesign model for learning and the approach towards an individualized and meaningful discovery of learning. David has a special interest in the Humanities and has spent the last four years teaching at an International School in the Middle East where he taught courses on Peace and Conflict, Environmental Management, and Information Technology in a Global Society. David is excited to be mentoring with SelfDesign High and currently calls Nelson his home. David enjoys the outdoors in beautiful, super-natural British Columbia and is always looking forward to new learning experiences
Diane Walters - Earth Sciences, Astronomy and Practical Arts
Diane Walters is a trained Waldorf teacher who holds a BC Independent Schools Certificate and a Masters Degree in Liberal Arts with a focus on adolescent participatory learning styles. She has had a lifelong interest on the subjects of geology, ecology, geography, astronomy, agriculture, education and the practical arts. Diane’s 30 year relationship with stone and clay is one she plans to share with SelfDesignHigh learners and community members.
Earl Hamilton - English 12
Earl is eclipsing a life long career in public schools with a sortie into teaching 'unfettered' at SelfDesign High. He owes his love of Waldorf schooling to the devas in his wife's garden. With a BA from the University of Michigan and his BED from the University of British Columbia, Earl brings diversity of educational and world experience to his workshops.
Emma Baker - Biology, Science 10
Emma was an environmental science college lecturer in England before moving to British Columbia in 2001 to join her Canadian husband. Since then, she has worked in a range of jobs, from housekeeper at ski condos to online teacher for North Coast Distance Education School. She currently lives in Kimberley, where she is Administrative Director for Wildsight, an environmental charity working hard to protect biodiversity and encourage sustainable communities in the Kootenays. She enjoys sharing the wonder of the world with her two young sons, whose enthusiasm for everything reminds her why learning is what life is all about.
Hanan Kaddage - Math, Physics 11
Originally from Ontario, Hanan received her B.Sc (Civil Engineering) from Queen's University. Her passion for math and science led her to pursue her B.ed with a focus on teaching senior Math and Physics. Hanan taught in Burnham, UK, worked with adult learners in Kingston, ON and currently lives in Vancouver, BC. The west coast has provided many opportunities, including working with learner in a unique student centered online environment at SelfDesign High.
Ian Dawe - Biology, Film Studies
Ian has been an educator for about a decade, and still feels very new to the profession. He has earned graduate degrees in both Molecular Biology and Film Studies, being a person too curious to limit himself to a single specialty! A passionately interdisciplinary person, Ian loves to cross fertilize academic ideas and approaches. His teaching experience includes work with the non-profit organization Let's Talk Science and seven years of instruction at Selkirk College. Ian loves to interact with learners from diverse backgrounds and interests. His love of teaching is directly related to his love of learning, and to that end he sincerely hopes he'll never be certain of anything.
Jamie K. Donaldson - Peace Studies
A lifelong peace and justice activist, Jamie immigrated to Canada in 2007 for reasons of conscience. She has been a tenured faculty member in the United States and has lived and worked extensively in Latin America. She holds a Masters of Arts Degree in Latin American Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles. In addition to her association with SelfDesign High, Jamie works full time as a Program Manager at UBC's Centre for Intercultural Communication in Vancouver. She loves bird watching and music.
Jonathon Taylor - Science 10, Biology 11 & 12, IDS, P.E.
Since graduating college (Pomona ’63) and graduate school (Rutgers ’72) Jonathan has worked as an artist, graphic designer, oceanographer, college professor and administrator, enterprise coach, facilitator, consultant, and entrepreneur. An experienced facilitator, Jonathan trained in Dialogue, The 360 Leadership Circle assessment tool, and Open Space Technology. Jonathan loves working with high school students who are burning with a passion to live their life fully while making a significant contribution to the world at large.
Kelly Waite - Science 10
Kelly has over 10 years of teaching experience including English in Japan. I also taught in Winnipeg for five years followed by three years in greater Vancouver area. She currently tutors several high school students in math, French and science with the intention of helping students find meaning in their learning. Her interests doing heart work, journaling, reading, piano, exploring & hiking in new places.
Kevin McCormick - Physics & Math.
I am currently a full time teacher on the Lower Mainland, teaching senior Math and Physics. I spend most of my free time with my two daughters; my oldest started Grade one this year, so I am experiencing the other side of schooling, as the parent. Now for the boring stuff, I hold a Master Degree in Education Technology, a Graduate Diploma in School Based Technology, a Bachelor of Education in secondary math, and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics. As you can tell I like learning (not to be confused with schooling). I believe that learning is a lifelong process, and does not have to be in school. I have learned a great deal from the Discovery Channel, none of which I get school credit for, but I feel richer for the knowledge.
Marcelle Edwards - English
Marcelle Edwards, born on the southern tip of Africa, traveled extensively, through Southern Africa and Europe as a young adult, and the Americas as a mature one. One of the highlights in Europe was living in view of the Alps while apprenticing to a Swiss herbalist for 21/2 years, and helping run a very well organized cooperative farm. (It was a Swiss farm after all!) After that came 15 years of community work in South Africa, responding to the needs of a country in rapidand great transition. During this time completed a undergrad inLinguistics, Translation and Art History, and graduate studies inEducation. Also initiated 3 alternative schools, 2 of which continueto fulfill their purpose of bringing creative, wholisitic, inclusive (which is to say human-centred) education to children, youth and youngadults, mainly from marginalized parts of society. She came to Canada in 1997 with her 3 young children to work at the Nelson Waldorf School. After this she completed 2 years of full time graduate studies in Art Therapy and went to South America for 4 years to workin International Cooperation and Development. 3 of these years were inthe Amazon Jungle - an utterly life changing experience. Now back in Canada, she is working with Self Design, continuing with the search for the kind of education that meets the needs of the 21st Century.
Mark McGivern - English, Guitar, P.E., IDS, Philosophy 12, Fine Arts- The History of Music
Mark was born and raised in Toronto Ontario, into a family of 5 siblings. He has lived in Nicaragua, Japan, and the Middle East teaching in various capacities. Mark did his Waldorf training in Toronto in 2001 - 2002 and spent 6 years teaching classes 5 through 8 at the Nelson Waldorf School. He currently lives in Nelson, British Columbia, and teaches various courses at SelfDesign High.
Michael Maser - Planning 10 ('Learning Your Way'), SelfDesign Praxis.
Michael has worked as an alternate-innovative educator for 20+ years, co-founding both the 'Virtual High' program for teens in Vancouver (1993-1997) and SelfDesign Learning Community (2002-present). His educational strengths include personal development, language arts and science, drawing on professional experience as a writer-researcher-journalist and scientist (geologist). Additionally, Michael enjoys playing guitar, hiking and camping and he is a passionate advocate on behalf of environmental and sustainability initiatives. Michael has a permanent professional teaching certificate (BC).
Paul Tosney - Math & Physics
Paul gained his degree with the Open University by distance learning, while teaching various subjects at the Royal Air Force Technical College in England. He then went to night school and gained a Post Graduate Certificate in Education from Wolverhampton University. Paul is also the administrator for the SelfDesign High Moodle learning management system and our website. Paul has many years of experience of distance learning, both as a student and as a tutor. He has taught night classes in Math & Physics and was a student counsellor.