Meet the Staff
The teachers and support staff at The Dunblaine School are a dedicated and multi-faceted team that empower each and every child to succeed. All teachers are highly trained with a background in special education. Our current teaching team has worked cohesively at Dunblaine for a number of years and is skilled at placing students in the appropriate classes to realize the full potential of both the child and the class. In addition, the team is knowledgeable in choosing outside activities and programs to complement the academic curriculum. Professional resource references for children with learning disabilities are also made available to families of Dunblaine students through the expertise of our staff.
Hons. B.A., B.Ed., Special Ed. I & II, Primary Specialist, OCT
Charleen is a dedicated and caring leader of the multitalented team of expert and experienced staff members. She has always been interested in discovering new teaching techniques and methodologies to complement each student’s learning potential. She is also involved in professional organizations, such as Ontario Federation of Independent Schools (OFIS) and Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario (LDAO). Charleen is pleased by the integral involvement of students, parents, and staff who make a difference to education, and proud to be a part of the many successes experienced at Dunblaine.
B.A., B.Ed., Special Ed. I, II, & Specialist, OCT
The satisfaction gained from working collaboratively with colleagues, professionals, and parents to foster a nurturing and constructive learning environment for students has drawn Renee to Dunblaine for over 18 years. Helping students develop problem solving skills, social and emotional maturity, and self-esteem are tackled as earnestly as promoting academic skills. She takes pleasure in seeing that her students are good citizens who take pride in being responsible, caring, ambitious, and tolerant. Implementing meaningful learning activities, such as the Tuck Shop, have grown into school wide traditions that teach students a variety of life long lessons, such as math, social skills, organization, money management, and problem solving. Renee enjoys being the costume designer and dressmaker for Dunblaine's yearly musical production.
Hons. B.Sc., B.Ed., Special Ed. I, OCT
Erin started at The Dunblaine School in September 2013. Before Dunblaine, she was teaching and implementing therapy to children with developmental disabilities. She has extensive experience with behaviour management. At Dunblaine, she currently teaches in the junior-level classroom. In terms of executive functioning, the main foci in her classroom are independence and responsibility. Students are encouraged to take initiative with their work and routines, be considerate of others, be accountable for their actions and not rely on others to accomplish tasks. Positive reinforcement schedules within the classroom are used to motivate students in these areas, as well as teach time and money skills in a naturalistic way. Parents are encouraged to provide children with opportunities to demonstrate independence at home as well. Mrs. McDonald’s belief is that all children can learn; it is up to the educator to figure out how each student learns. The Dunblaine School is the perfect environment for educators to do this so that students who usually struggle can succeed.
B.S.W., M.A., Cert. Ontario Psychotherapist, Cert. Life Coach
Brynie has a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and a Master’s in Counselling Psychology. She has worked with children for over 30 years, the last 14 at Dunblaine. Brynie teaches Social Skills to each class on a weekly basis and offers individual counseling to those that may further benefit from the one-one interaction. Being a part of the Dunblaine team is a constant source of inspiration.
B.Sc., B.Ed., E.C.E., OCT
Amanda joined The Dunblaine School in 2015. She enjoys being part of such a wonderful community where teachers, professionals, parents, and students work collaboratively to create a warm environment, and where the needs of every child is a priority.
Amanda is interested in creating a program that recognizes the individual needs and competencies of each child, and focuses on providing students with the opportunity to apply new knowledge in a more practical way.
Resource, French, Drama, Dance
B.A., B.Ed., Guidance I, OCT
Barbara has been teaching French and Drama programs at Dunblaine for over 20 years. In the French program, children become comfortable speaking and listening to a second language. We use games, songs and different activities all designed to create an atmosphere of learning while having fun. The drama program encourages communication and creativity through improvisation, role playing and different physical activities. Students learn that learning can be fun, that they CAN be successful, that each of them is important, valued and loved. Barbara incorporates life skills along with the curriculum and encourages students to be kind, considerate and respectful of each other. She feels blessed to work with such a dedicated staff who care so much for each other and the students, and who work together every day to make learning fun and successful.
Deborah Farber Estany
Deborah incorporates all the different aspects of music in order to interest students, encourage them to joyfully express themselves and create beauty. During organized exposure to the many styles of music—classical, popular, folk, jazz and world music—all aspects of learning become involved. Music requires attention, perception, emotion, cognition, memory and motor control. Deborah’s goal is to foster musical appreciation that can grow and last for a lifetime.
B.A., B.Ed., Special Ed. I, OCT
Robyn has been teaching since 1989. She has spent the last 15 years teaching at Dunblaine, loving the fact that teachers can use any techniques necessary to ensure a student achieves his/her true potential. Focusing on the transition for grade 8 students to the grade 9 level has evolved into an interesting niche in the world of teaching. Being able to participate in the creative process of directing plays and putting on school performances is an added benefit to teaching in such a beautiful school.
Sofia Damil Griffin
Spec. Hons. B.A., B.Ed., Special Ed. I & II, OCT
Sofia is a dedicated and enthusiastic elementary and resource teacher, with 9 years teaching experience. She has special education qualifications and is trained in Direct Instruction. With a passion for facilitating students success and a concern for every student's academic, emotional and social well being, Sofia has pursued professional development in literacy and learning, self-regulation and executive functions.
Hons. B.A, B.Ed., M.A., Special Ed. I, OCT
Danny has been with Dunblaine since 2012, specializing in technology-integration, media literacy and safety, and computer skills. His focus in the classroom is on creating a safe and trusting environment to explore critical thinking and inquiry, to develop self-awareness around technology use, and to foster online safety. Individually, he provides extra help for students with specific needs, and develops enrichment programs for students to explore their strengths at greater depth. His goal is for students to leave Dunblaine with empowerment – both in terms of a sense of their own abilities, and with genuine, reliable skills to allow them to continue growing and learning on their own.
B.A., B.Ed. (in progress)
April has been working with the Dunblaine community for more than seven years. She has twenty years of experience working with in special education classrooms as a behaviour/instructor therapist and with parents individually as an interventionist. She directly collaborates with psychologists, speech-language pathologists, and occupational therapists to support children's academic, social, and emotional development at home, at school, and in the community.
In the classroom, she incorporates her extensive understanding of child development and curriculum to bolster executive function, reduce anxiety, and increase confidence in order to promote achievement and independence. At Dunblaine, where April works with the youngest students, this means a focus on school-readiness skills: learning to sit, learning to pay attention, learning to respect self and peers, all work towards learning to learn. She feels very strongly that classroom management strategies, while necessary to manage behaviour, must ultimately support learning and respect the dignity of the students.