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 and work cohesively to place each student in the appropriate classroom 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.

Charleen Pryke
Principal

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.

Sandra Piccinni
Classroom Teacher

B.A, B.Ed., Special Ed. I, II, & Specialist, Reading I, Teaching Students with Behavioural Needs, OCT

 

Since 2005, Sandra has worked with children in various capacities in and out of a school environment, both in the private and public sector.   She joined The Dunblaine school in 2017 and has settled into her role as a classroom teacher for the junior students.

 

Her experiences working with diverse students in various academic settings has helped her develop ideas and strategies in creating an inclusive space.  Sandra believes a classroom should accept all students and embrace their differences in all capacities.  Students are learners with unique abilities that need to be recognized and nurtured.  The classroom is a microcosm of the real world—we aren’t all starting from the same place, but as an educator Sandra creates a space that celebrates diversity.  Her classroom is reflective not only of her students but of the world around them.

 

Sandra is a lifelong learner who believes she can teach, as well as be taught, by her students.  And, with every student she meets, she is reminded of why she decided to pursue a career in Education.

Kathleen Benbow
Classroom Teacher

B.A, M.A., B.Ed., Teaching Students with Behavioural Needs, Special Ed. I, OCT

 

Kathleen believes education is foremost about fostering students’ opinions and developing their empathy in a safe environment. Before joining Dunblaine in 2020, she taught in the First Nation community of Sandy Lake for three years, where she worked with many students with special needs. It was through her experiences here that Kathleen realized how essential it is to ensure students have a voice and choice in their education, as well as to ensure there be a community focus and relevance to what they learn in the classroom. She also taught ESL in South Korea for two years. Prior to becoming a teacher, Kathleen earned her Master’s degree in Women’s Studies and Feminist research, informing a focus on equity and diversity in her teaching.

Renee Nerima
Resource

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. 

Deborah Farber Estany
Resource, Music

A.R.C.T., Mus.Bach.

 

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.

April Turner
Classroom Teacher

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.

Elizabeth Corazza
Classroom Teacher

Hons. B.Sc., B.Ed, OCT, Special Ed. I & II, ABQ Senior English & Social Science, Ontario Graduate Certicficate in Behaviour Science & ASD

 

Elizabeth has been teaching since 2016.  After an initial year working with newcomers to Canada in English and ESL, she returned to her original focus on younger students at the primary/junior-level with the goal of having her own classroom and working with exceptional children.

Since then, Elizabeth has been working with diverse junior-level learners.  She is knowledgeable and compassionate regarding diagnoses and challenges that students may face in the classroom (including ADHD, ASD, ODD, GAD, LD, MID) and has developed student-specific strategies and approaches to learning that accommodate these exceptionalities.  As a teacher, Elizabeth's goal is to help inspire confidence and motivation in young learners, such that coming to school and learning is a positive experience.  She believes in the critical importance of creative and collaborate teaching, and is eager to incorporate these themes into all lessons, especially literacy and math.

As a lifelong learner with the intention of becoming a more conscious, empathetic educator, Elizabeth continues to refine her pedagogy and professional expertise with additional qualifications courses and a post-grad program in Behaviour Science.

Barbara Citron​
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.

Danny Fekete
Resource, Technology

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.

Rachel Atkins
Resource, SEL Instructor

Hons. B.A., B.Ed., M.Ed., OCT

Rachel’s undergraduate academic background, combined with her concurrent Bachelor of Education with a focus on teaching exceptional learners and Master’s degree in Developmental Psychology and Education, allows her to bring a multi-faceted perspective to teaching. In addition, she has worked at the Geneva Centre for Autism for the past 3 years and has learned invaluable lessons from this experience. Working with individuals on the autism spectrum has helped her develop even more patience and has taught her the importance of behaviour management and the use of positive reinforcement. Rachel’s time at the Geneva Centre has further solidified her passion for teaching.

Rachel strongly believes a great teacher is one who is patient, kind, passionate, and dedicated – one who teaches students how to think, not what to think. When she is in a classroom, she makes a concerted effort to teach her students to have a growth mindset. Based on her teaching experiences thus far, she has found that her students who have a growth mindset take on challenges and see them as opportunities to learn and grow. Ultimately, it is Rachel’s aim to be flexible enough to meet the unique needs of intellectually and socially diverse students, while simultaneously creating an equitable, inclusive, and inspiring school environment. As such, Rachel tries to implement creative and innovative instructional strategies in order to engage all students.