Professional Staff

Director

Katherine Pasternak

B.F.A., B.ed.

office@autumnhillacademy.ca

Welcome to Autumn Hill Academy. My name is Katherine Pasternak. In 1996 I founded Autumn Hill Academy. My passion and interest in early childhood education began at the Faculty of Education at York University. Throughout the course of the year, while researching many different theories and teaching practices, I realized the importance of education for young children. My search led to two significant methods of education – the Montessori Method and the Reggio Emilia Project Approach. Both pedagogies are considered leaders in the field. My vision was to adopt successful, meaningful methods of early childhood education and surround myself with a team of educators and support staff who share my vision. And I am proud to say that twenty one years later, Autumn Hill continues to be a school that offers an advanced, enriched, well-balanced program for children ages 18 months to Grade 3. I invite you to visit Autumn Hill as we continue to “Promote Thinking and Excite the Imagination”.

Assistant Director/Supervisor

Jessica Vincelli

R.E.C.E.

office@autumnhillacademy.ca

My name is Jessica Pasternak and I have been working at Autumn Hill Academy since September 2006. I am a Registered Early Childhood Educator. Working at Autumn Hill has been both a rewarding and enlightening experience. Being the Assistant Director enables me to assist families as they make important decisions regarding their child’s future. At Autumn Hill Academy, we provide a unique, safe and intellectually stimulating environment for children to thrive. I strive to accommodate all families and children’s needs, please do not hesitate to communicate any questions or concerns you may have.

Administrator

Stephen Vincelli

Toddler Teacher

Jillian Semczyszyn

R.E.C.E

jsemczyszyn@autumnhillacademy.ca

My name is Jillian Semczyszyn. I graduated from George Brown College where I obtained my Early Childhood Education Diploma. I joined the Autumn Hill Academy teaching team in September 2012. I have always had a passion for working with children. I believe that each child is unique in their different stages of development. I provide a loving and nurturing environment that allows for endless opportunities for fun, learning and growth. I strive for the success of each and every one of my students and look forward to working with your child and family. I am excited to be a part of your child’s early childhood experience.

Toddler Teacher

Valerie Chmeleva

BCD & R.E.C.E

valerie@autumnhillacademy.ca

Hello, my name is Valerie Chmeleva. I have recently completed my degree in Honours Bachelor of Child Development and registered as an early childhood educator. I started my journey with Autumn Hill Academy in 2014 as a placement student. I gained experience as a professional and shortly after my first placement with Autumn Hill Academy, I began to supply teach and provide education to all grades, from toddlers to third grade. I am very honored to be part of the Autumn Hill Academy full time team as the lead teacher in the toddler classroom. I am beyond excited to apply my theories and experiences with child development into practice and help children grow to their full potential. I believe providing an environment where children are able to learn through hands-on materials allows children to engage in conversation, movement, and most importantly learning at their own pace. I am very proud to be a part of the Autumn Hill Academy team and look forward to working with each and every one of the children and their families.

Toddler Teaching Assistants

Emily Davey, Sara Swan

Preschool Teacher

Lina Samanica

R.E.C.E

lsamanica@autumnhillacademy.ca

Hello, my name is Lina Samanica. I graduated from Seneca College where I obtained my Early Childhood Education Diploma in 2000 and have been working in childcare for the past 14 years.  I have been a preschool teacher for Autumn Hill Academy since 2014. I believe that each child is a unique individual who needs a secure, caring and stimulating atmosphere in which to grow and mature emotionally, physically, and socially. It is my desire as an educator to help the children meet their fullest potential in all these areas.

Preschool Teacher

Melanie Weber

(Received Director's Approval, ECE diploma completion date September 2019)

mweber@autumnhillacademy.ca

Hello, my name is Melanie Weber. I am currently completing the Early Childhood Education program at Seneca College and will graduate shortly. I have been working at Autumn Hill Academy since 2008. I have always enjoyed working with children and being able to provide a fun, nurturing environment that fosters each child’s cognitive, social and physical growth. I believe it is important to present children with enriching experiences based on their needs, behaviours and capabilities. I pride myself on being a positive role model and find it rewarding to promote learning. I enjoy seeing the children representing their learning through different modes of expression. I look forward to the opportunity of working with your child and family and watching them grow and learn in a safe, loving environment.

Senior Preschool Teacher

AnnMarie Hickey

R.E.C.E

ahickey@autumnhillacademy.ca

Hello, my name is AnnMarie Hickey. I have a diploma in Early Childhood Education and a Certificate in Montessori. In September 2000, I began my career at Autumn Hill Academy as a teaching assistant in a Senior Kindergarten class with Katherine Pasternak. I became a lead teacher in September 2001. I have taught Preschool to Senior Kindergarten. I believe that children thrive in a safe, loving and nurturing environment. As a teacher I find it very rewarding to watch a child learn and grow. I am a dedicated, approachable teacher and I look forward to working with you and your children. I feel very privileged to be a part of the wonderful team at Autumn Hill for the past 16 years.  

 

Preschool Teaching Assistants

Jenny Cousins

Sofia DiMatteo

Maria Garisto

Junior Kindergarten Teacher

Joceleen Jacome

R.E.C.E

jjacome@autumnhillacademy.ca

My name is Joceleen Jacome. I graduated from Seneca College in April 2013 where I received my Early Childhood Education Diploma. I began at Autumn Hill as a co-op student from Seneca College in September 2012. In 2013, after graduation, I was very happy to join the Autumn Hill teaching team. I have been the lead teacher in a Preschool class and this is my second year as the lead teacher in the Junior Kindergarten classroom. I have always loved working with children and I believe it is important to provide children with a loving and calming environment where they can develop cognitively, socially and emotionally. I also believe in providing an environment where they are encouraged to explore their interest through investigational play. I take pleasure in providing endless opportunities for my students to achieve success during their time with me. I look forward in assisting in your child’s growth and working collaboratively with you during these precious moments. 

Junior/Senior Kindergarten Teacher

Katelynn Edwards

R.E.C.E

kedwards@autumnhillacademy.ca

My name is Katelynn Edwards and have been working at Autumn Hill Academy since September 2009. For as long as I can remember I have always known that I wanted to work with young children in some capacity. When I was in high school I did a lot of work volunteering at schools and churches with young children and I enjoyed it so much I was convinced that this was definitely the career path I wanted to take. I attended George Brown College and took the Early Childhood Education program. In my last year at George Brown I was part of a small group that travelled to Jamaica to work with young children and teachers and provide them with resources and valuable teaching strategies. This was an invaluable experience that changed me as a person and educator. Every child is different and as a teacher, I make sure that they are treated the way that makes them feel comfortable. I strive to make my classroom a place where children can come in and feel safe, welcomed, loved and accepted for who they are. There is nothing as rewarding as seeing a child excited to learn, progress and evolve over the course of the school year. The early years for children are the most important. What they learn now will have a great impact on their future. I feel very privileged to be able to be part of their lives for a short time and hopefully contribute to making them passionate about life and learning.

Senior Kindergarten Teacher

Lillian Wong

R.E.C.E

lwong@autumnhillacademy.ca

Hello, my name is Lillian Wong and I graduated with my Early Childhood Education Diploma from Centennial College. I have been working at Autumn Hill Academy since 1997. I started as an teaching assistant with Katherine Pasternak and have taken on many teaching positions since that time. I have taught Preschool to Grade One. What I enjoy most about teaching is seeing students learn, grow and flourish as they become their own individuals. All children have so much to learn and offer at such a young age and it is amazing to be a part of their learning experiences at Autumn Hill Academy.

Kindergarten Teaching Assistants

Theresa Burns

Sara Swan

Jocelyn Falcone

Jessica Capone

Grades One, Two & Three Teacher

Peyka Kalacheva

BEd

pkalacheva@autumnhillacademy.ca

Hello, my name is Peyka Kalacheva and I am the Grade 1/2 teacher at Autumn Hill Academy. I was highly influenced by many of my elementary teachers and I knew from a very young age that I too would teach. I have been working with children since 1998 when I received my Teaching Diploma at Plovdiv University. In 2011, I graduated from York University with a Masters of Arts for Teachers. I started working for Autumn Hill in 2012. My experience spans from Preschool to Grade 3. This has taught me, not only the importance of academics, but the importance of building relationships, teaching empathy, respect, self-reflection, and for nurturing the growth of the entire child. I strongly believe that all students have the ability to succeed in a safe, positive and structured environment, and I strive to engage my students through hands-on learning. It is my goal to encourage and facilitate each child to continue to view learning as enjoyable. I am thrilled to be a part of Autumn Hill Academy.

French and Music Teacher

Betty Aquino

BEd BMa

Hello, my name is Betty Aquino. I teach both Music and French classes. I have been proudly teaching at Autumn Hill Academy for over ten years. I received my educational Music and French degrees from the University of Western Ontario. I also own a successful music studio in Woodbridge, and I am the Centre Representative for the Royal Conservatory of Music’s Vaughan Examination Centre.
In the French program, I combine my love of Music with French-related concepts to make the classes fun and enjoyable for young children. Through songs and rhymes, there is no end to a child’s success in the French language!

Judo Instructor

Rick Koglin

Instructor Rick Koglin is a fourth degree black belt registered with Judo Ontario, Judo Canada, and with the Kodokan Judo Institute in Tokyo, Japan.  He has been practicing judo for over thirty years, and competed at the national level for seven years, with several Canadian titles to his credit.  Koglin Sensei has been teaching for twenty years and is currently head instructor at Yawara Dojo. He also heads a program at Autumn Hill Academy and for Native Child and Family Services.  Previously, he has instructed for North York Parks and Recreation, the Yamanaka Budo Life Centre, the University of Toronto, the North York YMCA, the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, the Crescent Boys Academy and the Centre for Martial Arts – Richmond Hill.  He has written and edited the Toraki Judo Times for five years, and has been the editor of the Judo Ontario Newsletter for two years.  Over the years he has produced a promotional video (“Judo: A Sport to Flip Over”), written a “Standardized Judo Curriculum” and served on The Junior Development and Aboriginal Development Committees for Judo Ontario.  Recently, Rick has become a certified yoga teacher.  He enjoys bringing the knowledge of proper body alignment and meditation to his judo teaching. 

Contact us!

Address:

9050 Dufferin Street
Concord, ON L4K 5M4

Phone:

(905) 417-9779

Fax:

(905) 417-3260

Email:

office@autumnhillacademy.ca