Our Team

Our amazing team of Educators

Administration

David Balfour
Principal, K-9

Mr. David Balfour has his Bachelor of Education in addition to a Bachelor of Arts in English and History…

Read More

David Balfour
Principal, K-9

Mr. David Balfour has his Bachelor of Education in addition to a Bachelor of Arts in English and History from the University of British Columbia Okanagan.  While originally a humanities specialist, an enthusiasm for interdisciplinary study prompted him to concentrate on middle school methodologies and adolescent development during his Bachelor of Education.  Consequently, he has relished teaching math and science in the public school system while still retaining a love of books and literature.  Ultimately, Mr. Balfour is passionate about creating classroom spaces characterized by compassion and curiosity that support the unique development of adolescents in middle school.

Prior to a career in education, Mr. Balfour owned and operated an independent retail produce store and also served as the coordinator of youth activities for Glenwood Community Center in Edmonton, which focused on connecting church and non-church organizations to create a supportive environment for middle school students in the community.

Mr. Balfour, his wife and their four children are happy to call Kelowna their home and they endeavour to spend as much time camping, swimming, cycling, hiking, reading and laughing together as they can.

Lisa-Diane Fortier
Director of Operations

After living in Vancouver for 12 years, Lisa-Diane, her husband and daughter moved to Kelowna to prioritize…

Read More

Lisa-Diane Fortier
Director of Operations

After living in Vancouver for 12 years, Lisa-Diane, her husband and daughter moved to Kelowna to prioritize spending more time together as a family.  After two years, she still considers herself new to the area and enjoys exploring all that the Okanagan has to offer.  A former educator with a background in operations, team development, and non-profit, Lisa-Diane aims to create efficient systems that reduce frustrations for all stakeholders.  A strong believer in the power of education, she has always sought out opportunities to help students and is truly delighted to be working in a school once again.  Lisa-Diane looks forward to getting to know the students, families, and staff that make Willowstone Academy such an exceptional place of learning.

Sherry Parker
Team Lead: ECE + Daycare

Ms. Sherry Parker began her career as a grade two teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes Elementary School in West…

Read More

Sherry Parker
Team Lead: ECE + Daycare

Ms. Sherry Parker began her career as a grade two teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes Elementary School in West Kelowna. She graduated with distinction from the University of Victoria with a Bachelor of Education. She later received a Master of Education from Gonzaga University, Washington.

Ms. Parker loves being a part of the positive and student-centered environment of Willowstone Academy, where students have the opportunity to grow both academically and socially in a Christian-based environment. She hopes to empower her students to become confident, life-long learners who strive toward achieving their potential.

Away from school, Ms. Parker enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and spoiling her Persian cat, Cleo.

Janine Draper
Team Lead: K-5

Educator - Grade 2-3

Mrs. Janine Draper received her Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Manitoba, majoring…

Read More

Janine Draper
Team Lead: K-5

Educator - Grade 2-3

Mrs. Janine Draper received her Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Manitoba, majoring in English and Music.  She joined the Willowstone Academy staff in 2005, working primarily in Grade 3 and with the K-5 Team.  She  has been a part of the Willowstone Academy community for over 15 years and it is still a place where she finds purpose, fulfillment and so much joy!

Mrs. Draper brings with her an excitement for learning and a passion to model that enthusiasm to her colleagues and students.  She loves developing themes and is energized by creating a space that is rich with meaning.  She carefully tailors her instructional methods to meet the needs of each individual in her classroom.  Her desire is to inspire her students to enjoy school and to become life-long learners.  Her work with the K-5 Team is based on these values as she collaborates with her colleagues to provide seamless, personalized and engaging education.

When not at school, Mrs. Draper enjoys spending tie with her family and friends, acknowledging reasons to be grateful and to smile each day!

You can follow Mrs. Draper’s class on twitter @MrsDrapersClass and on Instagram @room212atwillowstone

Stefan Montalbetti
Team Lead: Middle Years

Educator - Middle Years

Stefan Montalbetti (Mr. M) received his Bachelor of Education from Queen’s University in 2014. Originally…

Read More

Stefan Montalbetti
Team Lead: Middle Years

Educator - Middle Years

Stefan Montalbetti (Mr. M) received his Bachelor of Education from Queen’s University in 2014. Originally from Saskatoon, SK., he has been on a mission to immerse himself in the diverse culture and vast geography that is Canada. He has taught in classrooms, coordinated youth summer programs, facilitated experiences for groups of all ages, and even directed traveling theatrical pieces.

Mr. M is excited to continue with extracurricular programs at Willowstone Academy like Drama Club and Global School House. These opportunities, along with his classroom teaching centre around the pillars of Creativity, Equality and Resilience.

Outside of Willowstone Academy, Stefan looks for any opportunity to get outside and play! Camping, hiking, cycling, and alpine sports in the winter. Also, you can occasionally find him listening to the baseball game on the radio.


Early Childhood Education (ECE)

Yolanda Mooijer
Educator

Preschool 118 Lead Teacher

Ms. Yolanda Mooijer is from Penticton, BC. She studied a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Victoria…

Read More

Yolanda Mooijer
Educator

Preschool 118 Lead Teacher

Ms. Yolanda Mooijer is from Penticton, BC. She studied a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Victoria majoring in Sociology and Business. She also has a diploma in Early Childhood Education from Vancouver Langara College.

 

Ms. Yolanda has been working with children since 2010 both in Canada and overseas! She has taught English to young learners in Shanghai, China and most recently was working in a preschool program in Switzerland! Ms. Yolanda is happy to be back in the beautiful Okanagan and is grateful for this opportunity at Willowstone Academy. She is passionate about creating a preschool space that enables children to learn and grow to their full potential. A happy early childhood experience is known to shape our lives positively in the future.

 

When Yolanda is away from preschool, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, snowboarding, yoga, running, and staying caught up in her book club’s recent choice!

Sarah Passley
Educator

Preschool 208 Lead Teacher

Sarah Passley (“Miss Sarah”) began her teaching journey at the age of ten, leading Sunday School preschool…

Read More

Sarah Passley
Educator

Preschool 208 Lead Teacher

Sarah Passley (“Miss Sarah”) began her teaching journey at the age of ten, leading Sunday School preschool classes at her church. The joy and beauty of nurturing young minds and hearts has always been an integral part of her life.  After getting married in 2018, Sarah and her husband spent a month travelling Europe and they arrived home to find out he had been offered a job in Kelowna. After spending just one weekend here, they knew they could build a life together in this beautiful city. This move allowed Sarah the time and space to pursue her interests in the field of early childhood education.  Shortly after beginning the program and spending time in the  classroom, Sarah knew she was where she was meant to be, guiding, caring, and educating young children. Sarah has spent the last two years teaching preschool with children aged 3-5 and has absolutely loved every moment of it.

Miss Sarah’s passion is to see children grow, play, and learn about the world around them in an authentic, exciting way. She believes instilling joy and confidence in children through a genuine, nurturing relationship is the cornerstone of a quality learning experience, and cultivating a classroom atmosphere where every child is respected and valued allows for healthy relationships to flourish.

When not at school, Miss Sarah loves to read, ride her bike, cook, and create anything she can dream up. Sarah and her husband are avid campers and travellers and spend their time exploring anywhere they can. Miss Sarah feels unbelievably blessed to be able to live out this wonderful life to the fullest both in and out of her classroom.

Becca Wellspring
Educator

Pre-Kindergarten Lead Teacher

Ms. Rebecca (Becca) Wellspring was born and raised in Airdrie, Alberta, just outside of Calgary.  In high…

Read More

Becca Wellspring
Educator

Pre-Kindergarten Lead Teacher

Ms. Rebecca (Becca) Wellspring was born and raised in Airdrie, Alberta, just outside of Calgary.  In high school, she discovered her love of working with children in a recreation-based setting, and upon graduating obtained her Childhood Development Assistant Certificate.  After a year of working in preschools and recreation programs, she knew she wanted to expand her education.  She moved to Prince Edward Island and graduated with her Bachelor of Arts.  After graduation, she returned to Alberta and received her Early Childhood Educator Certificate.  She worked as a special needs assistant at a preschool and privately, specializing in medically fragile children, and children with physical limitations.  She was promoted into a teaching position where she got to work with different disabilities as well as typically developing children. Becca moved to the Okanagan with her husband in 2018 and has continued working as an ECE.
“Ms. Becca” always knew she would work with young children and has developed a love of the educational field and helping children learn, grow, and reach their full potential.  She enjoys being part of the Willowstone Academy Community and fostering relationships with students and families that last even after they graduate from her class.
Outside of school, Ms. Becca can be found with a warm cup of tea with either a good biography or a classic Disney+ movie, exploring nature, or finding new recipes to try cooking.

Infant-Toddler Team
Caregivers

Infant-Toddler

Our Infant Toddler team, comprised of Amanda Kovatch, Jillian Kirk, Rachel Lambrecht, and Judy Egger…

Read More

Infant-Toddler Team
Caregivers

Infant-Toddler

Our Infant Toddler team, comprised of Amanda Kovatch, Jillian Kirk, Rachel Lambrecht, and Judy Egger are excited to provide our youngest Willowstone students with an individualized approach to responsive caregiving all year long. Our team of experienced caregivers strive to create a safe environment that allows each child to develop, grow, and flourish at their own pace. Whether through open ended play that creates a sense of wonder and excitement or enriched learning opportunities that encourage social and emotional development, our educators offer world class care and guidance for each and every child.

Picture coming soon…


K-9 Faculty

Shauna Webster
Educator

Kindergarten

Shauna Webster was born and raised in Alberta. She received her Bachelor of Education Degree from the University…

Read More

Shauna Webster
Educator

Kindergarten

Shauna Webster was born and raised in Alberta. She received her Bachelor of Education Degree from the University of Alberta, with a Major in Elementary Education and a Minor in Early Childhood. She began her teaching career in Leduc, Alberta and from there moved onto Camrose, Alberta where she taught a wide range of grade levels. With her passion for teaching and her desire for growth, she ventured to the Middle East to immerse herself in a new culture. For the next 12 years, Shauna taught a variety of grade levels within an International Baccalaureate school.

Shauna’s passion for teaching stems from her own personal school experiences while growing up. She strives to create a safe and nurturing environment, one in which students feel confident in developing their unique, God-given talents and gifts. Shauna believes that by empowering students and giving them opportunities to become agents of their own learning, they will find joy in pursuing their passions and become excited to actively engage with the world in which they live. Shauna finds great satisfaction in enriching children’s lives with faith, hope and love so they fall in love with learning and become positive global changemakers.

When not at school, Shauna can be found exploring this beautiful world which God has created for us. She enjoys hiking, camping, multi-day backpacking and cycling adventures, kayaking, snowshoeing, climbing mountains, reading and spending treasured moments with family and friends.

Teri-Lynn James
Educator

Grade 1

Ms. Teri-Lynn James is a passionate and dedicated educator that has spent the majority of her professional…

Read More

Teri-Lynn James
Educator

Grade 1

Ms. Teri-Lynn James is a passionate and dedicated educator that has spent the majority of her professional career teaching and learning with children and adolescents both in Canada and the United States.  She received a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Science as well as a Bachelor of Education degree in Primary Junior Divisions at the University of Windsor, Ontario.  She also acquired a diploma in Early Childhood Education as well as a Master in Library and Information Science with a speciality in school and youth librarianship from the University of North Texas.    

 

An avid reader, Ms. James brings with her an energy and desire to encourage all students to become life-long readers and learners.  She believes that all children have gifts and talents that provide a beautiful foundation from which new skills and knowledge can develop.  One of her greatest joys in life is to empower students to become confident and capable learners that become agents of positive change in the world through kindness, compassion, and education.  She also believes in providing hands-on learning experiences that are highly transferable to our 21st century world.  

 

During her time away from school, Ms. James enjoys spending time in the beautiful outdoors, connecting with family and friends, volunteering at local service groups, and finding time to express gratitude for her many blessings.

Tabitha Kee
Educator

Grade 2

Mrs. Tabitha Kee was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta where she graduated from Mount Royal University…

Read More

Tabitha Kee
Educator

Grade 2

Mrs. Tabitha Kee was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta where she graduated from Mount Royal University with a Bachelor of Arts degree.  She then moved to Kelowna where she graduated from the University of British Columbia Okanagan with a Bachelor of Education degree.  She joined the Willowstone Academy staff in 2015, teaching French as a second language before co-teaching grade 3 with Mrs. Janine Draper. Prior to attaining her Education degree she worked with children in a variety of settings including tutor, nanny, Girl Guide leader, Kid’s Club leader, Youth leader, and Boys and Girls Club leader.

Mrs. Kee believes that at the heart of learning is a thirst for knowledge backed by an emotional attachment to the subject matter.  She hopes to build and strengthen that emotional attachment and inspire her students to be life-long learners.

When not at school, Mrs. Kee enjoys spending time with her family and friends, playing games, reading, hiking and camping.

You can follow Mrs. Draper and Mrs.Kee’s class on Instagram @grade3atwillowstone

Darien Tattersall
Educator

Grade 2-3

Miss Tattersall has lived in West Kelowna from the age of eight months old and has always known that…

Read More

Darien Tattersall
Educator

Grade 2-3

Miss Tattersall has lived in West Kelowna from the age of eight months old and has always known that the Okanagan was where she wanted to stay. She received her Bachelor’s of Arts in Sociology from the University of Calgary in 2019, followed by her Bachelor’s of Education from UBCO in 2020. She began working at Willowstone as a TTOC in January of 2021 and immediately knew that she had found her “school family”. 

Miss Tattersall believes that teaching requires strong bonds and relationship building between students and teachers. It is her goal to ensure that every student feels welcome and included in the classroom, and sees themselves as part of the school community. She also believes in the importance of encouraging students to take ownership of their learning and in creating hands-on learning experiences whenever possible.

Outside of school, Darien enjoys hiking and swimming with her dog, Odie, reading fiction novels, golfing, and going on Mission trips. 

She feels very blessed and excited for her first year at Willowstone Academy!

Kimberly Abadillos
Educator

Grade 4

Ms. Kimberly (Kim) Abadillos was born and raised in Winnipeg, MB. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree…

Read More

Kimberly Abadillos
Educator

Grade 4

Ms. Kimberly (Kim) Abadillos was born and raised in Winnipeg, MB. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree (2014) and Bachelor of Education degree (2016) from the University of Winnipeg. After graduating, she taught for three years in Winnipeg’s public school system with Seven Oaks School Division. She moved to Kelowna in 2019 for the opportunity to live and teach in the beautiful Okanagan. 

Outside of school, Kim enjoys exploring her new city and the rest of BC. She also loves spending time with her family and friends, hiking with her Shiba Inu, cooking, listening to music, and finding quiet moments to read scripture.

Kim is looking forward to creating engaging learning experiences in her classroom, where each child can discover their unique abilities, strengths and goals. She is excited to build relationships with her new students and families of this dynamic learning community!

Erika Drexl
Educator

Grade 5

Erika Drexl has over 20 years of experience in the teaching profession in a variety of roles from Grade…

Read More

Erika Drexl
Educator

Grade 5

Erika Drexl has over 20 years of experience in the teaching profession in a variety of roles from Grade 1- Grade 9. She has a Bachelors of Arts from Simon Fraser University and a Bachelor of Education from the University of British Columbia. She spent time teaching abroad in 3 different countries, and has over a decade of experience in both independent and public schools in Vancouver. She moved with her family back to the Okanagan in the Fall of 2018. She has spent the majority of her career focussed on intermediate classroom teaching, with about 8 yrs as a Grade 5 teacher. In addition, she is passionate about math education, and has served as a math coordinator and middle years math specialist.

Outside of school, Erika enjoys spending time with her young son, husband and new kitten playing at all the local parks and doing a variety of outdoors activities such as hiking, biking, and skiing. She can also be found curled up with a good book or experimenting cooking new recipes for her family. She is excited to be back in a homeroom class role and looks forward to another exciting year of learning and developing relationships with students, parents and staff at Willowstone Academy.

Jake Anderson
Educator

Middle Years

Originally from a small town in Alberta, Mr. Anderson is thrilled to have called the Okanagan home since…

Read More

Jake Anderson
Educator

Middle Years

Originally from a small town in Alberta, Mr. Anderson is thrilled to have called the Okanagan home since 2018. After completing a Bachelors in Kinesiology from the University of Lethbridge and a Masters in Education from Michigan State University, Mr. Anderson spent 10 years teaching overseas.

Maintaining an active lifestyle is one of Mr. Anderson’s passions.  When not teaching, Mr. Anderson can be found taking part in a wide variety of athletic pursuits including ultimate frisbee, volleyball, squash, and snowboarding.

Jamie Stevens
Educator

Middle Years

Ms. Jamie Stevens received her Bachelor of Education degree from Thompson Rivers University and her Bachelor…

Read More

Jamie Stevens
Educator

Middle Years

Ms. Jamie Stevens received her Bachelor of Education degree from Thompson Rivers University and her Bachelor of Arts from Trinity Western University.  She is passionate about learning that is authentic, personal, and inspiring. She loves to see her students light up when they embrace their potential and build the habits of being life-long learners.

Ms. Stevens has been a middle school teacher, community organizer, organic farmer, and an electrical apprentice. She grew up in small towns in BC and is passionate about sustainable, local, economic opportunities for rural communities across the world. She believes everyone deserves the same opportunities she was fortunate enough to be born into and knows that the abilities to read, write, and communicate are essential keys to unlocking those opportunities.  Her brain is always percolating on how to sustain equitable, just, loving, and joyous communities.

She is an avid reader and recognizes that the perfect book showing up at the perfect point in her life is how she has learned to see the world in new ways.  When not in school, Ms. Stevens loves exploring any lake or forest with her family and dog.

Karen Harris
Educator

Middle Years

Ms. Karen Harris has over 15 years experience as a Science, Technology and Math Instructor. She received…

Read More

Karen Harris
Educator

Middle Years

Ms. Karen Harris has over 15 years experience as a Science, Technology and Math Instructor. She received her Bachelors of Science and Bachelor of Education Degrees from Lakehead University. She has spent time teaching in various pubic and private schools in Alberta before moving to the Okanagan in the Fall of 2017. Ms. Harris has focused on her passion of Math and Science throughout her career and  has vast experience teaching STEM related topics to Primary, Middle and High School students. Her primary focus is to make the learning fun and engaging and encourages her students to learn through exploration, and explore their creativity.

Outside of School, Ms. Harris enjoys hiking and biking in the Okanagan with her Fiancé and family. Additionally, she also loves reading and exploring new healthy recipes to cook for her family. Ms. Harris is looking forward to another exciting, fun filled year with her Willowstone Students.

Jezabel Morin
Educator

French Specialist

Mme. Morin is a native French-Canadian who moved to Kelowna at the age of 10. She has always known she wanted…

Read More

Jezabel Morin
Educator

French Specialist

Mme. Morin is a native French-Canadian who moved to Kelowna at the age of 10. She has always known she wanted to work with children and devote her life to making the world a better place. After graduating from the University of British Columbia Okanagan with a Social Work Degree, she worked with high risk youth and in the mental health sector.

With the intention to live and teach abroad for one year, Mme. Morin left Kelowna in 2010. She quickly discovered a passion for teaching and exploring the world. Over the last 8 years, she has taught elementary and middle school children in three different countries: Turkey, Colombia, and South Korea.

Mme. Morin is grateful to be part of the Willowstone Academy team. She looks forward to a great year of learning and growing as she gets to know each student. She strives to create an engaging, well-balanced learning environment for each student and she is deeply passionate about French-Canadian language and culture.

When away from school, Mme. Morin enjoys spending time outdoors doing a wide variety of activities such as snowboarding, trail running, hiking, and rock climbing.

Tamara Priebe
Educator

Music Specialist

Mrs. Tamara Priebe has joyfully been teaching Music in Schools since 2001 as a school educator, and since…

Read More

Tamara Priebe
Educator

Music Specialist

Mrs. Tamara Priebe has joyfully been teaching Music in Schools since 2001 as a school educator, and since 1992 as a piano teacher. Mrs. Priebe graduated from the University of Alberta and has continued to learn about the Orff and Kodaly methodologies for teaching Elementary Music, and has more recently added in Dr. John Feierabend’s “First Steps in Music” to her Musical tool-belt. She strives to have the students around her become Tune-ful, Beat-ful, and Art-ful, and improve their skills in playing instruments, moving, singing and expressing music in meaningful ways.

Mrs. Priebe is also a worshipper of Jesus, and loves to sing and play Music in church and in School chapels. The Worship Arts Team is a wonderful place for students to work together to lead the students of Willowstone Academy in worship of God.

When Mrs. Priebe is not at school, she enjoys spending time with her husband Kendall, and their children, Tristan and Selah. She also loves going for walks with her dogs Skippy and Piper, and loves cooking, baking and organizing things.

Jerry Hesse
Educator

Phys Ed Specialist

Mr. Jerry Hesse was born and raised in Grande Prairie, Alberta.  Upon graduating from the University…

Read More

Jerry Hesse
Educator

Phys Ed Specialist

Mr. Jerry Hesse was born and raised in Grande Prairie, Alberta.  Upon graduating from the University of Alberta with a Bachelors in Education, his teaching journey began in his home town where he taught for 7 years in the Public School System.  Mr. Hesse then travelled to Toronto where he continued to teach for 12 years including Math, Science, and Health and Physical Education, as well as Senior Leadership roles.

When not at school, Mr. Hesse enjoys spending time with his wife, Courtney, and two wonderful boys, Mark and Nate.  They love to bike ride, hike, and explore everything the Okanagan has to offer.

Mr. Hesse is excited to be a part of the Willowstone Community and looks forward to creating trusting relationships that will foster life-long learning.

Book a Tour | Contact Us