Our Teaching Team
Sandra Walton, B.Ed., M.Ed., ECE, UKAPTD – Executive Director, Educator
Born to be a teacher, Sandra has been working with children and youth of all ages since her early teens. In 1989, Sandra graduated with a Bachelor of Education degree as an Elementary Generalist specializing in Music, Movement and Physical Education. In 2006, she earned her Master of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction, graduating with honours, followed by her Early Childhood Educator certification in 2009. She holds teaching certificates in both British Columbia and Alberta. Sandra also completed her Royal Conservatory of Music program in piano and received her teaching certificate in dance from the United Kingdom Alliance of Professional Teachers of Dancing (UKAPTD).
Sandra has taught Music, Dance, Drama, Leadership, and Career and Personal Planning in both the Edmonton and Greater Victoria Public School Districts. For ten years, she taught these subjects at Victoria’s Oak Bay High School, where she also served as Fine Arts Department Head from 2001 to 2007. In 2008, she joined the Fine Arts staff at Reynolds High School in Saanich. In recent years she has choreographed many outstanding musical productions for Oak Bay High, the Victoria Operatic Society, Langham Court Theatre and other organizations — shows including West Side Story, Crazy for You, Anything Goes, Oklahoma!, Fiddler on the Roof, Guys and Dolls, Me and My Girl and You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.
Finally, Sandra is a proud and loving mother of two young children, who were her divine inspiration for creating ArtsCalibre Academy. You can read Sandra’s Resume here.
Amanda McAlpine, B. Ed., B.A. in Music – Adminstrator/Music & French Teacher
Amanda has been playing piano and singing since she was 5 years old and always wanted to be a music teacher. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music (classical piano & voice), with minors in Drama and Creative Writing & Journalism from Bishop’s University. Amanda has her Bachelor of Education (Primary/Junior) from Lakehead University. She also holds French qualifications from the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi and from Alpadia Language School in Lyon, France.
Amanda was the music teacher at one of the top private schools in Toronto and has been the director and accompanist of choirs such as the Mississauga Festival Youth Choir. Amanda has been teaching private piano and vocal lessons for over 10 years and spent a year teaching grade one in Taiwan.
Amanda has performed as a singer with the Sherbrooke Opera (Québec) and Pacific Opera Victoria. She has studied at the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto. Her piano instruction has been from Frank Levy (The Julliard School of Music) and has experience performing as a solo singer & pianist, an accompanist, director and member in choirs and musicals.
Amanda’s joy of teaching music and French is apparent in her lessons when she gets students excited about the subjects she is passionate about. Amanda is also an administrator at ArtsCalibre Academy and helps with communication, organization and office duties. Amanda is constantly demonstrating cross-curricular teaching and project based learning through combining her geniuses by teaching French songs and carrying similar themes across music and French class.
Check out Amanda’s website here: www.amandamcalpine.com
Tara Robertson, B.Ed., ECE – Kindergarten/Elementary Educator
We feel so fortunate to have Tara on our teaching team. Tara earned her Bachelor of Education Degree (Elementary Specialist) with honours at the University of Victoria in 2007. Prior to joining ArtsCalibre, she taught Kindergarten to Grade 5 with the Saanich School District, and filled her summers as an independent tutor, program assistant, and youth and camp leader. She is also a licensed Early Childhood Educator (ECE) Assistant and is specially certified to teach environmental awareness in the BC curriculum. Tara has literally lived the Arts her entire life, with remarkable talents in Visual Arts, dance, poetry and writing. Combined with her extraordinary teaching skills and warm, nurturing personality, she has created truly excellent and welcoming Kindergarten and Elementary environments at ArtsCalibre. Since the arrival of her daughter in 2009, Tara says that “motherhood has enriched my teaching abilities to lengths I’d never imagined”. We believe her.
Read Miss Tara’s lovely and inspiring commencement address at ArtsCalibre Academy’s 2011/2012 Kindergarten/Grade 1 Graduation ceremony — which we believe speaks volumes about the environment that we have created at the school.
Samantha Hanevich. B.A., B.Ed. – Elementary Educator
After graduating from Concordia University of Edmonton in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts, Samantha began work as a Youth Development Advocate for at-risk youth. It was here she realized her talent in making special and meaningful connections with young people and was inspired to return to university to obtain her Bachelor of Education, graduating with honours. By 2013, Samantha was hand selected by Distinguished Principal Award winner Marie Whelan to teach at her elementary school in Edmonton, AB. By 2015, Samantha had proven herself a high-caliber teacher in Edmonton but found that the “work” portion of her “work-play” balance was taking over. In late 2015, Samantha decided to pack her bags and make a move to Vancouver Island.
Always pursuing the next adventure, Vancouver Island provided Samantha the access to a healthier and more active lifestyle. Settling in Victoria, hiking, scuba-diving, spelunking, basketball, among other activities now fill Samantha’s downtime. Recently she achieved her life-long dreams of swimming along-side sharks in the Atlantic Ocean and kayaking amongst breeding sea lions off the coast of Hornby. Inspired and intrigued by the natural world, Samantha is proud to call Vancouver Island her home.
Prior to joining ArtsCalibre, Samantha taught as a kindergarten/grade 1 teacher in the Comox Valley. Samantha joined our team in 2016 and is thrilled to bring her “Every Child, Every Day, No Exceptions” mantra with her.
Caitlin Hughes, B.Sc., B. Ed. – Elementary Educator
Caitlin grew up in Ontario, exploring the outdoors, riding horses, getting messy and never sitting still. She went to McMaster University to study Kinesiology and received her Bachelors of Science. She knew that she wanted to work with children and after a year of working as a Kinesiologist, she went to achieve her Bachelors of Education (Primary/Junior) from Brock University. Additionally, she holds qualifications in Special Education, from Brock University.
From there, Caitlin went on to supply teach across to London, UK. Through searching as a supply, she found a position as a Kindergarten teacher at Abbotsbury Primary School. Although it was hard to leave her class, she knew that she could never live so far away from her family and moved to Victoria this October. From there she discovered ArtsCalibre Academy and has been hooked on BC ever since.
Growing up, school wasn’t always easy for Caitlin. Sitting still was hard and reading was even harder. However, with the help of some fantastic teachers, she was able to go on and do anything she set her mind to. These experiences have inspired her passion to teach and support young minds who may not always find school easy. Every child is different and learns differently, but has their own genius. It’s important to help them find that genius to support their difficulties and use it to help them become amazing human beings.
Bradley Miller, B. Sc. – Elementary Educator
Bradley believes there are two important things that should be fostered in every child, and adult for that matter – a love and passion for the arts, and the ability to acquire knowledge through objective, scientific inquiry.
Beginning at a young age and through to the end of high school, Bradley participated in many musical theater groups, studied several instruments, played in many bands and took every opportunity he could to perform. After high school, he completed the music program at Grant MacEwan University, receiving a recording arts and guitar performance diploma. Following his graduation, he spent a few years working in the music industry as a performer, recording and live audio engineer, and in service and retail.
As a result of the economic downturn during 2009, Bradley was inspired to return to university. In 2013 he graduated from Royal Roads University with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science. After a brief stint as an environmental coordinator for a heavy construction company in Calgary he made his way back to beautiful Victoria, where he worked as an environmental consultant writing environmental and socio-economic impact assessments for major natural resource projects across Canada. He later made a shift in the organization and led field investigations on contaminated site remediation projects, particularly in Northern BC on First Nations traditional territory.
As the resource industry continued to decline in early 2016, Bradley was faced again with the need to explore new opportunities. Through a series of unexpected events, Bradley was introduced to ArtsCalibre and was offered a teaching position. Bradley holds his Independent Teaching Certificate through FISA (Federation of Independent Schools Association). He felt so strongly that this was the opportunity he had been waiting for and accepted the offer. As a member of the ArtsCalibre family, Bradley seizes every opportunity to combine his love of the natural world and the arts in order to create exciting learning opportunities for the inquisitive and talented minds of our young leaders
Paulina Delano, ECE – Jr. Kindergarten Educator
Paulina received her ECE certification with Honours from Sprott Shaw in 2013. Paulina became an educator as she wholeheartedly believes in the importance of providing quality education and care. Building confidence and communication skills by guiding and nurturing children is a vital part of her work. Paulina’s inspirational daughter Kiva has influenced her to learn and work to gain as much knowledge and experience as she can, so that she may provide safe and positive opportunities to all children.
Paulina was born in Chile and raised in Canada, and has lived and traveled abroad for majority of her adult life; this has given her many opportunities to work with children of all ages in different settings, from gymnastics in the U.S., private tutoring in the Caribbean, to Junior Kindergarten here at ArtsCalibre Academy.
“Following the philosophy and programs of our unique and exceptional school, I strive to maximize academic development, encourage a passion for the arts, and influence balance and joy in every student’s life.”
Jo Ann Dalisay, B. Mus., M. Mus. – Piano Teacher
Jo Ann has taught since 1983 in Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Ontario and British Columbia. Her students have performed in student recitals and music festivals, have taken Royal Conservatory of Music examinations and have continued to study music in post-secondary institutions. After completing her Bachelor’s Degree, Jo Ann was on faculty at the University Settlement Music School in Toronto. As a graduate student at the University of Victoria, she was a teaching assistant to the piano department and helped prepare undergraduate students for year-end performance exams.
In July, 2014 at The Royal Theatre in Victoria, Jo Ann’s composition, “Fantasia En Cinco”, was a featured piece in Alma de Espana’s production: PASAJES. Jo Ann was thrilled to have her piece come to life with renowned Flamenco artists from Spain.
Jo Ann is a member of the Greater Victoria Performing Arts Festival and BC Registered Music Teachers’ Association. She has also received preschool music training from Kindermusik International. She is the music specialist at Arts Calibre Academy, as well as the director of Celesta Piano Studio.
Michelle Woods, ECE – Preschool Educator
In addition to her years of experience as a certified Early Childhood Educator in Victoria, Michelle brings her extraordinary talents in the Visual Arts to ArtsCalibre. Her creative contributions are evident everywhere on our walls and shelves, and in so many of the projects that the children engage in. In 2006, Michelle completed her ECE certification at Camosun College. Before joining ArtsCalibre in 2009, she had previously been teaching at daycare centres and preschools for infants and toddlers through to age 5.
Michelle grew up in Nelson, BC, which instilled in her a lifelong love of nature and the Arts. Pursuing her other passion for travel, she journeyed through Europe in the Summer of 2011, to Italy, Greece, England and France…talk about inspiration! Michelle is thrilled to be working with others who share her commitment to early childhood education, in an environment where she can fully apply her skills and interests in the Arts, sciences and numerous other areas.