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.
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.
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 to teaching on call across London, UK. Through searching as a teacher on call, 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 in October 2016. 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.
Hannah Komlodi, B.AH, B.Ed. – Elementary Educator
Hannah is a homeroom teacher, and is so excited to also be teaching drama to all of our ArtsCalibre students.
Born in the prairies, she went to high school in Victoria before heading east to the Queen’s Concurrent Education program, where she received her B. AH and B. Ed. During these years she stayed busy in student government, and transformed her casual interest in theatre into a lifestyle, acting in 7 productions, majoring in drama, and learning under some of Stratford’s best. One of her favourite roles was, sword-wielding MacDuff in a gender-bent production of MacBeth.
After gaining some teaching experience in Ontario, she enjoyed a short stint in Panama before heading back to the beautiful, rainy west coast. She loves to be outdoors whenever possible, and is eager to add to her growing list of 13 countries visited!
Laurie Allen, B.A, B.Ed. – Elementary Educator
In 2009 Laurie moved from Ontario with her husband, two children and their cat. Since coming to Vancouver Island, she has adopted two giant rescue dogs and a rescue cat. Laurie is a strong advocate for animal rights and enjoys sharing her passion for animals with her students.
In addition to teaching primary school in Ontario, she worked for over 10 years for the City of Toronto as a caseworker with the Department of Social Services, specializing in student assistance.
Laurie has a Bachelor of Arts degree from McMaster University where she studied English and Art History as well as a Bachelor of Education specializing in Primary/Junior Education from the University of Windsor.
Laurie’s genius is creative writing and she enjoys facilitating the school’s weekly writer’s cafe where students have a nurturing environment to write and bounce ideas off fellow student writers. Laurie’s favourite pastime is to snuggle up on the couch with her pets, a good book and a up of tea.
Sarah Smith, ECEA – Early Childhood Educator Assistant
Sarah was born in New Zealand and has a love for travel and having the opportunity to be enriched by other cultures. She has a passion to help young people succeed, and help guide them to discovering their own genius.
She is a certified Early Childhood Educator Assistant (ECEA), with over 10 years’ experience of working with children. She is currently studying early childhood education through the Pacific Rim Early Childhood Institute.
At ArtsCalibre she gives extra support to children and lead teachers. Supporting the social and emotional development of students as well as delivering tailored teaching activities to students on a one-to-one basis or in small groups. Sarah also teaches weekly dance classes, including hip hop, ballet and modern jazz dance, where she gets to pass on her own passion for dance and performing.
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.”
P.J. Fairfield, B.A. – Administrator
P.J. wears two hats at the school….Education Assistant a.k.a. Master of the Zen Zone and Administrative Support. She comes to ArtsCalibre as proud mom of Cole, now in Grade 6, and with six years experience with School District 61 where she worked with a wide range of students with different learning styles and abilities. Prior to that, she has 15 years experience in non-profit communications. She is co-founder and Chair of Island Kids Cancer Association.
Her passion is children of all sorts and she loves to celebrate that kids are wonderful just the way they are. An avid reader, she loves to work with children to share the joy of reading and help them overcome any obstacles they may find on that road.
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.