The Open Door’s Philosophy
We are passionate about helping families! We provide appropriate reading and spelling remediation in a caring and supportive environment, tailoring our lessons to meet each student’s own pace. We continually assess for mastery of the material to ensure the continued success of the student.
The Open Door’s Philosophy
We are passionate about helping families! We provide appropriate reading and spelling remediation in a caring and supportive environment, tailoring our lessons to meet the student’s own pace. We continually assess for mastery of the material to ensure the continued success of the student.
Our Administration Team
The Open Door Owner and Founder
Education and Family Support Specialist
Tutor Development Manager
Finance and Admin Coordinator
Service Intake Coordinator
Blog Writer and Curator
Small-Group Lead Instructor & Admin Support
Heather has extensive experience and training in the field of education and learning disabilities and loves helping parents, students, and teachers through her knowledge and expertise. She enjoys helping students by finding the best way for them to learn according to their unique strengths, needs, and learning styles.
She left her position as the head of special education at a local private school in order to fulfil the calling to start a business designed to help families and students who were falling through the cracks of the educational system. She helps many families in the community through The Open Door, as well as through her work serving multiples terms as the Chair of the Board of Directors of The Learning Disability Association of Ottawa-Carleton.
She is a Forty under 40 recipient, winner of Businesswoman of the Year ̶ Established Entrepreneur, and the winner of The Bootstrap Awards ̶ Founder of the Year. Heather is very hands-on in managing The Open Door, always finding new ways to improve operations, support her team, as well as innovating ways to improve the experience for families, students, and tutors. Passionate about helping, she is always happy to take the time to answer questions for families or educators.
“My favourite thing is to see a student, who has struggled so much with reading, with their nose in a book – reading for pleasure!”
Leigha is a certified Barton Reading and Spelling System Instructor at The Open Door. She earned her Bachelor Degree in Intercultural Studies at Ambrose University in Calgary, studied Elementary Education at Taylor University College in Edmonton, and has her TESL Diploma (teaching English as a Second Language). She has also completed the course by Dyslexia International, offered through the University of London, which specializes in best practices in teaching literacy to children with dyslexia. She started working with The Open Door because she appreciates the value of working with students one on one to allow them to get the support they need to overcome obstacles and meet their goals.
Leigha coordinates and facilitates the first meeting with families and tutors, answering the family’s questions and screening new students with a short series of assessments to ensure correct programming. She is always available to families, answering any questions related to progress, education, and programming. She also works with our tutors providing training, support, and direction.
“I love seeing how quickly students gain confidence and improve their reading and spelling in a short period of time. It is always great to hear that students are reading more, have moved up a reading level, and have improved their writing.”
Andrew completed his PhD in the Philosophy of Cognitive Science at the University of Ottawa and previously completed a Masters in Inter-Disciplinary Humanities at Trinity Western University, Langley, BC. He has taught lower-level undergraduate students since 2013, mostly teaching courses in Ethics and Critical Thinking. While at Trinity Western University, he also taught undergraduate students in the Extension Program, a program designed in part to serve students with special needs. That experience required developing new types of curriculum and evaluation, often tailored to specific individual needs. He is passionate about the Open Door because of its effective method of teaching students, as well as the one-on-one interaction between student and tutor.
As our tutor development manager, Andrew supervises and facilitates each tutor’s training and development including training, support, session observations, and coaching. He oversees tutors to ensure quality control based on data compiled from observations, reports from admin, and tutor and family feedback.
Marla started working at The Open Door as a Barton Reading and Spelling System Instructor. She studied English at the University of Ottawa, and is very passionate about literature, language, and learning. She is a positive and supportive guide on her students’ journey to independence in literacy.
In her role of admin coordinator and finance she uses her organizational and creative skills for tasks such as invoicing and payroll, as well as overseeing administrative tasks to ensure they are assigned and completed. She is always on the lookout to discover or develop innovative ideas and solutions to help the behind-the-scenes processes run smoothly.
“I love all of the little “aha” moments. When you see the child’s face light up because they just made a connection and that is going to make everything just a little bit easier for them moving forward. Once you have enough little moments they can look back and see how much they have accomplished.”
Emily is a Certified Barton Instructor who originally comes from a nursing background and has a passion for helping others. She completed the University of London course “Supporting Children with Difficulties in Reading and Writing’, and enjoyed working as a tutor at the college level. Emily started working at The Open Door because she enjoys working one-on-one with students to help them overcome their struggles. She believes that everyone deserves a chance to succeed at reading, regardless of learning style.
As our service intake coordinator, Emily is responsible for new families’ intake process including answering questions and determining their needs, matching them with the right tutor, and arranging the first meeting between the family, the tutor, and our education and family support specialist. She also updates and maintains our tutor onboarding and progress records, as well as assists with various administrative and duties.
Pam is a special education teacher with many years of experience, particularly in the area of language disabilities and learning disabilities. She is passionate about helping each student to be successful and to find the joy of learning. She knows that children who struggle with learning become frustrated and lose their self-esteem. Pam loves that moment when a child starts to regain confidence and to realize that he/she CAN
Pam has her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Carleton University, and her Bachelor of Education from University of Ottawa. She also has her Specialist qualifications in Special Education with a focus on Learning Disabilities, Developmental Disabilities and Behaviour.
She brings extensive experience to her role as Assessment Specialist. She has years of experience working in special education for the OCDSB, administering phonological awareness testing, developmental assessments, and reading and language assessments. She has also worked as an EQAO Reading Assessor.
In her spare time, Pam is an enthusiastic world traveller, which allows her to learn about wildlife, archaeology and culture in far off places. She loves nature and enjoys contributing to citizen science. She is passionate about observing wildlife and has a particular fondness for amphibians.
Pam is excited to be working at The Open Door, as she believes in the Orton-Gillingham-based approach to reading that they use. Best of all, working with The Open Door gives her the opportunity to help students to regain their belief in themselves.
Marion is a freelance writer, watercolour artist and literacy tutor who delights in teaching and sharing her love of reading and writing with children and youth.
Since graduating from Humber College in Radio Broadcasting, Marion has enjoyed a fulfilling career in journalism, copywriting, marketing, fundraising and food writing. She began her career in Newfoundland as a news writer for the St. John’s Daily News. Since returning to Ottawa in 1987, she has worked as a writer and project manager for various agencies and government clients including the National Research Council as a freelance writer and Metroland Publishing as weekly food columnist. Seeing the effects of low-literacy among marginalized audiences, Marion became a passionate advocate for literacy and worked as a literacy tutor for students at Sir Guy Carleton Secondary School for over seven years. From 2007 to 2013, Marion was elected Vice-President for Sage Youth, an Ottawa based literacy organization serving disadvantaged youth. In 2010, she was hired as a fundraiser and researcher for The Excellence in Literacy Foundation, where she wrote several winning grant proposals and raised awareness among key foundations and corporate donors about the societal effects of low-literacy.
Marion also holds a Narration and Voice-Acting Certificate, Baking and Pastry Arts Certificate (from Algonquin College) and a Business Development Diploma from Cambrian College. She is also trained in the Barton Reading and Spelling System. In her spare time, Marion enjoys running half-marathons, bread baking, reading, and writing short fiction stories. She volunteers weekly at her local library as a facilitator for a Teens and Adult Writing Circle and is the creator, host blogger and photographer for the food history and recipe blog, BarrhavenBites.
Marion joined The Open Door as a tutor, to help struggling students become confident in their reading and spelling abilities and to convince them that they can become successful people—ready and capable of taking on new challenges in their education and careers.
Hannah is an elementary school teacher who loves working one-on-one with students and seeing a difficult concept click in their heads. She has worked as a teacher with the Ottawa Catholic School Board since 2014, teaching a wide range of students from Grade 1 to 10. Hannah has currently taken a step back from her full-time position with the school board to raise her two children, and is working as an Occasional Teacher.
She enjoys spending time at her cottage with her family, and volunteering in different capacities at her home church, St. Maurice Parish.
Hannah started working with The Open Door out of love for teaching, and especially the joy that comes from working one-on-one and getting to know students personally. She is grateful for this opportunity and looks forward to working with many students for years to come.
Our Tutoring Team
Auwies Al Badri
Leigh Anne Carson
Ashlyn is a student in the Honours Bachelor of Arts Communication program at the University of Ottawa. After completing her undergraduate degree she has ambitions of completing a Bachelor of Education Degree in the primary/junior division. Ashlyn studied Early Childhood Education at St. Clair College and has over 10 years of experience working with students ranging from preschool age to secondary school. She formerly worked as a Director of Children’s Ministries in her hometown of Windsor and currently teaches online ESL classes to students in Beijing. In her spare time, Ashlyn enjoys creating art in various forms including, charcoal sketches, watercolour paintings, pottery, and digital media. When she’s not creating, you can find her on a hike or practicing yoga. Ashlyn decided to work as a tutor with The Open Door because she has a passion for helping students and their families reach their educational goals. She wants to empower her students by teaching them the tools they need to succeed and reach their full potential.
She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Art and English, and a Bachelor of Education degree in Primary, Junior and Intermediate divisions. Vicki also has her Special Education Qualification, with a focus on Learning Disabilities.
Vicki is a talented and experienced artist. She also has a passion for travel and other outdoor activities, including cross-country skiing.
She started tutoring with the Open Door because she believes in the Orton-Gillingham approach that they use. She wanted to use the best method to help a struggling child learn to read and spell.
“I love watching my students progress, and being a part of their world.”
Auwies studied education at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay. He graduated in May and will be a certified teacher in September, having currently taught grades 7, 8, and 10. Auwies received his Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Science from the University of Ottawa and thus possesses a strong background in biology. As someone who has worked previously with children who have learning disabilities at Sunshine Camp, he enjoys working for The Open Door to continue supporting kids with dyslexia. Auwies enjoys video games, sports, and reading books from his mini library.
Ashton is currently enrolled as a student in the Bachelor of Education program at the University of Ottawa and previously completed a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice with a concentration in Psychology at Carleton University. He has lead workshops for youth and children across Canada with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and most recently served as a Police Officer with the City of Ottawa before deciding to pursue his passion in education. In his free time, Ashton enjoys rock climbing, scuba diving, hiking, or spending time with his dog, Mihka. He started working with The Open Door to continue to help children grow in their personal life and thrive in the world around them.
Leigh Anne is a Certified Barton Instructor who has been teaching children with dyslexia and other learning differences using the Barton method for over eight years. After receiving a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of British Columbia and a Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy from Queen’s University, Leigh Anne enjoyed working as a pediatric physiotherapist with children of all abilities. However, when her son was identified as having severe dyslexia, she became a Barton tutor and successfully homeschooled him to the point where he is now a confident honour roll student in high school.
In addition to helping those with dyslexia, autism, and other learning differences, Leigh Anne is keen to promote the importance of physical well-being, with an emphasis on helping everyone, both old and young, achieve an optimal level of health through nutrition and physical activity. A former competitive road, track, and mountain bike racer, Leigh Anne can often be found riding the local trails with her husband and their two children.
Leigh Anne joined The Open Door because she finds that there is nothing more rewarding, nor more important, than helping a child go from loathing reading to loving it. From personal experience, she knows that every single student, with the right instruction and progression, has the ability to learn to read and write with ease. Moreover, every single student deserves the chance to do so.
Barb is a Registered Early Childhood Educator working for the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board. She works in the kindergarten program as well as the Extended Day Program. She has been working with children of all ages for 25 years. Barb is a graduate of Algonquin college and has trained and taken many workshops on behavior management, including a recent workshop on the Nurtured Heart Approach. This approach consists of strategies that help children develop positive self-regulation skills. Barb believes that all children are extraordinary and deserve the right to develop at their pace to meet their full potential. Literacy is an extremely important part of this process. Barb enjoys hanging out with her husband and children, hiking, kayaking and going to her cottage. Barb started working at The Open Door because she loves working one on one with children, making connections with them while watching them grow and learn.
Anne was originally drawn to education as a teenager out of a desire to help her hearing-impaired younger brother. Later she specialized in Special Education in order to better understand how to help her young son, who was unable to read. After assisting these two loved ones to become successful scholars, she turned her talents to helping other students overcome their personal learning obstacles in order to achieve success.
She is a keen naturalist who enjoys spending time outdoors, camping and canoeing with her family. She also is an avid amateur horticulturalist and a pet lover, so she really enjoys both home gardening and relaxing in the backyard with the family dog. When the weather drives everyone inside, she enjoys reading and watching movies.
Anne is excited to be working with The Open Door because she loves working one-to-one with students and developing a supportive relationship with those who are struggling to succeed.
“What I enjoy the most about tutoring with The Open Door is the super warm welcome I receive at the students’ homes. The excitement displayed over my arrival tells me that my students really love their Barton lessons!”
She has a bachelor degree in Cognitive Science from Carleton University, and is currently working on her Learning Disability Specialist in Assistive Technologies and Learning Strategies from Cambrian College.
In her free time, Jordyn loves spending time with friends and family. She also enjoys reading and working on her latest quilting project.
Jordyn started working at The Open Door because a program very similar to the Barton Reading & Spelling System was used to teach her how to read. She looks forward to helping students achieve their personal goals and build their confidence.
Monica has many years of experience working with children, including those who have special needs. She has worked at many summer camps and as a student teacher at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Since 2012, she has worked as a private tutor, tutoring children of diplomats English and French.
She enjoys attending and volunteering at different festivals, such as The Toronto International Film Festival and fundraisers in support of the SickKids Foundation. Furthermore, she currently continues to tutor and works for the City of Ottawa as a specialist instructor, teaching children gymnastics and various sports. Some of her interests include: watching films, travelling, reading, and learning new languages.
Monica is excited and extremely grateful about having the opportunity to work at The Open Door, and is looking forward to helping her students progress in the areas of reading and writing so they can reach their full potential as individuals and learners.
She has her B.A. in Second Language Teaching and most recently, a Master of Education in Societies, Cultures and Languages, both from the University of Ottawa. She is also certified and accredited in the program “Structure and Style Method” from the Institute of Excellence in Writing. This is the program we use in our Small-Group Writing Classes. She has also taught English in Canada, Spain, and Korea to children as well as adults.
In her spare time, Ashley enjoys reading, playing trivia, and traveling.
She started working with The Open Door because she wants to share her love of learning, and believes every child just needs the right tools to reach their full potential.
Heather is a retired elementary teacher who taught for over 30 years in the Ottawa Carleton District School Board. She taught almost exclusively with special education students, showing a passion and infinite patience for helping children with learning challenges. Heather developed a positive rapport and supportive learning environment for children with many different exceptionalities including learning disabled, language disabilities, brain injuries, hearing impairments, autism and attention deficits. Her interactions with all students demonstrated support, care and respect.
Heather has her Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Carleton University and a Bachelor of Education from Ottawa University. She also has her Specialist qualifications in Special Education with the emphasis on Developmental Disabilities, Language Disabilities and Behaviour.
She enjoys spending time with family and friends and travelling whenever possible. She spends her spare time reading, taking walks with her dog, horse back riding and playing simulation games on the computer.
Heather is excited to be working at The Open Door, as she believes in the Orton-Gillingham-based approach to reading that they use. Best of all, working with The Open Door with give her the chance to work one-on-one with students and help them regain their confidence, self esteem and a love for learning.
Daniella is a recent graduate of the Bachelor of Social Work program with a minor in law at Carleton University. For two years she worked as an Early Childhood Educator Assistant with the City of Ottawa, in children’s camps, and as a sports coach. As part of her program at university, she completed a placement at the John Howard Society of Ottawa, teaching previously incarcerated adults how to read and write. In her free time, Daniella enjoys kickboxing, cooking, and is currently learning video editing and photography. Daniella started working with The Open Door because of her passion for education and the opportunity to help children build their confidence in reading and writing.
She obtained her Bachelors of Science from the University of Ottawa and looks to further her studies in pediatric occupational therapy. Currently she is taking courses in child behaviour and functioning to support the work she does with children.
In her spare time, Nathalie enjoys cooking, travelling, salsa dancing and spending time exploring the city with friends and family.
She started working with The Open Door because she wanted to continue to expand her experience working children with different learning needs, as well as continue to help children grow into successful and independent individuals.
Matthew Gallina is an elementary school teacher who loves connecting with students while helping them to overcome challenges. He obtained his B.A. at the University of Windsor, and his Bachelor of Education at Nipissing University. He has 7 years experience teaching students in Northern Saskatchewan, and has worked with children who speak English as a Second Language.
Matthew became a father in July 2017, and relocated with his wife from La Loche, Saskatchewan to Ottawa, in order to be closer to family. He is passionate about education, and wants to influence and inspire every student that he teaches.
He decided to work for The Open Door because he knows that the most important and rewarding part of his role as educator is to help and mentor students who are struggling, and then to celebrate with them as they make progress.
Jennifer is an educator who enjoys teaching students of all ages. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English (Degree with Honors) from the University of Ottawa and obtained a Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto. She has qualifications in Primary, Junior, and Intermediate divisions, as well as in Special Education. Currently an Occasional teacher, Jennifer has also taught second grade in California, tutored international students learning English in Ontario, and supported students with multiple exceptionalities in a MEP classroom. She is passionate about motivating students of varying abilities to reach their full potential in a safe and caring environment.
When she is not teaching, she can be found baking goodies in the kitchen, spending quality time with family, and going on long walks with her dog Sydney.
Jennifer started working with The Open Door because she wants to help students on their learning journey. She feels that her education and previous teaching experience will be an asset to helping each student gain confidence in their ability to learn and succeed. She also thinks it is important to have fun while learning, which makes acquiring new skills that much more enjoyable for her students.
Krista and her family spent a decade living overseas in the Middle East. There Krista founded and chaired a homeschooling association in partnership with many families from different cultures, nations, faiths and experiences. Through many shared learning opportunities, Krista realized how many different ways there are to teach and learn yet how much we all have in common with one another despite our outward differences. Krista loves to create, whether it’s art, photography or handicrafts. Being creative is very important to her well-being and her need to express herself and engage with the world around her. Along with her family, Krista loves to travel, camp and visit family and friends. Spending time together learning or trying new things is always a highlight of any vacation or holiday.
She is excited to be working at The Open Door so she can help more students reach their full potential, love learning and see success.
Asha is a student at the University of Ottawa who is majoring in physics and minoring in math all while studying in French. She is a very passionate and patient individual who loves teaching and working with children. Asha has an upbeat personality and loves to inspire children to be the best that they can be.
Previously, she was a science instructor for children and teens at the University of Ottawa, as well as a counsellor at a culinary school for children. She has years of experience as a French tutor, as well as volunteering and working at summer camps and daycares.
When she is not working or studying, she enjoys cooking, doing yoga and going on hikes.
Asha started working with The Open Door because she strongly believes in their philosophy and wanted to be a part of the positive change. She is grateful to have the opportunity to help people who don’t always get the support they need in a typical classroom.
Jaden has earned a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) and a Bachelor of Education (Primary/Junior) (B.Ed.). As part of her educational training, she has taught children in JK, SK, Grade One and Grade Two. She has also worked as a volunteer tutor at a public library, assisting with both the homework club and adult literacy program.
In addition to working for The Open Door, Jaden is also currently employed as the National Customer Service and Finance Coordinator with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and has worked in the non-profit sector for most of her adult life. This has included working in shelters for abused women and their children, the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples and the Office of the Fairness Commissioner.
In her spare time, she loves creating happy memories with her family and friends. She also loves to write and is currently pursuing the publication of a middle-grade novel she has authored.
Jaden has started working with The Open Door because despite loving her full-time job, she is most passionate about working with children, helping them to overcome their individual challenges and attaining their personal goals.
In her spare time Rosanne likes to read and do crafts. She loves to travel with her family visiting new places each time.
Rosanne is thrilled to be working at The Open Door as she loves working with the students to help them gain confidence and reach their full potential.
Jennifer earned her Bachelor’s degree with honours, specializing in Psychology, from the University of Ottawa. She went on to earn her Masters of Science in Teaching from the State University of New York at Potsdam. Throughout her 10 years of teaching experience, Jennifer has taken many courses including Additional Qualifications of Special Education Specialist through Nippissing University.
Jennifer has been teaching with the Ottawa Carleton District School Board for ten years, and also began tutoring two years ago. She has found she enjoys working with students both, as a class as well as one-on-one. She gains great satisfaction helping children build self-confidence and self-esteem and believe in themselves, as they overcome various obstacles.
In her spare time, Jennifer loves to take on new adventures with her family. She also enjoys quiet time reading and having long thoughtful conversations with most anyone. She has a love for music, and taught piano for many years. She also enjoys taking part and volunteering for community events that help others in the community.
After learning about The Barton Reading System and The Open Door Educational Services there was no turning back. Here she found a system that could reach children with various learning disabilities including dyslexia. A system that would help children strengthen many facets of their language skills. After hearing about the results of the Barton Reading System, she was thrilled to join The Open Door Educational Services to be part of this incredibly successful system which is actually giving children the necessary skills and tools needed for them to actually read and begin enjoying books!
Anna Sofia Contreras
Gabriel Arrigo is a student in Linguistics at The University of Ottawa. He has experience tutoring and coaching, particularly in hockey as a goalie coach for the Richmond Royals Jr. B. Gabriel started working with The Open Door because he enjoys learning and sharing that love of learning with others.
Laila has completed her Honors Bachelor of Health Sciences degree at the University of Ottawa and is currently working towards completing her Bachelor of Education in the Primary/Junior (K-6) French as a Second Language stream at the University of Ottawa. Laila has worked with students ages 6 to 16 with a diverse range of learning needs throughout her student teaching practicum and previous tutoring experiences. She has worked with students in several subjects including French, English as Second Language, Health, Physical Education, and Mathematics. During her undergraduate degree, Laila spent time with a supervisor from the Faculty of Education researching how the peer relationships and social well-being of students with special educational needs were impacted as a result of COVID-19 school closures. Laila loves travelling, baking, reading, and going to the gym. Laila began working with The Open Door because she is passionate about literacy, education, and providing students with a supportive learning environment to help them reach their goals and develop towards their highest potential.
Mariam is an Educational Assistant with a background in Psychology at Carleton University, and currently enrolled in Teacher’s College at the University of Ottawa. She’s previously tutored students in math and English and joined The Open Door because of her love of students and assisting them in their educational journey.
Alex is completing his Bachelor of Science in Psychology (Honors) at the University of Ottawa. After undergraduate studies, he will focus on a PhD in Neuroscience or Neuropsychology. Alex currently volunteers in several neuroscience laboratories, studying everything from the effects of stress to the role of white matter in brain function.
Alex played baseball from the age of 6 to 19, including AAA as well as coaching. He loves rock climbing, reading, and playing games online with friends. Alex enjoys working for The Open Door because that work gives him the opportunity to use his knowledge of the human brain to help students overcome their challenges with reading and spelling.
Anna Sofia completed a Bachelor of Arts with a specialization in English, a Bachelor of Social Science in Criminology, and is currently finishing a Master’s in Criminology. She spent the past three years working as a teaching assistant at the university level, growing professionally to become a knowledgeable, patient, and encouraging teacher to ensure students achieve academic success. She appreciates and is passionate about localized knowledge and education that is tailored to individual needs, which has led to her working one-on-one with students. Anna Sofia also tutors ESL students attending Canadian universities and enjoys helping them with their essays to make sure their language ability does not impede their education goals. When she has time, Anna Sofia loves to do outdoor activities like skating, snowboarding, and biking, loves to cook for her friends, and above all, loves to spend time with her 8 nieces and nephews. She’s part of a very large family, and their favourite pastime includes playing cards and board games together!
She earned her Bachelor of Social Work from Mcgill University and a Bachelor of Education from University of Ottawa. She has worked one-on-one with students with learning challenges in New Zealand, she also led programming for gifted students and learners who have dyslexia and autism.
She enjoys travelling, cooking new recipes and spending time with her dog Henri.
Amanda started working with The Open Door because she wanted to help students overcome barriers they may be facing and help them grow their self-confidence to reach their full potential.
She has worked and volunteered at Manor Park Summer Camps before and after-school programs with the Manor Park Community Council, where she became the lead for this group. She had the responsibility to plan, implement and supervise children at the primary level. As sports are on of her passions, she also coached various sports, mainly soccer, to children from ages 4-13.
It was during her final placement at the McHugh treatment unit at St. Luke’s that she truly discovered that her passion in teaching lay with children come from vulnerable backgrounds and need the social and emotional tools to be able to cope in a classroom with their peers. To her, this is what teaching is all about; helping children to acquire lifelong skills that will deepen their ability to learn and to form connections with others.
She started working with The Open Door because she saw a team of like-minded educators. She knew their shared purpose is to help children and adults reach their potential, to not let them slip through the cracks of the education system, to help them become lifelong learners, and to debunk the myths surrounding dyslexia.
“Everyone is capable of reaching for the stars. I like to think of the “Power of Yet” to guide me and others I teach when they are faced with what they perceive to be a road block. Teaching children and adults about the difference in a fixed mindset and a growth mindset is crucial to breaking those barriers.”
As a part of a 4th year community engagement project, she worked with Discovery University, a non-credit education program operated by The Ottawa Mission that offers university level courses to previously homeless and at-risk youth, where she promoted the program to various shelters and community services throughout Ottawa. She has also held volunteer positions as an assistant figure skating coach and a day camp counselor.
In her free time, she enjoys spending time outdoors, watching live music, playing sports, reading and cooking.
Meaghan began working with The Open Door because she loves helping students overcome obstacles and watching them achieve their personal academic goals. She is also eager to gain more experience working with students with learning disabilities.
She enjoys travelling, being active, and baking in her spare time.
Madison started working with the Open Door because she enjoys working with others and understands that every child has a unique way of learning. She also is looking forward to gaining additional experience working with children and assisting them to overcome any challenges they may be facing.
Sara is working on her Bachelor of Education with the aim of becoming an elementary school teacher, and, in doing so, recently completed an intensive school placement within a kindergarten classroom. Her broader goal is to continue studying at the master’s level with a specialization in kindergarten curriculum.
Sara volunteered with Christie Lake Kids (CLK), an organization that provides recreational programming for disadvantaged children. Her role with CLK recently transitioned from volunteer to Primary Instructor for leading weekly programs.
One reason Sara works for the Open Door is because of her own struggle with reading as a child. At that time, she had the opportunity to receive individualized support from a reading specialist; they provided helpful strategies enabling her to increase her reading confidence. Sara enjoys working with students to help them acquire practical skills to become lifelong readers and learners.
Sara enjoys travelling, trying new cuisines, and spending quality time with her family and friends.
Gabby is a Registered Early Childhood Educator and a student currently working towards his Bachelor of Education in primary/junior at The University of Ottawa. He also received his Honours Bachelor of Health Sciences at the same school. He has volunteered and worked in countless youth camps throughout his university career, leading youth and families in various workshops and conferences and working as an Indigenous Language Instructor teaching Tagalog from JK to grade 8. Gabby loves singing, playing the guitar, playing volleyball, doing paper crafts, and volunteering in different capacities for the church he attends. Gabby began working with The Open Door because he believes every child can succeed and overcome their challenges with the proper guidance, effort, and patience
Heather is also passionate about wellness and nutrition. She has a diploma in Natural Nutrition from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition and enjoys cooking and sharing her expertise with women and their families.
Heather started working with The Open Door because she saw a wonderful opportunity to put her former tutoring experience and current teaching experience to good use in working with students who need extra support. She recognizes the power of one-to-one support in helping students learn new skills and strategies that build confidence and success.
Laila is currently completing her Honours BA in Psychology at the University of Ottawa in the French stream. After her undergraduate studies, she strives to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology. Currently Laila is volunteering in two psychology laboratories. The first research laboratory is a child development laboratory that focuses on body image, trauma and eating disorders in children and adolescents. The second one focuses on human motivation, body image and eating habits in adults. Beyond her research experience, she has worked and volunteered extensively with children as a teacher’s assistant in a dance class, as a children’s camp counselor as well as in a daycare. Furthermore, Laila has also worked and volunteered with young adults at universities’ accessibility centres, as a community advisor in a university’s residence and as a student mentor in her faculty. Over the years, Laila has worked with various age groups and backgrounds and is looking forward to guiding your child or adolescent towards their learning objectives.
In her spare time, Laila loves rock climbing, biking, painting, travelling, and spending time with friends and loved ones.
Laila began working at The Open Door because she is passionate about learning and is excited to share this with youth regardless of the challenges they may be facing. In fact, she greatly believes it is imperative for educators to adapt to everyone’s learning approach because it is our diverse ways of learning and teaching that forge a creative, happy, and motivated society.
Lisa has a Bachelor of Arts with a major in English and a minor in History, a Bachelor of Education, and she is currently working on completing a Teacher-Librarianship diploma, all through the University of British Columbia. Upon completing her education degree, Lisa taught in various elementary schools in BC, with students from Kindergarten through Grade 6.
Recently, Lisa moved with her husband and toddler to the Ottawa area and is loving exploring their new city. In her free time, Lisa enjoys hiking, reading, baking, cross-stitching, and listening to podcasts.
Lisa was drawn to The Open Door because she loves teaching literacy and has a heart for students who struggle with learning. Lisa loves being able to help students overcome obstacles and help them learn in a fun and safe environment.
Jodie has a diploma in Early Childhood Education, an undergraduate degree in Child Studies, and a master’s degree in Health Science. She is an advocate for the health and well-being of all children and knows that literacy plays a significant role in that outcome. As a tutor with The Open Door, she has direct impact with helping children succeed in their literacy and well-being. She is kind, patient, passionate about learning, and strives to impart that enthusiasm with children.
Julia holds a bachelor’s degree in International Development from Trinity Western University, and a master’s degree in International Development from St. Mary’s University. Julia studied and worked in countries around the word, such as Honduras, Kenya, Nicaragua, the Philippines, and South Korea. She spent a year teaching kindergarten to grade 7 English in Seoul, taught ESL classes to adults in Canada, and is a certified Canadian Language Benchmarks Assessor.
Julia enjoys reading, spending time outside with her husband and two kids, and leading a Moms and Tots social group in her community. Julia started working with The Open Door because she loves working one-on-one with students and seeing them grow in their skills and love of learning.
Alyss completed her Masters of Education in Teaching and Learning at the University of Ottawa with courses in trauma-sensitive, inclusive, differential, and antiracist education. She obtained her Honours Bachelor of Arts with Major in French as a Second Language and Minor in Geography in 2018. To complement her electives in second language teaching, she completed an additional year of courses in psychology, linguistics, and social work at the University of Ottawa, Saint Paul University and Athabasca University. She is currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Education – P/J division (FLS cohort) at the University of Ottawa. Alyss has taught second language teaching and instruction with both adults and children. She has also held roles in universities as a library monitor, translator, academic assistant, and storywriter.
Alyss is excited to work with The Open Door because she believes that every child has unique strengths and talents that can be expressed with thoughtful and explicit instruction and feedback. She believes in a student-centered, strengths-based approach to teaching and learning and she is passionate about fostering an intrinsic desire to learn, improve, and succeed in every individual.
Andrea is an educator with the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board. She earned a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Geography from Carleton University and a Bachelor of Education from Queen’s University. Andrea began her career as a Special Education Teacher in England, working with students with Autism and behavioural needs. She is taking additional courses in Special Education and English Language Learners to support this effort.
Andrea enjoys cooking, watercolour painting, hiking, and spending time at the cottage. Andrea works with The Open Door because of her passion for literacy and phonics, and the emphasis on one-to-one learning.
On weekends, she often frequents local farmer’s markets and goes for nature walks, or spends time with her adult children.
A colleague told her that her son had made great gains working with an Open Door tutor. The colleague thought Shannon’s teaching style and experience would be a good match, so she opted to tutor with The Open Door so she could focus on what she loves – turning struggling readers into expert readers.
Caroline loves to spend her time volunteering. She has been a family event planner and soccer coach for the children and youth in her community. She also enjoys cooking, doing macramé, and learning about nutrition.
Caroline decided to work for The Open Door because she is passionate about supporting students by helping them build confidence and achieve their learning goals. She believes that working with students at the individual level allows greater understanding the student’s needs and fosters a positive student-teacher relationship.
Bio coming soon!
Bio coming soon!
Daniela is a student in the MEd Counselling Psychology program at the University of Ottawa. She has a B.A. in Psychology from Concordia University and has experience teaching workshops and providing supportive counselling to kids and teens with a variety of special needs. In her free time, she enjoys yoga, reading, drumming, and making art. She works for the The Open Door because she loves to teach children and believes a positive learning experience can do wonders for kids’ self-esteem.
Megan enjoys getting outside to hike and explore. She enjoys paddle boarding, biking, skating, yoga and kayaking.
She started working with The Open Door because she believes in their philosophy and in providing support to students so that they can reach their learning goals and gain confidence.
Laura is an educator with the Ottawa Carleton District School Board. She has spent the past seventeen years working with children with a wide range of complex challenges including autism, sensory processing disorder, ADHD, anxiety and language-based learning disabilities. Laura grew up in Nova Scotia, where she attended Acadia University, earning a B.A. with a major in Psychology and a minor in Sociology. Upon graduation, she spent some time living and working in Western Canada before moving to Ottawa where she attended Algonquin College in pursuit of a diploma in Social Services (honors). Following this, she spent the next two years travelling and working overseas before returning to Ottawa where she began her career in education and settled down to raise a family.
In her spare time, Laura loves participating in lots of outdoor activities such as downhill skiing, hiking, biking and camping. She also enjoys reading, cooking, cheering her children on with their various sports and spending time with family and friends.
Laura is thrilled to be working at The Open Door because she has a passion and keen interest in language development and loves working one-on-one with both children and adults and providing them with a warm, patient and supportive environment in which they can confidently achieve their true learning potential.
Amanda has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology as well as a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture. She is excited to start her Masters in Counselling this fall. She also facilitates a group for individuals living with anxiety and does research on social-emotional learning and child maltreatment. She has worked with children from diverse backgrounds for many years and looks forward to helping students during the learning process.
In her spare time, Amanda can be found enjoying time with family and friends, cross-country skiing along the Ottawa river, and paddling her canoe in one of Canada’s beautiful lakes. She also enjoys the occasional Netflix binge and getting cuddles from Maya, her Australian Shepherd.
Amanda started with The Open Door because she values the customized learning approach taken to best meet student needs. Her ultimate goal is to empower students to effectively navigate their cognitive, emotional, and behavioural experiences so they can fully engage with the material and move towards their aspirations.
Janell is currently completing her bachelor’s degree in International Studies and Modern Languages at the University of Ottawa. This program has allowed her to learn about political science, history, religion, and Spanish. Janell has spent a great deal of time volunteering with varying associations helping children, including orphanages and soccer clubs, organizing activities, tournaments, and fundraisers. In her free time, Janell loves to spend time outdoors, baking, reading, and painting. Janell works with The Open Door because of her desire is to help children gain confidence in their reading and writing abilities.
Katherine received her B.Sc. in Mathematical Science from McMaster University and is currently completing her B.Ed. for the Intermediate/Senior sector in Mathematics and English at the University of Ottawa. Katherine has over 7 years’ experience tutoring and working with children of all ages, from running children’s summer camp programs, to planning exam-prep sessions for high school students. Katherine loves reading, especially classic literature, mathematical theory, and philosophy. She enjoys travelling, being outdoors, watching movies, and loves to host game nights with her family and friends. After years of tutoring and working with students of all ages, learning abilities, and academic levels, Katherine is excited to work with a company whose approach to teaching is accessible for all students. Katherine is thrilled to be working with the The Open Door and is always eager to supporting and building strong connections with her students.
Bio coming soon!
Ally a primary / junior (K-6) student teacher currently completing a Bachelor of Education at the University of Ottawa. During her student teaching placement, Ally worked alongside a resource teacher providing levelled literacy intervention with students struggling to read and write. Ally also focuses on math, recently completing a two month contract as an in class math tutor with the Ottawa Catholic School Board (OCSB). She loves reading, travelling, and doing yoga. Her two greatest passions (aside from teaching) are mental health and the environment. Ally enjoys working with The Open Door because she believes that reading is a right, critical to success in school and life, and aims to provide students with effective instruction to help them reach their fullest potential.
Lyndsay is a registered early childhood educator and is currently attending the University of Ottawa for her B.Ed. in primary/junior education. She has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Early Childhood Studies from the University of Guelph-Humber. She has worked in many before and after-school settings, and most recently has worked in a kindergarten classroom with a diverse group of students. Lyndsay volunteers with Girl Guides of Canada and enjoys planning diverse activities.
In her spare time, she enjoys baking, playing sports and spending time outside with her dog.
Lyndsay started working with The Open Door because she enjoys working with students to help them grow and learn.
Mehr is a student in the Speech-Language Pathology program at McGill University and has earned a B.Sc. in Biology from Western University. During her undergraduate degree, she worked extensively with international students learning English as a Second Language and developed educational services in accordance with Ontario’s primary and secondary school curricula. Mehr spent several years volunteering in a speech-language pathology clinic, where she supported children with a variety of learning needs. In her free time, she enjoys spin classes, pottery, and trying new recipes. Mehr joined The Open Door because she is passionate about helping children overcome their challenges to eventually find joy in literacy. She looks forward to meeting new students and sharing her enthusiasm for learning!