When you take an ETFO AQ  course you can be assured that your instructor has passed a rigorous hiring screening process. They have proven expertise in the field of study. They have recent teaching experience – they know what you are going through and what is expected in today’s classrooms in Ontario. These top-of-their-field instructors enjoy more training in effective adult learning facilitation than other AQ  instructors – we believe that it is important to put the most competent and expert instructor in front of our professional course candidates.

Our goal is to have the best AQ  instructors in the province and the feedback from our candidates shows that we have been successful. If you click on the links below you can meet some of the superior ETFO AQ  instructors and see what their course candidates have to say about them.

Kimberly Arfo

Kim ArfoKimberly has been an educator for more than 20 years, and has worked for 3 different boards of education, Lambton (currently called Lambton-Kent), Halton and now Peel.  At the elementary level, she taught every grade from Kindergarten to Grade 8.  She spent time as a classroom teacher, Kindergarten teacher, ESL teacher, Teacher-Librarian and as planning time teacher in the computer lab.  Before going to teacher’s college, Kimberly taught Chemistry at the college level.  She also spent some time teaching math and science at the secondary level.   Currently, Kimberly is a Resource Teacher (Consultant) for Peel District School Board.

Kimberly is passionate about ESL, Assessment, Literacy, Math, Science and all other facets of education.  Working and collaborating with educators is rewarding to Kimberly because she feels that teachers are one of the hardest working and dedicated professionals.  According to Kimberly, it is an honour to teach AQ courses to teachers.

ETFO courses are practical and focus on what is important in the classroom.  The on line format allows for sharing of ideas and collaboration of course content.  Because the instructors are teachers themselves, the expertise is practical and useful to other teachers.

Kimberly teaches the online Adapting Curriculum for Second Language Learners and the English as a Second Language AQ courses.

Here is a sample of some comments provided to ETFO about Kimberly and the courses she teaches

I really enjoyed this course. Kimberly provided DETAILED, positive feedback. It was obvious that she read our posts in depth in order to provide this feedback. This was very much appreciated. I also enjoyed the readings that we were asked to do. I found them to be relevant and interesting. The videos were excellent.

I had a great experience throughout this ETFO course. This was the first time I have taken a course through ETFO and the instructor made it that way. She was always available to answer questions and provide feedback. I will certainly be taking more ETFO AQ course after this experience!

Kim was absolutely excellent. She was positive, encouraging, excited about the content, and always available to answer questions. I would rank my instructor as the HIGHLIGHT of this course!

Kim was a wonderful instructor. She was understanding and helpful, but didn’t hesitate to give you a kick in the pants if she felt your work wasn’t as well done as it should have been.

Back to top of meet your instructor page


Debra Besner

Debra has been teaching for more than 15 years in the elementary school panel. She has enjoyed each one of her experiences teaching and supporting students in Kindergarten to Grade 8 well as her opportunities to be a Reading Recovery Teacher and Literacy Coach. In addition to this, she thrives on her opportunities to offer workshops for ETFO’s Summer Academy as well as for teachers at the school board level. This passion for working with teachers is what led her to becoming an on-line instructor for ETFO.

Debra feels that being an AQ instructor is an extremely rewarding learning experience. She loves that not only is she able to share her experiences and knowledge with others through the on-line collaboration; she is also able to facilitate candidates partaking in learning from each other. The greatest enjoyment is when teachers express how much they have learned from the course material, the instructor and the discussions between candidates within the course.

Debra recommends that teachers take AQ courses since it is a great opportunity to expand on their knowledge of the content at hand, and therefore build a new found excitement and motivation for teaching. ETFO AQ courses are the perfect choice since ETFO provides an extremely supportive and engaging environment for learning. There are options when it comes to completing the final activities in each Learning Experience so that teachers can choose the way they wish to share their learning, instructors are involved and active in everyone’s learning, and in each activity there are a variety of resources offered.

Debra teaches the ETFO online Reading AQs.

Here is a sample of some comments provided to ETFO about Debra and the courses she teaches:

Debra is an amazing instructor, and truly an asset to the ETFO team!

Debra was fantastic. She responded very quickly to questions when I emailed her. her knowledge of the content really showed. I appreciated how she supported our learning — offering suggestions without criticizing and feedback that will improve my practice.

Debra was an amazing online presence in this course. She helped guide discussions and was understanding and supportive of my outside pressures and commitments and was flexible when I needed it. I am so appreciative of that.

Debra was fabulous! She went over and above what I expected of my course instructor (Ie. creating end notes (and in a creative manner nonetheless!) She was really quick to give positive feedback and answer questions. Debra has a solid understanding of reading strategies and asked questions to encourage critical thinking.

Debra is an amazing instructor. She was available all of the time for help and clarification. Assignments were returned very quickly and she went above and beyond in keeping contact with all of us. She consistently responded to each candidates’ answers and always offered positive feedback.

Back to top of meet your instructor page


Charmain Brown

Charmain has been teaching for more than 15 years and loves it more and more each day. There is always so much to learn.  She has taught in all three divisions with a concentration in junior.  She values creating a safe, inclusive learning environment where all learners are valued for who they are and what they bring to the classroom.  Charmain taught a demonstration classroom for many years where teachers, administrators, consultants and others would observe exemplary classroom practices.

Charmain has worked with Pearson Publishing assisting in the development of various teacher resources; the most recent being video segments for their Literacy In Action series.

In addition, she has created teacher resources and co-facilitated workshops for ETFO in the area of Poverty and Learning.

Charmain has shared her exemplary practices with teacher candidates having completed a secondment with OISE where she was a coordinator and instructor for an elementary pre-service teacher education cohort.  She thoroughly enjoyed mentoring new teachers and giving them a confident start to their careers.  She worked hard at empowering them to share who they are as individuals in the classroom in order to create an environment where learners can feel like they can share themselves.

Charmain enjoys teaching ETFO AQs because the online format allows for the sharing of learning with the various participants in the course.  With teachers enrolled from across the province, it brings diversity of experiences and expertise to the course that makes it come alive.  The learning from others’ experiences allows her to grow as a facilitator and educator. Charmain has seen how the participants learn how the concepts of the course resonate with one another and how these concepts impact upon the specific work teachers do with all learners.  The sharing of resources (community partners, texts, instructional strategies, etc.) shows the passion that the participants have for the learners and communities that they work with.

Charmain believes that ETFO AQs are excellent because the  courses are developed in such a way that teachers can implement strategies, ideas and pedagogy immediately in their classrooms and then share with the online community their experiences and get feedback.  The E-Tivities are relevant, meaningful and applicable to the 21st century learner. Candidates receive support and encouragement from the online community but also are pushed in their thinking which is where the learning really becomes impactful to practice.

Charmain teaches the online Inclusive Classroom AQ courses.

Here is a sample of some comments provided to ETFO about Charmain and the courses she teaches:

My instructor was very encouraging.  She understood when teaching work-load or family issues caused lags in completing work.  . . a good mentor for an ‘old’ teacher!

Charmain worked hard to creat a community of learners – we felt safe to contribute and everyone felt valued.

The instructor was awesome! Always gave quick and positive feedback. She really cared about what she was teaching.

I learned so much from interacting with my colleagures on the discussion boards and with Charmain. This has definitely been one of my most significant learning experiences!

Back to top of meet your instructor page

Rita Cohen

Rita CohenRita has worked for the Toronto District School Board since 1999, teaching in the Primary and Junior divisions.  During this time, Rita spent five years as a Math Coach supporting student achievement through co-teaching partnerships.  Rita believes that collaboration is an essential component of the teaching-learning journey, inspiring and empowering educators and all students and families.  Currently, in Rita’s new role as a Special Education Teacher she is excited to translate her research and experience back into her own classroom, one which fosters equity and inclusiveness.

Exploring, reflecting and growing are the reasons Rita enjoys being an AQ Instructor.  She genuinely appreciates when candidates enthusiastically share their A-ha moments, for she will be the first to say that every discussion helps her create new understandings and relevant connections.  Rita is committed to lifelong learning and believes that ETFO AQ courses provide a safe and meaningful avenue to learn and apply best practice.  She values the progression through the Learning Experiences, as candidates first have an opportunity to activate what they already know, then various opportunities to extend, clarify and consolidate new learning.  Rita is honored to be a part of the ETFO family – a community that supports and responds to individual strengths, interests and choices.

Rita teaches the ETFO Mathematics, Primary and Junior online AQ courses.

Here is a sample of some comments provided to ETFO about Rita and the courses she teaches:

This course has really made me reflect on who I am as a Mathematics teacher and who I want to be.  I think that I have grown tremendously.  My confidence has risen and I have a renewed excitement towards mathematics. Thank you for your leadership and dedication throughout!

Receiving feedback from Rita was invaluable to my learning journey in math. It motivated me to want to learn more and always brought a smile to my face. Rita was an important part of my learning circle – learning from her and with her made risk taking easy. Talking with her and the other candidates about what I was learning and trying made me feel safe. Her support and wise words ‘start small, think big’ – will remain with me long after the course.

Rita is an amazing instructor who is always available for questions. She gives positive feedback and is supportive in all areas. Rita spends a great deal of time and energy ensuring that the students are kept informed, providing numerous additional resources to support our learning.

For me personally, Rita made me feel like I was competent and that my responses were valued.  I learned a lot from her and look forward to implementing the different ideas and strategies in my own classroom beginning in September.

Rita was a FANTASTIC instructor.  The quality and quantity of resources she provided us with are invaluable!!  It was clear that she new the material and was a dedicated teacher. This really is a key part of the ETFO difference!

I have participated in several online courses from other providers, and I have to admit that the instructor is one of the best instructors I have experienced. She was quick to respond to any questions or wonderings that I had as well as being extremely supportive. She facilitated a fantastic learning environment, which I feel made the course a superb learning experience. She provided excellent questions to push our professional thinking and learning, as well as valuing our opinions. She shared many resources that will be extremely beneficial in supporting teachers with mathematics development.

Back to top of meet your instructor page

Karen Devonish-Mazotta

Karen has been an FSL teacher with TDSB for 20 years.  In her time as a classroom teacher, she taught all subject areas in the French Immersion, Core French and regular English programs.  Karen has an MA in Second Language Learning and her MA thesis won 2 professional awards (she is very proud of that!).  Karen is currently a Course Director at in the Concurrent Education program of a local university (Glendon College, York University).  Karen believes that all children have the capacity, desire and right to learn and that it is our job as teachers to facilitate the process  – period.

Karen loves being an AQ instructor because it is a wonderful opportunity to interact with new FSL colleagues who bring new thinking to the field of French as a Second Language.  It a marvellous feeling to vicariously experience not only the novelty of teaching French as Second Language for the first time but also to rethink present strategies and approaches with candidates in the course.

ETFO AQs are good for teachers because it provides a safe place for teachers to share their valuable experiences, to engage in professional inquiries and to seek out useful resources.  Karen has observed that the teachers in her online courses have created professional learning communities that have extended beyond the course and thus have created new forms of support of FSL teachers who often feel isolated in schools.  ETFO AQ courses are created by teachers in Ontario for teachers in Ontario resulting in learning relationship that is relevant both in content and context.

Karen teaches ETFO’s French as a Second Language online AQ courses.

Here is a sample of some comments provided to ETFO about Karen and the courses she teaches:

Karen  was amazing! She was positive and engaging. She made us think and encouraged discussions. I would be happy to take a course with her again:)

The instructor was excellent: very supportive, encouraging, and regularly provided information and resources that related to individual participants interests and encouraging deeper investigation of topics. Terrific!

I appreciated everything Karen did to develop a community of learners. I felt safe and able to grow.

This was a great course – in large part because of the instructor’s efforts. What an amazing effort!

Back to top of meet your instructor page

Sukayna Dewji

Sukayna has taught at The Toronto District School Board for over 15 years. She feels blessed to be working at the largest school in North America with students from many different countries. She has lived and attended school in three continents and is able to use her experiences to support newcomers to the country. She finds each day rewarding as she learns from the vast experiences her students and their families bring with them.

As an AQ instructor, Sukayna enjoys collaborating with teachers bringing different experience to the course. She values working for ETFO, an organization that puts equity and social justice at its forefront! Candidates taking the courses share her passion and together support each other to advocate for the rights of all. She is motivated to be part of the learning process and to have her ideas and beliefs refined in the process.

Sukayna believes ETFO-AQs are excellent because they are practical and research based. Course are developed and facilitated by teachers who are actively involved in classrooms and in the community. The online setting allows educators from all corners of the province to come together in a safe environment to share their experiences, perspectives and to apply their learning to their present settings.

Sukayna teaches ETFO’s English as a Second Language online AQ courses.

Here is a sample of some comments provided to ETFO about Sukayna and the courses she teaches:

I felt that the instructor was timely with feedback and had a vast background knowledge and understanding of ELL students. I could sense her passion for this area of education.

Sukayna did an amazing job. I don’t know how she managed to keep up with all of the conversations. She is a wonderful instructor who truly embodies what it is to be a good teacher. Excellent modelling for her students. 🙂

The instructor provided exemplars for each assignment which was extremely helpful!

Sukayna was exemplary. She was knowledgeable, supportive, and responded promptly to questions.

Sukayna was phenomenal! I found her to be very open, knowledgable, and created a safe environment in which to learn.

Back to top of meet your instructor page

Sandra Himann

Sandra has been teaching for more than 20 years.   For most of those years she has been teaching in a junior or intermediate classroom.  A few years ago she transferred to the primary division and became a grade 1/2 teacher.  This opportunity reinforced for her the importance of good teaching in the early grades.  In addition to teaching within a school, she has worked as a facilitator for teacher professional learning in a variety of formats.

Sandra teaches AQs because she believes professional learning is essential to good teaching.  Current educational research and practice is plentiful and valuable.  With ever increasing diversity within their student population, AQs provide teachers with the information and tools they need to be effective classroom teachers.  Sandra feels that she has been given multiple opportunities to gain knowledge and improve her professional practice over the years and she thinks it’s important that others have the opportunity to gain the knowledge they need and desire, and to improve their practice.

Sandra knows that ETFO AQs are good for teachers because they are practical and research based.  They are written by teachers who are active in the field and know the challenges of teaching first hand.  They are designed to increase knowledge in a very sequential, constructivist manner, which makes the content accessible to all.  ETFO AQs are current, challenging, and affordable!

Sandra teaches ETFO’s Math online AQ courses.

Here is a sample of some comments provided to ETFO about Sandra and the courses she teaches:

Sandra was very professional, knowledgeable, and supportive throughout the course. Through personal feedback, e-mails, and through group-posts, she effectively balanced positive feedback with constructive criticism in a very tactful and diplomatic manner, to help her students to challenge their thinking, and grow within the suggested area.

Sandra supported our learning and was helpful in offering suggestions for further learning!

Sandra was terrific and provided timely feedback and was very supportive to all our questions.

Sandra was always helpful and assisted us with any of our questions or concerns. She shared her knowledge and expertise when she could and offered quick feedback on our work and final assignments for each LE. I would be happy to have her as an instructor for future courses!

Back to top of meet your instructor page

Erin Keith

While facilitating the Kindergarten AQ course, Erin has the absolute pleasure of guiding candidates with a passion for early childhood education through weeks of interesting discussions, resource sharing and reflection on innovative Kindergarten practice.  She is proud of her candidates accomplishments and knows that all their dedicated efforts will pay off in the classroom.  BRAVO!

Erin believes that facilitating professional learning with fellow teaching peers is an honour and a privilege.  Creating an online learning environment that is friendly, supportive and responsive to the individual needs of each AQ candidate is of foremost importance to her.  Being a ‘witness’ to each person’s learning journey is a thrill!

ETFO’s AQs have content that is current in theory and delivery.  E-tivities are practical, immediately applicable to the classroom and serve to motivate candidates to achieve very high standards in their own research.

Erin teaches ETFO’s Kindergarten online AQ course.

Here is a sample of some comments provided to ETFO about Erin and the courses she teaches:

Erin was great! She was very helpful and always available! She created a positive environment and made sure that no one felt frustrated and overwhelmed.

Erin was a great support throughout the course. She was very knowledgeable and had a good handle on the content and the participants. Thanks Erin!

Erin Keith is AMAZING!!! She is friendly, knowledgeable and professional. I would feel very interested in taking another course with Erin as my instructor.

Erin Keith was unbelievable. The quick feedback, and extra support that she provided made me feel comfortable in the course and in the discussions. I would definitely take another AQ if I knew that all instructors were as efficient as Erin.

I am happy that I took this course, and ecstatic that we had such a wonderful course instructor. The material was very useful and will be applied for the following school year.

Back to top of meet your instructor page

Rob Kerr

Rob is a teacher currently working in Special Education. He enjoys writing, and quite likes to golf. He has noticed though that when he tees up the ball the cows in the nearby pasture begin to move back – a smart thing, too!

He enjoys teaching AQ courses and strives to ensure that his courses are lively, smart, and fun.

Rob believes that teachers should take ETFO AQ courses because they are  expertly designed – and continually evolving.  AQ candidates are encouraged, from the outset, to engage more deeply in topics and threads that are especially meaningful to their interests. Candidates are actively encouraged to share their experiences, ideas, and opinions within the group of participants.

Rob teaches the ETFO Special Education online AQ courses.

Here is a sample of some comments provided to ETFO about Rob and the courses he teaches:

My instructor was great!! I enjoyed the course and built a wonderful toolkit consisting of great resources that will help me in my job!

Rob was extremely accessible and clearly put a lot of effort and thought into the community aspect of the course.

Rob was a fantastic instructor, making us all feel connected, even though we were scattered throughout the province.

Our instructor was friendly, prompt in his feedback and constructive in his criticism.

Rob was an excellent instructor. I would be very excited to have him as my course instructor in the future! He made the course!

Back to top of meet your instructor page

Brad MacLeod

Brad has taught for 13 years in the elementary grades on the Six Nations Reserve.  He has specialists in Math, Reading and Computers and has a Masters of Distance Education from Athabasca University.  Brad has written courses for ETFO and teaches for Nipissing and Queens in their Native Education programs.

Brad really enjoys instructing AQ courses as it’s a great learning experience for him as well as his candidates.  There isn’t a session that goes by that he doesn’t learn something from a candidate within his course.  Brad strives to make his courses as practical as he can for his candidates and hopes they use what they learn in their classrooms.

Brad believes that ETFO AQ’s are a great way for teachers to dig a little deeper into the course topics and to share with other teachers within Ontario and around the world.   By sharing personal experiences, everyone has a chance to learn from each other.  These courses are designed by teachers, so each course is loaded with practical material that can actually be used right away within the classroom.   He would highly recommend an ETFO AQ course to any teacher that is considering professional development courses.

Brad teaches the ETFO online Integration of Information and Communications Technology AQs.

Here is a sample of some comments provided to ETFO about Brad and the courses he teaches:

The instructor was accessible, friendly, timely, and gave wonderful feedback. Thank you Brad for a stress free summer course. I feel comfortable going back to continue to use technology in my classroom.

Brad was flexible and allowed for ‘outside the box’ thinking in very practical matters. I found him to be very encouraging and supportive throughout the whole process.

I have had Brad MacLeod for all three parts to this AQ. He was awesome for all of them! In fact, his skill as an instructor was one of the main reasons why I kept coming back to ETFOAQ!

Back to top of meet your instructor page

Bunmi Omiyale

Bunmi OmiyaleBunmi is a passionate teacher with a variety of experiences in teaching and tutoring. Over the past couple of years she has taught language, social studies, special education and guidance in middle school. Bunmi draws experience from her rich overseas educational background to prepare young adolescent for the future and equip them as global citizen. Her favourite moments in life included times when she provided students with unique instructional experiences.

Teaching Additional Qualification is one of Bunmi’s new found “favourite moments”.  She enjoys facilitating AQ courses because they provide the unique opportunity to collaborate, co-construct, and learn from fellow teachers across the province. During her courses, Bunmi confidently shares her exemplary teaching practices and adds new and applicable strategies to her “Teaching Tool Kit” from her candidates.  Most importantly Bunmi supports her colleagues in their professional learning journey while she enjoys the unique chance of refreshing her own learning.

Bunmi considers Teaching AQs an interesting and interactive means of receiving current updates in educational policies, and engaging in rich and reflective educational dialogues that are relevant to her day to day classroom experiences.

ETFO AQs are best for teachers because they are developed by teachers, taught by teachers, and received by teachers.  The modules are developed and written in formats that allow teachers to make connections between policies and practices. The courses continue to be a focal point for enduring professional learning for all!

Bunmi teaches the ETFO online Special Education AQs.

Here is a sample of some comments provided to ETFO about Bunmi and the courses she teaches:

Bunmi was extremely positive and provided reflective feedback. She was also always prompt in answering questions. Bunmi was a knowledgeable instructor.

I loved the fact that she encouraged everyone to respond to postings with their own thoughts and not reiterate previous comments.

Bunmi Omiyale was a great facilitator. Positive, enthusiastic, flexible, and walked the talk!

Bunmi was exceptional and real when it came to treating us with respect, acknowledged and adjusted when needed, and “got it.”

I also liked how she kept the class focused on the key details to make the content manageable – her expectations met standards, but also allowed us the freedom to reply with the needed info in our own professional manner.

Thank you Bunmi for treating us like professionals and fostering some wonderful conversations!

Back to top of meet your instructor page

Deanna Pecaski McLennan

Deanna is an elementary teacher in Southern Ontario. Her educational background includes an undergraduate degree in ‘Drama in Education’ and a Ph.D. in Educational Studies that focused on exploring early years issues in depth. Although she has held many primary and junior assignments, her passion is for the early years and she is happiest when teaching our youngest learners.

She is currently teaching (and loving) a full day early learning class. She is very excited about the opportunity to teach in the first cohort of classrooms to offer full day, every day programming for our kindergarten children. She believes strongly in a play-based, exploratory, democratic learning environment and has spent much time reading, researching, and writing about these various issues. She is especially interested in whether sociodrama (a specialized form of drama meant for exploration, not necessarily performance) can be used with young children in order to encourage exploration of collective issues of importance in their lives. As a teacher Deanna tries to differentiate the experiences children have in her classroom by incorporating the arts into learning opportunities as much as possible and by promoting inquiry-based, child-centered practices.

Teaching Additional Qualifications courses is one of the best forms of professional development for Deanna. As an instructor she is continuing to expand her knowledge and understanding of early years issues so that she can enhance and refine her classroom practice. Deanna finds it incredibly rewarding to work with educators interested in doing the same! It is interesting to work with so many talented and engaged educators from around our province; each having unique interests and talents that shine through in his or her AQ work. Because she is also a kindergarten teacher, she can take the knowledge explored in our courses and directly apply it into her classroom practice, which also benefits her students as well. Deanna learns something new each time she teaches an AQ!

Deanna knows that ETFO AQs are great for today’s Ontario teachers! The courses are developed and instructed with research-based materials and best practices at their heart. The Kindergarten AQ course is incredibly engaging and ignites a passion for the Early Years in course participants. Course materials appeal to adult learners through a variety of mediums (e.g., photos, videos, readings) and a safe and supportive virtual classroom environment helps candidates to reflect on their past practices and envision future teaching experiences through an active discussion board. It is an exciting time to be a kindergarten teacher in Ontario! The new Early Learning Program encourages teachers to offer children inquiry-based, exploratory learning experiences through an emergent curriculum that still adheres to Ministry expectations. The ETFO Kindergarten AQ helps candidates learn exactly how to do just that!

Deanna teaches the ETFO online Kindergarten AQs.

Here is a sample of some comments provided to ETFO about Deanna and the courses she teaches:

Deanna really impressed me as an AQ instructor – she was supportive and responded to all inquiries quickly.

Deanna was so encouraging. She fostered a sense of community throughout the course which encouraged the candidates to participate.

I was amazed at how Deanna was able to ensure everyone enrolled in the course felt welcome – this hasn’t happened in other AQ courses that I have taken.

Deanna surpassed my expectations for an online instructor; she displayed a high level of commitment and professionalism.

I appreciated how Deanna went above and beyond by providing additional resources if candidates requested them. She worked hard to make the course even more practical than it already was. She challenged our educational philosophies/pedagogies throughout the course . . . I know that I am a better teacher as a result of her efforts.

Back to top of meet your instructor page

Jeff Pfohl

Jeff has been teaching for the Waterloo Region District School Board for 10 years. Prior to that, he worked for the Outdoor Education department for the Toronto District School Board. He has taught both primary and junior students and in September begins a new position as a Learning Support Teaching where he will provide leadership and professional development to JK-8 classroom teachers.

Jeff has his 3-part math and 3-part reading specialist additional qualifications. He has been a part of ETFO’s professional learning for a number of years, instructing AQs and presenting for the ETFO 3-part series: Classroom Assessment That Works!

In addition to his efforts as a facilitator of teacher professional learning  Jeff  has also been a Federation Representative (Steward) in Waterloo for 7 years.

As an AQ instructor Jeff truly enjoys collaborating with teachers with different experiences. Whether it is someone fresh out of a faculty of education, an occasional teacher, someone in a behavioural class, or anyone else, he finds the diverse perspectives enrich the course discussions. He relates it to the idea of biodiversity – the more diverse, the greater the experience.

He also enjoys reading the innovative resources and technological ideas that are shared by the  candidates, as well as the initiatives that are happening in different school boards. He has always viewed professional learning as reciprocal, meaning that everyone is invested in the learning community and has the good fortune of gaining new, practical ideas regardless of their position.

Jeff feels that ETFO AQ courses are practical, relevant, and flexible. In the courses teachers have opportunities to view webcasts and read ministry documents and online articles that address today’s challenges in today’s classroom. At the end of each of the 4 learning experiences, teachers have at least 2 options for assignments allowing the candidates to differentiate their instruction. These assignments include brochures for parents and presentations for curriculum nights. The options end up being portfolio items that will be used rather than essays that will never be read again. Jeff wishes that he would have experienced this when he was taking his  AQ courses! For this reason, he intends to choose ETFO AQ for his professional learning in special education in the near future.

Jeff teaches the ETFO online reading AQ courses.

Here is a sample of some comments provided to ETFO about Jeff and the courses he teaches:

Jeff is a fantastic teacher in every sense. He is dedicated to the learning of all of the candidates and helping them enhance their professional practice.

I appreciated how he created a safe community of learners by acknowledging others’ contributions and positively respecting everyones contributions as equals.

I was amazed at the depth of feedback that Jeff provided. It was personal and encouraged me to push myself in my learning.

Jeff ensured that the course material was current and meaningful – I feel prepared to run a better reading program as a result of his efforts.

Jeff is a transformational leader who inspires others to learn beyond their comfort zone. He validates the candidates by creating a safe community where they can voice their ideas without ear of judgement. I have learned a great deal about professionalism from Jeff and am a more effective teacher because of the role that he has played in my professional leanring.

Jeff did an excellent job providing positive and constructive feedback during each etivity – far more than with any other AQ course I’ve taken.

Back to top of meet your instructor page

Amy Popowich

“Sweet 16” is how Amy describes her years so far as a teacher, always full of excitement and new challenges. Amy has enjoyed teaching both in the elementary and secondary panels and as working as a principal’s assistant and board level consultant in Simcoe County. Amy has been involved with various Ministry projects and initiatives to support teachers and is the author of the OTF’s Teachers’ Gateway to Special Education website resource for teachers. Amy processes a Masters of Education and considers it a priority and pleasure to be a lifelong learner herself!

Amy enjoys learning with her teacher candidates in ETFO’s AQ courses, while “kindly questioning” and guiding. She finds it exciting to collaborate and share new ideas and resources. Amy is proud to be an ETFO AQ Instructor and to play a role in this era of continual improvement to better serve students and our future generations.

Amy loves the practical nature of the ETFO AQ courses that focus on immediate strategies and information that teachers can use in their daily practice to facilitate student learning.  She especially likes that teachers taking ETFO AQs get to experience many best practices in the courses that promote teachers to implement them with their students. As part of the ETFO AQ course development team,  Amy is pleased with the fresh and innovative components of ETFO AQ courses, like various multi-media, web based resources and introduction to new technologies. Amy honours the commitment that teachers take when participating in an AQ course and likes the flexibility that ETFO on-line AQ courses provide for teachers who are a credit to our profession.

Amy teaches the online Special Education AQ courses.

Here is a sample of some comments provided to ETFO about Amy and the courses she teaches:

Amy was fantastic!  I have taken AQ courses before, but this was the course where I felt as though no assignments were “filler” assisgnments.  I really appreciated the practical nature and the positive support from my instructor.

Amy was professional, knowledgable, considerate.  Her feedback related to my professional goals.  She was able to answer questions in a very timely manner and gave direction to improve while allowing you to use your own professional judgement to find the answer.  She participated and collaborated in the course discussions without dominating or suggesting her way was the best.  A great instructor!

Amy answered all my questions in a timely manner and in a way that I understood – this hasn’t been my experience with AQ courses that I have taken with other providers.

Amy provided frequent and constructive feedback.  She was supportive with her advice and promoted critical thinking which is so critical in an AQ course.

Back to top of meet your instructor page

Shelly Vohra

Shelly has been teaching for more than 10 years. She has taught extensively at the elementary level, both in the primary and junior division teaching various subjects including language, math, French, science, social studies, art, and drama. She is currently teaching at the middle school level and has for a few years.

She has her Masters Degree in Education and her specialties are math, science, and literacy across the curriculum. She has developed and delivered workshops at both the school and board level. She is involved in the mentoring program within her school board, mentoring teachers in their first five years of teaching. Her passion and interests are in critical thinking/literacy, social justice, and brain compatible learning.

Shelly teaches  AQs for her own professional growth & development as well as to share her knowledge and experiences in the classroom over her many years of teaching. This is also an opportunity for Shelly to extend her mentoring practices for new teachers taking AQ courses.

Shelly believes that teachers should take ETFO AQ courses for several reasons:

  • courses are developed by teachers for teachers;
  • activities and assignments are applicable to classroom settings, hence they can be used directly with your students, making these assignments authentic;
  • takes into consideration non-classroom teachers, occasional teachers, and long term occasional teachers and provides alternate assignments and activities based on their needs;
  • based on current research and practices pertaining to 21st century skills;
  • opportunities to collaborate and share with colleagues in a variety of ways;
  • a wide range of learning styles and instructional strategies are used; and
  • good use of a variety of technologies pertaining to 21st century.

Shelly teaches the ETFO reading and e-learning AQ courses.

Here is a sample of some comments provided to ETFO about Shelly and the courses she teaches:

Shelly was helpful, available and provided good feedback to help with the next module.

My instructor was interactive and involved in all the discussions.

I thoroughly enjoyed the professional dialogue with my course candidates……and gained lots of valuable resources that I can use in the classroom immediately. Shelly had so much to offer as did the other participants.

I was surprised at how much I learned in this course. The information and resources were current and relevant. I found the instructor’s expectation to respond to other posts helpful as it made me read the posts and learn from the other participants. Shelly really made the course through her facilitation skills.

Well done. I was very pleased to have Shelly as our instructor. I thoroughly enjoyed the professional dialogue with my course candidates……and gained lots of valuable resources that I can use in the classroom immediately.

I LOVED this course and will take more…. SO pratical. You can tell teachers made this course for teachers!

Back to top of meet your instructor page


Tara Zwolinski

Tara has been teaching for many fun filled years!  She is currently a Special Education teacher with the Toronto District School Board, but has taught in the primary, junior and intermediate divisions in several areas of the province.

Tara completed her Master of Education in 2004, which focused on program planning, assessment and evaluation.  She continues to reflect on what forms of assessment best inform her students’ learning.

One of Tara’s professional highlights was in 2005, when she participated in Project Overseas and traveled to West Africa to provide professional learning in mathematics and science to Ghanaian teachers.  This experience inspired a continued interest in social justice.

At home, Tara enjoys spending time with her wonderful husband and her two lovely children.  Together they enjoy family bike rides around the city, baking, camping and gardening.  Tara is also an avid environmentalist, working hard to reduce her household’s ecological footprint.

Tara feels that teaching Additional Qualification courses is a wonderful opportunity to meet and collaborate with teachers across the province.  Every session, Tara feels more enriched as a teacher and as a person from reading the insightful discussions posted by candidates.  She strives to create engaging and meaningful professional learning communities in her AQ courses.

Tara likes ETFO AQs because they reflect the importance of differentiated instruction.  ETFO AQs makes learning accessible by presenting content through different media as well as by providing choice in assignments.

Tara teaches the ETFO Combined Grades online AQ courses.

Here is a sample of some comments provided to ETFO about Tara and the courses she teaches:

Tara exhibits obvious care for all of the candidates. Her attention to detail is unbelievable. From detailed summaries and personal e-mails to effective and timely feedback her support and encouragement was fantastic!

From the very beginning of the course, when Tara encouraged us to get to know one another, her dedication and professionalism was unwavering.

Tara is, in my opinion, the best AQ course instructor that I have ever experienced and this is my 8th AQ!

Tara was amazing! I have taken other AQ courses and my instructors were nothing like Tara… Tara took time to explain everything, she was easy to relate to (you knew that she had a life too, which was very nice), she was personable and it shown through the computer. I loved this course, the material and how it was taught — I looked forward to logging on to see what positive feedback Tara had given or what interesting sites she had recommended! Thank you to her for such a wonderful four weeks!

Tara is such a wonderful instructor. She was there to support her students to be successful in their course of studies and have offered ways on how she could help out in any way.

My instructor Tara was amazing and very very helpful. I totally loved the paging and email system that are used in the online learning platform. I loved the fact that this AQ is cheaper and so much more practical than the previous courses I have taken!

Back to top of meet your instructor page