Grace Gorman, Manager/Head Teacher in 3-5 Full Day Program (ECE/IT)
Grace was born in Kamloops and attended Kamloops Montessori as a child herself. From a young age Grace knew she wanted to pursue a career with children. After graduating from South Kamloops Secondary School, Grace completed her Early Childhood Education diploma at TRU and has received her Montessori level 1 training. Grace is very interested in the development of children and learning how their creative minds work. Going through the Montessori program as a child, Grace knew that she wanted to work in a Montessori classroom and share her knowledge and experiences with her students. Grace is the Manager at Juniper Early Learning Center, as well as, the Head Teacher of the 3-5 Full Day Program.
Margarita Ochoa-Fernandez, Head Teacher (ECEA)
Kinder Prep Extended Day Program
Margarita was born and raised in Colima, Mexico. She holds a Psychology degree and a Kindergarten Teacher's degree, back in her country of origin, with 20 years of experience working in education with young children between 2 to 6 years old. Margarita taught and coordinated the academic preschool and kindergarten program in a private elementary school in Colima, Mexico, for ten years. At that time, she decided to train in Montessori, which she did in the Pierre Faure Institute in Guadalajara, Mexico, attending the teachers' summer school for seven summers. In 2012 Margarita founded and ran Colegio Arbore, a private preschool and kindergarten that works with the Montessori philosophy of education, for seven years. In April 2019, she moved to Canada with her husband and three sons to pursue her Masters of Education at TRU; in April 2021, graduated. Since coming to Canada, Margarita started working in Childcare and has completed the Early Childhood Educator Assistant certificate. Margarita has always been very foccussed on balancing the educative system's expectations with the respect for every child's individuality and unique personality.
Lisa Gilroy, Head Teacher School Age Program (ECE/IT)
Lisa was raised in Kamloops, where her parents owned a restaurant, which taught her many entrepreneurial skills and a good work ethic. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from UCC (now TRU) in 2004 and proceeded to travel to Korea where she found a love for teaching. Lisa continued her expeditions, which landed her in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for 10 years, where she taught English in a private, bilingual school, as well as, owned and operated her own business. This is where she met her husband, and had her son, before moving back to Canada. When she and her husband returned to Kamloops to raise her family, she also returned to school, and has completed her 'Early Childhood Educator' certification. She also,recently returned to school to complete her 'Infant/Toddler' and 'Children with Exceptionalities' certification.. She believes that children are strong and capable individuals, and through trusting and strong relationships, they will learn and grow as they play and explore their world in a safe environment.
Amy Utz, Teacher (ECE) n Full Day (3-5 year old Program)
Amy came to Juniper Early Learning Center, as a practicum student, while completing her Early Childhood Educator (ECE) certification. Upon, completing her certification, she took on the position of Teacher (ECE) in the Full Day (3 to 5 year olds) program. It is joy to have Amy here, and the children love having her as well.
Daniela Becker, Teacher (ECE/IT) Infant/IToddler Program
Daniela is from Germany. She has 'Early Childhood Educator' certification from Germany as well as from Nova Scotia, Canada. Daniela has worked with children, from birth through the teenage years, for over 19 years in different countries, including USA, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand. Her experiences include different (bilingual, special needs) settings such as early childhood centers, after school centers, a children's home and private homes. She and her husband have started a new chapter by coming to Canada with their two cats, and she enjoys working with our team here at Juniper Early Learning Center.
Heather Arcand (ECE) Teacher Kinder Prep Extended Day
Heather was raised for most of her life in Kamloops and has chosen Kamloops as the place that she and her 13 year old son, Kolten, call home. Heather always knew she wanted to be a teacher and began volunteering at childcare centres right out of high school. In 2004 she began working in private care nannying, where she had the opportunity to work with children aged 0-17, some of whom were children on the Autism spectrum. In 2017 she began a program at Sprott Shaw Community College to attain her certification as an Early Childhood Educational Assistant (ECEA). Then in 2019, wanting to take on more responsibility and broaden her learning, she went back to college, and got her full Early Childhood Educator (ECE) certificate. She worked at Curious Minds Montessori for five years before venturing into other forms of childcare. She has found J.E.L.C. to be the right fit for her career path, and began settling in here at Juniper Early Learning Center early summer 2022. She started out as a substitute, doing break coverage and working in the School Age program. Heather has been excited to join our Preschool Program this fall, and also continues in the School Age program, and covering breaks in other programs
Buriga A (Eric), Teacher (ECEA) Kinder Prep Extended Day/School Age
Buirga A (Eric) was born and raised in Inner Mongolia, China.
Buriga has years of experience working in the education system, with children between 2 and 12 years old. He began his teaching career at his hometown public school in 2014. In 2016, he joined the Preschool program, as a teacher, at Rise English, the most prominent private school (with 34 centres) in Beijing, China. At the beginning of 2020, because of the pandemic, he joined VIPKID, the most prominent online teaching education company in China, as a learning partner. It was Buriga’s dream to further his study in the field of Childhood Education, so in September 2021, he moved to Canada to attain his Masters of Education at Thompson Rivers University. During this time, he completed his Early Childhood Educator Assistant certification, in October 2022, and then graduated with his Masters of Education from Thompson Rivers University at the end of 2022.
Buriga is passionate about education, and Juniper Early Learning Center was very happy to welcome him, as part of our teaching team in the Kinder Prep Extended Day program, in March 2023. Buriga also works with the School Age children and fills in for our other programs when needed.
Jackson Pillipow, Teacher School Age
Jackson was born in Edmonton and later moved to Calgary where he attended Highschool. He has been working with children for about 8 years, in various roles. Jackson is currently studying history, at TRU, with the goal of going into the Education program, to become a teacher, once he graduates. Jackson has worked at with children at Juniper Early Learning Center for almost a year now, and he is thrilled to be with the children in the School Age program, for another school year!
Genevive Clark (ECEA) Teacher 3 to 5 year olds - FD Program