Contact Information for Teachers and Staff
To contact Academy teachers and staff by phone, call 416-928-0124 and enter the extension listed below.
Student Life Counsellor
IT Infrastructure Manager / Teacher
|Dayna Dann |
Head of School
Teacher / Guidance Supervisor
|Luka Ilic |
Teacher / Special Education Supervisor
About the Academy Team
The YMCA Academy teacher and staff team is made up of professionals with accreditation and experience in a wide variety of fields, within and beyond the realm of education. Passionate about helping young people, Academy teachers and staff work with families to tailor educational programs and to provide support in small group settings.
Brandon teaches History and English at the YMCA Academy, and leverages his community connections, creativity, and energy to bring cross-curricular learning opportunities and drama techniques to his classroom. Before obtaining his B. Ed. from OISE in 2012, Brandon obtained a B.A. in History from Brock University, where he minored in English Language and Literature. Brandon loves animals — his three dogs keep him very busy outside the classroom.
For more than 20 years Colleen has been a successful entrepreneur, consultant, and trainer in the IT industry. She has always been a believer in lifelong learning, and in the past decade earned a bachelor of Science in Physical and Environmental Geography from the University of Toronto, and a bachelor of Education from OISE. This allowed her to combine her passions for Geography, teaching, and technology, and become a member of the YMCA Academy teaching staff. Colleen is an avid outdoor enthusiast who spends much of her free time hiking, canoeing, camping, and snowshoeing in the wilderness.
Katie graduated from the University of Guelph with a B.Sc. in Biological Science and earned her B.Ed. at OISE. Upon graduating she moved to South Korea to teach ESL at a public elementary school. Her interest in teaching English language learners also led her to working at a summer camp for international youth and teaching at an international school in Toronto. Before joining the Academy, Katie also worked one on one with students at a private learning centre, teaching credit courses and tutoring students of all ages in many different subjects. Now at the Academy, Katie teaches Math and is enjoying discovering all of the unique ways her students learn. In her spare time, Katie loves experimenting in the kitchen and planning for her next travel destination.
Rein brings a wealth of environmental sustainability and outdoor education knowledge and experience to everything he does at The YMCA Academy. After receiving a joint honours B.Sc. in Environmental Science and Biology from Trent University, Rein began developing programming designed to inspire kids to lead healthier environmental lifestyles. While working as an outdoor educator at YMCA Cedar Glen Outdoor Centre, he met the staff and students of The YMCA Academy (who were visiting Cedar Glen on their annual overnight excursion). He was blown away by the Academy — students and staff alike — and soon began volunteering at the school. This experience inspired him to become a classroom teacher, and he obtained his B.Ed. from Trent University before returning to the Academy in the winter of 2013. Rein teaches a wide range of subjects, including Science (with a particular emphasis on Environmental Science), Food and Nutrition, and Healthy Active Living. He is an avid cyclist and appreciates every opportunity to reconnect with the natural world.
Todd is an educator, writer, and urban activist whose work is underscored by a passion for engagement and empowerment — of city-dwellers in general, and Toronto youth in particular. At the Academy, he uses the dynamic and ever-changing urban landscape that surrounds his classroom, as well as the multifaceted nature of his school’s parent organization (The YMCA of Greater Toronto), as teaching tools to bring authenticity and experiential opportunities to his students. He is also a co-founder and senior editor of Spacing magazine and a consultant in strategies for increasing public engagement in key urban issues including walkability, sustainability, and programs and services for youth.
Zareh graduated from the University of Toronto with a bachelor degree in Physical Health and Education and earned his B.Ed. at OISE. Before pursuing a career in education, Zareh spent five years using his kinesiology degree in the fitness industry. Zareh has been teaching at the YMCA Academy since 2009. In his spare time, Zareh enjoys spending time with his wife, staying current with science news, and reading and gaming. Zareh currently teaches Science, Physical Education, and various other health-related courses.
Zoe teaches math and art at the YMCA Academy. She loves to work with and learn from youth, and builds strong relationships by infusing her lessons and classroom culture with empathy, compassion, mindfulness, and kindness. She joined the Academy team in 2017 after spending six years working at YMCA day and overnight camps, as well as three years as a nanny. Zoe obtained a B.A. in Political Science from the University of British Columbia, and a Masters in Child Study and Education from OISE in 2016. She loves being in the outdoors with friends (ideally, as close to the ocean as possible), and enjoys Thai food, live music, and buying plants that she can’t actually take care of — her miniature garden in the Academy staff room notwithstanding.
Student Life Counsellor
Alison is a Child and Youth Worker with over 25 years of experience in the field of children’s mental health. After many years of working in residential treatment and supportive housing programs with high need and at risk youth, Alison came to The Academy in 2011. Alison fulfills the role of Student Counselor at The Academy. In addition to providing personal and responsive counselling, she supports and assists students in learning and practicing skills in the areas of communication, problem solving, and self-advocacy.
Head of School
Don has devoted his professional life to putting systems in place to support innovative and creative learning opportunities in single classes as a teacher, in academic departments as department head, and school-wide since November 2009 as Head of School here at The Academy. A married father of seven great children, in his spare time Don's interests are focused on English Literature with a special emphasis on Shakespeare, and on learning to play blues guitar.
Guidance Supervisor / Teacher
Kaili joined the Academy in 2007. She is the school’s guidance supervisor, coordinator of the cooperative education program, as well as a classroom teacher. Kaili brings a wealth of experience and community connections, fostered through her Bachelor of Applied Science (Nutritional Science) with a minor in Community Development and Family Support from Ryerson University, as well as her B.Ed from UOIT. She is passionate about nature, mindfulness, design, food and nutrition, music and art, and fostering well-being, and works tirelessly to engage and empower Academy students.
Special Education Supervisor / Teacher
Drawing on more than 20 years experience in teaching, Susan Couprie fills the role of Special Education Supervisor at The YMCA Academy. In this role, Susan provides leadership and direction for the development, communication, implementation, monitoring, and review of Individual Education Plans for Academy students. Before coming to the YMCA Academy, Susan worked with adults with undiagnosed learning challenges in an Adult Literacy Program, where she saw first hand how lack of supports in the education system affected people throughout their lives. After several years, Susan decided to commit her professional career to young adults with learning challenges and became a teacher at the YMCA Academy. Susan is an Ontario Qualified Teacher and holds the Addition Qualifications of Special Education Specialist from York University and Teacher Leadership Specialist from Queen's University. She received her B.Ed. from the University of Alberta in 1996. Outside of professional interests, Susan travels widely, reads, gardens, and most of all enjoys creating pottery at a local studio. She has taken pottery classes for over a decade and on occasion you might see one of her pieces in an art exhibit.
Yukon fills the role of Facility Dog at the YMCA Academy. A Facility Dog is an expertly trained dog who partners with a human working in a health care, visitation or education setting who is directly working with clients/students with disabilities. He works alongside Susan Couprie supporting academic and social/emotional needs. He trained for 2 years with COPE Service Dogs in Barrie, Ontario where he spent countless hours being trained by a professional Service Dog trainer along with spending time in elementary and high schools, visiting hospitals, and senior centers. Susan joined him for his last couple of weeks of training and together they passed their public access testing and officially graduated the program in the fall of 2018. Outside of professional interests, Yukon loves to play catch, swim and nap. He is happiest when cuddled up in a lap on a lazy afternoon.