27 Feb 2017
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Georjeana Paterson

Originally from Toronto, Georjeana completed her Bachelor’s of Arts with Honours in Psychology and Art History from Queen’s University in Kingston, ON. After taking a few years to travel the world and live in many different communities across Canada, Georjeana moved to Vancouver so she could enjoy the mountains and complete her Master’s in Counselling Psychology from Adler University.

Georjeana joins us with over thirteen years’ experience working with children and youth in many different capacities. Georjeana believes that children can be faced with overwhelming stressors and challenges in today’s fast paced world, but that every child has the capacity within them to thrive and be the happiest and healthiest version of themselves. Georjeana’s naturally energetic personality and non-judgemental attitude allows her to connect with her young clients on a personal level, while simultaneously developing tools and strategies to help them succeed and build self-confidence.

As a Registered Clinical Counsellor with the British Columbia Association of Clinical Counsellors, Georjeana has a thriving practice as a Child and Family Therapist at Alyson Jones and Associates in West Vancouver. Georjeana also works as a Mental Health worker for Coast Mental Health, supporting individuals with varying degrees of mental illness in community homes.

Despite her busy work schedule, Georjeana still finds plenty of time to enjoy the mountains as an avid skier and hiker.

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8 Sep 2015
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Danica Burpee

Danica Burpee joined VTT in 2015, and was very excited to join the Athletics department. Previously, Ms. Burpee taught at West Point Grey Academy (WPGA) for five years in many different roles: primary support, Grade 3 Homeroom, Grades 6/7 French, and Volleyball and Track & Field Coach.  Prior to WPGA, Ms. Burpee taught Physical Education at an IB international school in Singapore.  She spent almost a decade living in Calgary, completing her Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology as well as a Bachelor of Education.

Ms. Burpee grew up in Vancouver, and has a great love for the mountains, the ocean, and all of the natural beauty that Vancouver has to offer.  She is an avid skier, and outdoor enthusiast, and now enjoys her active lifestyle with her husband and their 3 year old daughter.

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4 Oct 2013
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Pat Girling

As a third generation educator, following in the footsteps of her beloved grandmother and mother, Pat Girling has always known teaching was a “natural fit.” “The children bring me incredible joy and positive energy. I love what I do.”

Born in Daysland, Alberta, Mrs. Girling and her three siblings grew up in Saskatoon. After graduating from the University of Saskatchewan with a Bachelor’s of Education in 1981, Mrs. Girling taught in Saskatchewan for four years, and then spent 10 years in the Edmonton public schools where she taught additional subjects like music and French, and applying her talent all the way up to grade 9. Increased opportunities in the film industry brought Pat and her husband, a self-employed interior designer/set designer, to Vancouver in ’96.

Mrs. Girling’s first introduction to Jewish education were the two years she spent at Hebrew Academy. She joined VTT in 1998. At both schools she has been “treated like gold.”

In the last several years, Mrs. Girling has earned a Master’s in Leadership and Counseling to add depth to her teaching practice.  As our Learning Enrichment teacher for the past 7 years, Mrs. Girling provides opportunities to enhance the classroom curriculum by challenging and stimulating students’ passion for learning, creativity, and intellectual growth. She initiated and leads the Young Earth Savers Sprouts Club (Y.E.S.S.) that offers to educate our students about the importance of protecting our environment.

A dedicated daughter to her parents, and a devoted stepmother and step-grandmother, Mrs. Girling enjoys her creative side where in her pastime plays the piano, makes jewellery, dabbles in water colour painting and is very happy living in North Vancouver exploring the natural beauty that surrounds her.

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3 Oct 2013
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Jim Hopson

Jim Hopson is the Band specialist at VTT elementary. He holds a Bachelor of Music Degree (with distinction) from the University of Victoria, and has been a freelance musician (trombone, low brass) in the Vancouver area since 2007. An active performer, he has played concerts all over the world (Australia, Europe, Asia, and all over North America). As a session musician, he has performed and/or recorded with K-OS, Hedley, VEJI, Chucho Valdes, Said the Whale, Nikki Yanofsky, Brasstronaut, Dan Mangan, and countless local bands and orchestras. Current touring/gigging projects include: Ten Souljers, Tubes & Grooves, AJA, and S-Bahn Band.

As an educator, Jim has taught literally thousands of private trombone/low brass lessons to hundreds of students over the past ten years. He has presented masterclasses and clinics at UBC, the North American Alphorn Retreat, the Envision Jazz Festival, and at high schools across the lower mainland. He has been the Band specialist at VTT since 2008.

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2 Oct 2013
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Elana Jacobson

It’s been a long time since Elana Jacobson was busy making Hanukkah decorations in kindergarten, though the memories of spending her early years with retired teacher Sandy Baker were potent enough to bring her back to her alma mater after graduating with a Bachelor of Music from UBC. Although Jacobson began as a volunteer back in 2004, a music specialist position soon became available for which she was the logical‐‐and natural‐‐fit! It didn’t take long for Jacobson to raise the bar of the school’s music and performing arts program to earn it consistent accolades and admiration. In recent years, she has joined forces with drama specialist, Keri Smith, also a VTT alum, to co‐produce, co‐direct and co‐write the school’s famous Hanukkah concerts, attracting audiences upwards of 500 attendees.

Mrs. Jacobson’s ties to VTT extend beyond the professional. In 2007, Elana wed alumnus Brian Jacobson and is the proud mother of Benjamin, a Talmud Torah preschooler, and toddler Abigail.

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2 Oct 2013
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Colette Leisen

Ms. Leisen, originally from Alberta, moved to Vancouver in 1987 and was hired to teach at Talmud Torah later that year. She graduated from the University of Alberta with a degree in Special Education and a minor in French Revolutionary Art and Printmaking. She also attended Emily Carr College of Art and Design and more recently completed a Master’s of Education and Leadership focusing on math methodology. Ms. Leisen is an exhibited artist and published writer.

It is in the art room that her love of teaching art is realized on a daily basis. Her personal goal is to ensure that every student exits the school feeling confident in his or her abilities. Being nominated by students and winning a provincial excellence in teaching award was one of the proudest moments of her life.

Ms. Leisen is the mother of a wonderful college aged daughter who benefited greatly from attending VTT’s early childhood program (she is still one of the only non-Jews who can daven!) and she will always be in debt to the teachers of VTT from whom she’s learned volumes about teaching excellence.

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2 Oct 2013
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Gerrald Lotzkar

Mr. Lotzkar is one of those rare breeds having been born and raised in Vancouver (not too far from our school). He is even a VTT graduate, sort of. That is, he attended Talmud Torah afternoon school on Wednesdays and Sundays, and attended Eric Hamber High School with many VTT parents.

Mr. Lotzkar has two Bachelor’s degrees: one in psychology and one in education. His original intention was to teach humanities and literature, but fell into Physical Education when a position opened up several years ago while substituting for both VSB and VTT. Mr. Lotzkar claims it is the perfect fit as he loves being active and enjoys the many important life skills sports impart to the students: teamwork, effort, dealing with adversity, sportsmanship, and a positive attitude. Mr. Lotzkar also runs our very successful intramurals program and has been offering after-school athletics programs with Mr. Noel.

Outside of school, Mr. Lotzkar enjoys basketball, yoga, hiking, hockey and working out. He also considers himself a bit of a movie buff.

Mr. Lotzkar lives in Richmond with his wife and two adult sons.

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2 Oct 2013
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Sylvester Noel

Sylvester Noel has been destined for his career as a Physical Education Specialist since his early elementary school years. Whether engaged in softball, football, basketball or track and field, Mr. Noel has always excelled in sports and has felt most invigorated when physically active. Born in Trinidad but raised in Toronto, Mr. Noel moved to Vancouver at age 15 and graduated from Steveston Secondary. He then earned a Bachelor of Human Kinetics degree and an English degree from UBC. With careers in personal training and sales, Mr. Noel hopes to impart the values of physical education to the students, especially the benefits of exercise and being active and the value of healthy living. He also believes in teaching the skill of good sportsmanship.

Did you know that Mr. Noel has a secondary career acting as a movie extra? He has also been volunteer coaching boys basketball in Kitsilano and girls basketball at Crofton House for over a decade!

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2 Oct 2013
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Keri Smith

Keri Smith calls her role in the school “a dream come true!” Having started in 2006 as a Preschool 4 faculty member, Ms. Smith loves working in a department “where the kids constantly feel motivated and inspired to explore all aspects of theatre, be it voice, production, performance, etc.”

A graduate of VTT, she credits long-time drama teacher, Larry Bauer, for his “love and passion for theatre. Mr. Bauer absolutely inspired me to pursue acting and musical theatre,” reflected Keri.

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Keri immigrated to Vancouver in 1990. She graduated from Point Grey High School and then spent two and a half years honing her craft at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. Keri has performed in off-Broadway shows in the Big Apple and has continued to nurture her passion since returning to Vancouver in 2005 taking weekly acting and voice lessons and performing in theatre productions throughout the Lower Mainland.

Keri comes by her career honestly. Her father is a jewellery designer; one brother is a director/writer/editor; another brother writes for a YTV kids show; and her sister owns the ever popular catering company, “The Perfect Bite.” And if you’ve ever shopped at The Perfect Gift in Kerrisdale, then you’ve patronized Keri’s parents’ popular gift store!

Ms. Smith recently completed advanced studies in theatre at Capilano University. She is the very proud aunt of baby Jaxon.

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22 Aug 2011
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Boaz Rotaro

“For me, technology is a means to interact and work with people,” says VTT’s IT Support Specialist, Boaz Rotaro. Israel-born, he came to Canada in 1997 and has been working in tech support ever since. “I enjoy helping teachers and students by trying to make their digital lives better and easier, setting up their computers and building their online tools and presence such as websites and social media profiles.”

Boaz followed his journalist wife’s dream to live in British Colombia, moving from Toronto in 2008 where he worked at Bialik Hebrew Day School. “I just love it here, and frankly, I got a bit tired of shoveling snow every winter in Toronto!” mused Boaz.

In his free time, Boaz likes to ride his bike along the beautiful Vancouver seawall and other bike trails and works with his wife on their arts and culture online magazine, Mashu Mashu.

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