Tutor Bios

_DSC9923Martina Zamecnik
(Owner of 360 Learning Academy and Tutors Math and Science)

Martina graduated from Penticton Secondary School in 2001. She followed her dream of attending University on a full ride swimming scholarship. Her four and a half years at the University of Nebraska at Omaha were filled with many highlights some of which included competing at NCAA Nationals all four years, receiving NCAA Athletic and Academic titles, and graduating Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Chemistry. Her tutoring career had its roots in University, where she helped many student-athletes achieve their academic goals. Since returning home to Penticton in 2005, Martina coached a group of swimmers in the Kisu Swim club for a year, after which she took up tutoring once again. It was through the help of many Pen Hi counselors, especially Dave Nackoney, that Martina found her passion for teaching. She has over 15 years of experience working with all levels of high school math and science. Her goal is to empower students to live a wholesome life and help them achieve their academic endeavours so that all of their doors remain open in their future. In her spare time she enjoys all kinds of outdoor activities…hiking, biking, running, swimming and skate-skiing. She can also be found cultivating a backyard garden or creating fun and delicious meals in the kitchen with her young daughter.

fullsizeoutput_61b2Jean Gemmell
(Tutors Elementary and Middle School)

Jean graduated from Simon Fraser University with a Bachelor of General Studies Degree and a BC teaching certificate. She worked for several years in School District 85 Vancouver Island North and then worked for many years as a teacher on call in Penticton and Summerland aftermoving to the Okanagan. Jean has taught in all schools in the Okanagan Skaha School District, primarily working with students from Kindergarten to Grade 8. She has worked with adults with Developmental Disabilities in a residential setting, and has been a volunteer tutor at Okanagan College in the Adult Literacy Program.  In her spare time, she enjoys running, walking, hiking, riding her mountain bike as well as yoga and fitness classes. Recent travels have been to Mexico and Portugal.

_DSC9928Breanna Halliday
(Tutors English)

Breanna graduated from the University of Calgary in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts Majoring in English.  She has since been living in Penticton tutoring exclusively for the Okanagan Hockey Academy and Penticton Secondary School.  Her passion for Shakespeare in University has allowed her to help students understand the playwright and excel in the Shakespearian portions of their curriculum. Her main goal is to help students discover their own personal style of writing so that they are able to excel in any written assignments that they are given during and after their post secondary education.  She wants to teach students that writing can open up so many windows of opportunity and it’s important to take pride in the way we write as it’s an essential part of how we communicate who we are to the world. Breanna tutors all high school English courses, but she also offers specialized tutoring sessions designed to help students prepare for the Grade 12 English Provincial Exam and the English portion of the SAT Exam. In her spare time, she enjoys dragon boating, spinning, and walking her dogs.

P11309382Chris Featherston
(Tutors Math and Science)

Chris was born and raised in the small town of Huntsville, Ontario where his passion for education began. In his final year at Huntsville High School he chose to forego a spare period in order to act as a Mathematics TA for extra credit. He then moved to Ottawa where he obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering Physics from Carleton University. Throughout university he volunteered with a mentorship program to inspire high school students interested in engineering. Chris is very excited by the future of technology and uses any opportunity he can to try and share this enthusiasm with others. He believes that the more people we have working towards a better and brighter future, the more exciting it will be. In his final year of university, Chris became a Residence Fellow to assist first year students in their transition to post-secondary life. He kept an open door policy and encouraged students to reach out if they were having any difficulties with their coursework. Over the years Chris has sat on many boards from the Huntsville High School Student Council to the Carleton Academic Student Government. In his free time he enjoys yoga, playing the guitar, and tinkering with analog electronics which he then blogs about on his website: cfeatherston.ca

 

Me4R (3)Betty Mariaca
(Tutors Spanish)

Her name is Beatriz but everybody calls her Betty.  She was born in the Spanish speaking country of Peru.  She lived for a while in the USA where she taught Spanish, grades 5-10 at St. Paul Christian Academy.  When she arrived to Canada she taught Spanish at Conversa Language Institute in Ottawa. After moving to Penticton, BC she’s been teaching at Okanagan College in the Continuing Studies Department from 2018. Her passion is to see people learning from the basics. She loves to see her students starting to say their first words and sentences as well as instilling confidence in them so they’ll know that learning another language is not at all difficult.  She says if you know English or French you already know over 1000 words in Spanish, making it easier for beginners to learn in a fast manner. Betty graduated from Business Administration for Hotels and Restaurants back in Peru.  She carries several Accreditations on teaching Spanish as a second language from Idiomas Peru Institute, where she also worked for over two years.  In her spare time she likes to walk, cook, take pictures of nature and write about life.  If you ask her husband what she likes the most, he’ll say in Spanish “chocolate secreto” which means “secret chocolate”, because as a beagle doggie hides its bone, she hides her dark chocolate too.

DSC_0363Scott Rawkins
(Tutors Math and Physics)

Scott graduated from the University of Northern British Columbia with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing.  After a long career in the financial industry providing financial advice regarding mortgages and other financial products he discovered 360 Learning Academy and fell in love with tutoring immediately.  After switching careers to the software industry, Scott found a home at a local business management software company Windward Software where he trained business owners on the use of the software.  More recently, he has joined a promising software company  based in Prince George, Sparkgeo Consulting, which specializes in using maps and satellite imagery.  Scott finds tutoring to be the most rewarding work in his life, and loves to see his students succeed.  He took a break from tutoring for several years and is glad to be back.  He looks forward to helping students in Math and Physics.  Settled in Okanagan Falls, Scott loves camping, mountain biking, crossfit, skiing and other outdoor activities with his wife Alex and his friendly dog Ruby.


IMG_7301 (Large) 2Ian Johnson

(Tutors Science, Chemistry, Physics & Math)

Ian retired June 2020 after 32 years of teaching in BC. After completing a Physics degree at UBC and teacher training at UVIC Ian taught Computer Science courses for 7 years in Kitimat BC. Eventually he moved his family from the land of rain and snow to the sunny Okanagan, teaching in Keremeos, where he made up ⅔’s of the science department, teaching Chemistry and Physics at the 11 and 12 levels as well as the junior sciences 8-10. Teaching in a small school gave Ian the opportunity to get to know his students over a number of years and a number of courses and he spent many lunch hours working with students one on one. “When a student says they don’t understand something (or anything!), often the reality is that they are missing one key part of a concept. Helping the student find that ‘missing piece’, like the last piece of a puzzle, is that ‘aha’ moment, and suddenly everything makes much more sense”. In retirement Ian and his wife have spent a lot of time renovating their new old house in Summerland and their ‘92 Airstream. They have two boys, both graduates of Pen Hi. As he used to say to his students, “I only know so many jokes, so you will hear them more than once. Just know that if you choose to laugh, you are only encouraging me.”