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 ten 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.

Screen Shot 2017-09-03 at 11.10.15 AMNatasha Roblesky
(Tutors Math and Sciences)

Natasha grew up in Summerland, B.C. graduating from Summerland Secondary School in 2012. She just recently completed her Bachelor of Sciences undergraduate degree in Chemistry for Medical Sciences at the University of Victoria (2012-2017). During her studies, she volunteered as a tutor at the Learning Disabilities Association of the South Vancouver Island (LDASVI) in Victoria B.C for two years teaching Science, English and social skills. She has also spent time tutoring undergraduate level Sciences to first and second-year students at the University of Victoria during her fourth and fifth years of school. From these experiences, she discovered that she enjoys one-on-one teaching and is passionate about working with students to help them reach their full potential. In her spare time, Natasha enjoys figure skating, snowboarding, running, working out at the gym and going to spin classes.

_DSC9908Silvia Matzdorf
(Tutors Math, English, and Spanish)

Silvia Matzdorf graduated from University del Valle in Guatemala obtaining a High School Teaching degree with a major in Mathematics.
She has many years of experience teaching all subject areas in grades K-7, Mathematics in High School and English as a Second Language to adults at the Okanagan College in Penticton, BC. Silvia developed a passion for teaching over the years as she helped students improve their grades and achieve their goals to continue on to obtain a university degree. She has taught many workshops for teachers on different topics as well as walkthroughs to help teachers use their programs for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt publishers. Silvia had her own SAT/ACT preparation agency for 9 years for students who wanted to study in the United States. The majority of her students were accepted into the university they chose to attend. She is fluent in English and Spanish.

_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.

 

jenJen McPherson
(Tutors Math and Calculus)

Jennifer graduated from the University of British Columbia Okanagan in 2013 with her Bachelor of Education. She also completed a Bachelor of Science with a major in Mathematics and a minor in Biology in 2012. She taught undergraduate Calculus labs during her third and fourth years at UBCO, and did her practicum at Pen High in 2013. She has experience tutoring middle and high school math, science, and calculus. Since graduating, Jennifer has been working at her family’s business, Grant King Men’s Wear, and tutoring in the evenings with 360 Learning Academy since 2014. She enjoys working with students one-on-one and believes that the key to succeeding academically is to build confidence and to develop problem-solving strategies based on each student’s individual needs. In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys reading, singing, boating, and watching hockey.

_DSC9840Nir Light
(Tutors Math, Calculus, and Science)

Nir holds a Ph.D. in engineering from the University of British Columbia. His wide and extensive mathematics and science background allow him to provide tangible real life examples to explain concepts and to make it easier for the students to understand. Nir has extensive experience as a teacher and tutor for students of all ages, from primary school through university.  As a teaching assistant, he provided classroom teaching, laboratory instruction and individualized tutoring to undergraduate engineering students. In addition to instruction of curricula material, Nir has also mentored high school students to actualize their innate talents more effectively and excel by using innovative study skills and motivational tools. Nir loves his family. He is a happy and very playful father with his 2 young daughters and loves playing guitar and singing with his family.

_DSC9906Lori Goldman
(Tutors English and Socials)

Born and raised in Saskatchewan, Lori studied at Goddard College in Vermont, getting a BA in Education. (BEd.) She received TESL certification in 1995 and taught English in Vancouver, BC, and Asia for 22 years before moving to the lovely Okanagan Valley, in Penticton, land of lakes and grapes! For two years, Lori traveled solo around the world (by plane, truck, bus, and boat) and studied Mandarin in Taichung, Taiwan achieving basic Mandarin speaking skills. She taught English there for 3.5 years. She loves to travel and has visited Nepal numerous times, supporting children in a school in Kathmandu. Lori brings an understanding of different cultures, helping immigrants and international students with their new lives in Canada. She prepares students in other countries before they arrive in Canada. She has taught English to children of three years old and adults nearing their eighth decade, and she has taught core subjects to elementary and high school students. Helping her students succeed is Lori’s goal.

FullSizeRender 2Brittni Foisy
(Tutors English, Social Studies and Elementary Math)

Brittni was born and raised in Penticton, B.C. graduating from High school at Penticton Secondary. Here is where she initially developed her passion for teaching, with an inspirational teacher who mentored her in following her dream of teaching English. From there, she went to University of Victoria, and graduated in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Geography, with a third-year standing in Psychology. She graduated from her Bachelor of Education at UBCO, with a Secondary Humanities Specialty in 2014. Brittni has taught English 12, Alternative Education and Support-reading at Merritt Secondary School, as well as Grade 2 at Outma Sqilx’w Cultural School (where she received formal training in the Read-Well literature curriculum). Brittni is now a Teacher-on-Call for School District #53 (Okanagan-Similkameen), as well as Outma Sqilx’w Cultural School in Penticton. Brittni believes in developing a safe community in each classroom, so students feel they can be their authentic-selves, and comfortable asking questions without judgment from others. During her spare time, Brittni enjoys any outdoor exercise, reading, editing, volunteering with LGBTQ youth clubs, and spending time with family and friends.

Screen Shot 2015-10-11 at 2.25.03 PMDominique Gaury
(Tutors French)

Dominique is a native French speaker from Paris with a graduate degree in languages from Université Paris III – Sorbonne Nouvelle and a post-graduate degree from Université Paris VII – Institut Charles V. She is a professional French translator, specializing in legal translation. She works for a number of global translation agencies based in New York, London and Tokyo. She has worked as a tutor and substitute teacher at Ecole Entre-Lacs in Penticton and as an instructor for the Canada School of Public Service (CSPS), teaching French to civil servants at Service Canada in Penticton and the Pacific-Agricultural Research Centre in Summerland. In the 1990s, Dominique taught French at the Charles University Faculty of Medicine and the Berlitz Language School in Prague, Czech Republic. Dominique has a dual citizenship with Canada and France.

Screen Shot 2017-10-03 at 5.56.40 PMSam Miller
(Tutors Math and Physics)

Sam was born and raised in Summerland BC. From an early age, he always had a fascination with animation and video games which drove him to go into the field of Computer Science to learn the skills to work on his own games. In 2016 he graduated from the University of British Columbia Okanagan with a Bachelor of Computer science and a minor in Mathematics. Ever since early high school Sam always enjoyed helping other students understand maths and sciences better. By the end of high school he started to tutor a student one on one. He has always had a goal to one day become a teacher and share his passion of Computer Science and Mathematics with his students. In University, he worked for a year in the learning center helping groups of first year students understand engineering, Science and Calculus better. In 2016, he traveled to Japan with a group of UBC students as ambassadors of Canada in a project to bridge Canadian and Japanese cultures. Now that he’s graduated he looks forward to helping students feel more confident in their work, and learn new things that they can enjoy.

EllaBraden 2Ella Braden
(Tutors Math and Sciences)

Ella is a long-time science educator with over ten years of diverse professional teaching experience, from pre-K to university and in all sciences as well as math (including calculus). She grew up in Washington State, where she graduated from Whitman College with a B.A. in Physics-Astronomy and a minor in Spanish. After a gap year to coach fastpitch softball, kayak and teach sustainability and horseback riding in the mountains she loves, she earned a MS in Astronomy with a graduate minor in Physics at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where she played club and intramural hockey. After doing research for several years, Ella realized her passion lies in the personal connection of teaching others about science and shifted her career focus to science education. She spent several years running the Wonders of Physics program at UW – Madison, then worked for the national science organization of Australia, bringing interactive educational programs to schools. Ella loves breaking complex concepts down into comprehensible parts and helping learners of all ages assemble an understanding of how scientific and mathematical concepts work. She tutors all age levels in math, calculus, physics, chemistry and other science topics.

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Joe Johns
(Tutors Math, Physics and Science)

 

Joe grew up in Toronto and went to graduate school at the University of Chicago where he got a Ph.D. in math. He has taught undergraduate math (calculus, linear algebra, etc.) for 15 years at different universities like the University of Chicago, NYU, Columbia, and Boston College. He loves teaching students at all levels and volunteered as a tutor at a high school this past school year. His philosophy is that if the student does not understand something it is always the responsibility of the teacher to explain things in a way that the student can get it. Many people feel they hate math or they are intrinsically not gifted at it, but what really happens is you get a not so good teacher or have a not so good semester and just miss some concept or method. And then everything afterward starts to not make sense. Math is very cumulative, like a house built brick by brick, and this can make it seem really hard if you have missed something, but it can also make it very doable if we just make sure each step and each concept are understood before moving on to the next. With each student, he likes to go as simple and elementary as necessary to make sure the concepts and methods are making sense so they can achieve their goals. In his spare time, Joe loves watching and playing hockey and hiking with his family and his dog.

Screen Shot 2017-10-17 at 1.59.31 PMLuke Roblesky
(Tutors Math, Physics and Science)

Luke graduated from Summerland Secondary School in 2008, and went on to attain an undergraduate degree in applied science (mechanical engineering) from UBCO in 2014. After spending years studying and working during the summers, he wanted to travel before settling into a long-term career. Prior to graduating, he applied into an international placement program, and accepted a 4-month work term for Scania in Sweden. Upon returning to Canada, he continued his side job of tutoring high school students 1-on-1 in physics, math and general science. After having the opportunity to live abroad and travel, all while making money, he realized he wasn’t yet ready to settle down. After talking with friends and doing some research, he planned to move to Thailand, take a 4-week TEFL course, and teach English for a single semester. Upon completion of that semester, he was offered a 1 year position teaching grade 9 math at a private all-girls school in the heart of Bangkok. After finishing the contract, he returned to Canada with the plan of becoming a provincially certified high school teacher, specializing in STEM education. Currently, he works at the Penticton Boys and Girls Club and 360 Learning Academy. Luke enjoys working in a classroom setting but also recognizes from experience that 1-on-1 tutoring is an essential component of effective education, and is especially beneficial for students with learning styles that thrive from being nurtured in atypical education settings.