Junior School Faculty Updates

New Faculty Members

Jill Heaton – Kindergarten Homeroom Teacher

We welcome Ms. Heaton back to Southpointe as a permanent Kindergarten teacher, a position she held on an interim basis last year. Jill graduated from the University of Calgary with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology, specializing in Behaviour and Rehabilitation. She then obtained her Bachelor of Education from the University of British Columbia, and has further completed courses in early childhood education and special education. Jill comes to Southpointe with nine years of experience teaching kindergarten and preschool. Prior to that, she worked as a program coordinator and community support consultant providing behavioural support services to families of children with special needs.

Karen Gaitens – Kindergarten Teacher Assistant

Ms. Gaitens has been working with children in Montessori schools since 2000 in Georgia and Nebraska. Since relocating to Vancouver, she has assisted with art therapy classes at Kinvillage and with art programs for the Canadian Mental Health Association. She has also worked as a support worker for a special needs child. Karen obtained her Higher National Diploma in Art Administration from Motherwell College in Scotland, her Early Childhood AMS Montessori Educator Degree from the Mid-America Montessori Teacher Training Institute in Omaha (Nebraska), and her Early Childhood Educator Assistant Certificate from Delta Continuing Education. She is currently in her final year of the Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Early Childhood program through the Open University of London (England).

Fraser Allen – Grade 2 Homeroom Teacher (Maternity Leave Cover)

Mr. Allen is filling the role of Grade 2 teacher while Mrs. Davis is on maternity leave. Fraser taught at two independent schools in Vancouver prior to joining Southpointe. He is passionate about inquiry-based teaching and the IB programme, and encourages students to develop school spirit, to be competitive yet caring. Fraser obtained his Bachelor of Arts in history from Auckland University, his Postgraduate Diploma in business administration (marketing) from Massey University in New Zealand, and his Bachelor of Education (Elementary IB) from the University of British Columbia.\

Heather Goode – Grade 3 Homeroom Teacher

Ms. Goode comes to us from Vienna, Austria where she worked as a teacher and literacy coordinator. Prior to Vienna, she taught in Hong Kong, Portugal and closer to home in Victoria and Denman Island. She has been teaching the IB PYP to Grades 3 and 4 children since 2009. Heather completed her Bachelor of Education at the University of Victoria, and has attended numerous PYP professional development workshops during her time abroad. Aside from classroom teaching, Heather led an after-school book-writing club, supported students with community service at a local food bank and dog shelter, and assisted with her school’s drama production.

Yvonne Thomson – Grade 5 Homeroom Teacher

Ms. Thomson brings to Southpointe 15 years of experience teaching internationally in Singapore, Hong Kong, China and Dubai, and six years of teaching in her hometown of Vancouver. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in French and a Bachelor of Education in the Elementary Education French Program, both from the University of British Columbia. Yvonne has worked in a number of IB schools and is very knowledgeable in the IB PYP. She has also led fellow teachers through professional development courses, and has acted as a language coordinator for international primary schools. Academics aside, Yvonne has coached a number of school sports teams and choreographed jazz dances for a school dance club. 

Lindsay Smid – Grade 5 Homeroom Teacher

Ms. Smid returns to Canada from a year of teaching in Egypt, where the demands of teaching a multicultural classroom required creative and flexible delivery of content. Prior to teaching in Cairo, Lindsay was a classroom teacher in Canada, and coached track and field, volleyball and basketball. Her experience includes being a children’s program leader for four years for the Corporation of Delta. Lindsay earned both her Bachelor of Arts in geography (with a minor in sociology) and her Bachelor of Education from the University of British Columbia.

Judy Byrne – French K-4

Ms. Byrne comes to us from Calgary where she had been teaching French and Social Studies since 2008, with a one-year break in 2015 when she volunteered as a teacher in a remote village in Bhutan. Judy holds a Bachelor of Arts in French (with distinction) as well as a Bachelor of Education (taken in French), both from the University of Calgary. Outside of the classroom, Judy led an Improv Club and coached track and field (hurdles) for seven years. She also led a morning drum circle to help students focus as they started their day. Judy takes great pride in her profession and her goal is for her students to build a strong foundation in French grammar and to develop a love and a keen interest for the language.

Amy Morrell – Art

Ms. Morrell brings to Southpointe a wealth of experience in both the corporate world and as an art and design teacher. Her wide range of experience includes teaching creative cake decorating, fashion merchandising, managing art and design schools and training instructors. She has also worked with at-risk children who had a range of social, emotional and behavioural needs. Amy earned her Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Design from the Heriot Watt University in Scotland and her Postgraduate Degree in Education (Art and Design Education) from the University of Glasgow. She is passionate about motivating students and allowing them to express themselves, and strongly believes in the importance of fostering positive student-school relationships and strengthening community links.

Rose Mary Lim – K-5 Music (Maternity Leave Cover)

Ms. Lim joins us as our interim music teacher for Kindergarten to Grade 5 while Mrs. Guglielmucci is on maternity leave. Rose Mary completed her bachelor’s degree in music at the University of Melbourne. She later earned her Bachelor of Education as a music specialist at the University of British Columbia with training in general music. She is trained in both choral and instrumental instruction, including concert band, jazz band and choir, and has taught both choral music and band. Rose Mary likes to make learning fun and educational while focusing on the individual needs of students.


Adam Gaffney – PE

We welcome Mr. Gaffney as our new Junior School PE teacher. Originally from Toronto, Adam has taught elementary students in both Ontario and Vancouver. He has a Bachelor of Education from Queen’s University and a Master of Education in Coaching and Athletics Studies from the University of Victoria. His final paper at UVic focused on best practices for skill acquisition to promote lifelong participation in physical activity. Adam’s coaching experience includes boys’ and girls’ basketball, rugby, hockey and squash.

Internal Reassignments

Cristina Leo – Grade 1 Homeroom Teacher

Ms. Leo is no stranger to us! She has been a Grade 5 homeroom teacher at Southpointe since 2010 (with one year in Grade 6 during that time). She is very excited about the opportunity to expand her skills and to develop her expertise as a Grade 1 teacher. Cristina holds a Bachelor of Education from the University of British Columbia, a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Sciences from Simon Fraser University with a joint major in communication and sociology, and a Magazine Publishing Certificate from Capilano College. Cristina is looking forward to working with our younger students and to integrating technology into their learning as she did with the older students.