Staff – Our Mentors

What is a “mentor”?

Our mentor teachers are Ontario Certified Teachers that work in our partner communities. They assist and ensure the success of our students as they navigate the unique challenges and rewards of completing their Ontario Secondary School Diplomas online!

Get to know them below!

John Parker, Bearskin Lake

Hi everyone!

My name is John and I am the new teacher mentor in Bearskin Lake. Previously, I taught for three years with a school in Guangzhou in China and spent five years as a teacher in Natuashish on the north coast of Labrador.

When not teaching, I read a lot and love watching movies (particularly Sci-fi/ Horror/ Marvel/Comedy ones). I am also a fan of Jazz music and cooking (although I am not that good yet).

Take care,

John

Dorrie Meekis, Deer Lake

My name is Dorrie Meekis. People call me Mona.

I have been working at KIHS for 5 years. I did take a year off to work at the board of education of Deer Lake School. I live and work in Deer Lake. I have 3 daughters.

My role at KIHS is the Deer Lake mentor. I make sure the door is open to the classroom and encourage students to stay in school. I encourage you to continue your schooling and do the best you can. All we can do is try.

I can be reached at the Deer Lake classroom: IP phone is 1389, landline is 807-775-9907. My email is dorriemeekis@edu.knet.ca.

Mikail-Kaii Newby, Fort Severn

Hi! This is Mikail-Kaii Newby, mentor teacher for Fort Severn! I am extremely grateful to be welcomed into your community!

For nearly my entire life, I have called Ontario’s flower city, Brampton, Ontario (just West of Toronto), my home. Outside of going on hikes with my friends and eating pasta and chicken, I enjoy playing Halo on my Xbox, sinking hours in my second playthrough of The Witcher 3 on my gaming PC, and watching YouTube videos on the latest tech news.

Straight from York University’s Faculty of Education to KiHS, I will be teaching Human Development (HHG4M), Families in Canada (HHS4M), and Intro to Information Technology in Business (BTT1O). As a brand-new teacher, I am super excited to bring a fresh perspective to these courses. But more than that, my passion is you, the students under my motto Connect to Inspire. To quote Dumbledore, “it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be”. My hope is to reach beyond the curriculum and connect to each and everyone of you to ignite a spark of inspiration that would lead you to do great things for yourself, your community, or beyond!

I’ll see you soon!

Patrick Coutu, Fort Severn

Hello, my name is Patrick Coutu, and I will be a new mentor teacher with KiHS at Fort Severn.

I grew up in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario and have relatives across Canada.  Before becoming a teacher in 2013, I worked as a software designer for the former West End Systems and Catapult Communications in the 1990s and 2000s. Before that, I worked as a mineral exploration technician in remote northern regions of Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. In my spare time I enjoy reading, walking, cooking and spending time with friends. 

I’m looking forward to a new adventure in Fort Severn!

Cathy Rodger, Fort William

Hello, my name is Cathy Rodger and I am from Fort William First Nation.  I have been teach for 22 years, the majority of this time has been with KIHS.  I have two sons, Kaden and Caleb who are 15 and 13.  In my spare time I enjoy making moccasins and gauntlets. 

I love to garden, hike and snowshoe in the winter time. This year, I am going to try and learn to paint and improve my skills of working with porcupine quills.  I love spending time on the land in every season.

Ida Raad, Keewaywin

Hi everyone! My name is Ida, and it is my very first year of teaching to senior ages. I will teach Personal Life Management (HIP4O), and Health for Life (PPZ3C) in Keewaywin Community.

I came to Canada about four years ago with almost zero English proficiency. During this time, I had an opportunity to improve my English and began working in kindergarten with various ages. That was the time I realized that I enjoy helping my learners flourish, becoming their better selves, and finding the future pathway that suits them the best. I then began the Bachelors of Education program consecutively at Queens University, and graduated in August 2021.

During my spare time, I love running, traveling, reading books, and spending time with family and friends.

Looking forward to meeting with all of you in-person and virtually soon.

Please email me at idaraad@edu.knet.ca if you ever have any questions or need support in anything.

Miigwetch!

Brian Savoy, Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug

Hello, my name is Brian Savoy and it’s my first year teaching with KiHS. I am originally from Miramichi, New Brunswick.

I taught for 10 years in Elsipogtog First Nation and two years in Clyde River, Nunavut. I have two daughter’s Willow and Piper who are living back east. Some of my hobbies include gardening, sports and hunting and gathering on the land.

I look forward to everything you can teach me about this culturally rich area of Canada.

Ian Vaithilingam, Mattagami

Hi there! My name is Ian and I’m the mentor teacher at Mattagami First Nation.

I grew up in Northern Ontario in the city of Timmins, Ontario – not far from Mattagami First Nation. My parents and sister still live in Timmins.

I studied a little bit of everything in university and I love learning – math and physics were my favourite subjects. I love helping others understand how the Universe works.

Outside of teaching, I love listening to and playing music – I play guitar, piano, bass, and drums. Please feel free to share your favourite music with me – I’m always looking for something interesting and new to listen to. I also really enjoy the outdoors (hiking, canoeing, snowboarding).

Please feel free to email me if you have any questions, or just to say hi: ianvaithilingam@edu.knet.ca. You can also message me on Moodle, or give me a call at 1-800-387-3740, extension 1333.

Alex Hay, Mishkeegogamang

I like to think I’m a tough (old) guy because I bicycle through Ottawa winters — but I’m definitely scared of north Ontario cold!

Here’s me in a string of words: reading, biking, Scrabble, badminton, ping-pong, guitar, hammock, camping, canoeing, hiking, being outside as much as possible, and figuring out a way to fix things without the right tools.

Most of my teaching has been in and around Ottawa, with a few years overseas in the ’90s.  For most of the last 15 years, I’ve been at Ottawa’s amazing Adult High School, where I’ve taught (really, where I learned with) First Nations students young and not-so-young, New Canadians, “old” Canadians; people with graduate degrees (improving their English) and retired people (finally facing their old fear of math); people who have faced every kind of hardship and struggle I can imagine; and one Buddhist monk, same age as me, just sitting there in the back row on the first day of World Religions course!  (Luckily, he took over the unit on Buddhism and brought the whole class to his temple to meditate.)

And now I get to come to Mishkeegogamang!  I feel extremely lucky to have this opportunity.  I’m just as excited about this as I was about going to southern Africa as a young teacher — ready to figure out how things work, and really looking forward to meeting my new students and their families and community. 

Michael Kecskeméti, Nibinamik

My name is Michael Kecskeméti, and I was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. I attended York University and Brock University. My favorite genre of books and films is science fiction; I love the sense of adventure science fiction gives me. My two favorite foods in the world are pizza and tacos. My favorite mode of transportation is the bicycle because every mile peddled feels like a big accomplishment. My next goal is to cycle the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route from the border of Canada to the border of Mexico. I also enjoy fishing, and I look forward to fishing with you in Nibinamik. I really want to post a note on my cabin door saying: “gone fishing.”

This is my first year teaching with KiHS and I am really excited to work and mentor with all of you. I have been teaching for nearly 13 years. My teachable subject is history, but I have been teaching English for my entire career. I have really enjoyed my teaching profession because it has allowed me to travel, live, and work with people from various backgrounds. I cannot think of a more rewarding career than being a teacher.

If you ever want to talk shop about anything from carbureted engines to your academic success, please do not hesitate to drop me a line. You can send me an email at: michaelkecskemeti@edu.knet.ca

Salvador Flamenia, North Spirit Lake

Boozhoo! My name is Salvador Flamenia, I am the mentor teacher in North Spirit Lake and the instructor for Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OLC4O). 

Prior to my eventual stay in Toronto, I spent my professional career as a teacher abroad for almost two decades. I speak three languages and English is my second language. During my primary days in school, I only spoke Kinaray-a and Hiligaynon, both are native languages aside from Tagalog–the Filipino national language.

I love watching movies, news, series, and television sitcoms. A TV series I’ve watched throughout more than once is “Friends”. It is so much fun every time I play my favorite songs with my guitar during my free time, in the same way, I feel great about playing Scrabble with its simplicity and universal appeal. I love slightly warm days as much as I enjoy the long evenings, plant a garden, have a barbecue or take a walk in the park that is why Spring is my favorite season!

Teaching in the North is an exciting opportunity, and I am confident that my combination of love for teaching, well-rounded skill set and the passion to help others will allow me to excel. I yearn for the rewarding feeling that comes from helping students, and teaching offers that opportunity daily.

I am looking forward to meeting you soon! Chi-Miigwetch!

Andrea Prosser, Poplar Hill

Hi to everyone at KiHS! I have a lot of people ask me where I’m from and an old Hank Snow song usually springs to mind: “I’ve been Everywhere.” So, maybe not exactly everywhere, but I sure do like to travel when I can. I am currently the teacher at the super-friendly community of Poplar Hill.

I was born in Montreal, and have also lived in Ottawa and Toronto. I started teaching in 20 years ago in Norfolk, Virginia, where I used to live for 30 years. I have a Master’s Degree in Education and am a fully certified Montessori teacher. Working in other places like a museum and a store and in the office of a few companies has taught me too. You can learn wherever you are.

I like warm weather, reading historical fiction and mysteries, writing fiction, painting, photography, old movies, visiting friends, baking, and travel.

Mary Anne Barrett, Sachigo Lake

Hi everyone! My name is Ms. Mary Anne and welcome to my teacher profile!

To briefly summarize my life events: I grew up in Pickering, Ontario with my two brothers and one sister. I lived in St. John’s, Newfoundland when I was 17-21 years old to do my Bachelor of Science majoring in Physics and Applied Math and minoring in Biochemistry.

Let’s make this our best year yet! 🙂

Jesse De France, Slate Falls

Hi, my name is Jesse De France. I will be the mentor teacher at Slate Falls and I will be teaching Ontario Literacy Course OLC40 and Health for Life PPZ3C. This is my first year with KiHS and I am incredibly excited to work with and learn from my coworkers and northern communities.

I was raised in a rural area outside of Hastings, Ontario and I currently live in Ottawa. I started my teaching career in 2011 when I taught English as a Second Language overseas for a number of years. My primary area of academic interest is in Medieval studies and my hobbies include reading, running, weight lifting, playing video games, writing and watching historical films.

I am awaiting the new school year with much anticipation!

Rajendra Budhram, Weagamow Lake

Welcome to the 2021-2022 school year. My name is Raj Budhram and I am the classroom teacher in Weagamow Lake. This is my eleventh year with KiHS and my tenth year in Weagamow Lake.

I teach six courses: grade 10 applied science, grade 10 academic science, grade 11 chemistry, grade 11 biology, grade 12 chemistry, and grade 12 biology. I am married and I have a son who is in the third year medical doctorate program at Queen’s University. I wish everyone a successful year.

Sangchul Yu, Webequie

Hello everyone! My name is Sangchul Yu. However, you can call me Sang.

I’m the teacher-mentor at Fort Severn First Nation. This is my second year teaching. I’m really looking forward to continuing to work with all of you!

Before I worked for KiHS, I worked for a company in South Korea to develop a military air defense system and worked in the IT field for several years in Canada. In my spare time, I like to learn new knowledge and make new things. I like to program and make electronic circuits in my spare time. Recently, I started learning guitar for myself.

When I’m not working in Fort Severn I live in Toronto with my wife and three daughters.

Please feel free to call me at 1-807-478-9638 or IP phone (1393) if you have any questions or information to share with me. Or you can email me at sangchulyu@edu.knet.ca!