The NSA is a home away from home for both our resident and students who live in the Collingwood area. Many of our staff have been with the Academy since it began while others are new, bringing fresh ideas to enhance our programs. From founder and U16 Head Coach, Jurg Gfeller to Tobin Walsh, our newly appointed Head of School and Jane Audet, Senior Educational leader, the staff are committed to helping each student athlete achieve their athletic and academic goals.
Our Academic Department, lead by Jane Audet, works on behalf of the students to ensure that all academic requirements are meet and guides each student through the process beginning with course selection and culminating in applying to university whether in Canada or abroad. All our teachers are certified by the Ontario Ministry of Education and have specialities in all departments from English, French, Art to the Sciences and Mathematics.
Our House Staff makes sure the students are well-fed, rested, up in time for class and dry land training and get to doctors appointments or to take a drivers test. Rob Crane, our house manager has the never-ending task of taking care of our heritage building from top to bottom.
The NSA prides itself on its comprehensive academic programs and “education that travels. Classroom time begins at the Academy a week before the students and their teachers leave for Switzerland at the end of August and continues in the evening in Saas Fee with each grade completing their English credit. When they return home classes such as math and sciences begin with teachers conducting labs and extra-help sessions for the students. During the winter term students usually take one course such as accounting or business with the teachers coordinating the classroom time and homework assignments around the athletes’ race & training schedules. In the spring the students return to a regular classroom routine taking up to four classes as required. Our Academic Department works with each student and their parents to ensure that all curriculum requirements are met and the learning environment allows each individual student to excel.
Our Academic Programs for Grades 9 – 12 include:
- A comprehensive academic program delivered by the National Ski Academy private school (inspected by the Ontario Ministry of Education)
- Up to eight academic courses included in the tuition
- Program and courses aligned to individual student aspirations
- Course delivery integrated with NSA’s fitness and injury prevention program, training and racing program
- Professional, Ontario College of Teachers, accredited teachers delivering Ontario Academic curriculum
- Typically 8:1 student/teacher ratio
- Semester 1: Four courses delivered between September and December
- Semester 2: up to four courses available between January and June
- Provincial Literacy testing completed through the NSA
- 10 of hours Community Service available for students
- Supervised study periods at the Academy Monday through Thursday during the fall and spring off snow academic periods
Jurg was a founder of the National Ski Academy and continues, over 30 years later, to work tirelessly as both a coach and director to help student athletes fulfil their ski racing and academic dreams. “The Big Cheese” as he is known, oversees everything from on-hill training both at home and in Saas-Fee to the hiring of our top notch staff and even helping students who are homesick while on the road. Jurg’s vision, dedication and passion for ski racing in Canada has supported over 300 student athletes who have passed through the Academy’s doors.
Head of School
Tobin Walsh comes to the NSA with 15 years of teaching and educational program coordination with the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB). She is most recently a coordinator for the Specialist High Skills Major Programs in the Pathways Department at the TCDSB Catholic Education Centre. She has extensive teaching and leadership experience in the areas of Guidance, Co-operative Education, Geography, Career Studies and Science. Over her career, Tobin has focused on and excelled at building relationships among stakeholders, developing partnerships, building community and the creation of engaging student learning opportunities to enhance student success. Tobin has been involved in the ski industry for over 20 years, and she and her husband are currently members of Alpine Ski Club’s race crew. She will be working closely with Jane Audet, the Interim Head of School, and the NSA staff until she officially starts full time on January 15, 2018.
Senior Educational Leader and Interim Head of School
Jane Audet is currently the Associate Director of University Counseling at Upper Canada College (UCC) in Toronto. Jane is taking a leave of absence from UCC and comes to the NSA with over 30 years of educational leadership experience. She was the Vice Principal of School Life at Greenwood College School and spent many years at The Bishop Strachan School in positions of Head of Student Services, Middle School Coordinator, Athletic Director and Head of Health and Physical Education. Jane is a lifelong skier and athlete and has coached a variety of high school sports teams. She also has extensive experience in managing residential summer camps.
Grade 12 English Teacher
Brian has been with the NSA for 28 years as a teacher and the Academic Director from 1990 to 2017. Although he won’t be in the office every day anymore, Brian will continue to support our academic program as the Grade 12 English teacher and, as every NSA student knows, as “their English teacher for life” always happy to read and edit university essays and job applications and act as a reference.
Administration & Communications
Cindy has been a part of the NSA family for 5 years, first as a parent then joining the office team in 2015. She is in charge of administration, communications and organizing events such as the Snow Ball and other fundraisers. Cindy skis at Osler Bluff with her husband and three sons. During ski season, when not answering the phone at the NSA, she can be found volunteering and cheering on the athletes at races across the Escarpment.
House Parent & Supervisor
Marilyn is our weekday house parent, looking after the boarding students who make 200 Oak St. their home. Marilyn has a long history with the Academy as her son Storey is an alumni. When she’s not supervising the boarders, Marilyn can be found in the kitchen baking up her delicious Tutu’s Cookies.
Rob has been taking care of our 1893 home, Tornaveen at 200 Oak Street for the past six years. He is responsible for day to day maintenance at the school as well as the special heritage grant projects such as renovating the coach house this past summer.
Chef & Resident Supervisor
Jimmy has been with the NSA for over 24 years keeping our athletes fuelled with delicious, homemade meals both at home and in Saas-Fee. Jimmy also supervises the boarding students on the weekends and is always willing to act as a chauffeur.
Grade 11 English Teacher
Janet returns to the NSA for her second year of teaching English to our Grade 11 students in Collingwood and Saas-Fee, Switzerland. Before retiring in 2016 from her career as a secondary school teacher, she designed and delivered essential English literacy courses; taught an extensive array of programs, ranging from Grade 9 LDCC English to Grade 12 University preparation; and wrote English curriculum at the local and provincial levels. Since retirement, she has been busy tutoring student athletes, skiing, hiking the Bruce Trail, and volunteering with community theatre groups.
Grade 9 & 10 English Teacher
Elicia joins the NSA for her first year teaching Grade 9 & 10 English. Elicia grew up west of Blue Mountain, just above Heathcote, on a family-run dairy farm. When she isn’t spending time outside with her dogs, horses, or cows, she is travelling the world and gathering an extensive and eclectic collection of passport stamps. She completed her BA in English and History, with a minor in World Lit and Cultural Studies, at the University of New Brunswick. Shortly after, she moved to Australia to complete her Masters of Teaching. Since then she has worked in schools in remote Cree reservations, taught aboard a sailing tall ship, and taught in an all-boys independent school in Vancouver.