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 Siami Piana, Athletic Director, the staff are committed to helping each student athlete achieve their athletic and academic goals.
Our Academic Department faculty work 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 specialties 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 doctor’s appointments or to take their driver’s 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 begin with teachers conducting labs and extra-help sessions for the students. During the winter term students usually take one course 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: Three courses delivered between September and December
- Semester 2: up to five courses available between January and June
- Provincial Literacy testing completed through the NSA
- Supervised study periods at the Academy Monday through Thursday during the fall and spring off snow academic periods
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.
Administration & Communications
Cindy has been a part of the NSA family for five years, first as a parent then joining the office team in 2015. She is in charge of administration, communications and organizing fundraising and social events for the NSA community. 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.
This is Carol’s first year with the NSA. She brings over 20 years of bookkeeping experience with charitable organizations and most recently worked with the United Way in Guelph. Carol is also a ski instructor and lives in Collingwood with her husband.
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.
English & History Teacher
Elicia joins the NSA for her first year teaching English & History. 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.
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 planning and carrying out the special heritage grant projects to keep our building looking great for its 124 years.
Mme Kelly has been teaching French at all levels at the Academy since 2014. Rachel combines a love of the language with practical study habits to inspire all her students. Rachel lives in Collingwood with her husband and two sons.
Chef Zak is Cordon Bleu-trained, has worked around the world, most recently at Cafe Chartreuse, here in Collingwood. Chef Zak says he “looks forward to introducing everyone to new cuisine on the menu, be it Thai, Italian or French. I have a love for patisseries so there will be lots of exciting things to come on the dessert menu as well.”
English & ESL Teacher & OSSLT Prep Support
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.
Jason has been teaching Business, Physical Education and Geography for ten years. He also runs his own photography business. Jason enjoys giving back to the community, volunteering and traveling the world from North and South America to Africa, Europe, Asia and Australia. His other passion is sports including soccer and hockey which he played on a provincial and national level and even Australian Rule Football for Team Canada. Jason’s past experience allows him to understand the demands of balancing athletics and academics to have a successful career.
Visual Arts Teacher
Mr. Vancise holds his Honours Specialist in Visual Arts and History. He is currently the Arts Department Chair at Collingwood Collegiate. He devotes his time to instructional practice, community, charity, agriculture and Mother Nature. Words of wisdom: “Creativity takes commitment and a lot of found material.” Motto: Art for Art’s Sake.
Learning Strategies Teacher
Kelly joins the NSA team with 15 years of teaching. During her career, she has been privileged to work with a variety of students in various grades, teaching a wide range of subjects. Kelly has had the opportunity to work with and learn from a variety of professionals on multidisciplinary teams, in unique settings while with the Toronto District School Board. She will be sharing her passion for teaching the strategies and skills encompassed in the Learning Strategies Curriculum and supporting student athletes while they strive to achieve the intricate balance between athletics and academics!
Chemistry, Physics & Kinesiology Teacher/Weekend Supervisor
Heather has been teaching senior Maths, Sciences and Kinesiology at the NSA for the past three years and this year joins us as our weekend supervisor. Heather enjoys the chance to connect with our boarding students as the weekend house supervisor, taking them on excursions, to the movies and shopping while making sure everyone is on top of their homework.
This is Alex’s first year at the NSA. She is working with our Grade 9 and 10 students exploring science with inquiry based experiments ranging from meterorite impacts to lung capacity to impacts on ecosystems. She has a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Genetics and a minor in Psychology from UWO and completed UWO’s Bachelor of Education program as part of the first ever STEM cohort. She grew up in Wasaga Beach, ON and is excited to have begun her teaching career here at home. Alex hopes to visit Europe every year and never goes anywhere without her book!
Science is simply the word we use to describe a method of organizing our curiosity. – Tim Minchin