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, her husband Paul and their son Jasper are currently members of Alpine Ski Club’s race crew.
Administration & Communications
Cindy has been a part of the NSA family for six 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 second year at 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.
This is Jane’s second year at the NSA. She brings over 30 years of educational leadership experience, most recently as the Associate Director of University Counseling at Upper Canada College (UCC) in Toronto, 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. Jane will be working with our Grade 12 students on their university applications, SAT preparation, as well counselling the Grade 11 students as they look ahead to graduation and beyond.
This is Robert’s first year taking care of the NSA’s heritage home, Tornaveen which was built in 1893. 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 125 years. Robert recently retired from the Canadian military and lives in Collingwood with his family.
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.” He will be travelling to Saas-Fee with the group in September to ensure everyone is well fed during the five weeks of the training camp.
English & ESL Teacher & OSSLT Prep Support
Janet returns to the NSA for her third year of teaching English to our Grade 12 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.
English & History Teacher
This is Elicia’s second year at the NSA teaching English & Social Science and will be teaching the students in Saas-Fee, Switzerland. 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.
Grade 9 & 10 French
This is Alex’s second 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