NSA STAFF

The NSA prides itself on a flexible, comprehensive academic program and “education that travels”. Our academic year is divided into four Quad semesters. Due to ongoing travel concerns this year we will not be travelling to Saas-Fee for our usual summer training camp and instead Quad 1 courses will begin online on August 16th while our international students complete their quarantine in Collingwood. The rest of the boarding student will move into the Academy after Labour Day and everyone will be together for Quad 2 in person classes with most students taking two courses which will be completed by the end of October before and everyone leaves for the fall training camp in western Canada.

Throughout all Quads the teachers conduct labs, take the classes on field trips, bring in speakers and hold extra-help sessions for the students. They also have access to homework help during regular study hall in the evenings. During the winter term or Quad 3 students usually take one course with the teachers coordinating the classroom time and homework assignments around their race and training schedules. Quad 4 begins in the spring when the students return to a regular classroom routine taking up to three classes as required.

In 2022 we will be offering a spring training camp either in western Canada or Europe and the teachers will continue to teach their classes in person and/or online to work with the athletic schedule. Each student can take at least one Health and Physical Education credit such as Healthy Living and Outdoor Activities or Personal and Fitness Activities throughout the year. 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

Quad 1: One course delivered in Collingwood and Saas-Fee  (August – September)

Quad 2: Two courses delivered in Collingwood with teacher support at pre-season training camps (October – December)

Quad 3: One course delivered during competition season in Collingwood with teacher support while students are travelling (Jan – March)

Quad 4: Up to three courses delivered in Collingwood (April – June)

One or two Heath and Physical Education courses are delivered at home and while away throughout the academic year with teacher and coach support

  • Provincial Literacy testing completed through the NSA
  • Supervised study periods at the Academy Monday through Thursday

 

Administration & Facilities Staff

Tobin Walsh

Tobin Walsh

Head of School

This is Tobin Walsh’s fourth year as Head of School. She comes to the NSA with 15 years of teaching and educational program coordination with the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB). She was 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 members of Alpine Ski Club’s race crew.

 

Carol Tolles

Carol Tolles

Finance Manager

This is Carol’s fifth year at the NSA. She brings over 20 years of bookkeeping experience with charitable organizations and prior to joining the NSA worked with the United Way in Guelph. Carol is an avid skier and worked as an instructor for many years. She divides her time between Collingwood and an island in Georgian Bay where her husband manages a marina. Carol’s dog, Gypsy is the official NSA office greeter.

Heath Needles

Heath Needles

House Supervisor

Heath returns to the NSA for her second year as a House Parent. When not at the Academy she lives on a farm with her husband, acclaimed playwright & writer Dan Needles, where they raised their four children and continue to have a menagerie of animals. For the past 26 years, Heath has been baking for a living and brings her zest for life caring for our boarding students and, as she says, “I love my family and my home and my critters!! I enjoy travel and sharing good food with great friends. I like to read and I like to laugh and I enjoy the smell of freshly cut grass.” And we know she likes snow as much as the rest of the NSA family.

Matthew Needles

Matthew Needles

House Supervisor

This is Matthew’s second year as one of our House Supervisors, sharing the responsibility with his mother, Heath. Matthew grew up in the Collingwood area and recently moved back after retiring from the Canadian Armed Forces. Matthew is an accomplished artist and we are happy to have Matthew’s quiet and steady nature overseeing our boarding students and perhaps introducing a little military discipline into their ranks!

Cindy Hayhurst

Cindy Hayhurst

Administration & Communications

Cindy has been a part of the NSA family for nine years, first as a parent and 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, Ben (’16), Cam (’19) and Griffen. Cindy is an avid horseback rider and during the pandemic convinced her family to move to a farm at the top of the Escarpment where they have acres of riding, mountain biking and cross country ski trails to explore. 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.

Zak Bensdira

Zak Bensdira

Chef

This is Chef Zak’s third year keeping the NSA community well fed. He is Cordon Bleu-trained and loves introducing our students and staff as well as lucky guests to new cuisine, be it Thai, Italian or French. He has a love for patisseries so there are lots of delicious things on the dessert menu as well.  Zak travels on many of the training camps with the student athletes to ensure everyone eats properly and does meal prep and planning with the coaches for away race series throughout the year. Zak lives in Collingwood with his wife and daughter. He hopes this year to be able to once again host the fun and delicious Friday Night Family Dinners!

Robert Pierce

Robert Pierce

House Maintenance

This is Robert’s fourth 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 126 years. Over the past 18 months, Robert has been, and continues to be, instrumental in making sure everyone stays healthy and safe by implementing our COVID-19 procedures and protocols. This summer he has overseen the complete renovation of the kitchen as well as numerous other projects. Robert is retired Canadian military and lives in Collingwood with his wife and three children.

Teaching Staff

Elicia Cann

Elicia Cann

English & Social Sciences

This is Elicia’s fifth year at the NSA teaching English & Social Sciences. Elicia grew up west of Blue Mountain on her family dairy farm. Prior to Covid, when she isn’t spending time outside with her dogs, horses, or cows, she loves 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 at schools in remote Cree reservations, taught aboard a sailing tall ship, and at an all-boys independent school in Vancouver. And whether it is working with our Student Council on community volunteer initiatives, taking her classes on field trips to Miller’s Dairy or to watch a Supreme court trial, Elicia brings her classroom to life.

William Vancise

William Vancise

Visual Arts & Photography

Mr. Vancise has worked with the student athletes at the Academy for six years. He 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.

Janet Wilkinson

Janet Wilkinson

English

Janet returns to the NSA for her sixth year of teaching English to both junior and senior students. 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. Janet’s play, “The Legacy” was performed by the Gaslight Community Theatre at the Simcoe Street Theatre in Collingwood. Janet lives in Collingwood with her husband and their German Shepherd, Tucker.

Mary Kawamura

Mary Kawamura

Math and Senior Sciences

This is Mary’s second year teaching senior Physics at the NSA and will be adding secondary science and math to her teaching schedule this year. Mary has taught Grade 7 – 12 Math and Science for 18+ years in both independent and public systems across southern Ontario as well as Nunavut, and abroad in Papua New Guinea and Vietnam. She enjoys travelling, immersing herself in new cultures and languages, and hopes to continue travelling soon, but is happy to be back home and spending as much time as possible with her five nieces and nephews. Mary also enjoys hiking the local trails and experiencing the abundance of nature that the Collingwood area offers.

Alex Procenko

Alex Procenko

Sciences

This is Alex’s fifth year at the NSA. She works with both junior and senior students exploring science with inquiry based experiments ranging from meteorite 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 and now lives in Stayner with her soon-to-be-husband. And whether it is fetal pig dissection, coding for robotics or taking her classes outside to explore the spectacular Georgian Bay Biosphere right outside our door, Miss P. brings the exciting world of science into the classroom.
Science is simply the word we use to describe a method of organizing our curiosity. – Tim Minchin

Brian Raaflaub

Brian Raaflaub

Mathematics

This is Brian’s third year teaching junior and senior math courses at the NSA. He has 35+ years of mathematics leadership in independent schools across Canada and abroad and has taught Ontario, Alberta, AP and IB curricula over the course of his career. Brian lives in Collingwood with his wife, Catherine and when not at home or the cottage he’s looking forward to being able to travel again and, in particular, visiting their three daughters who live in in BC, Cambodia and Dubai.
 
 
 
Norm Johnston

Norm Johnston

Business

Norm returns to work with our junior and senior students teaching Introduction to Business, International Business and Business Leadership and supervises study hall for the boarders. He graduated with a BA in Psychology and Sociology from Wilfrid Laurier University, followed by studies at the Faculty of Education and Graduate School in Physical Anthropology at the University of Toronto.  He has a specialist in physical education and has taught at a variety of secondary schools in Toronto.  Norm has decades of teaching and coaching experience, most notably coaching OFSAA championship teams in hockey and alpine skiing.  He was instrumental in the development of the elite athlete program at Silverthorn CI, which is still operating today.  Outside of education, Norm is an avid skier and was a member of the Canadian Ski Patrol System for twelve years, including the Patrol Leader at Mt. St. Louis and Craigleith, as well as the Assistant Patrol Leader at Alpine Ski Club.

Emilie Gautier Black

Emilie Gautier Black

French

This is Emilie’s first year teaching French at the NSA. Emilie’s first language is French. She has lived most of her life in Quebec and has obtained much influence in Europe as well through travel. Emilie graduated with a BA in French and English from Guelph University. There, she worked for the French department as help and assistant instructor. She followed her studies by obtaining her BEd at Brock University.  Emilie has taught at a variety of secondary schools in Burlington and Hamilton. She is currently working for HDSB. Emilie can barely contain her enthusiasm and would like to say:  J’ai hâte de vous rencontrer! Je vous souhaite la bienvenue sur mon “île française”, ce que j’aime appeler ma classe de Français. À bientôt!

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