Meet Our Teachers

At Pear Tree School, our masters-qualified teachers have a passion for education, with a natural ability to mentor, challenge, and inspire students to excel. Each teacher embodies the values, beliefs, and philosophy we promote in our school.

Alexis Birner
Co-founder / Principal
Ed.D (in progress), M.Ed., B.Ed, B.A.

Alexis Birner is the Co-Founder, Principal, and teacher at Pear Tree School.

A seasoned educator with over a decade of experience in both public and private elementary schools, Alexis combines exceptional credentials with a deep understanding of the learning process to deliver a meaningful education experience to her students. She is dedicated to helping each child cultivate their individuality, and achieve not only academic, but lifelong success.

In her previous role, Alexis taught for 6 years at a private school, as well as in public schools in Richmond and Vancouver.

Alexis holds a Masters of Education, Bachelor of Education, and Bachelor of Arts from the University of British Columbia. She is currently in her second year of UBC’s Doctorate of Education degree program.

A highly respected expert in her field, Alexis is a published researcher on the topic of ‘critical literacy theory’. Her article on Deconstructing gender representations in an elementary school classroom was published in the Canadian Journal for New Scholars in Education in 2016. Her work has also appeared in the Australian Review of Applied Linguistics.

In addition to her published research, Alexis is also a recognized speaker, most recently speaking at the Vancouver EdTech Team Summit featuring Google for Education.

In her free time, Alexis enjoys cooking and exploring fitness and physical activity options within the city. She delights in sharing these passions with her students to enhance their education at Pear Tree School.

Paul Romani
Co-founder / Director
M.Ed., B.A.

Paul Romani is the co-founder and director of Pear Tree School. In this role, Paul delivers an innovative, technology-enriched, and research-backed approach to education, helping both students and teachers achieve meaningful success.

A proponent of 21st century learning, Paul believes strongly in equipping students with real-world skills and abilities that will help them develop the confidence to excel both in and out of the classroom.

In his role as director, Paul also spearheads Pear Tree’s YouTube channel, a highly sought after resource on the topic of 21st century education. His videos have some of the top views on this topic and are used by American, British, and other international universities in their teaching training programs.

Paul began his career in education in 2001 after achieving great success as a computer engineer, receiving multiple accolades from such respected publications as PC Magazine. His background in education is exceptionally diverse, spanning a range of institutions, students, and countries, which provides him with a unique perspective on education and the learning process.

For 15 years, Paul gained extensive experience in ESL, career and vocational training, and education management. Most notably, he directed six summer residential language schools at the Oxford International Royal Holloway Summer School in the UK. In this role, Paul oversaw more than 1,000 students and 70 staff, making it one of the UK’s largest and most successful summer schools.

Paul has a Masters of Education degree in Educational Technology and Learning Design from SFU. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts from UBC.

Bonnie Yuen
Grade K Teacher
M.Ed., B.Ed., B.Sc.

Bonnie has a Master of Arts in Child Study and Education (from Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study, O.I.S.E.) and is nearing completion of her second masters degree, this time a Master of Education in Behaviour Analysis.

Bonnie previously studied at the University of B.C. to acquire her Bachelor of Science in Psychology.

She also previously taught for 3 years in both public and private schools, in Canada and internationally. Across her diverse employment positions, Bonnie gained experience in some of the approaches used by Pear Tree School.

Jordyn Garinger
Grade 5/6 Teacher
M.Ed., B.Ed., B.A.

Jordyn has a Masters in Education in Social Justice Education, something that plays a strong role in Pear Tree’s theme-based education.

Jordyn’s experience ranges from working as a classroom teacher, language arts and math teacher, and a Design Thinking Experience researcher, the latter of which she conducted through the University of Toronto.

Of particular importance to Jordyn are having a whole-child approach, collaboration, and having a growth mindset.

Katelyn Jmaeff
Grade 7/8 Teacher
M.Ed., B.Ed., B.A.

Before joining Pear Tree School, Katelyn taught for 3 years for a private school in West Vancouver. Her middle and high school teaching experience (Grades 8 to 10) provides Pear Tree experience with the opening of Pear Tree School’s middle school year program.

Katelyn has a B.A. in Environmental Geography and a B.Ed. from University of B.C. Her Masters of Education degree is in Education for Sustainability, and she also has a CEFR level B1 French Language qualification.

At the core of Katelyn’s personal teaching philosophy are differentiation, social innovation, experiential and place-based learning, and competency-based assessment.

Lamees Mussa
Grade 1/2 Teacher
M.Ed., B.Ed., B.A.
Lamees Mussa

Lamees holds a Masters in Education degree in Curriculum & Instruction, and has acquired 4 years of teaching experience.

Before joining Pear Tree School, Lamees taught for 2 years for a private school in West Vancouver. She also previously taught at a high school level in Ontario for 2 years.

Lamees is passionate about whole-child education and differentiated learning.

Lisa Folk
Grade 3/4 Teacher
M.Ed., B.Ed., B.A.

Lisa has a strong background in teaching Grades 1 to 3 in combined class environments. She has developed a broad skillset that enables her to teach to a wide spectrum of learners and to foster growth mindsets in her students.

Lisa was part of the Indigenous Cohort for her Bachelor of Education degree, and has a degree in Geography & Environmental Studies. Her Masters Degree in Education is focused on in Educational Leadership. Through her education and professional experience, Lisa has developed a passion for holistic learning and community-based learning.

In addition to joining Pear Tree School, Lisa has worked with us at Pear Tree Education’s spring and summer camps in both teaching and managerial roles.

Cameron Edwards
P.E. Teacher
BOR, Dipl RLS

Cameron is the Physical Education teacher for all grades at Pear Tree School.

His personal, professional and academic background perfectly fit the unique qualities offered by Pear Tree’s P.E. program. Cameron has a Bachelor’s Degree in Outdoor Recreation & Education and a Diploma in Recreation and Leisure Studies. He has competed at a high level in various sporting events including five years of Junior A hockey and bouldering (rock climbing).

He is passionate about physical and outdoor education whether it’s in a typical gym or on the school fields.

Violaine Rabel
French Teacher
M.Ed., B.A.

From 2010 to 2021, Violaine worked with students in France – her home country – and England before coming to Canada.

Before joining Pear Tree School as our French teacher, Violaine lived and worked on Vancouver Island.

Violaine will be working closely with our classroom teachers to deliver theme-based French classes that align with similar goals of our regular theme-based education.

Jenna Glendinning
Classroom Assistant
M.Ed., B.Sc.

As an experienced, Masters-qualified high school teacher from Florida, Pear Tree School is especially privileged to have Jenna join us as our Classroom Assistant for 2022/23!

Jenna recently relocated to Vancouver. Previously, she taught English to grades 9-11, though she is certified to teach grade 6-12 in the U.S.

Pear Tree’s whole-child approach resonated with Jenna’s own beliefs about education, hence her looking to gain unique experience working alongside our classroom teachers.

JR Kline
Music Teacher
Musician

JR works with our kindergarteners on singing and percussion, our grades 1-3 on learning the ukulele, and our grades 4-8 on the guitar. He also practices composing songs, singing, and concert preparation with our students.

In line with Pear Tree’s educational philosophy, all of JR’s classes are focused on the themes and topics that we’re currently working on, which will provide natural and meaningful inspiration for music. JR’s songwriting, music producing and live performance experience are all great tools for this process.

JR works in various parts of Metro Vancouver from the North Shore to Richmond with students from K-12. He also works for Deep Cove Music as their head instructor and has been running Group Guitar/Voice classes for the Squamish Nation and The North Shore Neighborhood House.

Jason Abelson
Operations Manager
B.Kin.

Jason is Pear Tree’s Operations Manager and one of the first faces you’ll meet when you visit us!

Jason is a UBC graduate with a degree in Kinesiology, and has worked in the retail, fitness and recruitment industries. Through these positions, Jason has acquired excellent customer service and operational skills. He also has a strong background and interest in fitness.

As Pear Tree expands as an education company and a private school, Jason will play a vital role in ensuring that our operations and customer service will continue to improve.

Borja Serrano
School Chef
Professional Cook Level 3, FoodSafe Level 2, B.B.A.

Originally from San Sebastian, Spain, Borja decided to move to Canada to pursue his dream of becoming a cook. Borja received his Culinary Management Diploma at Vancouver Island University in a 2-year program, during which he developed my cooking and baking skills. He has progressed to achieve his Red Seal Level 3 (Professional Cook Level 3) status.

Borja previously worked in investment banking in Madrid for 7 years, which has equipped him with skills that are useful in any kitchen. He has a 5-year Business Administration degree.

Borja is passionate not just about cooking, but about healthy and adventurous eating for children. He recognises the importance of food education at any early age, which is why becoming Pear Tree’s school chef was such a natural decision for him and for us!

Pear Tree faculty are proud to have earned top achievements as educators bringing technology enriched experiences to the classrooms.