Meet Our Team

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.

Jordyn Garinger
Grade 2 Teacher
M.Ed., B.Ed., B.A.
Jordyn Garinger

Jordyn is deeply passionate about fostering progressive educational methodologies that cater to the holistic needs of the child. Especially committed to supporting underserved children, Jordyn’s drive led her to the University of Toronto where she pursued and earned a Master’s of Education degree in Social Justice Education, focusing on decolonizing traditional pedagogies. This fervor to transform traditional educational practices is palpable in her alignment with Pear Tree School’s mission, where she sees education as a potent tool for social change. Her educational philosophy emphasizes inquiry-based learning and embracing the uniqueness of each student, and her experience as a Design Thinking Experience Researcher at the University of Toronto further attests to her dedication to improve the student experience from a position of empathy and understanding.

Her professional journey, spanning over six years, has been marked by roles that demonstrate her commitment to inclusive, diverse, and equity-focused education.

Jordyn’s impressive educational qualifications, including a Bachelor of Education with a major in English Education from the University of Lethbridge and a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Humanities and minor in Indigenous Studies, provide a solid foundation for her progressive pedagogical approaches.

Christina Sanfilippo
Grade K/1 Teacher
M.Ed. (in progress) B.Ed., B.A./B.Sc. Hon.
Christina Sanfilippo

Tina boasts an impressive educational background and diverse teaching experience that spans across continents. She started her academic journey at Lakehead University in Orillia, ON, Canada, where she pursued an Honours Bachelor of Arts and Science in Interdisciplinary Studies and followed that with a Bachelor of Education, specializing in Primary/Junior Concurrent Education. Currently, Tina is further enriching her educational credentials with a Professional Masters of Education from Queens University, specializing as a Classroom Specialist.

Tina’s teaching career has taken her around the world. From the classrooms of Canada and the UK to Australia and New Zealand, she’s played various roles: from a Grade 2/3 teacher in Canada, to roles in Melbourne, Australia, and various teaching stints in London, UK.

More than her qualifications and global experience, what truly sets Tina apart is her educational philosophy, which she dubs “supervised exploration.” Stemming from her personal experiences during her solo travels, she believes in fostering an environment where students’ curiosities aren’t just acknowledged but celebrated. While Tina recognizes the importance of fundamental knowledge, she also sees the immense value in letting students learn through their inquiries, mistakes, and passions. Her goal as an educator is twofold: impart the essential knowledge while also nurturing the critical thinking, problem-solving, and social skills that come from exploration and self-driven learning.

Peter Stack
Grade 3/4 Teacher
M.Ed., B.A.
Peter Stack

Peter is an accomplished educator with a rich academic background and diverse professional experiences. Holding a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Irish from University College Cork, he further pursued and successfully obtained a Professional Master’s in Education from Hibernia College, Ireland, with a specialization in inclusion. This deep educational foundation is complemented by his diverse teaching roles that include serving as a Grade 2 teacher at Scoil Barra Primary School.

Central to Peter’s teaching philosophy are 3 pillars: a student-centered approach, holistic development, and relevance in education. He believes in tailoring education to the individual needs and capabilities of the student, viewing deviations from planned lessons as opportunities for enhanced learning. Holistic development is paramount, ensuring that the physical, emotional, social, and intellectual well-being of students are nurtured in conjunction. Lastly, Peter emphasizes the importance of teaching relevant content that resonates with students, preparing them for real-world challenges and integrating their community into the learning process. Through these values, Peter aligns closely with the ethos of Pear Tree School.

Also, Peter’s accreditation as a National Men’s Artistic Gymnastics Coach and Judge speaks to his dedication to holistic education, ensuring both mental and physical growth of students.

Daragh Sweeney
Grade 5-7 Teacher
M.Ed., B.A. Hon.
Daragh Sweeney

Daragh, an Irish elementary school teacher with 6 years of experience, hails from Dublin. He holds an impressive academic background with a First Class Honours Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s in Literacy Education from Mary Immaculate College, Limerick. He also furthered his skills with a Professional Diploma in Graphic Design from University College Dublin.

Daragh ardently supports modern teaching methodologies aimed at preparing students for the challenges of the 21st Century. He identifies closely with Pear Tree School’s educational philosophy, believing in the inclusion of contemporary literacies, such as visual literacy, to equip students for a digital age. He is particularly passionate about introducing coding to young learners.

Katelyn Jmaeff
Maternity Leave
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.

Alisa Campagnolo
P.E. Teacher
B.Ed., B.Sc.
Alisa Campagnolo

Alisa is an enthusiastic and dedicated educator specializing in primary and junior grade instruction. Alisa’s experience is enhanced by her role as an Outdoor Educator, where she focused on experiential learning and field school programs for primary and junior students. This unique position allowed her to witness firsthand the impact of outdoor education on students’ growth and development. Additionally, her tenure as an Outdoor Education Instructor at the University of Guelph Arboretum have equipped her with the skills to foster both cognitive and emotional development in children.

Alisa brings a wealth of experiences that make her ideal for the role of Physical Education Teacher at Pear Tree School. Her background in science, specifically from the University of Guelph where she graduated with honors in Environmental Sciences, provides her with an extended set of knowledge she aims to integrate into her teaching methodologies. As a passionate outdoor enthusiast, she regularly engages in activities like hiking, biking, skiing. Importantly, Alisa holds numerous certifications in first aid, concussion training, and wilderness aid.

Furthermore, Alisa believes in the power of 21st-century education as a foundation for students’ future academic and personal growth. Her commitment is evident in her approach to supporting students holistically, from their intellectual to physical to social-emotional development.

Typhaine Marque-Gicquaire
French Teacher
M.A., B.A., DELF A1-B2

Typhaine has amassed a wealth of experience as a French teacher, fostering an adaptive teaching style and a broad approach to instruction, having taught in various international contexts. Born in France, Typhaine moved to Canada in 2022 where she started work with the Alliance Française of Manitoba. There, she engaged with multicultural learners, introducing children from grades 1 to 8 to the French language through songs and games.

Her earlier work includes roles in Tosse, France, as an online French teacher where she engaged in pedagogical activities centered on French music and cinema. At Hongik University in South Korea, Typhaine served as a trainee, assisting in courses, preparing students for the DELF B1/B2 exam, and organizing French conversation and composition classes for intermediate-level learners.

Academically, Typhaine is well-educated, holding multiple degrees from respected institutions. She achieved a Master’s degree focusing on the didactics of French as a foreign and second language from both the University of La Reunion and Paul-Valéry Montpellier University. Her interest in Asian languages and culture is evident through her Bachelor’s degrees in Korean and Chinese languages from Bordeaux Montaigne University, where she also participated in language study programs in Seoul. Additionally, she holds a Bachelor’s degree in Language Science.

JR Kline
Music Teacher

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 School’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.

Treasa McKiernan
Learning Support
Treasa McKiernan

Treasa is an elementary school teacher with over 6 years’ of classroom teaching experience. Born and educated in Ireland, Treasa’s expertise is partly in the early childhood principles of Friedrich Fröbel, who pioneered the kindergarten movement. In addition, Treasa has a broad background of additional training and experience in physical education.

Treasa joined Pear Tree’s team in January 2023 as a full-time Classroom Assistant, working primarily with our youngest classes. She has now transitioned in our new Learning Support role.

Treasa also teaches at our Pro-D camps, spring camps and summer camps.

Makayla Reed
Associate Teacher
Makayla Reed

Makayla is an enthusiastic Associate Teacher at Pear Tree School, known for her dedication to promoting student learning and individual potential. With a proven ability to manage classroom environments effectively, she prioritizes using positive and forward-thinking methods to enhance student behavior. She is adept at building caring relationships with students, showcasing her analytical mindset and commendable decision-making skills. Organized and reliable, Makayla consistently demonstrates her ability to handle multiple responsibilities with a proactive attitude and is always ready to take on extra tasks to achieve team objectives.

In her previous role as a Grade 4 Teacher in Alberta, Makayla showed proficiency in assessing student progress, managing classrooms, and creating lessons that cater to varied learning needs. Notably, she took the initiative to lead the grade 4-6 after-school sports club, and she represented as a teacher for the school science fair program. Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Elementary Education from the University of Alberta and Red Deer College. Additionally, she was honored with the Edwin Parr Award by the Fort Vermilion School Division in June 2022, marking her exceptional contributions in the education field.

Heather Parsons
Associate Teacher
ECE Diploma
Heather Parsons

Heather possesses an extensive background in early childhood education and care. With a vibrant and dynamic approach to teaching, she emphasizes the value of both active and quiet learning moments. Whether it’s guiding preschoolers in singing, dancing, and game-playing during circle times or nurturing them during quieter moments of reading, writing, and skill development, Heather prioritizes instilling self-confidence, openness, and a sense of pride in her students. Her professional journey includes roles such as an English tutor, preschool teacher, and Children’s Centre Manager at esteemed institutions.

Additionally, Heather has provided dedicated service as a nanny, demonstrating her commitment to child growth both inside and outside the classroom. Heather’s educational credentials include a Montessori Teacher’s Certification and a diploma in Early Childhood Education.

Libbie Robinson
School Enrolment Consultant

Libbie Robinson brings over 25 years of versatile professional experience to her role as a School Enrolment Consultant with Pear Tree School. Throughout her impressive background, Libbie earned a reputation as a trusted advisor and relationship-builder. Her expertise lies in understanding complex topics, including educational approaches, and effectively explain their value to families.

Libbie’s approach is characterized by professionalism and a genuine desire to help parents make informed decisions about their child’s education. She believes in the power of education and is dedicated to assisting families in discovering the transformative opportunities our school offers.

Elizabeth Muraiti
Operations Assistant
Elizabeth Muraiti

Lize received a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from the University of British Columbia. This interdisciplinary program emboldened her affinity for holistic, theme-based educational philosophies and institutions like Pear Tree.

Professionally, Lize served as manager and tutor at Reading Town Vancouver, closely working with school-aged children and their families. She also has experience in event coordinating with the Christmas Market and newcomer assistance with ISS of BC. She is gradually working towards obtaining further education to become a certified teacher one day.

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 his 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!

Bernadette Ljungar
School Assistant Chef
Foodsafe Level 1, Culinary Arts Diploma

Assistant our school chef is the highly-experienced chef, Bernadette!

Bernadette has over 20-years’ experience in the food industry. She has been trained in Canada, France, Hong Kong, Italy, and Turkey.

She has also worked in a broad range of culinary contexts from a private chef, to catering companies, to various local restaurants.

Bernadette is a valuable addition to the Pear Tree team and is in charge of the kitchen in Borja’s absence.

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