Our Teachers and Staff


Ms. Lynn Chartres, Principal

Lynn joined Choice School as principal in 2014. She comes to us from West Vancouver School District where she taught gifted students at the elementary and secondary level for many years. For several years, Lynn was part of the Faculty of Education at UBC, writing courses and teaching in the Department of Educational Counselling, Psychology and Special Education. She continues to learn about the rapidly growing fields of creativity, neuroscience and giftedness.

Lynn has a passion for people, learning, and anything to do with nature and the outdoors. Weekends and holidays find her kayaking or camping near the ocean and hiking in the mountains with her dog, Scout. She reads voraciously, and delights in spending time with her husband, daughter and son, and friends.

Lynn is pleased to be a part of Choice where students have the opportunity to find adventure and excitement in their learning.

Teaching Staff

Lisa Elliott

Ms. Lisa Elliott

Lisa feels privileged to be working with the unique students at Choice School as she is inspired by their creativity and vibrant personalities. She moved to Vancouver from Brisbane, Australia in February 2017. A keen mathematician, Lisa has a Bachelor of Applied Science and a Bachelor of Education from Queensland University of Technology. She was working as a secondary math and science teacher in Australia prior to moving to Vancouver. Lisa believes in life-long learning and has also completed a Diploma of Social Science in Community Development and a Graduate Diploma in Ministry Studies.

Lisa has spent several years living and working among impoverished and marginalised people in Africa and Asia and she’s passionate about issues of global inequality, gender equality and climate change. When she is not working, she enjoys hiking, reading and volunteering in her local community.

Raquel Ibanez

Ms. Raquel Ibanez

Ms. Raquel Ibanez is thrilled to have recently joined Choice School as a Special Education Assistant. She moved to Canada in August of 2012 from Barcelona (Spain), where she received her Bachelor Degree in Physical Education.

Raquel is very grateful to have had the opportunity to be exposed to different cultures and teaching methods and comes with a wide range of experiences working in Medical, Recreational and Behavioural Therapies with children in the Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Raquel works hard to meet the diverse needs of all students and loves to see them reach their full potential while developing their personalities.

Raquel is also a Tennis Coach and enjoys hikes, art, roadtrips and cuddling with her Shiba Inu, Yoshie.

Lauren Walter

Ms. Lauren Jacobs

Lauren Jacobs is thrilled to be part of the Choice School Team. She moved to Vancouver in August of 2015 from Jamestown, NY. Lauren taught both elementary and special education in New York State. Her educational background includes a Bachelor’s degree in elementary and special education and a Masters Degree in Reading Education as a Reading Specialist.

Lauren is very passionate and dedicated to teaching. She believes in a student-centered classroom where all students feel appreciated. Lauren is a life-long learner, always looking to improve her teaching practices to best meet the needs of her students. She thoroughly enjoys working at Choice with students who have such a unique spark and love of learning.

In her spare time, Lauren enjoys the outdoors, traveling, reading and enjoying life as a newlywed with her husband in the beautiful city of Vancouver!


Ms. Tasha King

Tasha is very happy to teach with the Choice School team. She has an extensive background working with children with a variety of exceptionalities, including Autism Spectrum Disorder and ADD/ADHD, as well as other learning and behavioural challenges. Tasha believes in the potential of children and enjoys watching them thrive.

She has a BA in Psychology from the University of Victoria and a Bachelor of Education from Tyndale University. Tasha has also completed a diploma in Special Education at UBC.

For fun, she plays field hockey with the VRC Jokers as a goalie.


Ms. Dorota Malinowska

Ms. Malinowska firmly believes that every child possesses different strengths and unique learning styles which need to be discovered and nurtured for an effective education to take place. She is passionate about her chosen career and loves the continued professional growth at Choice School. Educated in Poland where she taught Slavic languages, Dorota is a veteran of the Richmond School District, and has been involved with gifted education at Choice School for several years. Her education is ongoing with a continued passion for learning new languages, and meeting interesting people from all walks of life. She enjoys yoga, discovering new places, reading, and spending time with her family and dog, Bilbo. Dorota loves working with the passionate team at Choice School and its talented pupils. At Choice she is offered the opportunity to develop her students’ potential who then go on to make a positive impact on our society. Choice School’s emphasis on professional development also allows her to foster new ideas and techniques to create the best learning environment possible for each one of her students.

Erin Nagle

Ms. Erin Nagle

Erin is very excited to join Choice School this year as the Class A teacher.  Erin has more than ten years of experience in teaching young children in a variety of environments ranging from the urban area of Richmond, BC to the rural landscapes of Hohoe, Ghana.

Erin is from Boston, Massachusetts, where she received Bachelors Degrees in Early Childhood Education and Global Studies, with a minor in Fine Arts. Erin has received special training in teaching English language learners and children with special needs.

Erin has a profound love for children, animals, and nature. Her passion for the arts can be seen in her classroom, where she fosters a love for nature and encourages a variety of forms of self-expression. Erin believes in celebrating the uniqueness of every child, and implements curriculum through child led inquiry projects.

When Erin is not teaching, she enjoys spending her time with her family, hiking with her dog, cooking, and reading while cuddling with her fluffy white cat.

Mika Sueyoshi

Ms. Mika Sueyoshi

Mika is excited to join the Choice School team as an elementary school teacher. She has experience working in countries around the world, including Japan, England, and the United States. She most recently moved from New York to resettle in her hometown of Richmond. She has a Bachelors degree in Education and a Masters degree in Childhood Education and Special Education. Mika believes in the potential for all students to succeed and works to cultivate an active and supportive environment to foster meaningful learning.

In her spare time, she loves to travel, hike, and enjoy the beautiful city. She is looking forward to becoming a member of the Choice School family and share in the excitement of learning!

Ms. Sueyoshi is currently on maternity leave until September 2018.

Ms. Shaireen Walli

Mrs. Walli believes that students learn better when their learning is relevant to their lives as well as when they are actively involved in their learning. She has taught IB English as well as the Cambridge curriculum at an international school in the UAE and mentored local UAE teachers in a local school. Prior to that, Shaireen taught at a private school in Surrey and at Choice School.

Shaireen attended York University where she completed her Bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in French. She then attended teacher’s college in Australia and continues to take courses at Simon Fraser University. During her free time, Shaireen enjoys working on her blog as well as reading a variety of books. She also tutors a range of children outside of school. Shaireen is happy to be at Choice as she enjoys working with the unique and creative students who attend Choice School.

Specialist Staff


Ms. Cathy Kluthe, Art

Ms. Kluthe always pushes the boundaries in art, thoroughly enjoys working with children and encourages creative expression. She enjoys introducing a variety of art materials and techniques and is committed to creating a classroom atmosphere that is stimulating, thus encouraging students to reach their “creative best”.

Ms.Kluthe graduated from Red Deer College, Alberta College of Art and has also studied art at Guangzhou Academy of Art in China and studied Japanese Calligraphy in Japan. She also instructs at various art studios in Richmond. Cathy is also an accomplished painter and has had several gallery shows in BC through the Federation of Canadian Artists and an upcoming show in Alberta. She is also a multimedia artisan and juried member of the Crafts Council of BC and member of the British Columbia Art Teachers Association.

Ms. Kluthe enjoys spending time with her family, skiing, camping and cycling. She also spends many hours cheering on her son Connor and daughter Erin who play hockey. She enjoys long walks with her dog Zara.


Mr. Iain McLaren, Music

Mr. McLaren is the Choice School music teacher. He believes that all children are musical and creative beings. He strives to provide the students with as many possibilities of writing, improvising and recording their own musical creations as possible. Mr. McLaren also believes that each student’s musical sensibility needs to be nurtured, so that they are able to grow as musicians, performers, and proud supporters of the arts in their communities. With this belief as a guiding principal to his teachings, Mr. McLaren regularly creates opportunities for the students to share and learn their favourite songs, and to share their own musical skill in both the classroom, and in performances.

Mr. McLaren has vast experience in the musical world from composing, performing, and recording, to movie making, acting and script writing. He plays the guitar, piano, bass, drums, trombone, bass recorder, omniharp, and is now trying to tackle the accordion. He has performed and played in many groups that cover a wide range of music styles: from jazz bands, symphonic winds and choirs, to children’s music, folk, heavy metal, classical and pop. He is also a member of Artstarts In Schools and regularly performs musical theatre with Gogo Bonkers in elementary schools across the lower mainland.

Mr. McLaren studied Music Therapy at Capilano University in Vancouver and also studied voice and composition at Red Deer College. He has facilitated music groups and recording projects for elementary schools, preschools, daycares, community centres, the ministry of children and families, senior centers, and private functions.

In his spare time he loves to go for long walks in the forest, hang out with his family, play the piano, nap, and ride his bike.

joanna thackwray

Ms. Joanna Thackwray

Joanna Thackwray is a Pediatric Occupational Therapist who graduated from the University of British Columbia. She began her career in pediatrics at The BC Centre For Ability in Vancouver where she worked both in the Early Intervention Program (0 – 5 year olds) and in the School Therapy Program in North and West Vancouver. She currently works as the Occupational Therapist at Choice School as well running her own pediatric private practice in Richmond, BC. She has worked extensively with children with children with difficulties with executive functioning, emotional regulation, sensory processing and motor coordination, in order to assist them in being successful in the home, community and school environments. Joanna provides occupational therapy to the children she works with, and consults with parents and educators to help develop appropriate accommodations, programming and classroom environments to support individual student differences.

Support Staff


Ms. Jameela Allibhai, Administrative Assistant

Jameela is very happy to be working at Choice School. She graduated from Kwantlen Polytechnic University with a Diploma in Marketing and Graphic Design. She enjoys cooking from different cultures, crafts, drawing and painting. She loves all animals, but dogs and elephants are her favorites. Jameela  is married with two  daughters and Karma , a cute little French bulldog who thinks she is a child.  She also likes to travel whenever she can, and has been to many countries including Uganda, South Africa, Kenya, United Kingdom and the Caribbean. Jameela  enjoys working with children and has a love for art and creativity.

Chelsea Peterson

Ms. Chelsea Peterson, Special Education Assistant

Chelsea is delighted to be part of the team at Choice School. She comes to us having had experience working in the public school system as well as distance learning centres.  She has worked with a variety of different learners and classrooms, specializing in students who are gifted as well as those who have multiple exceptionalities. Her passion for special education originally stemmed from working overseas with at-risk youth for four years. She now looks forward to using her training in early intervention and special education to support the needs of individual students. In her spare time, Chelsea enjoys photography, playing music and traveling abroad.

Lynn Reitenbach

Ms. Lynn Reitenbach, Special Education Assistant

Coming from a family of teachers, Lynn has always had an interest in working with children.  She decided to pursue that interest through volunteer work in the public school system. She then decided to take the  Education Assistant Program at Langara College in Vancouver. A believer in lifelong learning, Lynn continues to take courses to help her to understand and develop strategies to support children.

Lynn likes to read, cook, attend weekly yoga classes and stay fit  through exercising on a regular basis. She has always enjoyed playing sports as well as following the Vancouver Canucks on TV. Her favourite place to spend time with family and friends is at her cabin in Point Roberts, Washington.

She is enjoying getting to know the staff and students at Choice School.  Helping the children grow in their learning environment is a challenge to which she is looking forward.

Mr. Doug Sargeant, Special Education Assistant and PE Specialist

Doug joined Choice School in September 2014 as a Special Education Assistant. He has also assumed the role of Facilities Manager and Special Events Coordinator. He comes to us from the Richmond School District where he worked with students of varying needs at the elementary and secondary level for over eight years. Doug has a Diploma in Special Education from Kwantlen Polytechnic University and a Diploma in Recreation from Langara College.

During his free time, Doug enjoys spending time with his two children, Hudson and Fynnagin, engaging in physical activities from bike riding to hockey. He likes to putter at make-work projects and enjoys reading.

Doug is excited to be a part of Choice School where he has the opportunity to teach children the love of all types of recreational activities and the benefits they will provide in their lives.

Mr. Majid Qiyam, Maintenance and Bus Driver

Mr. Qiyam has enjoyed working at Choice School for the last several years. Majid looks after the school grounds and maintains the school building, as well as being our friendly and professional school bus driver. He was born in Kabul, Afghanistan and graduated as a journalist from Kabul University. He is a musician and he likes to sing and play a variety of instruments.

Majid likes to spend time with his family when he is not helping out at school.