Our Teachers and Staff

Our Teachers and Staff

    Principal's Office

    Mr. Sukhbir Bolina, Principal

    Sukhbir joined Choice School in the summer of 2021. He comes with a variety of experiences in the independent school system. After building the math department in a prominent school in Vancouver, Sukhbir became Head of Mathematics before embarking on a leadership role in a Surrey school.  Sukhbir is very passionate about education and believes that the whole world is a classroom. For several years, Sukhbir has been leading community service trips with Habitat for Humanity in which youth are taken to less developed countries and embark on building projects in the local communities.

    Sukhbir loves teaching and is a life-long learner. He believes that learning does not stop, regardless of age. In addition to his experiences in education, Sukhbir also has qualifications and experience in finance and is a qualified accountant. He holds a private pilots license and loves to fly when time permits. He is committed to creating nourishing, engaging, collaborative, learning environments where students are encouraged to take risks, value different perspectives, deepen their thinking, and strengthen their skills.


    Teaching Staff

    Ms. Marina Dykman, Kindergarten & Grade 1 Teacher

    Marina is very passionate about teaching and believes that she will learn just as much from her students, as they will learn from her. She is a lifelong learner who enjoys looking at things from a different perspective. When she has free time she can be found reading a book, kicking around a ball, or exploring nature.

    Marina has completed both of her B.Ed and B.A with a Concentration in English at St. Mary’s University in Calgary. She has many years of experience with diverse learners and is very excited to start a new adventure at Choice.

    Ms. Mackayla Murray, Grade 2 & 3 Teacher

    Mackayla is excited to pursue a new role at Choice this year. She has a BA from Simon Fraser University, with a double minor in Early Childhood Education, and Curriculum and Development, and is currently completing a Master of Special Education at Vancouver Island University. She has a wide range of experiences with children and youth spanning from early intervention therapies to working with at-risk youth at wilderness camps. As a designated gifted learner herself, Mackayla is very excited to be at Choice and support the incredible children it hosts.

    In her free time Mackayla enjoys spending time outdoors, travelling abroad, and spending time with her many pets.

    Ms. Nidhi Chawla, Grade 4

    Nidhi is a certified teacher with more than 15 years experience. During her career, she has worked at various schools teaching different grades and subjects. She has taught in India, Toronto and Surrey. She is excited to join Choice School as an elementary teacher.

    In her free time, she enjoys watching series of movies with her family. Ms. Chawla believes that communication skills, which we learn in our school days is the important tool for solving all the challenges in life. She is looking forward to learning more about our students and what makes them unique.

    Mr. Derek Bennett, Grade 6, 7, & 8 Teacher

    Derek is pleased to begin his career as the Middle School science specialist in September of 2019, after completing a Bachelor of Education at UBC. He comes from a scientific background, having completed a Bachelor of Science Honours Kinesiology degree from McMaster University in 2016. He was born and raised in Cambridge, Ontario and has spent the last 12 years working with children as a tennis and fitness coach. Derek has a particular liking for scientific and inquiry based learning strategies, as he believes all people learn best when studying something they are passionate about. He is looking forward to learning more about teaching gifted children and further getting to know the unique personalities present at Choice.

    Outside of school Derek’s passions include camping, canoeing, hiking, rock climbing, hockey (he is a massive Habs fan), tennis, and reading. As a result, he looks forward to exploring outdoor education and experimental learning activities as he progresses through his career.

    Ms. Patricia Kaye, Visual Art, and Grade 6, 7, & 8 Humanities Teacher

    Patricia brings extensive experience, knowledge and understanding to the Choice classroom, school, and community. Patricia graduated from UBC with a Bachelor of Education majoring in Art, and minor in Physical Education, and Special Education. In 2009, she completed her 5th year in multicultural Education at the University of Athabasca, in Alberta, and after teaching learners of all ages and nations in BC and Alberta, Patricia moved to Richmond to be close to family.

    Patricia’s hobbies include art, sports, nature, painting, swimming, animals, and plants.


    Ms. Mika Sueyoshi, Grade 2 & 3 Teacher

    Mika is excited to be part of 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 Bachelor’s degree in Education and a Master’s 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!

    Mika is currently under maternity leave.

    Ms. Chloe Macdonald-Chow, Grade 5 & 6 Teacher

    Chloë is excited to begin her journey as a teacher at Choice School in 2023. Ever since she was young, she wanted to be a teacher. She has worked many years as a youth leader in summer camps and out-of-school care programs.

    Chloë graduated with a BA in Psychology from Douglas College and a Bachelor of Education from SFU. She also studied Teaching English as an Additional Language (TEAL) and Disability and Applied Behaviour Analysis (DABA). In her early years, she attended the Fine Arts program at Nootka Elementary and the Athena (fine arts) mini program at Windermere Secondary.

    Chloë has danced since the age of 4 and has been a dance instructor since 2014. She is trained in ballet, tap, and Latin dance, and is an experienced dancer in hip hop, jazz, hustle, and more. She has experience playing the piano, guitar, and flute and recently started a K-pop dance company in 2020 that performs annually. ​

    In her free time she enjoys hiking, snowboarding, cross country skiing, playing sports, gardening, traveling, learning new languages, watching plays and orchestras and watching Netflix.


    Mr. Shion Chan, Music Teacher

    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 has a daughter, and a dog named 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.

    Ms. Jacqueline Lee, Education Assistant

    Jackie is excited to return to Choice School to work with all the incredible staff and students. She has been working with children and youth who have varying skill levels for the past three years. As a result Jackie has developed a love for interacting, encouraging, and helping children learn new strengths. In her free time, Jackie enjoys bouldering/rock climbing, hiking, traveling, spending time with family and walking her dog Mimi.

    Ms. Sangeeta Venkatramani, Education Assistant

    Sangeeta is excited to be joining the Choice School staff in September 2022 and glad to continue her passion for helping students. She has an experience of 9 years working with an independent school specialized in learning disabilities. She worked in different roles as a cognitive teacher helping students strengthen their brain through cognitive exercises and an academic teaching assistant teaching Middle School Math and elementary English. She has guided variety of different learners with varied age groups ranging from 7 years old to adults.

    In her spare time, Sangeeta loves to spend time with friends and family and enjoys cooking.

    Ms. Simran Sarai, Education Assistant

    Simran is happy to be a part of the Choice School staff. She has worked as a special education assistant for three years and has been working with children for a total of five years.

    Simran enjoys supporting the children at Choice School as they continue to learn and grow.

    In her free time, Simran enjoys being outdoors, travelling, and spending time with friends and family.

    Ms. Maya Sian, Education Assistant

    Maya is excited to be at Choice school. She completed her certification at Sprott Shaw college, as an Early Childhood Educator and an Education Assistant, she has also worked as a Behaviour Interventionist at a daycare for 1 year.

    Maya loves working with children as they have so much potential that the world is yet to know.

    Maya’s hobbies include travelling, nature, nature walks, and admiring beautiful plants and greenery.


    Mr. Majid Qiyam

    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.