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. Susan Rodriguez, Visual Art, and Grade 6, 7, &8 Humanities Teacher

    Susan is excited to join Choice School this year as the designated Art and Humanities teacher. She has had the pleasure of working with numerous students from diverse backgrounds and various cultures. She has worked overseas as an ESL teacher in South Korea and has been a public school teacher in Ontario for the last couple of years. Susan completed both her B.Ed. and Bachelor of Fine Art at Western University in London, Ontario. She specializes in traditional art mediums such as drawing and painting as well as photography and videography. Outside of teaching, Susan enjoys going longboarding, playing the drums, going to the beach, and cheering on the Toronto Raptors.

    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. Shaireen Walli, Grade 5 & 6 Teacher

    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.


    Ms. Stephanie Jackson, Music Teacher

    Steph Jackson is the Choice School music teacher. She believes in holding high standards for students and giving them the tools to pursue music to any level. She believes that music is an essential system for understanding our cultures and the world around us. Ms. Jackson enjoys lifting students up through music and developing efficacy and confidence along the way. She strives to create opportunities for real-life performances while focusing on student-led composition, recording and collaborative projects at all levels.

    Ms. Jackson has diverse experience in music including professional composing, arranging, performing, recording and assuming the role of musical director to community bands, community and auditioned choirs. She performs professionally on guitar, piano, bass and percussion and has experience with brass and woodwind instruments. She has also studied Pipa, drum kit, flute and violin for many years each. She has performed and played in many groups that cover a wide range of music styles including jazz, folk, heavy metal, classical, neo-soul, funk, hip hop and pop. She performs regularly solo and in small ensembles.

    Ms. Jackson studied Jazz guitar at Capilano University in Vancouver and has a Bachelor of Fine Arts as well as two Masters’ degrees in Curriculum design and Music. She has facilitated guitar ensembles, rock school, percussion ensembles, jazz bands, choirs and has taught in independent and public school in British Columbia and China.

    When not playing music she loves to spend time with her family, go kayaking, walk dogs, grow vegetables, travel anywhere and study just about anything. Ms. Jackson looks forward to meeting you at Choice school and sharing music together.

    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

    I’m excited for my new role as an education assistant at Choice school. I did my studies in Sprott Shaw college. I’m a certified early childhood educator and an Education assistant. I love working with kids I’ve worked at a day care for 2 years and as a behaviour interventionist for 1 year. I love being around kids because they have so much potential that the world is yet to know. I’m very excited on starting my new journey at Choice school.

    In my free time I love travelling to different places such as, Europe, Switzerland and Alaska. I’m also very passionate about nature. I love going on nature walks, looking out for beautiful plants, and wonderful 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.