Meet the Advisory Team
Mentorship Advisory Team
Kristi Blakeway began her teaching career in the Coquitlam school district, where she worked as a Business Education teacher, secondary school counsellor, and vice principal. In 2013, she transitioned to the Maple Ridge school district where she worked as a secondary vice principal, elementary principal, and secondary principal. She joined Surrey in 2023 in the role of Director of Instruction, Building Professional Capacity. She is passionate about student voice, social emotional learning, and professional development. Kristi is excited to be part of the Teacher Mentorship Team as she loves working collaboratively, and creating learning centered spaces that foster personal and professional growth.
Lisa Chambers is an elementary school principal who is passionate about social and emotional learning, early literacy, special education and trauma informed practice. She started her career in the Surrey School district in the year 2000 and has valued the many learning opportunities and mentorship that she has experienced throughout her time as an educator. Lisa strives to create a culture where all members of the school community feel seen, heard and valued. She is thrilled to be hosting the mentorship pilot project at Woodland Park.
Geny Friesen is a member of the Mentorship Advisory Team.
Sharon Lau is a Mentorship Helping Teacher. She is passionate about building personal and organizational capacities in Surrey Schools. Sharon is grateful for the opportunity to work with an outstanding group of mentors and mentees.
Melissa Madison was a Mentorship Helping Teacher who focused on supporting and advocating for Surrey’s early-career teachers. She is a dedicated and enthusiastic educational leader who has held many diverse roles in both the Surrey School District and the Greater Victoria School District. Melissa finds great joy in walking alongside and celebrating those who are working towards discovering their identity and value as an educator. She is delighted to bring her passion for impactful mentorship and reflective practices to the team!
Denton Muir is a District Principal in Human Resources with Surrey Schools. Part of his portfolio includes recruitment of new teachers, working with provincial education programs, bridging teacher candidates into a teaching career and principal to the TTOC group in Surrey Schools. Denton started his teaching career as an English Language Arts teacher in Vancouver where he taught at 4 high schools. He then moved to Surrey as a building based administrator working in 4 Surrey high-schools. Denton is passionate about early learning in teaching and strives to connect new teachers to the district as a whole. Denton works to build a culture of safety for teachers so teachers feel that no question is unaskable and that taking risks in teaching is always encouraged and supported.
Jodie Perry has worked in Surrey Schools since 2008. She taught Sciences, Math, and Learning Support at multiple secondary schools, and is now working as a Vice Principal. She acted as a math mentor and as a member of the Mentorship Advisory Team when she taught, and is excited to bring a new lens to the team as an administrator who has a site-based mentorship program at her school. Jodie has a Master’s Degree from SFU in Contemplative Inquiry and Approaches in Education. She believes that mentorship in schools is a critical piece in supporting teachers and creating a collaborative work place where we all learn and grow together.
Kim Perry is a Mentorship Helping Teacher. Kim’s practice has developed over the last 33 years through a diverse set of experiences beginning on the East Coast, followed by 2 years on the edge of the Arctic Ocean in the Northwest Territories Her experiences and learning in an Inuvialuit community inspired her move to British Columbia where she completed her MEd at the University of British Columbia (1996). The last 27 years, she has taught in various elementary schools in Vancouver and Surrey, was a Faculty Associate at Simon Fraser University, and is currently the Mentorship Helping Teacher with SD36. She recognizes her privilege as a settler on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish Peoples, and remains committed to learning from Indigenous people to better understand her role in reconciliation. Continuing to activate her agency, to cultivate compassionate equitable spaces for the growth and learning of all within our community, remains a key driver in her practice.
Regie Plana-Alcuaz is originally from the Philippines and the US. They have been in education for more than two decades, beginning as a non-formal education coordinator, segueing into the regular elementary classroom, then teaching ESL to adult learners, after which they became a special educator in all grade levels and eventually an academic advisor. Then Regie moved to Canada where they became a regular classroom teacher and eventually an elementary department head in a remote First Nations school district in NW BC prior to moving to Surrey as an Integration Support Teacher. They had been the Pro-D Chair then the Social Justice Chair in their previous district. At present, they are on the Surrey Teachers Association Resolutions Committee, Status of Women Committee, and Ad Hoc Members of Colour Committee, as well as the SD36 SOGI Team and IST Advisory Team.
Regie has two graduate degrees: Special Education, and English Teaching; and an undergraduate degree in Psychology. From having been employed by different school districts, they have experienced different kinds of mentoring but mostly the lack of it, for which they attempted to compensate by their own initiative. They have also been a mentor and a peer counselor.
Regie has been the Chair of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation Advisory Committee on the Status of Women and is serving in the BCTF Committee for Action on Social Justice (under Status of Women). They appreciate the opportunity to serve on the Mentorship Advisory Committee and hope to provide and gain more insight with regards to mentoring BIPOC and LGBTQ2S+ educators.
Gloria Sarmento has been a public school educator since 1986, starting her career as a teacher in Iowa. She has worked in Surrey since 1991 as a teacher, vice principal, and principal. She currently holds the role of Director of Instruction, Developing Professional Capacity. She is interested in building leadership capacity and loves working with teachers and administrators to help build collaborative networks. Gloria hopes to continue to support the amazing work that is already happening in Surrey and is thrilled to be a member of the Teacher Mentorship Team.
Pauline Veto had been a Surrey secondary teacher for over twenty years, primarily teaching Social Studies. Last year, she worked with teachers on remote learning practices as one of the Blended Learning Support Teachers. She had been a BCTF workshop facilitator on curriculum and assessment practices. Currently, she is working at the STA as the Professional Support Services Officer, coordinating supports for members to grow their professional practice.
Jas Uppal was the Surrey mentorship helping teacher. She most recently was developing an inquiry focused interdisciplinary program at SAIL in Surrey. Prior to this position, Jas worked in teacher development at the university and school district level in Canada and internationally. She served as a Faculty Associate at SFU within two unique programs that involved intercultural bridging for pre-service teachers. Jas is interested in design, inquiry, and community building. She looks forward to working with a team of educators to bridge practice with research focusing on teacher change and teacher leadership.
Devon Stokes-Bennett was the Surrey mentorship helping teacher for 2016/17. She has taught in the Central Okanagan and Sooke school districts as a high school Humanities teacher, a curriculum coordinator and a member of an amazing team working with at-promise youth. Devon has embarked on the grand adventure of being a new mom as well as a member of the provincial New Teacher Mentorship Project.
Kevin Amboe served as the Professional Support Services Officer at the STA. For 25 years, he has taught Elementary, Secondary, as a Helping Teacher, and through Integration Support. Much of his formal mentorship experiences come from the joint SFU Field Programs / and Surrey School District TLITE program that started in 2000. He has been actively supporting professional development throughout his career through CUEBC PSA, School Committees, and our annual STA Convention. After completing his PB 15 with TLITE in 2002, he returned to SFU to complete his Masters in Educational Leadership. He is excited about the Professional Support Services role as a new way to further support members.
Christie Weigel is the Professional Support Services officer at the Surrey Teachers’ Association. She has enjoyed teaching K-7 and providing Learning Support during her thirty-plus years of work in Surrey. In her current role, Christie supports teachers through the Mediation, Peer Support, and Mentorship programs.
Anne McNamee was a long-time member of the Mentorship Advisory Team.
Stephen Hardy is a District Principal in the Human Resources department. He has worked as a humanities teacher and administer in Surrey for over 20 years. He has also worked as Faculty Associate at SFU and as the principal of a small K-12 independent school. Steve is interested in design and delight in education as well as the outdoor classroom. Steve is right chuffed to be part of the Mentorship program and looking forward to learning more about teaching and learning.
Joe Leibovitch, Human Resources District Principal
Antonio Vendramin is a District Principal in the Curriculum and Priority Practices Department, focusing on Communicating Student Learning (CSL) and Digital Resources. He has had many roles in the Surrey School District starting in 1991 as a volunteer, to student-teacher, teacher, vice-principal, principal, and now District Principal. Joy comes in helping others grow personally and professionally, and do things they didn’t previously believe they could do. When not at school, he can be found spending time with his family and dog “Pip”, on running trails around Fort Langley, or at Whitecaps games.
Amanda Van Garderen has been an early primary teacher in the Surrey School District for twenty years. She holds a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Theory from Simon Fraser University. Her research is focussed on the role of oral language in literacy. This is Amanda’s second year in the Mentor 36 Program. She also serves as a mentor for the SFU MEd Imaginative Education graduate student program. Amanda is honoured to guide new professionals into their full capacity as teachers and helping to establish a deeper understanding and appreciation for their role as educators.
Jacqueline Alvarado Cruz is a Grade 3 classroom teacher. She taught Spanish and French for 5 years. She took part in the Mentorship Program last year when she made the switch from high school to elementary. Taking part in the Mentorship Program helped her connect with other teachers as well as ease the change into her new role. She is excited to continue being part of the Mentorship Program and hopes to inspire more teachers to take part!
Barb Bathgate is the Research and Evaluation helping teacher and works to facilitate inquiry groups within the district. Barb is interested in helping to build collaborative mentorship networks and professional learning opportunities for Surrey teachers.
Lily Kamarn (Past member-teacher) is a teacher with Surrey School District and is a long time member of the Mentorship Program. She has taught in Vancouver, Richmond and overseas in Bangkok, Thailand. Currently, she is an Elementary Core French Specialist at T.E. Scott Elementary, a BCTF Facilitator in the Program for Quality Teaching and a Provincial Curriculum Team member for Core French. Lily is passionate about Mentorship and helping others. She has two daughters and enjoys yoga and journal writing.
Jodie Perry (Past member-teacher) is a secondary mathematics, accounting, and learning support teacher. She has taught in Surrey for ten years, and loves professional development and collaboration. She was a teacher mentor in the 2016-17 school year and learned as much from her mentees and the experiences they shared as they did from her. Jodie is currently studying Contemplative Inquiry and Approaches in Education in her Masters of Education at Simon Fraser University, and she is excited about how these practices can help her to grow as a professional, deepen her relationships, and help her students to become lifelong learners.
Christine Wozney (Past member-teacher). Thank you for all of your insights and contributions. Good luck in your new role as vice-principal in Mission.
Peter Nuij, Human Resources District Principal
Karen Alvarez is a District Principal (Curriculum & Innovation) with responsibilities for early learning, social emotional learning, arts education, science and numeracy. Karen has been involved with the SD/STA Mentorship Committee for 3 years and is very excited to continue this work. She believes in the importance of supporting teachers and creating networks of support.
Judy Maranda is a former member of the team. She was in the Surrey School District for 28 years as an elementary teacher, administrator, District Principal (HR) and Director of Instruction. Her interest is building leadership capacity in Surrey teachers and administrators with a view to supporting the amazing work that is happening in schools. Judy was an integral member of the Teacher Mentorship Team and she certainly helped to shape the redesign of the STA/SD36 mentorship program. Good luck in your new role at BCPSEA.
Chris Stanger, District Principal – Human Resources
Heather Johnson was an Integration Support Teacher in the Surrey School District. During her career, she taught K-12 students in the Delta and Coquitlam school districts as classroom teacher, resource teacher, secondary gifted coordinator and teacher-librarian. Mentorship was one of Heather’s passion. She found it to be a very rich learning. She enjoyed sharing experiences with mentors and new teachers. She shared her passion for mentorship with the mentorship team to help re-design of the mentorship program. We were saddened to hear about Heather passing away. Heather will be dearly missed.