I have been at Evergreen Independent School in a variety of capacities since 2008 when my own children started Kindergarten. The values that drew me to Evergreen as a parent are the same ones that have inspired me in each of the positions I have held since then, from Educational Assistant and Inclusive Educational Coordinator, to teacher, and Principal.
It is my goal that the core values of Evergreen be held at the heart of every decision made by our staff and our board, and that through those decisions, Evergreen Independent School be a place of belonging and deepest learning for our students, staff, and families.
Vice Principal and Inclusive Education
Having taught Science and Math in independent schools in Vancouver and Whistler for the last 12 years, my family made the move to the Cowichan Valley. I have a passion for teaching and learning, including Inclusive Education practices. This school has incredible teachers, EAs and leadership that makes working here a joy. The sense of community and strong relationships between students and staff aligns with my pedagogical values.
Cedar (Junior Kindergarten and Explorers)
I left my home in New Zealand when I was 22 and came to Canada. I worked as a nanny for a couple of years and then became a permanent resident. 30 plus years on Vancouver Island, I think I can call myself a local! I completed my ECE in Victoria in 1997 and I have worked as an Early Childhood Educator or an Educational assistant for the last 20 years. In 2018 I moved up to the Cowichan Valley and started working part time at Evergreen School as an Educational Assistant. I am now the teacher for Cedar class. I enjoy providing an environment for young children where they can play, learn, and begin to develop their social and emotional skills in a safe way as they connect with other children their age.
I have two adult sons. When not hanging out with 3 and 4 year olds, you will find me on a mountain or maybe on one of the beautiful nature trails we have around here. I also enjoy paddle-boarding, swimming, and bike riding.
Pine (Kindergarten and Grade 1)
I am the Pine teacher at Evergreen, teaching Kindergarten and Grade 1 this year where the students’ favourite activities in the classroom include time on the indoor swing and rings! I have a Bachelor of Education from Vancouver Island University and am certified to teach K-12. I’ve taught locally and abroad, and continuously recognize how unique Evergreen is. So much so that both of my own children attend the school!
When not at work I love reading, board games, and trying to keep our kittens from following us on walks to the lake.
Fir (Grades 2 and 3)
My name is Jillian Baird and I am currently the Grade 2/3 teacher in Fir Class at Evergreen Independent School. I am a recent graduate of the Bachelor of Education program which I completed through the University of Victoria and Vancouver Island University.
I enjoy numerous outdoor activities including skiing and hiking, and I am often found with my Yellow Labrador Tessa. I am very fortunate to be a part of the Evergreen community, which offers a rich and nurturing environment for students, staff, and families alike.
Arbutus (Grades 3, 4, 5) and Inclusive Education
My name is Tamara Service, I have been a teacher at Evergreen school for the past 4 years and this year I am currently teaching grade 3, 4, 5 students in the Juniper classroom. I have worked with children for over 25 years in varying capacities, though teaching is my truest vocation. I value my role as a teacher because it offers me the privilege to support students' growth and develop holistically. Evergreen's whole child philosophy is one huge reason I love teaching at our school as it honours and celebrates each student's individuality.
I also have the privilege of being a part of our Inclusive Ed and Learning Assistance team. Supporting the inclusion of all students in an environment that honours their unique gifts, and offering a program that supports alternative ways of learning, deeply connects to my passion for supporting neuro diverse learners.
When I’m not teaching, I spend time with my husband, and two daughters who both attended Evergreen since preschool and they are now thriving happy teenagers. I love my animals, 3 dogs and 4 cats to be precise, and when I’m not teaching I enjoy photography, travelling, designing, and being near the ocean.
Arbutus (Grades 3, 4, 5)
I started teaching at Evergreen in the fall of 2021. I was attracted to the school because of its focus on community and educating the whole child. I value the leadership and social skills our students develop as they interact with students of all grade levels. I have a Bachelors of Education from the University of Victoria and I am thrilled to have found a school to teach which matches my educational philosophy.
When I'm not at work I can usually be found driving one of my children to their various activities, walking my dog, Gus, or singing songs around a campfire.
Spruce (Grades 5, 6, 7)
Evergreen Independent School is a wonderful place to teach and learn. As a staff and community we strive to celebrate and nurture each student to see the gifts within themselves; to support and honour their individual educational journey. As a teacher, I feel inspired to work at Evergreen, a place that provides students with the confidence to know themselves and the skills to be future leaders.
I have been teaching at Evergreen Independent School for eight years and have had opportunities to work in a variety of classrooms. While I enjoy teaching all subjects my passions lie in Outdoor Education, Art Education and Physical Education.
Around the community I am usually out in nature, exploring all the wonderful places the Cowichan Valley has to offer.
Spruce (Grades 5, 6, 7)
My name is Elyse and I'm the Grade 5/6/7 teacher in Spruce class. I recently graduated from the University of Lethbridge with a BA in History and English, and a BEd in Social Studies Education. In 2021 I moved to Vancouver Island from Southern Alberta, where I taught high school Social Studies and Language Arts. I am so happy to be a part of the Evergreen community, and this school has a special place in my heart.
Outside of work I love to explore the island, read, hike, hang out by the ocean, paddle board and do yoga. I am also the lucky cat-mom to a 16 year old fluff ball with one tooth.