We are a dedicated and experienced teaching team who are passionate about what we do. We recognize and bring forth the potential in every child through clear communication, role modeling, creative and stimulating teaching, and our own commitment to self-reflection and lifelong learning.
We envision an environment where students are nurtured by the guidance and support they receive from their families, teachers, and community.
Wendy Preston is Beachcombers' Principal and middle elementary teacher. Wendy holds a BC Teachers Certificate, has an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Humanities, a Post Graduate Certificate in Education, and an International Montessori Teaching Diploma. Wendy has completed the first part of her Masters in Educational Leadership, but has taken a break in order to dedicate herself to Beachcombers Academy. She has 15 years’ experience teaching kindergarten and primary grades in independent schools in Canada and the U.K., and is experienced in curriculum development. Wendy is a caring, thoughtful, and enthusiastic teacher with a passion for literacy and quality academics. As principal she oversees our academic program and supports teachers to be their best. Wendy is a compassionate school leader with a deeply held belief in quality education. Wendy is committed to developing a warm, supportive, and respectful learning environment at Beachcombers; an environment that actively engages children’s passion for learning and brings out the potential in every child. Her son is enrolled at Beachcombers.
Ben Anderson is Beachcombers' early years teacher, heads up our physical education program, and practices yoga. He holds a BC Teacher Certificate, a Bachelor of Education from the University of Alberta, a carpentry certificate from NAIT, an Alberta-based technology institute, and has received in-house Montessori training. His academic strengths include health and fitness, outdoor recreation, science, and math. Ben has 5 years multi-age classroom teaching experience, and has 14+ years’ experience as a youth and Scouts Canada leader. Through his extensive volunteer experience, he has developed excellent people skills including conflict resolution. Ben is deeply committed to community service, and is a dedicated father and husband. He is well liked by his students and strikes a wonderful balance between being relaxed and supportive in the classroom; and honouring play while gently introducing academics. He actively enjoys hiking and climbing, has hiked the West Coast Trail 8 times, and has taught rappelling and safe climbing practices. Ben is enthusiastic, positive, motivated and energetic. He believes deeply in the importance of honesty, respect, listening, and developing mutual understanding; values that he nurtures in his own children and his students. We are very pleased to have Ben as part of the Beachcombers team.
Cheryl van Ierland
Cheryl van Ierland is the Little Oysters' lead preschool teacher. She holds an Early Childhood Educator Certificate, a BC Teachers Certificate and an International Montessori Teaching Diploma. She attended the University of Victoria and has a Bachelor of Education in Primary Education, and a Bachelor of Arts with a Major in English and a Minor in Greek and Roman Studies. She has 7 years teaching experience working with preschool- and primary-aged children in the U.K. and Canada, including work as a special education teacher for preschool-aged children. Cheryl is a gentle, patient and soft-spoken woman whose quiet nature belies her spunk and passion for life. “I strive to be one who is passionate, caring, and open-minded; and to be full of flexibility, patience, and have positive energy. As teachers we are constantly learning and growing, and I hope to continue doing so.” Cheryl grew up on Vancouver Island, and often spent time in the summer at her grand-parents cabin in Fanny Bay. She loves the outdoors and is pleased to be working in an environment where children are encouraged to be in nature. We are very pleased to have Cheryl as a member of the Little Oysters Preschool and Beachcombers Academy team.
Destinee Barrow is Beachcombers’ student support teaching assistant. She is a Licenced Practical Nurse who received her accreditation through NorQuest College. She has taken additional health and fitness studies at Simon Fraser University and holds National Fitness Leadership Certification with the YMCA. She has 14 years combined experience in health care and fitness and 4 years’ experience providing fitness programing and occupational therapy for children and youth. Destinee is a positive and energetic person who brings a great deal of thoughtfulness and enthusiasm to her work. She is a joy to be with and her sunny disposition rubs off on those around her. She is a true team player and a wonderful support to students. We are very fortunate to have Destinee at Beachcombers.
Monica Hofer is Beachcombers' French teacher and provides our music program under the direction of our principal. She has a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in German and French, and a Masters in Germanic Studies from the University of Victoria. She has 12+ years teaching experience, teaching at the primary, secondary and college level. Monica has studied with Mast African drummers and is a certified HealthyRHYTHMS facilitator. She has 9 years' experience teaching music including drumming, rhythm, and as leader of a community choir. She has taught music in schools and community-based programs. Monica is well known in the Comox Valley for her wonderful music programs, energetic and positive attitude and great enthusiasm. We are pleased to have her as part of the Beachcombers team.
Zoe Lambert is President of Beachcombers Education Society, a non-profit society that operates Beachcombers Academy and Little Oysters Preschool. She has 16+ years’ experience in the non-profit sector and community development. She has worked with multi-agency groups (including schools); for municipal and indigenous organizations; and on contract with provincial and federal agencies. Her strengths lie in project starts, media relations, consensus decision-making, team-building, administration, and evaluation. She has volunteered with Ground and Air Search And Rescue, and is trained as a 'Municipal Coordinator' under the BC Provincial Emergency Program. She has been Site Manager in two disaster situations. Following a career change, she became a commercial pilot working in the Polar Regions: this gave her exposure to polar environmental-science research, remote eco-tourism, the mining industry, and indigenous communities. She is an outdoor recreation enthusiast with a passion for wilderness. Her son is enrolled at Beachcombers.
Advisors and Community Support
Roy Sakata is an advisor to Beachcombers Academy. He has 40 years experience in education as a teacher, vice-principal and principal. In 1989, he was recognized for School Administrative Excellence by the then BC Education Minister, Honorable Anthony Brummet. Roy has a passionate commitment to community service and is on the Board of Directors of the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Center. He has a Bachelor of Education, Elementary Degree from the University of British Columbia, and a Masters of Arts in Educational Administration from Simon Fraser University. He worked as a teacher and principal in both small and large schools, including independent, public and First Nation schools. He has served 5 years on BC Ministry of Education Assessment Teams for the Independent School Inspector’s Office and for the BC First Nations Education Steering Committee. Roy went to primary school on Quadra Island and in Campbell River, and attended high school in Courtenay. Roy brings with him a wealth of knowledge, a warm supportive approach and an exceptionally positive attitude. He is a tremendous resource to our school.
Janet Leblanc is an advisor and mentor to the Little Oysters Preschool. Janet has 25+ years experience working with children. She is the former Director and founding teacher of Beachcombers Little Oyster's Preschool, and prior to that, Director of Stepping Stones Montessori in Comox. She also has many years experience working as a Special Education Assistant. She is a member of Early Childhood Educators of BC, BC Montessori Association, and the International Montessori Council. She has an Early Childhood Educator Certificate and an International Montessori Teaching Diploma. Janet is known for her gentle, stimulating, and inspiring approach with children, and her consistently positive, supportive and peaceful outlook.
Barbara and Bryne Odegard
Barbara and Bryne Odegard are owners and operators of Ironwood Farm in Fanny Bay, a BC Certified Organic farm since 1997. Barbara has her Master Organic Gardener certificate and is a member of the Society of Organic Urban Land Care. She instructs at North Island College. As a board member of Pacific Agriculture Certification Society, she is active around organic production methods, at provincial and federal levels. Barbara and Bryne apprentice youth from Europe on organic farming, as part of a Waldorf program required for school graduation. Barbara and Bryne have supported Beachcombers with our organic gardening program and welcomed our students to their farm. You can find them at the Comox Valley Farmers Market.