About Us

Greenbelt Academy and Early Learning Centre is brought to you by:

Tiffany Tierney, RECE
Director of School Age Programs

Tiffany is a Registered Early Childhood Educator and Forest School Practitioner who has gained experience working in Kindergarten classrooms with the DSBN and preschools throughout the Niagara region. Tiffany followed her passion for Environmentalism, Nature, and Education to join forces with like-minded educators to support the Child & Nature movement and offer Nature-based education to their community. She is a Certified Yoga Instructor and an advocate for living a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Tiffany is excited to share her love of the outdoors while inspiring children to gain knowledge, empathy, and confidence through the world around them, helping them to grow into adults that care for the Environment and their Community.

Joelle Kanakis, RECE
Director of Preschool Programs

Joelle has always been drawn Nature and the outdoors which started when she was young, spending time outdoors with her three younger sisters going on backyard adventures or spending time in the summer camping with her family. It wasn’t until she became a mother that she really saw the importance of sharing this love of Nature with her two daughters. Staying home for 6 years to raise them and opening a successful home daycare during this time, she successfully incorporated nature in her program for learning, arts and crafts with the children in her care. While completing her Early Childhood Education Diploma in 2018 she was drawn to a space where Education and the natural environment overlap. Joelle is excited to be an Educator for the Preschool programs at Greenbelt Academy and Early Learning Centre where she will continue to develop lifelong connections to the natural world for the children in her program.

Jaclyn Giesbrecht, OCT
Director of Operations

Jackie is an Ontario Certified Teacher and Forest School Practitioner, with a background in History and English, and experience with outdoor education. She started working with children as a day camp instructor and program facilitator, which then led her to pursue her passion to become an educator. She has a passion for teaching outdoors, and engages with students in a genuine way while recognizing the learning/teaching opportunities that occur in such a rich and diverse setting. She hopes that Greenbelt Academy and Early Learning Centre will inspire young minds to take an avid interest in nature, which will then open up various avenues for learning and inquiry.

Miss Gundeep, RECE
Kindergarten Educator

Gundeep is a Registered Eary Childhood Educator (RECE) and graduated from Niagara College in 2020. She is originally from India and moved to Canada to pursue further education and a career.

She loves nature, adventure and has a background in farming. She also volunteered at different places and did English tutoring for kids in India. She likes planning activities, spending her time exploring nature with the children in the preschool program. It reminds her of childhood memories where she and her siblings used to play outdoors.

Ms. Stephanie

Ms. Stephanie, OCT
Kindergarten Support Educator

Ms Stephanie is an Ontario certified teacher with a focus in teaching English, English as a Second Language, and is also currently studying for Montessori certification. She spent nearly a decade teaching abroad in South Korea and the United Arab Emirates. Always a lover of the outdoors, one of her favourite weekend activities in Dubai was desert camping under the stars. She has also traveled the world exploring the Amazon rainforest, the salt flats of Bolivia and even spending a summer camping with lions and elephants in Botswana and Namibia. She is very excited to continue her adventures with the students at Greenbelt Academy.

Mr. Scott, BA
School-Aged Programs Educator

Scott has always been interested in the natural environment. From a young age he spent most of his time exploring, building forts, and hiking on the escarpment. Scott first started working with children by volunteering as a junior summer camp instructor at Ball’s Falls Conservation Area, after falling in love with the mix between the history of the park and the beauty of the falls and escarpment. He would later become a day camp instructor and program facilitator there while he attended McMaster University where he majored in History and minored in Geography. Scott took his passions for education and history and attended Fleming College where he received a Graduate Certificate in Museum Management and Curatorship which focused on every aspect of museum work but was most interested in the Education and Interpretive programming side of the program. After graduating he proceeded to work at multiple museums in their educational departments. Through his museum experiences he was able to lead and create educational programs based on curriculum set in alternative learning environments. Scott also began to work at a nature school helping with their camps and school field trips. It was through these opportunities that he realized the importance of nature-based, inquiry-based, and play-based education. He believes that Greenbelt Academy and Early Learning Centre will help inspire children to take a lifelong interest with nature and learning.

Miss Liz

Miss Liz, RECE
Support Staff

“My name is Liz, and I am a 21-year-old ECE with Greenbelt’s Roots 2 classroom. I graduated from Fanshawe College in April 2022, and I am highly eager to learn alongside the children I meet on my teaching journey. I enjoy gardening, caring for my indoor plants, and all aspects of being outdoors! I’m happy to share my love for nature with those around me, and excited to do so!”

Ms. Ranjeet

Ms. Ranjeet, RECE
Preschool Room Educator

I am Ms. Ranjeet. I am new to Canada from India and teaching was my profession and passion back home. I have 2 bachelor degrees; one in Medical and the other in Education. I also have one master degree in Botany (study of plants). I have 2 years experience of teaching in India and taught science for children in grades 5 to 10. To continue this profession, I studied Early Childhood Education at Mohawk College in Hamilton and graduated in April 2023.

Working at Greenbelt Academy has been such a pleasure so far because it blends my passion for Education with my background in Botany.

In my spare time, I enjoy spending quality time with my daughter and husband. I enjoy cooking and watching my daughter’s favourite animal shows with her. I love to spend time in nature and study the biodiversity of plants in Canada because they are so different from the plants back home in India. I also enjoy the weather patterns/seasons in Canada that I have experienced over the past 2 years. I love learning new things and also love learning alongside the children in my program.

Ms. Rachel

Ms. Rachel, RECE
Preschool Room Educator

Rachel has been a registered early childhood educator since 2014 and is working towards her degree for autism and behavioral sciences. Rachel has an inside view into children on the autism spectrum and has experience working with children with exceptionalities. Rachel follows her passion through teaching children of all developmental levels. She loves all types of plants and animals and enjoys being in nature to soak up the world around her. Rachel takes a lot of additional courses throughout the year to continue to stay on top of the newest research and teaching strategies. Rachel is excited to thrive and explore nature with all the children in the roots program and see where this year takes us.

Miss Alycia

Miss Alycia
Toddler Room Educator

Miss Alycia has been working with children as a toddler and preschool educator for almost 2 years. She has always had a love of working with little ones.

She has helped run a dance studio for over 5 years, working with young children’s classes and administration. She is very excited to be a part of Greenbelt Academy and is looking forward to exploring and watching the students learn and grow.

Miss Amanda

Miss Amanda, RECE
Toddler Room Educator

Amanda graduated from Mohawk College as a Registered Early Childhood Educator in 2021. There is not a memory Amanda has as a child that does not involve the outdoors from camping with her family, ATVing, fishing and going on hikes in spring to fall to snowmobiling and tobogganing in the winter.
Amanda has experience working with various age groups, and she is looking forward to learning alongside the children as they explore the world and develop new skills. She is excited to join our seeds program and share her passion for the outdoors with the children and her colleagues.

 Miss Trenell

Miss Trenell
Toddler Room Educator

Hello, my name is Trenell. Growing up in the Caribbean, being surrounded by nature is where I learned to embrace nature and learned the importance of it. I have always had a passion for working with children and see myself as a co-learner. I have so much love and kindness to share with the children and see each day as an opportunity to share the joy with the children in my program. I have over 4 years of experience working with children; including working and volunteering in daycares and summer camps in both Toronto and in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I believe when children are exposed to nature at a young age they feel a deeper connection to the natural world and grow up to be more confident and resilient people.

Miss Teresa, RECE
Preschool Room Educator (on maternity leave)

Ms. Teresa is a RECE, with a Bachelors of Arts and Sciences from the University of Guelph. She is bilingual, speaking French and English, and loves to share her love of language with the children under her care. She is passionate about educating and empowering young people, and is so excited to be a part of a team dedicated to the growth and wellbeing of children. Teresa fondly remembers hiking and camping with her family growing up, and believes that this access to natural spaces at a young age was instrumental to her growth, strengthening her independence and empathy. She loves to sing, dance, act, play the ukulele, and go for hikes with her husband and their dog, Boone. She is so excited to be a part of the Greenbelt Team!