The Executive

We are team of volunteers made up of TESL Toronto members from diverse educational sectors with a wide range of skills and experience. Guided by TESL Toronto’s mandate, we serve our membership through various activities, including:

  • organizing a local conference and special events throughout the year to provide members with excellent, affordable professional development opportunities, and
  • keeping members informed of PD opportunities and relevant news and issues through our website, social media sites, and email bulletins.

If you’re interested in joining our Executive for the following season (beginning with our AGM in October), click here: TESL TO Board Application Form. Deadline to apply is June 10, 2017

The Executive (2016-2017)

Arlene Samlalsingh, President 

arlene-to-be-updated-oct-2015Arlene’s experience in many ELT contexts has given her the opportunity to continue to teach, learn and grow.  She says that teaching in Toronto has been a fantastic experience and she acknowledges that, for her, it has also been a humbling experience to teach adult newcomers to Canada, as well as professionals looking for the socio-cultural edge required for the Canadian workplace and currently pre-university EAP students.  “Teachers of the English language, across the many sectors and in their various professional capacities are so important to the fabric of our multicultural city.  Not only do we teach vital language skills, from survival to higher learning and all of the important items in-between, but we also support our students in a variety of valuable ways”, she says.  She is proud to be working in this profession as doing so gives her the chance to make a difference in the lives of others.

Chris Smrke, President-Elect 
chris-smrkeChris has experience teaching in both the private sector at English School of Canada and the public sector in the LINC Home Study Ontario program.  Over the last few years, he has also taken on more administrative responsibilities but has never strayed far from the classroom.  With these different experiences, he has had the opportunity to meet, work with, and learn from many teachers.  This is fortunate since one of his passions is to practice new approaches and incorporate them into his classes.  He is a strong advocate of professional development, believes that we all have things to teach each other, and never tires of learning new techniques.

Nicola Carozza, Treasurer
Nicola has taught English in the private and public sectors in both Canada and China. He has worked with core curriculum teachers to design remedial English courses for students preparing to study overseas.  His most recent work includes teaching listening and speaking at the University of Toronto and advanced conversation, George Brown College.  Nicola’s interests include authentic and meaningful assessment and the impact of culture on language acquisition.

Cecilia Aponte-de-Hanna, Communications Officer
celecilia-2016Cecilia is a college professor of English and ESL at Centennial College, School of Advancement. She has held positions as ESL adult instructor and as language assessor and is a certified TESL teacher trainer. Her passion is helping English learners (all learners actually) gain agency and take control of their success, while gaining intercultural competence – a passion that propelled her to designing an experiential course in language identity and diversity while teaching at Seneca College. Cecilia is also an avid writer, volunteer moderator and administrator for TESL Ontario webinar series, twitter user, and blogger – with published articles in College Quarterly and Seneca’s School of English and Liberal Studies Magazine, and blogs for LinkedIn and TESL Ontario.

Jennifer Freudenthal, Affiliate Representative
While working on her Master of Education degree specializing in TESOL, Jennifer jumped right into the classroom and can still be found there today. Prior to working in Canada, this career path has given her the opportunity to teach ESL to both children and university students in New York State, as well as EFL in the Czech Republic. She was the Director of Academic Programs at a private language school in Toronto before moving into her present position teaching ESL and FSL at the secondary level for the Toronto District School Board.  She also holds a position of responsibility as Assistant Curriculum Leader for ESL/Literacy.  In this role, she supports both colleagues and students to foster success of the English language learners in her school.  Jennifer values connecting with and representing Toronto’s TESL community by volunteering on the TESL Toronto Executive.

Alice Kim, Membership Officer
anna_2016Alice has taught EAP in universities as well as general English for refugees and adults while living in the Middle East.  She has continued with EAP in reading and writing at the International Foundation Program at U of T and standardized testing in Toronto.  She has participated in assessment and curriculum-building and is particularly interested in the spread and significance of “World Englishes” and how this impacts the EAP learning environment.

Jessica Webster, Administrative Officer
jessica_2016Jessica connects with people in both language and employment services and helps them communicate and put their best selves forward. With more than 10 years of experience teaching around the globe, Jessica has coached everyone from executives to community service providers and language teachers. Jessica has taught in private ELT, LINC and virtual classrooms, and has designed and facilitated job-search related workshops for the Centre for Education & Training. A founding member of the TESL Ontario Social Content Committee, Jessica believes in the importance of building and strengthening relationships for career building, life-long learning, and the enjoyment of life. While she currently works from home for LINC Home Study – Canada, you can always say hello online or at the next P.D. event.

Carolyn Bergshoeff, Member at Large
carolyn2012Carolyn has experience in a variety of ELT settings – both in Canada and overseas. Presently, Carolyn teaches in the LINC Home Study National program and is co-founder of Mellyn Education.   She believes in building relationships and connections in the ELT community and always has time for her fellow educators.

Lynda Chubak, Member at Large 
Being an active participant requires being competent in the particular language of a local community, whether it’s a sales meeting or a soccer game. Providing business professionals with strategies and tools to develop their English language skills and confidence when participating in the communities of their choice is Lynda’s primary teaching objective. From Twitter to podcasts, she is an enthusiastic advocate of bringing new technologies and authentic resources into business communication instruction. Her research examining social talk within Canadian workplaces (MA, 2012) and client-psychotherapist interactions, combined with two decades of private-sector management, marketing and communication experience, shape her distinctive approach to program development and delivery.

Katina Deichsel, Member at Large 
katina_2016Katina has had the great opportunity to work in the language and culture training field for the past 13 years, working in a variety of public and private institutions in Canada and abroad as an ESL, ELT, EAP and OSLT instructor. Of these past 13 years, 3 of them have been spent contributing to a variety of Business English courses at a busy employment agency in the GTA. In this role, Katina has facilitated over 2000 hours of language and cultural training with over 250 internationally-trained professionals from diverse professional and cultural backgrounds.  Through this experience, Katina has developed a keen awareness of the issues faced by newcomers who are in the process of attempting to obtain meaningful, sustainable employment in their fields of expertise, which has translated into the development of an intensive 140-hour program geared at preparing new Canadians to successfully enter the Canadian workforce.

Tania Iveson, Member at Large 
tania_2014-2Tania Iveson started her ESL teaching career in Taiwan in 1990. She has also taught in Canada, Spain, England, Brazil and Myanmar. She has been a teacher trainer since 1998 and a CELTA Assessor since 2001. For the Penguin Readers series, she wrote an abridged ESL version of Jack London’s Call of the Wild, and she has contributed to course book series, such as World View. Tania is currently an ESL professor at Sheridan College, an IELTS examiner and a module one DELTA trainer. She has an MA in TESOL and is particularly interested in educational psycholinguistics.

Simon Leclerc, Member at Large 
simon_2016Simon Leclerc has been involved in the education field, both research and training, since 1997. He is currently head of teacher training at LSC International College (Toronto), instructing on CELTA and Delta courses, while also conducting CELTA assessments in North America.  Simon holds an MA (Applied Linguistics), BEd, and BA (Psychology/Education).  Recent research interests focus on scaffolding use (specifically mediation) in pre-service teacher training.

Melanie Watt, Member at Large 
Melanie comes from the settlement sector. In her present role as Supervisor of English Language Services for a large community organization, she administers a small LINC site in St James Town where she supports the goals of ESL instructors, ECEs and their learners. Melanie was a peer mentor in the TDSB’s Professional Development Partners program and was a participant in the CLCF project of CASIP.  Melanie’s BA focused on international trade economics. She was an export lumber trader and a community volunteer (teaching, fundraising and organizing teams of volunteers) before becoming an instructor. Melanie taught ESL, LINC and ELT for 10 years.  She finds the field of English for Settlement very rewarding because there always is, in any given interaction with a client, a wonderful potential for cross-cultural connection as well a chance to assist them in their own personal advancement and community building.

Katherine Wawrzkowicz, Member at Large 
While working in the speech and language field, Katherine started working in the LINC Home Study program. After completing her MEd through University of Calgary’s Distance Education Program, she embraced the ESL field and hasn’t looked back. Having worked with a variety of students in the public and private sector and currently teaching at George Brown College’s EAP program, Katherine believes that connecting to fellow educators in the field provides opportunities to share ideas, offer support, or give advice. Her particular interests are in pronunciation and writing.

Past presidents

The Executive terms run from September – June.  Years listed below represent the beginning of the term.

1976 – 1984 No data  2007  Karen Thomson
1985 Elizabeth Taborek  2008  Karen Thomson
1986 Banny Hynes  2009  Karen Thomson
1987 Janice Sellers  2010  Akua Joseph
1988 Eileen Allen  2011  Akua Joseph
1989 Phyllis Amber/Lynne Earls  2012  Tyson Seburn
1990 Sheila Applebaum  2013  Tyson Seburn
1991 John Longfield  2014  Tyson Seburn
1992 Angie Wong  2015  Arlene Samlalsingh
1993 Kathy Simo  2016  Arlene Samlalsingh
1994 Cathy Haghighat
1995 Cathy Haghighat
1996 Andrea Strachan
1997 Andrea Strachan
1998 Bruce Russell
1999 Bruce Russell
2000 Cheryl Richman
2001 Cheryl Richman
2002 Cheryl Richman
2003 Sandra Clandfield
2004 Sandra Clandfield
2005 Antonella Valeo
2006 Antonella Valeo

Would you like to join us?

Collaborate on meaningful projects with passionate professionals like you. Contribute to worthwhile initiatives. Apply to join the Executive! We welcome applications from teachers and administrators including:

  • Our 4 primary sectors: Settlement / Private Language Schools / Higher Ed / School Board
  • Varied expertise:  OSLT / Literacy / EAP / Technology / Intercultural studies

Terms are 3 years. New members begin in their first year as “Members at Large”, which provides opportunity to acclimatize with the organisation, its mandate and its procedures. Attendance at Executive meetings, held monthly from September through June, and events is expected.

The application process for the 2017-2018 season is now open.  

TESL TO Board Application Form

Please email us at if you have any questions.


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