About Bright Start Academy
Executive Director & Principal
As a loving Mother of five, including of a child on the Autism Spectrum, Allie opened Finding the Way & Bright Start Academy, Inc. 15 years ago with her sons needs as her drive. Allie has devoted her life and career since, into helping Corey and others in the same situation get the best support they need and deserve. Allie is a very positive, optimistic and goal orientated Mother helping her own son and other children of Bright Start Academy reach their full potential.
Casey has always been a natural when working with children in any setting or capacity. He brings with him a wealth of creativity, enthusiasm and compassion that children with special needs instantly gravitate towards. Using his guitar, harmonica and imagination, he has created an interactive and educational music therapy program. Students engage in music activities that help them interact, socialize and work on ABA targets through song. He has also written many social songs that help teach children social skills in a fun and motivating way. “Where words fail, music speaks”, Hans Christian Andersen.
Alexandra Yustin - Junior School Teacher
Alexandra has always had a passion for helping children with exceptionalities since she was 16 and started teaching 1:1 swimming lessons to children with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, and Down syndrome.
She went to Brock University for her Bachelor of Arts in Child and Youth Studies, minoring in Applied Behaviour Analysis in Education as well as getting her Bachelor of Education in Primary/Junior. She has her Special Education, Kindergarten and English as a Second Language qualifications.
Alexandra has taught in the private school system for 2 years, and has her Montessori Teachers College Diploma as well.
Alexandra has a passion for teaching young children in a hands-on environment and looks forward to the 2017-2018 school year at Bright Start Academy.
Maggie McBrine – Junior and Middle School Teacher
Maggie graduated from Laurentian University with a four-year Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in English. Maggie received a Bachelor of Education degree from Nipissing University. She is certified to teach in the Primary, Junior, Intermediate and Senior (English) levels. She has additional qualifications in Special Education parts one and two.
Maggie has a wide range of teaching experiences. She started her love for education during undergrad working at Georgian College in an Assistive Technologies Lab for students with disabilities. She worked in a private school in an open concept classroom that consisted of students ranging from grades one to eight. Recently she taught grades five and six at a private First Nation school located on a fly-inn reserve north of Thunder Bay. On reserve, Maggie received Teacher of the Year in 2016 for the Matawa Education Authority in conjunction with the First Nation school.
Maggie’s favourite educational quote is from the esteemed author Oscar Wilde. Wilde states, “Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught”. Maggie’s philosophy of education is that the role of the educator is often to guide more than it is to teach. Students will best retain and comprehend the knowledge they have gained through exploration and a mixture of hands-on learning, as all people learn differently and have multiple intelligences and abilities.
Maggie enjoys reading, visual arts and a great concert. She has exemplified, through her diverse teaching experiences, that she is a versatile effective efficient teacher.
Virginia Soave – Intermediate and High School Teacher
Virginia is an Ontario Certified Teacher with a passion for inclusivity in the classroom. Through her few years of experience teaching a wide variety of age groups and learning exceptionalities, she has broadened her passion for ensuring students with special needs feel accomplished, proud, and most of all included. Part of her focus of autism in the classroom stems from her brother who is on the Spectrum, thus instilling her to ensure her students experience an education better than the one he had. Outside of teaching, she has a passion for social justice and spends time assisting LGBT+ youth groups as well as advocacy for mental wellness in teenagers.
BA, B.Ed. Intermediate & Senior School Teacher
Cindy is a versatile teacher with many years of experience. She has taught in the public system in Newfoundland & Labrador, as well as in private schools in Ontario. She has a wide curriculum knowledge base and over the years, has taught everything from Drama to Business! She is tech-savvy and is well versed with computer support and integrating technology into the classroom. She has worked with a diverse range of students, as such; she is able to accommodate teaching to the learning style of the child. Cindy takes a cross-curricular approach to education, where students find that the topics learned in one course overlap with others. This helps consolidate learning. Cindy is also very involved in school life and hold the philosophy that “We don’t teach curriculum, we teach children!”