Who We Are
Get to know the faces of the Renaissance Academy. We are all passionate about making a difference in the lives of the youth who step through our doors by providing a well-rounded arts education.
About our team
“Kate is always so helpful and I am very thankful for the opportunity to have a spot in this amazing program. It is such a reputable school with amazing caring and experienced teachers. Thanks, Spark team!”
Carolina Dubowits, Spark Parent
“I have only spoken to Rita three times and was impressed by her knowledge and leadership. She had helped me and my family to improve my son Sky's overall performance, provided me with countless suggestions about independent school education and drafted reference letters for Sky's application. It saved my family time and effort, and most importantly, Rita's guidance had made it easy for me to teach Sky at home so he performs well in school and at home. Thanks for everything, I could not have asked for a better place to have my son enrolled for his early childhood development.”
Vincent Cui, Renaissance Kids Parent
“We are really happy with the spark program and feel so fortunate that Cayden is part of the spark family. The teachers are friendly and caring, Kate is always there to help and have our questions answered. “
Gao Hui, Spark Parent
CEO, Head of School
Linda was fortunate to grow up studying violin, piano, music theory and drama, as well as ballet and other styles of dance. After high school, she became a skilled business administrator for the Vancouver School Board and then the Vancouver Principals’ Association. After marrying and starting to raise a young family, she returned to her artistic roots and built a home music studio in Steveston, out of which she taught music. Thirty-two years later, she has grown her business into a full-fledged performing arts school and developed Vancouver’s first fine arts preschool. Linda has been a board member of the Community Arts Council of Richmond for over 20 years and was chair of the City of Richmond’s Childcare Development Advisory Committee for 12 years. Today, she publishes and distributes the Kelly Kirby music program throughout Canada and the US and has worked to develop additional materials to further enhance the program.
- Three-time recipient of the Ethel Tibbits Woman of the Year Award
- Richmond Chamber of Commerce Business Entrepreneur Award (2003)
- City of Richmond’s Arts Education Award (2014)
- Richmond Chamber of Commerce Business Leadership Award (2019)
Director of Operations
Lily oversees the daily operations and ensures that our business exemplifies our core values through personal interactions, dedication and commitment to every individual who walks through our school’s doors. Lily’s love of music and arts started at a very young age. At the age of five, she began piano lessons and later on explored many different avenues of art: painting, sculpture and architectural design.
Lily graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in economics. After graduation, she moved to the world’s financial hub, Hong Kong, but quickly found that life in finance was not giving her sentimental fulfillment in her career. In her five years abroad, she started tutoring local students in private and public schools from nursery level to Grade 12, and found she needed to move on with a career that blended her desire for teaching young children and her love for music and art. In 2009, she moved back to Vancouver and started her life-long career at The Arts Connection. This role has provided her with a career that matches her background studies in economics and passion for the arts for young children and youth.
As a devoted mother of two boys who have gone through basically every single program here, she has seen first-hand the true benefits of creating resilient and determined individuals through a well-rounded fine arts academic program. Lily is honoured to work with a wonderful team of creative thinkers who consistently show the same perseverance and never-ending passion for what they do: to nurture, foster and develop young minds.
Adena’s love for the arts is evident in her piano compositions, her drawings and her paintings. Yes, she is Linda’s daughter, and yes, she began working in the family business when she was 16 years old. There she gained hands-on experience at our Paddington Station Fine Arts Preschool, taught the Kelly Kirby Piano Method and worked part-time in the accounts department. Her passion for early learning led her to a career in Early Childhood Education where she graduated at the top of her class.
After taking over management of our daycare location on No. 2 Road, Adena and her family moved to the beautiful town of Vernon where she now works remotely as our accounting director, since her second passion is a love of numbers. She enjoys singing for and with her four-year-old daughter while opening up the world of early learning and the arts to the next generation of our family.
Mehernaz has been with us for over six years now and she enjoys working with an awesome group of strong, empowering women. She leads the administrative team and helps with human resources since the school has grown so much compared to when she first started working here. She and the administrative team are the glue that binds the different programs together, and they bring structure and organization so that registration and program implementation run seamlessly.
Mehernaz is happiest outdoors and you can often find her hiking our beautiful rainforest or Coast Mountain trails on any given weekend. Her travels have taken her to some fun places including three active volcanoes (Costa Rica and Hawaii), hiking upstream in a colourful canyon (Utah) and the Land of Fire and Ice (magical Iceland).
Originally from England, Helen has been living in the Lower Mainland for the past 12 years with her husband and two boys. She’s been with us for almost four years, starting out as the evening receptionist. As well as currently working in the accounting department, she is also responsible for payroll and updating Amilia with all our exciting programs. When she’s not at work, you will find Helen enjoying the many parks our area has to offer or spending time with her family baking and playing board games.
Renaissance Kids Admissions AdministratorMeet Kaylie, our amazing admissions administrator at Renaissance Kids. She looks forward to seeing every amazing smile every morning and watching the children discover the world around them with hands-on exploration, story-telling and arts and crafts. Kaylie is an absolute pillar of our school. She’s our go-to for everything concerning Renaissance Kids. She knows every family by heart and helps make sure their individual needs are always met with precision and care!
Kaylie earned her diploma in hospitality management and worked as an administrative assistant in the corporate environment for 10 years. Her brother had two kids and she became instantly attached to them and she felt her career take a turn towards childhood education. She enjoys spending time with them and enriching their lives in the creative realm. Her ultimate goal is to continue being a positive role model for them.
Operations and Education Specialist
As the operations and education specialist, Karen ensures that teachers are supported in delivering an enhanced curriculum for their students in a safe and stimulating environment. Working at Renaissance Kids since the summer of 2012, Karen has really valued the opportunities she has been given in many different departments at the school.
Karen loves spending time with her family and making art with her two- year old son. As an avid music lover, Karen has a vinyl record collection that some might call eccentric! Karen’s favourite places that she has travelled to are Cuba and Paris, and she hopes to see many more parts of the world in the years to come.
Renaissance Kids Program Manager
Terra graduated from Stenberg College. After receiving a diploma in Early Childhood Education, she worked in a Montessori preschool until she got a job at Reach Child and Youth Development Society. This experience is where her love for working with children with exceptionalities began. She received training to work with children who required extra support.
Terra looks forward to working closely with you in providing quality care for our families. She has always loved the fine arts and believes that including the fine arts in the curriculum is essential to furthering children’s education.
Renaissance Kids Program Manager
Joyce immigrated from China with her family in 2010 and began her work in Early Childhood Education in 2013. She loves spending time with her students and watching them explore their world in their own way. Her dedication to the social and emotional development of each child drives her to create the best environment for them, helping them to learn and try new things.
As one of the Renaissance Kids managers, Joyce hopes to bring creativity and experience to those around her. Her passion for Early Childhood Education is clear and she looks forward to spending time with the children and helping them grow.
SPARK, Wondercamps and Enrichment Programs ManagerKate is our SPARK, Wondercamps and Enrichment Programs manager. She has worked at Renaissance Academy of Learning for almost 10 years and she’s grown so much (with us) over the years. Her educational background is in psychology and counselling, which means she’ll be happy to talk to anyone about the importance of fostering good mental health in childhood.In her free time, Kate enjoys being part of both a book club and a supper club as the great bookworm that she is (talk to her about any book, she’s probably read it already). Kate looks forward to the many laughs and memories she will make with our students this year.
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” —Plato
Peace is one of the Renaissance Academy of Learning Before and After School Program coordinators. Before she joined Renaissance Academy at The Arts Connection, she worked as an academic counsellor and client support officer at Distance Learning Centre, University of Ibadan. She was also a Freelance Proofreader of edited course materials at Distance Learning Centre, University of Ibadan. Peace has also worked as an administrative/support officer with the Association of West African Book Editors. During her time with the Nigerian Youth Service Corp, she served at Irewole Local Government Ikire, Osun State, Nigeria as Social Development officer.
Peace thrives on building relationships with the students and families in the SPARK program. She has not only served as a role model but has also mentored students to become more helpful, responsible, creative and resourceful.
Peace completed her training in Nigeria at the University of Ibadan where she got her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in psychology and counselling respectively. In Canada, she also completed the Early Childhood Education Assistant program at Douglas College in 2012, and she completed her Early Childhood Basic Certificate at Burnaby Community & Continuing Education.
Performing Arts Coordinator and Dance Instructor
Originally from Vancouver Island, Paige moved to Vancouver in July 2022 after completing her bachelor’s degree at the University of Victoria. Growing up Paige loved school (particularly the sciences) and dance. Having started dancing at 3 years old, she has trained in many styles including ballet, jazz, tap, contemporary, and has taught various dance classes to children aged 18 months to 18 years. Being passionate about both academics and dance, Paige has experienced first-hand the importance of integrating the arts into children’s education. She is very excited to be joining the Renaissance Kids team! Besides dance, Paige also loves animals, baking, and puzzles!
ILLUMINATORS I HEAD TEACHER
One of Grace’s favourite things at work is when she hears her students calling: “Ms. Grace, Ms. Grace!” It makes her so happy to see the excitement in their eyes when they want to share something they have discovered or express something they want to learn. Grace loves getting the chance to be a part of their creative learning. Each day when she sees their smiles, it continues to fuel her passion for working with children. Grace feels so blessed to be a part of such a great team and takes comfort in knowing they share the same philosophy: to provide the best learning and loving environment for our
Before moving to Vancouver, Grace worked as a social worker in Hong Kong and enjoyed helping people to help themselves.
Grace loves being a mother, and loves to share and discuss parenting skills with others, so feel free to discuss any questions or concerns you might have.
Illuminators II Head Teacher
After graduating from Simon Fraser University with a degree in sociology, Alisha felt that teaching was where she belonged. Although she received admission to the teaching program, something told her that she was about to make a grave mistake. She felt that the early childhood age was her true calling and passion. Alisha worked at a child care center for ten years and loved every day there. Thus, she decided to skip the teaching program and enroll in Pacific Rim’s Basic Early Childhood certification program where she received her Early Childhood Educator Certificate.
Alisha is continuously inspired to teach in ways that are creative, innovative and meaningful while evaluating her practice so that she can be the very best that she can for the children. Her hands-on experience and schooling have added greatly to her toolkit. Alisha endeavours to connect personally with each child as I know too well the positive impact that teachers have on children.
In her spare time, Alisha loves learning other skills that she can use in the classroom, be it drawing and learning exciting new crafts or studying a topic that is of interest to the children. Also, she enjoys hiking, reading, biking, playing the piano, and walking along the dyke in Richmond where she was born and raised!
VIRTUOSOS I HEAD TEACHER
Nadya has been working and growing with children ever since she has known herself;
starting from babysitting infants to tutoring various subjects in primary and secondary
schools and to eventually teaching in preschools. She got her Early Childhood Educator
Assistant certification from Northern Lights College and started her teaching career
abroad, teaching kids in preschools English as their second language. One thing that
she has learned through her passion of teaching is, no matter where you are, ALL
children are beautiful and unique in their own special way. Love and acceptance are all
they need for healthy growth. Nadya believes positive communication is the key to their
true happiness while they are on the journey of discovering who they are and what their
potential may be.
Nadya is a mommy of two loving kids. When she is not working, she truly enjoys
spending time with them no matter where they are or what they may be doing. Quality
time is the essence to everything. Nadya encourages all parents to take time and
explore with their children, learning from each other. Read with them, eat with them,
play with them, go out for walks with them, do sports with them, sing and dance, be silly
with them; but most importantly, have fun with them. Enjoy every moment learning and
growing happily. It is an ongoing, valuable experience, which is one of the reasons why
Nadya has been in the teaching field for a long time. During her free time, she also
practices meditation, yoga, and reiki. She enjoys reading books and listening to music.
They have been a part of her agenda for a very long time.
VIRTUOSOS II HEAD TEACHER
Wendy is so excited to begin the next chapter of her teaching career with the amazing Renaissance Academy team! She has three diplomas in Early Childhood Education, music education, and education
management in China. She also holds three certificates in Canada: Post Early Childhood Education Certificate (3–5 years old), Post-Basic Early Childhood Education Certificate – Infant and Toddler (0–3 years old), and Post-Basic Early Childhood Education Certificate – Special Needs.
Wendy absolutely loves the way children see the world and is honoured that she gets to be a part of their day-to-day growth. Wendy supports children as they overcome learning difficulties and improve their daily living habits by arranging field trips and promoting opportunities that foster positive emotional, social, cognitive, and physical growth.
Wendy is interested in photography, gardening, playing the piano, cooking, and travelling. She says she is fortunate to wake up every single day loving what she does.
Kit Man Lee
VIRTUOSOS III HEAD TEACHER
Kit pursued her career in Early Childhood Education field because she loves children! Her love for this profession stems from getting to see children grow and learn on a daily basis. Her priority is to develop a classroom where all children are happy and safe and seek continuous learning. It is her hope that children not only grow academically but also socially and become well-informed, responsible members of society.
Kit believes that what the world needs now is love, kindness, charity, and acceptance. Families come in all shapes and sizes and each family is special in its own unique way. It is very important that young children understand “peace” and the importance of being kind, responsible, compassionate and empathetic. Having children understand cultural differences and being able to show respects to others is critical.
PRESCHOOL HEAD TEACHER
Hilary has lived in Canada for more than 20 years, having completed high school and
college here. After she graduated, she went back to Hong Kong to work in the
accounting and shipping field for five years. She then decided to come back to Canada
to start a family. Hilary has two daughters, and they are the reason that she chose to go
into the field of Early Childhood Education. She enjoys spending time with her family
and children. Hilary has always known that she wanted to work with children, but didn’t
know how much she would love it or how important it was until she became a mother
Hilary cares deeply about each child’s success and she is dedicated to supporting and
guiding your children as they explore, create, and discover the world around them. She
can’t wait to spend the next year learning and growing with everyone!
Cristina Vilas Boas
Marketing Coordinator and Graphic Designer
Renaissance Kids School Administrator
Hannah was born and raised in Vancouver and has had a passion for the
arts—particularly theatre, music, and visual art—since she was a young child. After
completing her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English literature, she worked as a
journalist for three years. She has also previously worked as an art teacher, instructing
kids aged two to 18 as well as adults. Hannah has been a member of Girl Guides of
Canada for 20 years and currently works with Sparks (children in Kindergarten and
Hannah appreciates the curious and inquisitive way that children see the world, and she
believes that attitude also benefits the adults around them. As humans we are always
learning, and Hannah loves working with children because it helps her learn and grow
Outside work Hannah enjoys cooking, yoga, and live theatre.