Our Lady of the Pillar Academy is fortunate to have attracted and hired some remarkable professionals. Please take a moment to become familiar with our team!
Henry Tomaszewski, Principal, started his teaching career in 1984 and after 31 years of high school teaching, retired from Saunders Secondary School, London, in 2015. His specialty is in mathematics and computer science and he is an experienced volleyball and basketball coach. Henry still enjoys playing these sports when he can. In September, 2015, Henry transitioned into the world of home schooling – building on the excellent teaching of his wife, Kathy. Together they have been blessed with 9 children all of whom have been home schooled through to grade 8. Henry loves the Catholic Church and is an active parishioner at All Saints Parish in Strathroy and a volunteer in the community. He was ordained a Permanent Deacon in 2019. Henry is excited by the opportunities at Our Lady of the Pillar Academy and appreciates the sacrifices parents make to provide a faith-rich, quality education for their children.
Tanya Snow studied at St. Clair College in Chatham. With a background as a Developmental Service Worker, she has numerous years experience both with the Thames Valley District and Lambton-Kent District School Boards. She has always been a firm believer in music education, which led to further studies on the topic including Education Through Music and Kindermusik. While on placement as an Early Childhood Educator, she developed an interest in the teachings of Montessori, and furthered her studies with the North American Montessori Centre. She currently lives in Bothwell with her husband Greg, whom she has known since childhood, and their daughter Della. An active parishioner at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Thamesville, Tanya is excited for the opportunities that Our Lady of the Pillar Academy presents its staff and students.
Leslie McKinnon studied at King’s University College at Western University and completed her Bachelor of Education at Althouse College receiving a Specialist in Primary Education. From there she went to work for the St. Clair Catholic District School Board teaching for five years with a one year teaching assignment in Special Education. After numerous years away from formal teaching, Leslie returned six years ago to supply teach for the St. Clair Catholic District School Board. She is married to Rod and they have six children. When away from formal teaching, Leslie taught her own children and continued to teach formally in various capacities. She has been involved in Children’s Liturgy, Vacation Bible School, Confirmation Preparation and Youth Group. Leslie also volunteers frequently to various Catholic initiatives.
Krista Huver obtained her Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry from the University of Waterloo and her Bachelor of Education degree from Queen’s University, certified in Intermediate / Senior divisions for Biology and Chemistry. She taught science and math at a private school in Toronto, and then earned her Master of Arts degree in History from Western University. She is married to Stephen and they have six children. Krista has homeschooled her own children for eleven years, and has collaborated with many other families in providing various joint educational opportunities for children. She is very active in her parish, and has volunteered to run sacramental preparation classes (Baptism, Reconciliation, Holy Communion, Confirmation), youth group activities and Vacation Bible School.
Monica Vandenberg attained her Bachelor of Science at the University of Western Ontario, she then studied a variety of teachable topics until deciding to concentrate on Biology, with Honours in Zoology. Monica achieved her Bachelor of Education from the University of Windsor for the Intermediate and Senior Divisions with Biology and Chemistry as her teachable subjects. After finishing her studies in 1991, Monica married Marius Vandenberg and began her career teaching science at John Paul II Secondary School in London. With the arrival of their first child, Monica put aside her career to be a full time wife and mother. While raising her eight children, she continued to teach Children’s Church, Vacation Bible School and Confirmation classes at her local parish and volunteers often in support of many Catholic initiatives.
Yvonne Simpson obtained an Honors Specialization in History from King’s University College of Western University. She received her Bachelor of Education at Western University with specialization in Junior/Intermediate History. She worked at an independent school in Toronto teaching from grades 1 to 12 in a variety of areas. She has recently been a supply teacher for Our Lady of the Pillar Academy. Between those jobs, Yvonne and her husband Jacob have moved to the family farm to raise their six children. She has been active in parish life with teaching sacramental preparation (Baptism, Confession and Holy Communion), Vacation Bible School and Catechism classes as well as the reading program in the community. She is excited at the opportunity to be more involved in the life of Our Lady of the Pillar Academy.
Elizabeth Aris, our music teacher at OLPA, is a graduate of Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy, class of 2014. She holds a Certificate of Christian Humanities from the Academy. During her years there, she studied piano, voice, music pedagogy, and conducting. After this, she moved to Ohio to study at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, graduating with a BA in theology, with a minor in music, in 2015. Also in 2015, Elizabeth took the Music for Young Children course, making her a certified MYC teacher. For the past 4 years, Elizabeth has been teaching music, both private and group classes, as well as serving as a choir accompanist at schools and a member of the music ministry team at All Saints Parish in Strathroy. Elizabeth loves music and is excited to make music at OLPA, directing our students to sing of the glory of God in our weekly choir time.
Lidwina Braet is secretary at Pillar Academy, a parent and a previous board member and volunteer. She graduated from Lambton College with a Diploma in Environmental Technology. She is married to Peter and together with their five children, they operate a farm near Watford. She loves the opportunity to engage with Pillar Academy’s students, staff and parents.
Monique Van Vooren is the custodian at Pillar Academy. She lives in Strathroy with her husband Stan and their two children. She enjoys working with the staff, faculty, and students at the Academy and helping to ensure that they have a clean and safe learning environment.