Personalized attention for each student

Our highly qualified staff, along with our small class sizes, ensure personalized attention for each student. Please enjoy the bios of our faculty below:


Ginny Lovick

Staff_Ginny2Ginny Lovick is the founder of The Victoria School for Ideal Education. Prior to working at VSIE, she worked in the BC public school system as a librarian and teacher. In 1988, she was one of a group of parents and teachers who founded The Victoria School for Ideal Education to provide Consciousness-Based Education for their own children and has been working at the school as a teacher and administrator since then.

She has seen the long term benefits of having meditation as part of the school program in her own children who are now in their early thirties and continue to find TM a very helpful and important tool for being happy and successful. She is passionate about giving children the opportunity to play and learn in natural environments and regular Outdoor Education field trips to local mountains, beaches have become a popular and important part of the VSIE curriculum.

She says, “The VSIE teaching team is very cohesive, competent and professional.  I am proud to be a part of it and love coming to this wonderful school every day.”

Natalie Miller

Natalie (she/her) is the Principal and Learning Assistant teacher for V.S.I.E. Previously she has worked in private schools, school districts and a daycare, working with students of all ages. She has found that real life samples and examples are the best teaching tools, and she appreciates the amount of nature we embed in the curriculum at our school. She truly believes that every student can learn and be successful, but their roads to academic success often look very different. She has high academic standards, compassion, flexibility and a pure enjoyment of teaching. With all of these strengths she is able to understand each student’s unique needs and assist them to flourish and grow.

Tania Chavez

Tania has been at VSIE since 2015 as a classroom teacher and Learning Resource teacher. She received her Bachelor of Education degree and Diploma in Special Education from the UVic She has taught English to youth and adults in El Salvador, worked in public and private schools, and at READ Society as a Level B Assessor. 

Tania enjoys the learning environment at VSIE which allows daily connections to nature and meditation. Tania enjoys connecting lessons to art and play. Tania is an avid reader and enjoys sharing her love of reading with her students.

Bonnie Davison

Bonnie Davison (she/her) is excited to be teaching grade one at VSIE. Bonnie is a certified Forest School Practitioner, Permaculture Teacher Trainer and founder of the Victoria Nature School Society. She has a deep passion for helping children connect with nature and loves weaving gardening and music into her classroom routines.

Bonnie is a white settler with Scottish and English heritage. She has been living in Lekwungen territories for 15 years with her husband and 2 children who also enjoy adventuring in the outdoors. Bonnie hails from PEI, the traditional and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq people where she feels fortunate to spend her summers kite surfing and visiting family.

Heather Elif Pilon

Heather Elif Pilon (she/her) is a globally minded educator and has been working with students in the U.S., South Korea and Canada for the past 18 years. She works at VSIE as an Educational Assistant and has a heart for supporting her students with the underlying philosophy that “there are many paths to learning and growing.” She holds a B.A. in Fine Arts, an M.A. in Global Leadership for Sustainable Development and is a certified Yoga teacher and Ayurveda Health Coach. Before moving to Victoria with her family in 2019, she had taught students of all ages in overseas universities, middle schools and after-school academies. At VSIE, Heather has a blended supporting style when aiding in her students. She enjoys demonstrating and coaching, as well as, promoting self-learning and critical thinking skills in and out of the classroom.

Heather’s favorite part of working at VSIE is how the daily meditation and creative, nature based education is woven into the heart of the school community. She enjoys growing the next generation of humans along-side all the incredibly talented VSIE teachers, educational assistants, and caring support staff and is thrilled to be working in such a positive, holistic learning environment. Outside of VSIE, she enjoys reading, gardening, swimming and biking with her partner and two boys.

Heidi Erhardt

Heidi has been working with children and youth for over twenty-five years in the U.S., Europe, India and Bali. She has a BA in Literature/Writing, Montessori Teaching Credential, Certificate in French Language as well as further studies in Waldorf Foundation Education and university courses in Psychology and Child Development. She founded and ran her own one-room, mixed-age school in Maui, Hawaii, blending Montessori, Waldorf and project-based learning models. Heidi has developed and facilitated programs in the public sector, worked privately with students, consulted home-school groups and has taught all subjects to students from ages four to sixteen. Devoted to alternative education models, Heidi has participated in several start-up schools and helped found a private preschool on Maui in addition to her own elementary/middle school. Heidi is most passionate about creative education, creating both a safe and playful learning environment for students as well as connecting with each child to support their individual needs.

Inspired by VSIE’s commitment to a holistic teaching model and the personal development of their students, Heidi is delighted to be assisting the school as a part-time specialty teacher this year. When she is not at the school, she is facilitating SoulCollage®, meditation and writing workshops, sharing tools so we may know and expressive ourselves more fully.

Carolyn Hancock 

Carolyn could not be more excited to become part of the VSIE family! For the past 10 years she has been traveling and teaching at international schools in Taiwan, Vietnam, and Costa Rica. Through travel she learned the values of adaptability, appreciation of culture, and connectedness to all aspects of life. These principles, along with her intrinsic love of learning and passion for yoga, are found in each experience shared within the classroom. Carolyn believes in a classroom becoming a community where each child is celebrated and supported in their individualism.  She is extremely grateful to be working for a school based in nature and nurturing the whole child.

In her free time Carolyn loves to read and sip lattes at local coffee shops, stroll the beach, and be placed in awe of the island’s biodiversity and beauty.  

Roz Harper

Roz is an experienced classroom teacher with a passion for children and learning. She has taught grades 3 through 11, and is thrilled to be working as a teacher at VSIE. Roz has a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre, (University of Iowa) a Master’s degree in Theatre History (University of Victoria), and a Bachelor of Education (University of British Columbia). Roz has been an active part of the school community wherever she has been — helping out with sports, drama, dance, and clubs. She loves to laugh and to learn. She believes in nurturing the individual and helping children to discover their strengths. Roz is excited to see what working with such positive energy at VSIE can accomplish.

Fran Matkin

Fran is thrilled to be the Transcendental Meditation teacher at VSIE.  Her parents introduced her to T.M. in 1961. They had learned T.M. from Maharishi himself. They were among some of the first Canadians to learn. As early as 1968 she wanted to be a T. M. teacher. (She has a BSc HEc from UBC ’60 and a permanent teaching certificate, teaching High School Home Ec for 4 years.)  In 1986 her whole family followed their two college aged children to Fairfield Iowa to Maharishi University of Management. MUM and Maharishi School for Ideal Education offer classes from Kindergarten to PHD. She taught Kindergarten and Pre Kindergarten there for 17 years. In 2006 she completed a Master’s Degree from MUM in the Science of Creative Intelligence. In 2013 she learned to teach Transcendental Meditation. Since 2014 she has been teaching T.M. and the Science of Creative Intelligence ( SCI ) at VSIE, fulfilling a lifelong dream.

Darlene Thorlakson

Darlene has been employed at VSIE for over 15  years. Her responsibilities have included; Education Assistant, Out of School Care program, and outdoor after school care. She is able to draw upon her experience with different teachers and helping children with a variety of needs. She provides thoughtful, kind and caring support for her students social, educational, and emotional needs. Darlene’s daughter attended VSIE from Kindergarten thru to Grade 8. Darlene completed two years of post secondary education. She is an experienced practitioner of aromatherapy, massage, and pranic healing.

Shelly Tully

Shelly is an EA and Behavioural Interventionist. She has two sons, one of which has been diagnosed with autism. Her experiences as a parent, diverse abilities worker, and educator have given her a unique perspective on inclusiveness, educational support, and opportunities for children. She has a BA and an ECE. She worked at the Autism Early Intervention Program for three years, and she has also worked privately with children on the spectrum. She believes that all children are unique, that what works for one child might not work for another, and that it’s important to involve families in their children’s education. She’s excited to be part of a school with such an inclusive environment.

Alecia Nachtigal 

Alecia grew up in Calgary, Alberta and moved to Victoria in 2020, as life on the wild west coast had called to her from a very young age. In Calgary, she worked for The Reading Foundation as a clinician teaching foundational literacy and numeracy skills while obtaining her Bachelor of Education and her Bachelor of Arts majoring in Linguistics and German from the University of Calgary. Alecia also has experience leading nature-based art and photography camps for youths focusing on providing space for the voices and perspectives young people have. 

Alecia is thrilled to be teaching grade 2 this year, and enjoys engaging in authentic human connections and learning through nature. She has been known to take on projects with students such as raising many chickens in a small classroom and is looking forward to this year’s project of raising salmon to be released in the spring. While not in the classroom, Alecia is working through prerequisite courses in order to pursue her Masters in Applied Child Psychology, so she may one day work with children in this capacity as well.

Kelly Wakeham

Ms. Kelly has been a parent at VSIE for the last 8 years and been an active part of our community.  She completed her EA training and joined us to support our students in 2014.  Ms. Kelly after a few years of supporting students went back to the University of Victoria to teacher training and is excited to be in the community in a different role!

Susan Elliott

Susan joined VSIE in 2021, having recently completed her Educational Assistant and Community Support Certificate at Camosun College where was awarded the Andrea Van Rheenen Award.  She has been a Professional Dance Artist and Somatic Movement Educator for over 30 years. In 2011-12, she attended Northwest Culinary Academy of Vancouver in their year-long training program. Following this, she worked as a Personal Chef for five years at Cooking Journeys in Vancouver. Susan loves being able to bring and share these skills with the students.  When not at VSIE, her favourite thing to do is spend time with her amazing nine year old son!

Brit Rockford

Brit Rockford is an EA and manages the Out Of School Program at VSIE. Brit has been working with children and youth for the past 7 years now. Brit’s work has taken her to many sectors: education, clinical, she’s even an ECE-A (she also has a B.A and an Associates of Social Work). From these experiences Brit has held close to Trauma Informed Care and that every child has something special to share. 
Brit is committed to the community at VSIE. Care, for ourselves and oneanother, are at the center of life at VSIE and Brit is proud to carry that tradition on. 

Laurie Allen 

As the parent of two children, Laurie brings a wealth of personal experience dealing with ADHD, OCD, anxiety, and giftedness. Laurie is very empathetic to parents dealing with these issues and understands the huge challenges they present to the family. Laurie is an avid animal lover and has 2 rescue cats and 3 rescue dogs, one recently adopted from a Chinese meat market. When she’s not walking her dogs or cleaning out litter boxes, she loves to read, bike, swim and try out new recipes from Pinterest. Laurie also loves creating art with watercolours, pastels and mixed media. Laurie has taught in both private and public schools  in Victoria and Ontario and is excited to share her love of learning with her students. 

Annelise Goodchild 

Annelise Goodchild (she/her) is a new addition to the VSIE teaching staff. She has previous experience teaching at an independent school in Surrey, BC, as well as tutoring and specialized individual education during her time in Toronto, ON. She received a Bachelor of Education and a Bachelor of Arts with a Concentration in creative writing from the University of Calgary. She is a published author and loves discussing her work-in-progress with her students. Originally from Alberta, Annelise moved to Sidney, BC this year and is ecstatic to join VSIE’s unique, nature-based approach to the BC curriculum whilst teaching grade 5/6. 
Annelise is passionate about creativity especially in writing and drama and brings her love of silliness and videogames into the classroom. She is incredibly patient and caring with her students and strives to create a safe space where everyone’s voices are heard, respected, and acted upon. She looks forward to a fun year full of energy, stories, learning, and community with her students.

Salem Robbins 

Salem was raised in Toronto where he attended alternative public schools and enjoyed being part of the arts and music community.  Having always dreamed of living closer to nature, he set off on a multi year journey throughout the country, which lead him finally to the Lekwungen territories. His experiences traveling helped him find his calling to work in the field of nature education.  He has volunteered as a ski instructor for youth with disabilities, attended a sustainable building program at Fleming college, and worked in a OSC program in James bay.  Most recently, he took the Education Assistant and Community Support Worker program at Camosun College where he gained more knowledge of how to support and care for people of all ages with disabilities. He has a nurturing attitude and finds so much joy working with children!