Although, our staff are highly educated, they all have one other quality in common. They are all nurturing and caring people who offer individual love and attention to each child at Gradale Academy. This is a very important quality to have when educating young children; We believe this is what makes the difference between a Teacher and a Great Teacher!

Shannon Arnold - Grade one and two teacher

Shannon Arnold, also known as Miss Redwing, has had the pleasure of learning from, and teaching, her students at Gradale for the last 3 years and has been an educator at Evergreen Brick Works since 2011.  She is a graduate from OISE, with an eclectic history in theatre, art, fitness and the natural sciences. A disciplined yet caring approach is taken in her teaching, often leading her pupils to discover and uncover answers to their own questions. She is passionate about spending time being engaged in the outdoors, no matter what the elements, thereby encouraging her pupils to be resilient and intrinsically curious about their world.  In her spare time, you can find Shannon hiking, camping, and spending time in nature with her family and friends.

Diane Niec

Diane Niec has proudly been part of the amazing team of educators at Gradale Academy since 2009.   A graduate of the University of Windsor, Diane holds degrees in both Education and Musical Theatre.  She has worked professionally as an actor/singer/mover with Toronto based theatre company Theatre Gargantua.  Performing has provided Diane with opportunities to develop dramatic movement workshops for schools across the city.  Diane also has a strong background in health and fitness and has been teaching Pilates for over 19 years.  Most recently Diane has completed her Yoga certification and transfers these fitness skills into her teaching with weekly Alphabet Yoga classes.  Her experiences in drama, singing and playing the ukulele have allowed her to engage students in a way that makes learning effective and fun!  Diane has a true passion for children and an excitement for involving them both mentally and physically in the classroom.      

Melissa Saker - Grade Three and Four Teacher

Melissa Saker began teaching at Gradale Academy in 2013, and is thrilled to be back creating, exploring and learning with the elementary class. Melissa holds Honours Degrees in Studio Art and Education from The University of Guelph and Trent University, and has enjoyed over a decade of arts and outdoor education experiences from the west coast of British Columbia, to the Haliburton Highlands and, now, in Toronto´s beautiful Don Valley.  Melissa’s love for art, music and nature is evident through integrated studies and collaborative class projects.  She encourages students to explore their creativity and relationships with nature in and out of the classroom each day.

Danka Scepanovic - Music, Drama and French Teacher

Danka is a professional theatre artist as well as a musician and educator.  She holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts from Drake University and diplomas in piano and singing from The Royal Conservatory of Music.  She grew up with a French speaking mother and enjoys incorporating French into her creative work.  Teaching and mentoring youth is a passion of Danka's, and she has been working with children and teens for the past 12 years at private and professional studios in Canada and the U.S.  She enjoys celebrating each child’s imagination and spirit through the magic of music and drama.