Meet the Team
Whether it’s the early stages of English development to a university level research paper, Potts Education Studio employs a diverse team of highly trained teachers with a variety of backgrounds and disciplines to suit your needs.
Phil studied his undergraduate degree in Linguistics, specializing in second-language acquisition. In 1995, he did a practicum at the Language Training Institute of Ottawa. He was offered a permanent position there, but had to turn it down to continue his education.
Phil did in-home tutoring for several years before establishing his first tutoring centre in Richmond in 2000. This quickly led to an opportunity to establish and run a centre in Shenzhen, China, where he spent nearly two years. Upon returning to Canada to do a Master of Education, Phil was recruited to manage two different centres until 2008, when he established Potts Education Studio.
Phil speaks several languages, including English, French, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, and a handful of others. He continues to learn more, believing there is no end to education.
Phil is co-founder of Palette Education Services, Ltd., an organization that connects students with post-secondary institutions.
Before joining Potts Education Studio, Karolin volunteered and did substitute teaching at Our Lady of Mercy Elementary School; she also taught Grade 5 English and adult classes in Celaya, Mexico, where she discovered her passion for teaching English as a second language. Karolin has a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Education from Simon Fraser University, and she is a certified TEFL/TESOL teacher.
Karolin loves learning new things from her students and loves the engagement that teaching brings every single day. She enjoys running, hiking, playing baseball, travelling, and snowboarding. Karolin's teaching philosophy can best described in Joseph Addison's analogy: "What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to the soul."
Karolin teaches one-on-one classes at Potts Education Studio and she is involved in summer camps.
Having traveled to East Asia frequently since the age of nine, Kristen has developed a passionate interest for Asian languages, literature, history, and culture. This interest led her to the University of British Columbia, where she pursued a degree in Chinese Language and Culture. Eager to improve her Mandarin fluency, Kristen entered Potts Education Studio and became one of Phil’s students while completing her degree. It was from this experience that Kristen discovered a desire to become an educator. She spent her final year at UBC developing her skills as an English tutor.
After graduation, Kristen won a scholarship from the Government of China, and completed a year of post-graduate Mandarin Language study at Xiamen University in Fujian province. Living and studying in beautiful Xiamen gave Kristen the opportunity to teach English classes to preschool and elementary students at a local arts and language centre, and she engaged in tutoring on her university campus.
Upon returning to Canada, Kristen resumed her post at Potts Education Studio. Her experiences in China have deepened and informed her teaching skills. Kristen believes that academic success in language is achieved not only through hard work, but also through exploration, curiosity, and interaction with the wider world.
Before joining Potts Education Studio, Aleesha studied and graduated from the Shanghai University of Chinese Medicine, where she was introduced to Chinese culture and Mandarin language. Aleesha has participated in multiple speaking competitions. In 2013 and 2014, she competed in Skills Canada, placing within the top three both times in this national competition. Aleesha has a Bachelor’s degree in English.
Aleesha loves teaching and has a passion for learning. She enjoys creating memories and long-lasting experiences with every student that comes her way. A healthy and active lifestyle is extremely important to Aleesha. She is extremely devoted to the gym and keeping fit. She enjoys travelling, learning new languages, hiking, snowboarding, and meeting new people. In class, she is devoted to engaging students in sound pedagogy, having them open their minds and broaden their perspectives. Specifically, Aleesha loves helping and preparing students for the SSAT. She has helped dozens of kids succeed in private-school testing and interviews.
Bonnie has held a variety of positions in education over her career, including teaching English Literature and English as an Additional Language, coordinating language learning programs, tutoring, guiding and counselling.
She has a B.Ed. from University of Alberta and a M.Ed. from Cape Town University in South Africa. Bonnie has studied and worked in several countries, but has a soft spot for Hong Kong, where she lived as a rookie teacher.
During the time that Bonnie and her family lived in Thailand, Bonnie became the Director of International Relations at the international school her sons attended. She really enjoyed working with the parents of new families to the school; helping them to settle into the school’s community in the heart of Bangkok. But, she missed teaching – a lot.
After landing back in Canada, and running her own business for a few years, Bonnie was still pining to teach again. And through serendipity, Phil Potts and his team at the studio, were looking for a teacher.
Before long, Bonnie was reunited with her teacher tribe. And if that wasn’t great enough, she looked forward, and still does, to each and every class with each and every student.
Jacyntha has been teaching grade 8-12 ESL, English Literature, Philosophy and Drama in the International Baccalaureate system around the world since 1998. Some of her favourite postings have been in Thailand (2 years), Tanzania (2 years), Kazakhstan (4 years) and Singapore (8 years).
Her experiences teaching teenaged students in so many locations have taught her that young people have unlimited potential to see the world in new and unique ways, and that developing leaders of the future requires implementing teaching styles that support and encourage students to engage with creative and critical thinking in as many real world situations as possible. Jacyntha values a communicative and interactive teaching approach with all her students, and feels that seeing them rise to new challenges as they become their own empowered individuals is the best reward a teacher can ask for.
Jacyntha has a B.A. degree in French and English from the University of Victoria, a Bachelor of Education degree from Simon Fraser University, and an M.A. degree in Educational Studies from the University of British Columbia. She speaks fluent English and French, and is an active writer who has published fiction and non-fiction in both languages. Jacyntha loves being back in Canada and supporting newcomers as they adjust to life in this amazing country, and is looking forward to working with you and your children soon!
Hafsa is a language lover and a passionate teacher who has entered the field of language instruction more than 15 years ago. She has enjoyed teaching both English and French in a variety of settings, to a wide range of students from Kindergarten to university and adult professionals.
She holds a Bachelor’s degree in applied linguistics, and decided to obtain her teaching certificate in 2003.
Ever since, Hafsa has taught at several public and private schools in Morocco and Canada. In 2007, she travelled to teach English at the College of Applied Sciences in the Sultanate of Oman, where she spent two amazing years teaching Omani and international students.
She now teaches at Potts Education Studio where she also takes classes in Mandarin. Despite being a busy mother of two children, Hafsa believes in lifelong learning. She fluently speaks four languages and is determined to make Mandarin her fifth.
Hafsa firmly believes that “what we learn with pleasure, we never forget.” She’s looking forward to giving her best to her students and making their learning experience one to cherish and remember.
Frances’s route to teaching is unconventional. Her first loves were singing and words. After a short stint on the stage, she became Director of Music and Liturgy at a church in London, Ontario. Tutoring was part of the job. Seeking more, she decided to try her hand at teaching English to new Canadians. That role worked into developing programs specific to differently abled kids. The rest is history.
She is a life-long learner, believing we are always students. Her ultimate goal in the classroom is to encourage pupils to link what they are doing there to everyday life so they can explore and expand their own potential.
Currently, Frances is writing her second novel when not at Potts Education Studio, and continues to edit works for businesses. She holds a B.A. from Western University.