As the Principal, Misha keeps all the moving parts of Aspire Academy connected. His role involves supporting his fellow Leadership Team members, guiding our team of educators and brainstorming awesome new ideas for our students and families. His passion for education is contagious!
We asked Misha 5 questions so that you could get to know him better:
1. Tell us about the journey that led you to Aspire.
The journey that led me to Aspire has also allowed me to complete my own professional circle, which is a cool thing to say! I started teaching in 2001 at Venta Preparatory School (which operated where Aspire is now located) as a Physical. Ed. Teacher and a classroom EA. I gradually took on more and more roles and really cut my teeth in that program, learning all about teaching to different students needs, and of course making learning as fun as possible for the students, and myself. Venta closed its doors on a Friday in December of 2017 and by the very next Monday, I was teaching at a sports-focused school. Within a year I became the Principal of the school, which was so exciting because I was able to combine my love of learning with my life long goal of being active. I was, and still am, proud of what I was able to build at that school, but despite how happy I was there, the universe was lining up something very exciting for me. When I met the Aspire team, I realized right away how much we had in common; it was like talking to old teaching peers. In a very quick turn, I joined the team and am now so excited to continue working with kids that I adore and the chance to come “home” to build a new program. Who says you can never go back? ;)
2. What excites you most about joining the Aspire Academy team?
It's super exciting to come to work each day to collaborate with such an amazing group of intelligent, creative, energetic, but above all else, caring individuals. I’ve visited a lot of schools and worked with many educators, but the most exciting thing about joining the Aspire team is getting to work in a place where the student is put first and cared for in a way that we would do for our own children. It is not often where a group of like minded individuals get together and consistently ask, “How can we help this kid reach another level?”. The fact that Aspire truly has a child-centred approach, with a dedicated staff committed to that cause excites me so much.
3. What are three words that describe you best?
The three words that best describe me are energetic, creative and empathetic. Energetic because I need to move and love trying new things. There is a reason I love to teach Phys Ed! Creative because here is a whole world to explore and so many routes to take ... why not explore them all. Empathetic because I subscribe to the notion that if a child could do something, they would. If they can’t, there is a reason and they need help. That’s where I come in!
4. How do you connect with students and families?
I love making connections with students and their families! Education isn’t about what I see in the class subjects, its about getting to know the student on a personal level. It’s about the students getting to know me and learn things about me and my life so we can work together and draw on our experiences to find solutions to the day’s challenges. I truly enjoy getting to know the parents I communicate with. I want to know how the parents are feeling and what they are hearing at home to make sure that I am doing the right thing. My goal with my connections is always the same, I don’t want to be seen as a teacher, I’d rather be like a big brother who is having fun and teaching their younger siblings. And for parents, I want to know about you as well, so we can work together on the program.
5. Please share a few ideas that you have for Aspire this year.
Oh man, where do I begin …I think the first thing I plan on doing is getting the outdoor learning spaces up and ready for our teachers and students to use during the fall. After that, getting into the forest to make some outdoor science space for us to all explore what nature has to offer. Maybe a running trail, some skating lessons, participatory teams, intramurals, reading buddies, group art projects, computer clubs, coding … honestly, I stay awake at night planning and getting excited to start doing more and more things.