Meet Our Team
Owner / Operator
Tim is a Forest School Practitioner that loves all things outdoors! Tim’s connection with nature started at an early age in Kennebecasis Valley where he played for endless hours in the forest surrounding his family home. That experience inspired a lifelong pursuit of engaging in activities that connect him with nature.
As an entrepreneur, it made perfect sense for Tim to explore a business opportunity that allowed him spend even more time outdoors but it was his role as a father that lead him down the path to Forest School.
In 2013 Tim happened upon a newspaper article about Atlantic Canada’s first Forest School that was scheduled to open that fall in Sussex, New Brunswick. As the father of a preschooler who shares his love for the outdoors, he knew immediately that he would do whatever it took to give her the gift of a Forest School experience. Over the next year, Tim spent over 3 hours a day, twice a week driving his daughter Jenah to and from the Tír na nÓg Forest School in Sussex. It was during those long drives back and forth that Tim began to truly understand the positive impact that this was having on his daughter’s life.
As an entrepreneur for over 20 years, Tim found himself in the unique position to explore a new business opportunity when he sold his dealership, which he had owned and operated for 10 years. Tim’s passion for nature and his desire to bring the experience his daughter had to other children in his own community lead to a partnership with Lisa Brown of Tír na nÓg Forest School. Tim believes that the social, physical and mental health benefits of spending time in nature will follow these children throughout their life. He is committed to getting kids outside and helping them make this connection with nature.
Tim traveled to London in the UK to study and explore the benefits of a Forest School program for Saint John. This training and his experience has allowed him to provide significant input while working with the Province as policies are developed that will support Forest School Practitioners who want to run inspiring, effective and safe Forest School Programs.
Tim currently resides in Millidgeville with his wife Christine, their two children, Jonathan and Jenah along with their dog, Bailey. They have a keen interest in the outdoors with a passion for camping, fishing, hunting, hiking, kayaking, landscaping and even beachcombing some of the wonderful islands on the Saint John and Kennebecasis Rivers.
“It is only looking back now that I realize how fortunate I was to grow up with the freedom to explore the outdoors! The majority of my childhood memories are filled with stories of my 3 brothers and I playing outside…. where the sticks became swords, the trees became swings and, on a double dare, worms were a snack!”
Forest Preschool Educator
Jessica was born and raised on her family dairy farm in Pearsonville, New Brunswick . When she was 16, Jess started working at Lisa's Playhouse as a summer job. It didn't take long to know that working with children was what she wanted to pursue! After graduating from High School, she moved to Charlottetown, PEI where she attended Holland College in the Early Childhood Care and Education Program. While studying there, she had several placements working with childcare programs, preschool, kindergarten, after-school and family resource programs. After her diploma, Jess studied a Bachelor of Child and Family Studies at the University of Prince Edward Island. During her degree program, she focused on older children and families and did placements in group homes as well as the adolescent psychiatric unit at the Charlottetown hospital.
After Jess graduated from UPEI, she moved to the beautiful Rocky Mountains in Alberta and made Jasper her home. While working for the childcare center in the town of Jasper, she fell in love with hiking and enjoyed discovering a whole new and unique environment.
While living in Alberta, she attended Forest School Canada’s Forest School Practitioner Course in Bow Valley Provincial Park. With a lot of hard work, Jess became Atlantic Canada’s first Forest School Canada certified Forest School Practitioner in September of 2015.
Jessica now lives back on her family farm just outside Sussex and enjoys camping, working in the sugar bush, raising orphaned lambs, hiking and exploring with her Border Collies, Bell and Ritz. She is proud to be a part of the Tír na nÓg team and part of the movement to get children back outside!
“Teaching children about the natural world should be treated as one of the most important events in their lives.” – Thomas Berry
Holland College, Diploma of Early Childhood Care and Education
University Prince Edward Island, Bachelor of Child and Family Studies
Forest School Canada certified Forest School Practitioner
Forest Preschool Educator & Elementary French Language Teacher
Laura grew up in Quispamsis, New Brunswick and fondly remembers enjoying countless hours on the shores of the beautiful Kennebecasis River with her family. Thankful for those memories, she continues to enjoy her hometown but loves to seek out new adventures and spends much of her spare time exploring all that New Brunswick has to offer!
Laura attended UNBSJ where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree. During this time, Laura discovered her passion for teaching children when she volunteered for The Promise Partnership. This program provides educational support and opportunities for children in priority neighbourhoods. Laura’s experience with this program fueled a passion for educating young minds and lead her to pursue the field as a career. Laura graduated with her Bachelor of Education degree from UNB Fredericton and feels very fortunate to have studied alongside innovative educators from all across Canada during her time there. She is fully bilingual and is preschool educator as well as the French teacher for the elementary program.
Laura has a life-long love of the outdoors, respect for the environment, and a commitment of on-going learning. She is very enthusiastic to guide learning in an imaginative, creative, play based outdoor setting. Laura is a valued member of the Tír na nÓg Forest School team and cherishes her time with our curious, nature-loving children!
“The land is where our roots are. The children must be taught to feel and live in harmony with the Earth”. – Maria Montessori
· University of New Brunswick Saint John, Bachelor of Arts (French & Political Science)
· University of New Brunswick Fredericton, Bachelor of Education (Elementary)
· Forest School Practitioner Certification
Elementary School Educator K-1
Riley is a Saint John native that spent her youth embracing all that our region has to offer. Her fondest memories are from days spent in the forests, on beaches, and chasing mountaintops across Canada.
Riley holds both a Bachelor of Science from Mount Allison University and a Bachelor of Education degree from UNB and is devoted to helping children make the connection between nature and learning in her classroom! She also has certifications in both ELS (English Second Language) and French Immersion. She is excited to be teaching in an inquiry-based curriculum and understands the importance of a holistic approach to education that includes academics as well as the emotional and social well-being of each child.
She has extensive leadership and volunteer experience and has spent several years helping children to discover their strengths and talents while instilling a love of nature. She has won multiple awards for her work in academics as well as leadership. She is the recipient of the Mount Allison Gold A Award for Outstanding Contributions and the Mount Allision Leadership Award as well as the Mount Allison Presidents Scholarship to name a few! Riley was President of the Mount Allision Health Matters Society and volunteered with Global Brigades where she had the opportunity to travel to Honduras in support of empowering communities through sustainable healthcare, water & sanitation projects.
Riley’s passion for the outdoors has carried with her and today you can find her hiking, camping, skiing, snowshoeing or just exploring the beautiful scenery of the Maritimes. You don’t have to look far to catch Riley chasing fireflies, searching for “touch-me-nots,” or picking raspberries on the Belleisle Bay.
“If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn”. Ignacio Estrada
- Mount Allison University – Bachelor of Science
- University of New Brunswick – Bachelor of Education
- University of New Brunswick – Certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language
- Forest School Practitioner Certification
Elementary School Educator
Kristy is originally from the small community of Parrsboro, Nova Scotia where she grew up exploring the woods with her dogs, fishing, camping or spending time with her family at their cabin. Her love of the outdoors was instilled at a young age and never altered.
Kristy’s love of team sports gave her the opportunity to attend a private boarding school in Connecticut, USA where she was an honour roll student, dean’s assistant, and team captain of her soccer, softball and hockey teams her senior year. Kristy continued her education at the University of Prince Edward Island where she was a goaltender on the Varsity Women’s Ice Hockey team and member of the History Society. She finished her Arts degree at Mount Allison University with a major in Economics and History before attending the University of New Brunswick to earn her Bachelor of Education where her efforts earned her a spot on the dean’s list. Kristy is enrolled in the Masters of Education program with a focus on Curriculum and Instruction in which she plans to work on over the next few years.
During high school, Kristy completed an independent project and volunteered at a school for children who are deaf or hard of hearing. This was her first introduction to teaching and her introduction to American Sign Language (ASL), a language she tries to incorporate into her teaching. Since that experience, Kristy has had a deep passion for building relationships and helping students achieve success in all areas of life. Kristy was a volunteer for the PEI Special Olympics for two years and has spent the past four summers as a senior instructor at Andrews Hockey School in Charlottetown. She just finished her first year as an assistant coach with the Female Midget AAA Reds Hockey team in Fredericton.
Kristy also brings musical experience to the school as a self-taught guitar player who completed musical theory courses at the university level. With an emphasis on balance, she strives to provide her students with a holistic education that will benefit them in an intellectual, emotional, social, physical, artistic, and creative way.
Kristy can be found playing guitar, cooking, practicing yoga, or walking in the woods with her dog Arlo. She is excited to be joining the Tír na nÓg family and explore all that the outdoors has to offer!
- Mount Allison University, Bachelor of Arts
- University of New Brunswick, Bachelor of Education
- University of New Brunswick, Masters of Education: Curriculum and Instruction (ongoing)
- Forest School Practitioner Certification
Elementary School - Enrichment Educator
Jo-Anne grew up in a small town with only one general store called Seabright in Ontario. From an early age she loved exploring, often setting out on her bike to discover new places to fish and trees to climb. Her imagination and connection to the natural world would often take her away to magical places and she loves to share this spirit with the students she has the privilege to teach.
After graduating from Bishop’s University with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology she began her teaching journey in Korea. It was here that she discovered her love and natural talent for teaching. She decided to pursue teaching as a profession and completed her education degree in Australia, where she started a family and worked as a supply teacher for five years. She immersed herself in the Australian culture, learning about ocean conservation and the beautiful mythology of the Aboriginal People.
Jo-Anne returned to Canada and continued her passion of teaching as a Grade One teacher in a remote First Nation community in Ontario. She immersed herself in the Cree culture, befriending elders in the community to deepen her teaching material and herself. Jo-Anne then ventured to a rural school in West-Central New Brunswick. As the Senior Elementary teacher at the Knowlesville Art and Nature School she taught students from year 3-6 in a single classroom setting. She created an art and nature inspired curriculum, that incorporated Waldorf and Enki based teaching philosophies and practices. Key elements of these philosophies included embracing the focus of teaching the holistic child – head, heart and hands which she believes is the core of learning and education.
Jo-Anne is continuing her own education and is currently taking a graduate course in counselling psychology through Athabasca University. Her passion for children and mental health plays a role in her visions of what optimal learning environments should look like. At the core, Jo-Anne believes in utilizing outdoor spaces to fuel effective learning and promote emotional intelligence for children. Through her academics, travel and professional endeavors she has developed a strong base of teaching methodologies. She believes in the development of the whole child, heart, head and hand. Jo-Anne is thrilled to join the Tír na nÓg Forest team and be part of this amazing learning environment.
· Bishop’s University, Bachelor of Arts
· University of the Sunshine Coast, Post-Graduate Degree in Primary Education
· Forest School Practitioner Certification
Forest Preschool Educators
Leah is a biology educator and nature-loving mother of two! Her son attended two years of Tír na nÓg preschool and she is delighted to follow in his footsteps!
Over the past 10 years, Leah has worked as a stipend instructor in the department of biological sciences at UNBSJ; teaching courses such as intro botany, first year biology, environmental biology, and plant ecology, and co-supervising Honours research projects. She earned a diploma in university teaching from UNBSJ, and is completing an MSc in Biology (forest ecology) while studying relationships between moss and decaying logs. In recent years, she helped establish a community garden on campus and also worked as a technician, providing support for undergraduate in-lab and field courses.
Leah is originally from Ontario, where she completed her BSc Honours Biology from the University of Guelph (which included a semester abroad in east Africa). She spent her summers leading multi-day canoe trips for kids and teens through her local YMCA camp. She met her husband (a NB native) while tree planting in northern Ontario, and shortly thereafter fell in love with New Brunswick’s forests and coastline.
Leah and her family live on 100 acres of forest and farmland on the Kingston Peninsula, where they can be found hiking, gardening, picking wild berries, and snowshoeing and sliding in the winter. Her other interests include knitting and handcrafts (spinning yarn, natural dyes, soap-making), camping, traveling, and exploring NB beaches, rivers, and forests with her kids.
Leah is passionate about the teaching and learning process, and the natural world. She is inspired by forest school, Montessori, and Waldorf educational approaches for children. As a parent and educator, Leah has witnessed first-hand the benefits of time spent outdoors. She is delighted to join the exceptional team of educators at Tír na nÓg, and is excited to play, learn, and explore the woods alongside the kids!
University of Guelph, Bachelor of Science (Biology Honours)
University of New Brunswick, Diploma in University Teaching