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Instructor Biographies

Meet some of OSCA’s Instructors…

Ryleigh Anderson

Ryleigh Anderson

Ryleigh Anderson began volunteering for the Old Ottawa South Community Association as an assistant teacher in the dance program when she was just twelve years old. Ryleigh’s interest in teaching dance grew extensively during her years as an assistant teacher, allowing her to begin as an instructor at the centre in 2013. She has now been teaching and directing the dance program at OSCA for the past three years and has incorporated the variety of training she has received into the classes that she now teaches. Ryleigh was trained in ballet, jazz, contemporary, lyrical, hip hop, and tap, and graduated from the dance program at Canterbury High School. She finds that the best part of being a dance instructor is seeing the impact she has on her students firsthand and watching them improve and grow not only as dancers, but in all aspects of their lives as well. OSCA has provided Ryleigh with countless memories, but her absolute favourite is the look on her students’ faces when they see themselves in their costumes for the recitals and open houses. There is so much excitement in their eyes, and knowing that she was able to bring a bit of positivity into their lives has a huge impact for her as well. 

Bhat Boy

Bhat Boy

Famous for his whimsical work, Bhat Boy is a professional artist famous for painting the National Capital, both past and present. Bhat went to Mutchmor  Public School and Glebe Collegiate before attending the Ontario College of Art and Design. Bhat has been teaching art at The Firehall for 4 years. His classes are fun and entertaining. He believes that anyone can learn from art, regardless of age or skill level.

Ruby Chevalier Gostick

Ruby Chevalier Gostick has been working in the dramatic arts for several years; specifically, she has spent seven doing musical theatre and five doing Shakespearean. She has worked at the University of Ottawa's Drama Department, has volunteered for the 'Ottawa Fringe Festival' for two years and has volunteered for 'New Star Children's Theatre'. She is extremely excited to be able to work with children in the dramatic arts by creating her own program.

Andrina Cox

Andrina Cox

Andrina Cox spends her summers running her own gardening and landscaping business and winters teaching ceramics and giving workshops in painting and ceramics. Andrina has her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from Concordia University and has had the opportunity to show in London, England; Ottawa; Montreal and Berkley, California.  Her artwork has been collected and exhibited in Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, London and Berkeley.  Having a multidisciplinary approach, and broad knowledge of artists and art practices, in many mediums, as a painter, bronze and ceramic sculptor, and creating and selling functional pottery wares, there is always inspiration at hand in her classes and workshops.

Her deep connection to nature and community living has been a lifelong cherished experience, through this connection it is possible to set the course of creation and celebrate the love, joy, and harmony humanity is meant to achieve.  

Amanda DeGrace

Amanda Degrace (Little Lotus Yoga)

Amanda and her Little Lotus team have been teaching at The Firehall for over 8 years now! The entire Little Lotus Teaching Team LOVES sharing their joy of yoga with expecting and new parents, as well as their young children!

Little Lotus Yoga specializes in pre/postnatal and kids’ yoga classes and offers teacher training programs in Ottawa and Montreal.

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Rhona Einbinder-Miller

Rhona is a certified yoga instructor, specializing in ashtanga, vinyasa power flow, yin and restorative yoga, as well as yoga for runners and athletes. Having run numerous marathons and half-marathons and studied ballet, jazz and hip-hop for more than 25 years, she brings personal experience in teaching yoga for dancers and runners. Her yoga classes are adaptable to all levels and ages, and combine active yang poses with restorative and yin asana. Rhona has been teaching at the Ottawa South Community Centre since September, 2016. As a second career (Rhona is a lawyer) she loves witnessing the physical and mental benefits that teaching yoga brings to her students. It’s extremely rewarding to see her students leaving her classes calmer and more refreshed than before they came to class.  Her best memories of the Old Ottawa South Community are of her 3 children (who are now young adults) participating in infant and toddler playgroups, after school programs and summer camps, and especially of the haunted house Halloween parties held at the old firehall!

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Ian Dudley, "the LEGO® Guy"

Ian Dudley is Ottawa’s original full-time LEGO educator, and his local business, Orange STEM Education, continues to be Ottawa's leader in LEGO education. Teaching LEGO Engineering & Robotics since 2002, Ian has taught at OSCA since 2009. As a Mechanical Engineering Technologist with a background in the semi-conductor and aviation industries, Ian creates his own engineering, mechanics, robotics and programming projects for the range of Orange STEM classes offered at OSCA and beyond.  Ian's hands-on projects use science, technology and math skills to focus on engineering principles, and it's the joy of helping kids succeed that keeps him teaching almost every day. Ian teaches LEGO and Robotics extensively in Ottawa's public and private schools, and his LEGO and Robotics birthday parties are well received. Ian's favourite memories of OSCA are from the Open House when the community visits to try out new activities. 

Sophie Fobert

Sophie Fobert

Sophie has been coaching gymnastics at the Firehall for almost a year. She is passionate about teaching children the importance of healthy active living while still having fun. Her favourite accomplishment as an instructor here is when her students finish a difficult trick and then announce, so that everyone can hear, "I did it!" Sophie incorporates active warm-up games, song and dance, stretching, yoga, and circuit training in her classes in order to keep the children stimulated and lively. Her number one goal is for each one of her students to achieve their full potential and be proud of their successes. With a background in competitive acrobatics and dance, Sophie understands the dynamics of working hard, building confidence, and most importantly, having fun.

Vanessa Gale

Vanessa got her first taste of cooking at a junior gourmet cooking course when she was only 11 years old. As a grown up, she did her culinary training in Vancouver.  Since moving to Ottawa 14 years ago, she has worked in restaurants, made wedding cakes, catered, and taught kids' cooking classes. 

Meghan Garrioch

Meg Garrioch is a freelance artist and background painter with a passion for all things that offer creative expression. After graduating from both Concept Art & Illustration programs at Algonquin College, she has since worked for various companies as an independent contractor and designer, as well as an art instructor across the Ottawa area.

Currently, she aids in teaching both digital painting classes and on occasion, life drawing classes for Algonquin College, as well as a variety of children's drawing classes offered through Young Rembrandts (Cartoon, Pre-school, Pastels, Elementary) and paints backgrounds on freelance contract for Mercury Filmworks.

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Joanne Hale

I have been teaching at Ottawa South for several years.  My favourite memories involve watching my students change from strangers to friends with each other.  I love teaching for so many reasons but, I really love it when someone tells me that something I taught them had a positive impact. I have been working as a personal trainer and fitness instructor for over 12 years. I teach a wide variety of programs and work with a diverse group of clients. My focus has always been on improving the knowledge and understanding of my students to improve their fitness. I am always learning new things to share with them.  Helping people find their way to fitness, while keeping a smile on their face is what I like to do.

Marie Hennessey

Marie Hennessey

With almost 30 years experience in clay, Marie has explored many facets of the craft, from instructing children to all night wood firings. She developed her skills with several courses at St. Lawrence College and mentorship with Leta Cormier, as well as attending advanced workshops. She has also been an active member of the Ottawa Guild of Potters for 24 years.

Marie has instructed at the Firehall since the turn of the century….and was the studio technician for 10 years. Presently, she still finds much satisfaction sharing the joy and magic of clay with her adult and younger students. 

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Jocelyn Jenkins

Jocelyn Jenkins is an Ottawa potter who works out of her own studio in Old Ottawa South.  She is a fixture at the Firehall Pottery Studio where she has shared her love of clay with children of all ages for many years. The projects flow fast and free from these classes: whether it’s twinkling bats for Halloween or bell children with “real” hearts for Valentine’s Day, Jocelyn creates whimsical projects that challenge her classes to pour themselves into their work.

Jocelyn is also a functional potter whose work can be seen several times a year in shows and sales in the area.  Through her work she attempts to forge a connection with her audience.  Although her work is primarily functional, she attempts to create a narrative that will draw people into her world – a world where a turtle or a snail might join you for coffee, and thereby provoke a smile.

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Lori Meyers

Lori is passionate about teaching which has been evident since her days as a swim instructor and coach. She is an international teacher and presenter and has taught a wide variety of group fitness programs, including Spinning and Alpine Skiing. Pilates and Yoga are now her focus and have been for the last 20 years. She both actively practices and teaches in both disciplines.  Lori holds a Bachelor of Human Kinetics Honours Degree. Continuing her education, she regularly participates in workshops and courses.  Students benefit from Lori’s passion, expert knowledge, sense of humour and authentic desire to see everyone develop to their full potential.  Lori’s favorite part of working at the Firehall are her clients. To her they are like family and she feels lucky to help support them through her programs and to keep the community strong.

Darcy Middaugh

Darcy has been teaching preschool programs for over 20 years, many of which he has spent here at the Firehall. Over this time, Darcy has watched many children grow in a fun and safe environment. He continues to offer exciting programs for little ones and enjoys it as much as the children do. Although he has many fond memories of The Firehall and his programs, getting to know the people in this great community has been one of his favourites throughout his time here. 

Elyse Pion

Elyse Pion

Elyse has long been an active outdoor enthusiast.  She decided to pursue her passion for movement and health and took the Fitness and Lifestyle Management program at Algonquin College in 2006.  She then got her yoga teacher certification through Adishesha in 2011.    Elyse appreciates the versatility of yoga and has been teaching in the Ottawa area tailoring classes to suit different interests, at times mixing in elements from her fitness background.  Elyse continues to take workshops expanding on her current skills. She is keen to share her knowledge and wants to provide others with the tools to feel their best on a daily basis.

Also, passionate about good eats, Elyse runs a gourmet food truck downtown with her husband Ben.

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Zina Richard

Zina has been teaching at OSCA for over 16 years. A combination of serious strength work, graceful dance-influenced sequences and an overall joy of movement- these are standouts of Zina's approach. As a classical ballet teacher, she places a lot of emphasis on joint alignment, beautiful posture, works on strength and elasticity of feet and ankles. Zina enjoys a light atmosphere and community feel in her classes and encourages everyone to learn about each other, talk about current topics all while participating in class.

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Andrea Robertson

Andrea is an avid athlete with a passion for the outdoors. She spends much of her free time on the trails in the Gatineau Park enjoying mountain biking, road biking, trail running, snowboarding and skate skiing. Her specialty is Yoga For Athletes, and has been teaching for the Ottawa Senators for the past 7 years. Her intention is always to provide a fresh creative class geared specifically to her students at hand. One of her biggest passions is travelling and she leads 6 yoga wellness retreats a year both locally and internationally. Andrea has been teaching at OSCA for 12 years.  She loves being a part of the process of helping people finding balance within themselves and helping them heal both mind and body through deepening their yoga practice.

Diane_RobertsonDiane Robertson

Diane has had a diverse career for 25 years in the fitness industry. She became a Group Fitness and Aquafitness instructor, teaching in several locations in Ottawa. Her love of fitness led her to supplement her own workouts with yoga for several years. Twelve years ago, she completed her Yoga Certification and Yoga has become the focus of her teaching. Her passion is to help people enjoy better health through safe effective classes and to create an accepting atmosphere where participants of all levels can replenish and challenge themselves. Diane has been teaching for OSCA for the past eleven years and her greatest memories are the participants.  Their enthusiasm, friendliness and commitment has made teaching there a privilege.

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Tanya Robertson

Tanya is a motivating, high-energy trainer, a fitness entrepreneur at heart and the Owner and Operator of Personalized Fitness which she started in 1999. She has over 20 years of experience in the fitness industry as a Fitness Health Coordinator, Workshop Presenter and Gym Manager. She's obtained certifications as a Trainer (Group and Personal trainer), Nutritionist, Yoga Instructor and was a regular contributor to CTV‘s “Today‘s the Day” Health and Fitness television segments from 2005 – 2015.  In a business where innovation and creativity is the key to success, Tanya continues to prove she is a strong leader. Tanya has been working for OSCA for approximately 5 years. She comes back each year for the participants.  She loves motivating people to move and improve their health. 

Tanya Smith

Tanya Smith (Red Bug Coaching & Consulting Inc.)

Red Bug Coaching & Consulting Inc. is a company focused on supporting the learning and development needs of individuals and public and private sector organizations.

It was founded in 2012 by Tanya Smith, a certified integral development coach and management professional. It prides itself on its commitment to supporting the well-being of its clients through their developmental journey. Over her 25-year career, she has worked in leadership roles in both the public sector of the Canadian Government and in private sector industry.  She has worked with, and supported, individuals and teams in developing/strengthening their competencies to achieve personal and corporate objectives such as improving their capacity to achieve long term excellence.

Patricia Jean Vezina

Patricia has been practicing yoga since her teenage years. It wasn’t until she took her teacher’s training five years ago that she realized her yogi roots had been grounded much earlier than that.  All of the parts of yoga that are bigger than the physical body have always been a part of her life: truthfulness, compassion, non-stealing, non-judgement,and non-attachment. For Patricia, teacher’s training brought back balance for her emotionally, physically, and spiritually by reaffirming and aligning her passion – all on her little red mat.  Patricia is also a Lifestyle Coach. Her goal is to empower people to change their lives as they move towards optimal health. She believes strongly in the client-led approach and takes this into her teaching. Join Patricia as she unfolds her mat and her life, one asana at a time.

Colin Welburn

Colin started learning Jiu Jitsu in 1993 at Trent University when he heard that a new sensei had flown over from the UK to a start a martial arts club.  The organization, now known as "Jitsu Canada", has grown to 20 clubs across the country. Colin earned his sensei status in 1999 and has been teaching Jiu Jitsu at OSCA since 2015. Colin has been a guest instructor at various clubs throughout Ontario, as well as in the United Kingdom and New Zealand.