Board Members

TESL Ontario Board Members

Chair James Papple
Vice-Chair: Bernice Klassen
Treasurer: Jennifer McKay
Secretary: Cheryl Fretz
Members-at-large: Brett Basbaum
  Sharon Deng
  Alex Harchenko
  David Hazell
  Geoff Lawrence
  Melita Vrakela

James Papple 2014-2017

James PappleJames Papple teaches and mentors in Brock University’s English for Academic Purposes program. He has a Master's in TESL and actively pursues research in reflective practice, service learning, and educational technologies. He has been recognized by Brock’s Centre for Teaching, Learning and Educational Technologies for engaging in Best Practices four times. Jim is interested in working with different shareholders in the TESL community and developing better communication. He looks forward to working with the TESL O board members to help build a stronger community.


Bhupinder Gill 2014-2017

Bhupinder GillBhupinder Gill is currently employed by the London District Catholic School Board as the Manager of English as a Second Language (ESL) and Enhanced Language Training (ELT) programs. Over the last 19 years, he has managed programs and taught at Ontario school boards, colleges and universities. Moreover, he has both designed and mapped curriculum for new programs and has professional experience in e-learning training materials for the private sector. He has recently begun to deliver training to the ESL department using the Virtual Learning Environment (vLE) using the Desire2Learn (D2L) platform.

Bhupinder earned a Masters of Education Degree (M.Ed.) and a Certificate in Teaching English as Second Language (TESL) from Brock University and a Bachelor of Political Science (BA) Degree from Carleton University. His areas of interests are educational technology, student engagement and intercultural communication.


Jennifer McKay 2014-2017

Jennifer MacKayJennifer McKay is the Supervisor for the adult ESL, LINC and LBS programs at the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board. Previously, Jennifer worked at the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks starting as a Project Manager and moving into the role of Senior Program Manager.

She has conducted CLB workshops and presentations at numerous TESL conferences including seven at the TESL Ontario Conference. She has been a member of several advisory committees including TESL Ontario’s Post TESL Certificate Training Framework Steering Committee, TCDSB’s Job Imbedded PD Project Advisory Committee, Centre of Excellence for Communication Competency Assessment (OCECCA) Steering Committee, CESBA’s ESL/FSL Committee, and the Coordinated Language Assessment and Referral System (CLARS) Advisory Committee.


Cheryl Fretz 2013-2019

Cheryl FretzCheryl has been teaching ESL for 19 years, and training teachers for 9 years. In 2003, she completed her M.A. in Second Language Education at OISE/University of Toronto. Her major interests lie in, training teachers, teaching writing skills, and helping newcomers settle in Canada. She has served on the TESL Toronto Affiliate Board since 2010 in the roles of Recording Secretary and Volunteer Coordinator for the TESL Toronto Conference.

Since 2009, she has been the TESL Program Coordinator at the Centre for Language and Cultural Studies (CCLCS), which delivers TESL Ontario and TESL Canada accredited programs as well as a LINC program. To stay current in her teaching knowledge, Cheryl also teaches in the TESL program and in Academic Writing and Business Communication courses in other institutions.


Brett Basbaum 2016-2019

Brett BasbaumBrett has been teaching LINC for almost a decade and has experience with learners at all levels. She has also taught international high school and university students in the McMaster Summer ESL program for several years. Last summer, she had the opportunity to get a taste of teaching overseas when she travelled to China to teach a CAEL course. She is currently working as an ESL Supervisor at Hamilton Public Library, a role which includes teaching both senior and youth learners, customer service in the Learning Centre department and administrative duties.

Brett served on the TESL Hamilton-Wentworth Affiliate Executive Committee from 2011 to 2015 where she filled the roles of Program Director/Professional Development Committee Member, Webmaster/Communication Committee Member and Affiliate Representative. While on the executive, Brett took a lead role in organizing professional development events, redesigned and maintained the website and represented the committee and the membership at joint meetings with other Affiliate Representatives and the TESL Ontario Board.

Prior to entering the field of ESL, Brett worked for many years in non profit administration, primarily in the areas of resource development and communications. In this career she worked extensively with volunteers, board committees and a diversity of clients, community members and funders. This work allowed her to gain experience and develop skills very relevant to serving with the TESL Ontario Board.


Sharon Deng 2015-2018

Sharon DengSharon Deng has served in a number of different positions with TESL Ottawa beginning in 2011 as program chair, affiliate representative in 2013 and is now the current president. For close to a decade, she has taught ESL/LINC to a variety of levels ranging from literacy to academic bridging. Along with this, she is currently a part time faculty member at Algonquin College's CTESL program.

She holds a Linguistics degree from Carleton University (B.A. Hons.) and is currently completing a Masters of Arts degree with a specialization in adult education at Athabasca University. Sharon believes in the use of technology in hybrid classroom environments to actively engage students and to maximize student learning.


Alexander Harchenko 2016-2019

Alexander Harchenko

Alexander Harchenko possesses a wide range of experience in the field of ESL, LINC, ELT and OSLT in Canada and the USA. Alexander has taught and held leadership roles at colleges and universities across North America. He participated in the development and implementation of a number of innovative IRCC-funded programs in Ontario, such as ELT Your Way - the first online ELT program in Ontario.

Alexander has been consistently committed to his TESL PHE Affiliate for 5 years, as a Chair of the Board and Membership Services Committee and currently as President. During the last 5 years as the Affiliate Executive, Alexander has implemented a number of innovative approaches to assist members of the Affiliate. Alexander’s extensive experience in executive positions with other Boards, along with excellent knowledge of governance in Canada, is a strong contributing factor to his current role.

Alexander is passionate about providing better support for foreign-trained ESL teachers working in Ontario. Alexander is actively engaged in the research of government-funded programs and communicates about benefits and improvements to these programs to his students; he continuously provides guidance to newcomers and students regarding various issues affecting the community.

In addition to his teaching experience, Alexander's involvement goes beyond the ESL sector. As a Certified Settlement Professional, Alexander is actively involved in the issues that affect newcomers and refugees today. He is particularly interested in the issues of minorities. In 2003, Alexander led a community project for resettlement of the first group of Meskhetian Turkish Refugees in the USA.

Alexander Harchenko is an honours graduate in International Relations and Political Science from Cleveland State University in the USA. He has obtained post-graduate certifications in settlement and immigration practice in Canada. Alexander is a winner of the Close Up Foundation Scholarship.


David Hazell 2015-2018

David HazellDavid Hazell has taught in ESL for over 10 years in the UK, Japan and now Canada. In his role as Director of Studies at English School of Canada (ESC), he is responsible for the running of day-to-day operations at a school consisting of 500 students and 30 teaching staff. He also oversees teacher training, professional development, and curriculum development.

David has shown a strong commitment to professional development of teachers at ESC through the institution of a Professional Development Framework, incorporating clear performance and observation standards, a mentoring program, peer observations, and active encouragement of external PD opportunities. He is a regular attendee at TESL Toronto and TESL Ontario conferences and will bring his commitment to professional development and support of teachers to the board.

David displays strong communication skills in management of teachers and coordination with other departments at ESC and external stakeholders. He is experienced in taking often conflicting demands and forging consensus through constructive dialogue.

Having worked in the private sector throughout his career, David will promote greater engagement from private language schools and their teachers in TESL Ontario. He also very much looks forward to assisting colleagues in the public sector and representing the interests of the TESL Ontario community as a whole.


Geoff Lawrence 2015-2018

Geoff LawrenceI have over 15 years experience working in a range of Ontario ESL teaching and teacher education contexts combined with a background in communications/public relations and marketing for educational organizations. I have worked as a committee member on TESL Ontario’s research committee over the past three years, as a Team Leader in the TESOL 2015 Toronto Convention, and as a Chair of two of TESOL’s professional interest groups. In addition, I’ve held past leadership roles in the Canadian Association of Private Language Schools and Canada’s Language Industry Association, promoting language teaching and technology-mediated approaches across Canada.

I have worked in many areas of ESL in Ontario including LINC, ELT, community-based ESL, college/university EAP, TESL Ontario certified teacher education programs, and as an instructor and administrator in the private ESL sector. I have been involved in online and blended ESL teaching and program design, have presented at TESL Toronto, TESL North York-York Region, TESL Waterloo-Wellington and at many TESL Ontario conferences. I’ve been a Principle Investigator in Ontario MCI-funded research examining the feasibility of e-learning in Adult, Community-Based ESL Programs across the province. I am passionate about English language teaching and teacher education, am a team player and a mindful communicator. I look forward to working with TESL Ontario to further expand professional development opportunities, to deepen connections among our members and to advocate on behalf of English language teaching professionals that make such a vital contribution to Ontario society.