Board Members

TESL Ontario Board Members

Chair:  David Hazell
Vice-Chair:  Sharon Deng
Treasurer:  Art Rekhtin
Secretary:  Cheryl Fretz
Members-at-large:  Brett Basbaum
   Alex Harchenko
   Geoff Lawrence
   Lara McInnis
   Amy Yani

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.

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.



Art Rekhtin 2017-2020

Art RekhtinArt Rekhtin, OCELT has more than 10 years of experience in the field of Teaching English as a Second Language, and he has been a TESL Ontario Accredited Member in good standing since 2008.

Art’s extensive experience in government funded programs covers a broad range of endeavours, including teaching in technology-based distance education and traditional class-room settings (LINC/ELT) as well as providing leadership and oversight to multi-disciplinary project teams in Language Training and Assessment, Newcomer Settlement, Accreditation and Employment Services aimed at helping immigrants to realize their potential in Canada.

While volunteering with the TESL Ontario Board of Directors (2011-2014), Art served as a Secretary, Treasurer, and Board Member-at-large, actively contributing to the ongoing work of Governance, Audit, Nominations, and other sub-committees. Since 2015, he has been a TESL North York / York Region Executive Committee Member and an Affiliate Chapter Representative. Art is a graduate of York University. He holds a degree in Linguistics, a post-graduate certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, and a certificate in Project Management. Art is excited about the opportunity of working with various stakeholders to maximize contributions to the TESL Ontario’s supportive community empowering educational professionals to help English language learners thrive.

Currently, Art Rekhtin is a Project Manager with the Centre for Education and Training overseeing a successful delivery of the Canadian Language Benchmarks Online Self-Assessment and Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens autoévaluation en ligne with a special focus on Ontario.

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.

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.

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.

Lara McInnis 2017-2020

Lara McInnisLara McInnis has been teaching ESL since 1999, when she got her first English teaching job in Japan. Since then, she has taught in a variety of contexts including ESP, EAP, post-secondary English, and TESL. She has a Master of Arts degree in Second Language Education from OISE, is TESL Ontario certified, and is a certified TESL trainer. She recently became the acting program coordinator for remedial and ESOL courses at Humber College.

From 2011 to 2014 Lara coordinated the EAP and TESL programs in Humber's English Language Centre. Lara facilitated the TESL program's mentoring initiative involving LINC and ESL community partners in the Peel-Dufferin Catholic District School Board, Halton Catholic District School Board and neighbourhood centres in Toronto, Mississauga, Oakville, and Hamilton. Working closely with dedicated LINC and ESL teachers and administrators in these centres helped her gain insight into the innovative practices, achievements, and challenges that contribute to the gratifying but demanding career of an ESL instructor in Ontario.

Lara has co-presented at conferences including TESL Ontario (2015), the College Association for Language and Literacy (2011, 2012, 2016), and the League for Innovation in the Community College (Chicago, IL, 2015). In 2015, she co-wrote an article for CONTACT about the benefits and challenges of developing and delivering an online TESL course. Her academic interests include metacognition, online and blended learning, the effect of learning outcome frameworks on curricula, and L2 corrective feedback practices.

Amy Yani 2017-2020

Amy YaniAmy has been teaching ESL and LINC for over 15 years both in post-secondary and non-post-secondary programs. She has also taught college-level English Communication courses. She is currently teaching in the LINC program at Sheridan where she is a PBLA Lead Teacher. Amy has conducted several workshops and developed academic resources to assist colleagues with the implementation of PBLA in the LINC program at Sheridan. She has experience in curriculum development and has worked on various projects to prepare and revise curricula for intermediate and advanced ESL/LINC classes at colleges and private schools. In addition to her teaching job, Amy has worked for several years as an Academic Advisor and helped newcomers settle into their communities whether through transitioning into the workplace or pursuing further education.

Amy has a Master’s of Applied Linguistics from the University of New England, Australia. She is also a certified TESL Trainer and a CLBPT Assessor. Her areas of interest are assessments, curriculum development and communicative competence. Amy’s experience as a college educator will contribute to providing and exploring opportunities in academic learning. She also started her career as a supervisor and sales executive in the airline industry where she acquired essential skills such as negotiation, active listening, and problem solving that will help her perform duties at the TESL Ontario Board. Amy is looking forward to the experience and challenge of working with the TESL Board and providing support to professionals and learners in the ESL field.