Board Members

TESL Ontario Board Members

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

Sharon Deng 2018-2021

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.



David Hazell 2018-2021

David HazellDavid Hazell has been on the TESL Ontario Board of Directors since 2015 and served as Chair for the 2017-2018 period. He is also the Chair of the TESL Ontario Private Sector Committee.

David has been an educator for approaching 15 years and has taught in the UK, Japan and Canada. He has completed an M.A. in TESOL from University College London (UCL). 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 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.

Art Rekhtin 2017-2020

Art RekhtinArt Rekhtin, PMP, OCELT has 10+ years of experience working in government-funded programs covering a broad range of endeavours, including teaching in technology-based distance education and traditional classroom settings (LINC/ELT) as well as providing leadership and oversight to cross-functional project teams in Newcomer Settlement, Accreditation, Employment and Language Services aimed at helping immigrants to realize their potential in Canada.

On the TESL Ontario Board, Art has served as a Member-at-large, Secretary, and Treasurer actively contributing to the ongoing work of Governance, Audit, Nominations, Finance, Strategic Planning Working Group and other sub-committees. On the TESL North York / York Region Affiliate Chapter Executive Committee, he served as an Affiliate 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.

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.

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.

David Wood 2018-2021

David WoodMy career in TESL began in 1981, and after some 37 years in the field my enthusiasm has not waned. I could say I have seen and experienced TESL from all angles, and I am always eager to share my knowledge and experience and to keep learning from others. Over all these years I have taught ESL/EFL/EAP extensively in Canada and abroad, in community programs, specialized programs for settlement, university and college intensive and credit programs, in the private sector, and more. I have been involved in teacher education and development in university and college contexts in Canada and in Japan, and I have been an academic working as a faculty member in applied linguistics and TESL. I have a lot of administrative experience in the field and in TESL Ontario. I have experience coordinating ESL and TESL programs as well as academic units in universities. I have been a member of TESL Ontario’s Conference Organizing Committee and Standards Committee for some years. My professional mission in life is to growing our field and to bettering the lives of teachers and students. I firmly believe that a strong TESL Ontario is key to a strong and vibrant TESL profession.

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.