Our People

Amanda Dervaitis earned her BEd. from McGill University where she also studied Psychology and Linguistics.  Following her training in education, Amanda taught in the traditional school system in Quebec, Nova Scotia and Ontario covering grades one through 11, including children with special needs as well as exceptional students.

Amanda combined this knowledge with her own philosophy and passion for excellence in education to bring High Park Day School to fruition.  She is thrilled to offer this alternative education to families in her High Park community and help even more students recognize their own excellence and reach their potential.

Amanda’s greatest joy is spending time with her husband and two boys.

Aaron Downey was trained to teach through the Queen’s University Concurrent Education Program. After this 5 year degree of practice teaching in Ontario, Aaron moved abroad to teach at the Bilingual European School in Milan, Italy. At BES, Aaron learned how to work with and create curriculum for international students, and taught for 3 years. He helped to develop a school-wide writing continuum for ESL students, headed the school’s Book Week program, and lead staff training on international student profiles.

Following these 3 years in Italy, Aaron moved north to Zurich and continued to teach grade five at Zurich International School for 2 years. In this position, Aaron quickly took on further leadership roles within the school. He became the Social Studies Curriculum Coordinator for the primary school, which led to the larger responsibility of writing a school wide assessment of Social Studies Curriculum from Pre-K to grade 12. Additional training in Budapest and Amsterdam gave Aaron the tools required to lead staff-wide training sessions on how to inspire students to take action in their own lives and education.

Currently, Aaron is the Head of Curriculum Development at High Park Day School. Drawing from his international experience, he has created a unique program designed to teach multi-leveled, mixed-age classrooms. With a focus on confidence building and learning skills, he has successfully fostered a new love of learning for our students. His passion and energy are contagious, and we look forward to seeing how the school continues to grow and improve!

Kristin Palin began her post secondary education at Concordia University where she earned a double major BA in Women’s Studies and Canadian History. She went on to receive a post graduate certificate in Gerontology at Ryerson University.

Following her formal education she began working with Alzheimer patients and their caregivers to set up respite care, and did informal family counseling. She then coordinated a ‘Meals on Wheels’ Program which included community outreach and delivering services to people in the community who were considered ‘at risk’. She facilitated conferences on caregiver stress and keeping frail individuals in the home.  Volunteer management was and additional part of her responsibilities.

Kristin’s insatiable appetite for knowledge then led her back to Ryerson where she received a BASc in food and nutrition. During this time she managed the food and beverage staff at Roy Thomson Hall and the Food Services Staff at a local complex care facility.

Kristin then had two children (one of whom is currently thriving at High Park Day School)!

Her career moved into an advisory position in which she advised Long Term Care facilities on how to manage their food service operations within the guidelines of the Ministry of Health. She implemented seasonal menus for them and was on the advisory team to develop a menu management website and database.

At this point the stars aligned as her son joined HPDS. Before long she was volunteering to help with our policy development, parent handbook and other managerial necessities. Her enthusiasm and love for this work led her straight onto the team, and she now holds the position of Vice Principal. When she isn’t busy being a mom or helping to grow HPDS, she enjoys spending time with friends, reading and relaxing at her family cottage north of the city.