Dedicated Staff & Volunteers
Heather Warkentin - Staff & Co-Founder
Heather is one of the founders of Fraser Valley Free Learners. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree, a background in music, has worked as a letter carrier and in numerous customer service jobs. She grew up surrounded by friends who did not attend school, spent four years away from school herself and recognized at an early age the value of giving children the freedom and space to pursue their interests. She discovered democratic free schools after having her own children and together with the other FVFL founders, set out to establish one in the Fraser Valley.
While she has been volunteer at FVFL since its inception, she is a recent addition to the staff team. Heather can be found playing board games in the games room, managing the kitchen, as well as the FVFL Instagram account. She’ll never miss a dance party and is always up for helping find answers to the myriad of questions that come up during the day. She loves exploring in nature, camping by the ocean and reading a good detective novel.
Lara Kehler - Volunteer & Co-Founder
Lara is one of the founders of Fraser Valley Free Learners, she grew up in a completely un-schooled & self directed supportive family. She fully embraced the non traditional path to her career and post secondary education by completely skipping elementary and high school.
Regardless of her life situation (video game developer, digital artist, attending college, being a mom, starting a democratic school, etc) she pursues her passions with the desire to share her learning journey with those around her.
At FVFL she volunteers time helping with the daily running of the school, improving systems for communication & sharing, fundraising and everything else in the digital domain. This year she will be found more often hanging with the students, making & playing games, crafting, learning, and searching for answers... and hopefully even better questions.
- Read her blog post here
Andrea Gibb - Volunteer & Co-Founder
After spending a year and a half in public school in grade 2-3, I became so depressed my mom (a teacher herself) pulled me out. I unschooled until grade 11 when I attended high school and graduated when I was 16. I went to the University of the Fraser Valley after and received a three year diploma in Graphic Design. I started my freelance career after university. Now I am a mother of two busy boys, an artist, and an entrepreneur.
I am excited to watch my boys learn and flourish as unschoolers as they discover their own passions and interests.
Serena Trinder - Staff
I am a contemporary artist originally from Dorset in the U.K. I have lived in Mission with my family since immigrating to Canada in 2010.
In my early career I was a qualified Registered Paediatric nurse specialising in orthopaedics, but later achieved a Bachelor Honours Degree in History. Throughout my nursing career I always maintained my artistic ventures by working on stage productions, private commissions and illustrative work.
I continue to illustrate books, work on commissions and exhibit my work throughout the Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island using the beautiful landscape around us as inspiration. Art is an essential part of my life which is why I am so passionate about its role in our development and education.
I enjoy being part of the Mission community and have been a member of the Mission Arts Council serving as a board member 2011-2013 and 2016 – present. Working with young people and children through FVFS and Arts Council is a huge joy and keeps my mind young and active and maintains that my imagination never has time to dwindle.
Nicole Gioia - staff
I am so grateful to have the opportunity to connect and grow from all my experiences as the newest member of the Staff team within the magically inspiring and welcoming community spirit of FVFL. Since I began volunteering at the school I have upgraded my levels in sewing, chess, lego building and hula hooping! Alongside student expertise and guidance I am currently learning how to play the piano, am constantly enhancing my tech/interweb proficiency and continue to learn exciting new skills sets from coding to cooking!
I am an empath and an artist. My heart belongs to the “second hand” story. I can’t resist treasure hunting at any thrift store or vintage market. I like to always keep creative and busy through art and fashion! You can find me expressing my art inspirations in my home studio painting, drawing or volunteering as one of the Art Room managers of the school. I believe in the power of imagination, laughter and FUN!
- read her welcome post here