Meet Our Founder, Diane

Founder & Director of The Reading School, Diane, has been infatuated with how written language works for over 50 years.

As the child of a Canadian soldier living in Belgium, Diane read & wrote in French before she ever developed those skills in English. When she finally did learn to read English, she spent more time than an 8-year-old probably should trying to figure out why “once” isn’t spelled with a “w”.

Is it any wonder she became an English & French teacher with a focus on reading development and disability!  Diane is committed not just to making reading easier for children, but to making teaching reading easier for professionals. Teacher Training and Research-Based Reading Instruction was the subject of her Master’s Thesis.

At The Reading School, Diane works to improve the quality of early reading instruction and remediation hand-in-hand with schools, independent teachers, homeschooling families, and parents.

Diane lives in Toronto with her husband. She is the proud mama of two remarkable women, and five wonderful stepchildren. She is thrilled to be called Gramma / G’Ma by five amazing young souls.

Book a friendly consultation with Diane to discuss your child’s reading & how The Reading School can help.

Meet Our Team

Meet a few of our caring, experienced teachers. (Note: not all staff are featured here.) Our teachers are selected for their unique education, teaching experince and life skills. Each teacher is trained in The Reading School method and curriculum, and all assessments, lessons and learning plans are overseen by Director, Diane Duff, with whom our staff work, hand-in-hand.

Mardi Romack, B.SW

Mardi Romack, B.SW

“My dreams of  working with children and making a difference in the community drove me to pursue a degree in Social Work at Ryerson University. I started my career at Unionville Montessori School, supporting students with learning disabilities.

I later pursued training in Applied Behaviour Analysis Therapy and began working as a Behavioural Therapist, conducting both individual and group therapy for children with autism. Additionally, I taught eaching reading, writing and mathematics to children with autism at an independent school.

I get satisfaction from seeing my student’s reading and writing skills improve each week, and from seeing them gain confidence and actually enjoy reading and writing!”

Sarah Borrett, B.A., M.A.

Sarah Borrett, B.A., M.A.

“I am passionate about helping people improve their reading and writing skills. Prior to joining The Reading School, I tutored children in both English and French as a volunteer with Frontier College, a national charitable literacy organization. I also have experience teaching adults at Evergreen College, in which I worked delivering college curriculum to adults with various learning challenges. 

My teaching experience, combined with a B.A. in Psychology from Queen’s University and a M.A. from King’s College London, helps me build relationships with my students in order to help learn and improve their skills. I absolutely love my job!

In my spare time, I enjoy cooking new foods, singing and nature walks. I look forward to working with you!”

Shazia Kamal, B.Sc., M.B.A.

Shazia Kamal, B.Sc., M.B.A.

“I have over a decade of experience in the education sector, spanning curriculum development, teacher training, as well as tutoring students one-on-one on reading remediation.

I’m an Orton-Gillingham (OG) Associate-level trained practitioner for reading remediation including dyslexia. I continue to actively engage in professional development sessions offered by The Reading School as well as the International Dyslexia Association. 

I’m a strong proponent of the Orchid hypothesis, believing that every child can bloom given the right tools and care. I work to build up my students’ confidence in themselves by providing gentle but firm guidance. 

I grew up in a warm family home, and I am mother to two beautiful girls and a fur baby.”

Keyira Parkes

Keyira Parkes

“I am a recent graduate from the University of Toronto with an Honours B.A. in English and Criminology & Socio-Legal Studies. I excelled at university as a student-athlete with multiple achievements throughout the OUA/CIS during my 5-year tenure. Currently, I’m enrolled at Seneca College fulfilling a Diploma Program in Justice Administration Services while operating as a Program Manager at Neighbourhoods Without Borders (NWB) STAK program.

Working with children and witnessing their desire to learn and progress has been the most fulfilling experience.

I aspire to one day combine my experience teaching with my education in the justice system to work within the legal field in order to aid and support youth through educational advancement.”

 

Patricia Lau, ECE, B.A., B. Ed.

Patricia Lau, ECE, B.A., B. Ed.

“I am a certified Ontario Primary Teacher in good standing with the Ontario College of Teachers, as well as a qualified Early Childhood Educator.

Over my 15 years as a teacher I have pursued further education and experience in many specializations, including Special Education, Early Childhood Studies, Mathematics and Reading.

In my free time, I like to play Ultimate Frisbee, spend time with my cat, nap and read.”

Lisa Marinis

Lisa Marinis

“I am a passionate teacher who believes reading skills open the doors not only to all academics but to life skills as well. My friendly and fun teaching style creates a safe, supportive and respectful atmosphere that fosters student success.

I am in good standing with the Ontario College of Teachers and have achieved many additional qualifications on a variety of specializations including but not limited to special education, ADHD, autism, and ESL. I have 15+ years of teaching experience that includes teaching at all levels from K to high school, all levels of ESL, and adult learning.

Outside of work I enjoy volunteering, hiking the hills and valleys, cooking, reading and travel.”

Hannah MacFarlane, B.A.

Hannah MacFarlane, B.A.

I’ve been a Teacher with The Reading School since 2019 and have been fortunate to help many students make progress as we work together.

I have a B.A. and I am currently completing an M.A. in Conflict Resolution. I’m also pursuing the TEFL (Teach English As A Foreign Language) certification to expand my work in the fields of reading and teaching, encouraged by my experience at The Reading School 

Teaching children to read takes a lot of patience and understanding, but is so rewarding.”