The Open Door Education Services

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Our Tutors

Chris Ruta

Chris is an elementary classroom teacher. He loves inspiring students to think critically about the world and their place in it, and to take on challenges with confidence. He has a degree in literature and specialist qualifications in Special Education and in French as a Second Language.

Chris achieves balance through physical activity, coaching teams in soccer, volleyball and basketball and running the county track meet during the school year, and playing on recreational sports teams in the evenings. Not too may evenings though, as he is a busy father of two young boys.

Chris feels that in order for students to feel comfortable and confident taking risks and feeding their curiosity in the classroom, they first have to feel at ease getting the information they need and expressing themselves in writing. Having seen many students struggle with this in his classes, Chris signed on immediately to start tutoring with The Open Door after attending a Susan Barton workshop.

“I have always liked sharing the experience of discovery with my students. The Barton System allows me to get out of the way a bit and let the students meet with success independently, which is a more authentic way of learning. I love it.”

Alyssa Moore

After teaching ESL abroad, Alyssa became passionate about education, she believes it has a huge potential for positive change on both a personal and social level.

After completing her Honours degree in International Development she decided to complete a TESL diploma and spend time teaching abroad. Her journey took her to South Korea teaching kindergarten, France working as a Nanny and personal tutor, and to Laos teaching adults. All of these experiences showed her how important and diverse education can be. 

Since returning to Canada she has been working on her Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree at the University of Ottawa, focusing on culture, societies, and languages. Alyssa loves learning about new cultures and languages, and she currently volunteers with OCISO, an organization helping newcomers transition to life in Canada. 

When Alyssa is not working or studying she enjoys practicing yoga, cooking, and being outside. She loves to travel when she has the chance, as travel has been one of the best learning opportunities she has ever experienced.

Alyssa is excited to be working with The Open Door to help students break down barriers and reach their full potential.

"My favourite part of tutoring with the Open Door is watching my students gain confidence and get excited about reading. I love celebrating all the improvements my students make with them throughout the program, no matter how big or small!"

Leigh Anne Carson

Leigh Anne has been teaching children with dyslexia and other learning differences using the Barton method for over six years.  After receiving a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of British Columbia and a Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy from Queen’s University, Leigh Anne enjoyed working as a pediatric physiotherapist with children of all abilities.  However, when her son was identified as having severe dyslexia, she became a Barton tutor and successfully homeschooled him to the point where he is now a confident honour roll student in high school. 

In addition to helping those with dyslexia, autism, and other learning differences, Leigh Anne is keen to promote the importance of physical well-being, with an emphasis on helping everyone, both old and young, achieve an optimal level of health through nutrition and physical activity.  A former competitive road, track, and mountain bike racer, Leigh Anne can often be found riding the local trails with her husband and their two children.

Leigh Anne joined The Open Door because she finds that there is nothing more rewarding, nor more important, than helping a child go from loathing reading to loving it.  From personal experience, she knows that every single student, with the right instruction and progression, has the ability to learn to read and write with ease.  Moreover, every single student deserves the chance to do so. 

Vicki Naish

Vicki is an experienced English and Visual Arts teacher who has taught at the elementary, secondary and college levels. She loves being a teacher, enjoying the relationships she builds with her students. 

She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Art and English, and a Bachelor of Education degree in Primary, Junior and Intermediate divisions. Vicki also has her Special Education Qualification, with a focus on Learning Disabilities. 

Vicki is a talented and experienced artist. She also has a passion for travel and other outdoor activities, including cross-country skiing. 

She started tutoring with the Open Door because she believes in the Orton-Gillingham approach that they use. She wanted to use the best method to help a struggling child learn to read and spell. 

"I love watching my students progress, and being a part of their world."

Marla Ruta

Marla studied English at the University of Ottawa and also works for the Canada Council for the Arts.  She is very passionate about literature, language, and learning, and has developed tremendous respect for the teaching profession.


Marla is a very family-oriented person with two young boys at home.  She enjoys reading stories, playing at the park with her children and taking family walks with the dog.  During her downtime, she enjoys reading, quilting, scrapbooking, and a variety of other crafty pursuits.

She became interested in tutoring after researching dyslexia when her husband started working for The Open Door. Having seen the impact the Barton program has had on the lives of children, Marla knew she wanted to provide that opportunity to others as well. She is a positive and supportive guide on her students' journey to independence in literacy.

"I love all of the little "aha" moments. When you see the child's face light up because they just made a connection and that is going to make everything just a little bit easier for them moving forward. Once you have enough little moments they can look back and see how much they have accomplished."

Dennis Hall

Dennis is a graduate from the University of Ottawa and holds both a Bachelor of Arts with a Specialization in English Literature and a Bachelor of Education. He is an Ontario College of Teachers certified educator and has experience working with students in both the Ottawa-Carleton and Upper Canada District School boards. Along with this, he also holds partial alternative qualifications in Special Education.

Dennis has a natural enthusiasm for learning and was drawn to the teaching profession through his desire to help others.

He is an avid reader (of both fiction and non-fiction), film buff and music fan who enjoys collecting vinyl records, live music and outdoor recreation. 

Dennis is enthusiastic to be working with The Open Door as he has found the one-on-one style of instruction offered by The Open Door to be highly engaging and rewarding for both teacher and student.  He is excited to help students develop their literacy skills and meet their educational goals in a meaningful and impactful way. 

Marion May

Marion is a freelance writer, watercolour artist, and literacy tutor who delights in teaching and sharing her love of reading and writing with children and youth.

Since graduating from Humber College, Marion has enjoyed a fulfilling writing career.  She also holds a Narration and Voice-Acting Certificate, Baking and Pastry Arts Certificate from Algonquin College and a Business Development Diploma from Cambrian College.  Seeing the effects of low-literacy among marginalized audiences, Marion became a passionate advocate for literacy and worked as a literacy tutor for students at Sir Guy Carleton Secondary School for over seven years.  She was elected Vice-President for Sage Youth, an Ottawa based literacy organization serving disadvantaged youth, and has worked as a fundraiser and researcher for The Excellence in Literacy Foundation.


In her spare time, Marion enjoys running half-marathons, bread baking, reading, and writing short fiction stories. She volunteers weekly at her local library as a facilitator for a Teens and Adult Writing Circle and is the creator, host blogger and photographer for the food history and recipe blog, BarrhavenBites.

Marion joined The Open Door as a tutor, to help struggling students become confident in their reading and spelling abilities and to convince them that they can become successful people—ready and capable of taking on new challenges in their education and careers.

Matthew Gallina

Matthew Gallina is an elementary school teacher who loves connecting with students while helping them to overcome challenges.  He obtained his B.A. at the University of Windsor, and his Bachelor of Education at Nipissing University.  He has 7 years experience teaching students in Northern Saskatchewan, and has worked with children who speak English as a Second Language. 

Matthew became a father in July 2017, and relocated with his wife from La Loche, Saskatchewan to Ottawa, in order to be closer to family.  He is passionate about education, and wants to influence and inspire every student that he teaches.

He decided to work for The Open Door because he knows that the most important and rewarding part of his role as educator is to help and mentor students who are struggling, and then to celebrate with them as they make progress.

Devi Ferri

Devi loves providing support to children and families. She is an enthusiastic educator who both enjoys and excels at creating an engaging learning environment.

She has a BA in Sociology from Carleton University, and is certified with a Graduate TESL Certificate from Algonquin College. Devi has worked in the field of education and support for over ten years, both locally and internationally. She has worked as a teacher in both Korea and Japan with a focus on child centered, play based learning.

More recently she has worked at the Ottawa Carleton Board of Education facilitating programs for families, as well as Somerset West Community Health Center. She loves working with people from diverse backgrounds and learns from every relationship and situation.

Devi enjoys spending time with her husband and three growing children and is committed and eager to help them navigate their daily lives and future goals. She loves camping, cooking, and spending time with dear friends.

Devi started working at The Open Door to empower individuals and families living with learning differences. She is enthusiastic about imparting understanding and support skills that coincide with this. She enjoys working in a student-centered environment and is dedicated to creating a safe space that allows clients to flourish and embrace their potential. She is a dedicated problem solver and facilitator.  Devi has a passion for education and is eager to provide the support for those that need it.

"I love when students begin to apply what they have learned and start to use these strategies for problem solving and self correction."

Laura Reinertson

Laura is a Carleton University student who also works as an online English tutor. She is in the Applied Linguistics and Discourse Studies program where she found her passion for sharing language with others. She is also minoring in European Russian Studies and Russian Language Studies. 

Laura strives to empathize with her students and their struggles, while helping them build confidence in their own unique strengths.

Laura is an avid green-thumb, having many houseplants as well as volunteer-gardening in the community. Growing up on a farm in Northern Ontario, she has a love for the countryside and enjoys taking trips to Gatineau Park for hikes. She also enjoys reading, particularly comic books and graphic novels.

Laura began working with The Open Door as an opportunity to work one-on-one with kids after her time working online. She believes that the tutor and the student have much to teach each other in every class.

Sarah Mulepa

Sarah is a TESOL Certified ESL Teacher who has spent her last four years teaching in Tianjin, China. She has completed her Bachelor of Arts degree with high honours majoring in Philosophy at Carleton University. She is currently working on her Bachelor of Education degree in the primary/junior division at the University of Ottawa.

In her free time, she loves downhill skiing. She also enjoys cooking with her family, going for runs, and reading a good book. She is passionate about music and loves to play the guitar.

Sarah is so excited to be working at the Open Door because she knows how important it is to communicate through reading and writing. Additionally, she would like her students to have as many chances as possible. She would like her students to know that they are not alone, and that learning can be a positive experience!

My favourite part of working with The Open Door is hearing from the parents that their child is doing better in school and their grades are improving!"

Enya Barbeau

Enya is a passionate proponent of literacy and education. She is a graduate of the University of Ottawa with a B.A. in History and Visual Arts. She has experience as a literacy tutor and a special education tutor for the Limestone District School Board in Kingston. She also works in education programming with the City of Ottawa museum network.

In her downtime, Enya enjoys exploring the local arts scene, travelling to new places, and relaxing with a good book. She is also a practicing artist.

Enya started working with The Open Door in order to enable opportunity and success for people with learning differences. She loves to build relationships of trust with her students and watch their confidence and skills grow.

Devon Larock

Devon is a teacher who loves helping her students reach their potential by conquering their goals and overcoming adversity. Before working for The Open Door, Devon was a behavioral therapist for autistic children. She graduated from St. Francis Xavier University with a major in Psychology.

In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors with her dog. She devotes many hours to reading educational material to further in knowledge in the field. 

Devon started working with Open Door because her passion lies in education and helping children grow mentally in order to achieve personal success and realize that their abilities are infinite.

Leigha Brigham

Leigha is an ESL teacher who loves the English language and coming up with creative and engaging activities that help students learn. She earned her Bachelor Degree in Intercultural Studies at Ambrose University in Calgary, studied Elementary Education at Taylor University College in Edmonton, and has her TESL Diploma (teaching English as a Second Language).  She completed the course “Supporting Children with Difficulties in Reading and Writing" through the University of London and is certified in the Barton Reading and Spelling System.   She taught English as a Second Language to newcomers to Canada. 

She is also a busy mother of twin boys and a daughter. She loves being a mother to her three children, getting outside for walks, reading, baking, and playing board games.

She started working with The Open Door because she appreciates the value of working with students one on one to allow them to get the support they need to overcome obstacles and meet their academic goals.

“I love seeing how quickly students gain confidence and improve their reading and spelling in a short period of time.  It is always great to hear that students are reading more, have moved up a reading level, and have improved their writing.”

Richard Forsyth

Richard is a very experienced elementary teacher.  He enjoys working with students to build confidence by employing various teaching strategies.  By developing a positive and fun learning environment, he believes students can achieve successful results. He has taught for many years in elementary schools in Halifax and at two independent schools in Ottawa.  Richard is a graduate of St. Francis Xavier University, The University of New Brunswick (B.Ed.) and the University of Ottawa (MPE).  

With a background in Physical Education, Richard believes in daily physical activity.  He stays active by cycling, skating, treadmilling, and Nordic Walking.  He places emphasis on sharing time with family and friends, reading, and collecting books.  

He joined the Open Door to be a player on a team which aims to make a difference in the lives of students by building a strong foundation of learning habits.

Bianca Amaral-Stewart

Bianca is a tutor and Algonquin College professor who loves helping students to build their skills and confidence. She began tutoring as a volunteer in 2001 and has been helping students ever since. She has worked in after-school homework clubs, summer youth programs, board-level enrichment course programs, and as a private tutor. Bianca graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering and is working towards becoming a certified teacher. She enjoys teaching many subjects, including English, French, Mathematics, and Sciences.

When she is not teaching, Bianca appreciates spending time with her family and friends. Her favourite activities are playing board games and spending time in nature.

Having taught in classrooms and one-on-one, Bianca believes that students learn best when teaching methods are tailored to the learning style and individual strengths of each student. She joined The Open Door so she can work one-on-one with students to help them overcome individual challenges and achieve their goals.

Anne Parker

Anne is a very experienced teacher and a specialist in Special Education. She studied Mathematics, English, Geography, and History at the University of Victoria and Carleton University, followed by pedagogical studies at the University of Ottawa, Drake University, and Lakehead University. Over the years she has taught all ages -- from very young children to adults -- and many subjects, but remains most passionate about English, Mathematics, and Special Education.

Anne was originally drawn to education as a teenager out of a desire to help her hearing-impaired younger brother. Later she specialized in Special Education in order to better understand how to help her young son, who was unable to read. After assisting these two loved ones to become successful scholars, she turned her talents to helping other students overcome their personal learning obstacles in order to achieve success.

She is a keen naturalist who enjoys spending time outdoors, camping and canoeing with her family. She also is an avid amateur horticulturalist and a pet lover, so she really enjoys both home gardening and relaxing in the backyard with the family dog. When the weather drives everyone inside, she enjoys reading and watching movies.

Anne is excited to be working with The Open Door because she loves working one-to-one with students and developing a supportive relationship with those who are struggling to succeed.

"What I enjoy the most about tutoring with The Open Door is the super warm welcome I receive at the students' homes. The excitement displayed over my arrival tells me that my students really love their Barton lessons!"

Alexa Elder

Alexa is a student in the Applied Linguistics and Discourse Studies program at Carleton University.  Her program’s emphasis is on acquisition and instruction of language, and she loves working in education. She has worked as an ESL instructor, a private tutor, and most recently as a literacy support worker at Kingston Literacy and Skills, a not-for-profit adult education center where she taught English, literacy, math, and computers.

After completing her BA, Alexa plans on earning her Master's degree.  In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, yoga, and exploring Ontario's beautiful lakes, rivers, and parks.

Alexa started tutoring at The Open Door because she loves to teach and wants to help her students see how fun and healthy learning can be.


"My favorite thing about working with a student is that moment when something clicks for them; when they use a tricky concept on their own for the first time or read a word that would have intimidated them a month ago. I think it is so important to celebrate those breakthroughs. In my sessions there is a lot of clapping and a lot of laughing and a lot of high-fives. I love that energy, I love being part of something so positive."

Lisa Olsen

Lisa is a teacher who loves finding new and fun ways to engage her students with their learning. She graduated from Carleton University with a B.A. in Linguistics and Discourse Studies, certified in Teaching English as a Second Language (CTESL), and with a minor in Japanese.

She tutors at ELTOC (English Language Tutoring for the Ottawa Community), a non-profit organization that provides home tutoring for adult immigrants and refugees. She also volunteers at Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization by working with literacy students, as well as working as a teaching assistant and supply teacher.  She enjoys reading books about mythology and history and learning new languages. 

Lisa started working with The Open Door because she believes reading skills are crucial for academic success and wants to help students reach their full potential.

Monica Tran

Monica Tran completed her Bachelor of Education in elementary education, at the University of Ottawa. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in social sciences, specializing in political science and psychology, from the same university. Monica’s primary objective is to become a French and Special Education teacher, and will be completing additional qualifications in these areas.

Monica has many years of experience working with children, including those who have special needs. She has worked at many summer camps and as a student teacher at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Since 2012, she has worked as a private tutor, tutoring children of diplomats English and French.

She enjoys attending and volunteering at different festivals, such as The Toronto International Film Festival and fundraisers in support of the SickKids Foundation. Furthermore, she currently continues to tutor and works for the City of Ottawa as a specialist instructor, teaching children gymnastics and various sports. Some of her interests include: watching films, travelling, reading, and learning new languages.

Monica is excited and extremely grateful about having the opportunity to work at The Open Door, and is looking forward to helping her students progress in the areas of reading and writing so they can reach their full potential as individuals and learners.

Hannah Plamenig

Hannah is an elementary school teacher who has taught in Ghana, South Korea, Tanzania, and Ontario. For the past two years she has been a homeroom teacher in Gatineau, Quebec. She has a Bachelor of Education from the University of Ottawa and a degree in Political Studies from Queen’s University.

In her spare time, Hannah enjoys swimming, running, and cycling. She is an avid reader and loves spending time with friends.

Hannah believes in empowering her students by helping them to engage in social justice issues in a meaningful way. For example, her classroom students participate in Have a Heart Day at Parliament to advocate for equal education for First Nations children.

She is proud to work for Open Door Education because she believes children learn best when provided with a highly-structured program and feel a personal attachment to their teacher. She looks forward to watching her students develop both their literacy skills and their personal confidence.

Emily Dale

Emily originally comes from a nursing background and has a passion for helping others.  She has worked as a tutor at the college level and has completed the University of London course "Supporting Children with Difficulties in Reading and Writing'.  

She is a busy mom to three children and is actively involved in their education, reading and writing with them often.  She enjoys spending time outdoors, canoeing and camping with her family, and teaching her kids about the natural world.  Emily spends her spare time reading, gardening and practicing yoga. 

Emily started working at The Open Door because she enjoys working one-on-one with students to help them overcome their struggles.  She believes that everyone deserves a chance to succeed at reading, regardless of learning style. 

Ashley Reaume

Ashley is a recent graduate and ESL Teacher who has a passion for language and the power of learning. 

She has her B.A. in Second Language Teaching and most recently, a Master of Education in Societies, Cultures and Languages, both from the University of Ottawa. She has taught English in Canada, Spain, and Korea to children as well as adults.

In her spare time, Ashley enjoys reading, playing trivia, and traveling.

She started working with The Open Door because she wants to share her love of learning, and believes every child just needs the right tools to reach their full potential.

Jessica Li

Jessica graduated from the University of Ottawa with a B.A. degree major in Second Language Teaching. She went on to obtain her Bachelor of Education at Tyndale University College and Seminary.  After graduating, she took some time to travel and work as a classroom teacher in the United Kingdom.  Jessica has worked in a variety of schools with different types of classroom settings, environments, and demographics.

Jessica loves to see the world and travel. When she has free time, she loves to bake and tends to be making something sweet in the kitchen.

She started working with The Open Door because she loves being able to help students reach their full potential. She loves helping students to gain the skills they need to succeed.

Melissa Beyers

Melissa is currently working in the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board as an Early Childhood Assistant Teacher. She also does supply work in various childcare programs within Ottawa. 

She has completed her Honors Bachelor of Science and is currently studying Early Childhood Education in order to support her growing work with children especially in teaching and tutoring.

In her spare time, Melissa has volunteered with special needs children at Ottawa Children's Treatment Centre, and has also been volunteering for years within the school system with children of various ages. She also enjoys spending time with her family, going for long walks in nature, reading, crocheting, and candle making. She also appreciates as any form of continuing education as she loves to learn new things all the time.

She started working with The Open Door because she felt that the Open Door was the best place to help make an impact or a difference in the lives of children with learning reading and language.

Emily Hollander

Emily is a teacher who enjoys supporting her students and seeing them thrive in all that they do. She has her Bachelor of Education in the junior and primary divisions, a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in Psychology and an additional qualification for teaching English as a second language.

She has taught English immersion based education to children in South Korea and primary and junior grades in the public school board as a student teacher. She has also worked with various age groups in a daycare centre.

Emily loves to bake delicious goods and travel to different places in her free time.

She started to work with The Open Door because she seeks to be a part of the path which ensures every student reaches their full potential.