Anne Roberts Young Education Staff for 2020-2021

Our Staff


Broyden Bennett


I am originally from Ontario and arrived in Fort St. John in 2003 to start my career as a Math/PE teacher at Bert Bowes. In 2011, I moved into administration at École Central and have been there ever since. I am passionate about family, student learning, sports, and the Maple Leafs! I am excited to be moving to Anne Roberts Young as Principal and feel honoured to be part of this new community. I am eager to work with all staff, students, and parents to shape our school’s unique culture. I believe in ongoing communication between the community and the school, as it is the people and programs that make a school truly effective and successful. As with any new year, there will be challenges and opportunities for us along the way. It will be exciting to see the resulting growth. I would like to encourage everyone to become involved in the school community. Let’s work together to have a memorable school year. I look forward to working with you along the way!

Melissa DeGroot

Vice Principal

I am originally from Langley, BC, but I have lived in Fort St. John since I was five years old.  I am enthusiastic about learning, technology, inclusive education, and my family! I started teaching Grade 5 and 6 at Robert Ogilvie in 2006.  In 2018, I moved into administration and Robert Ogilvie. There have been many wonderful teaching and learning opportunities at RO along the way.  I am excited about the possibilities at Anne Roberts Young for students, staff, and parents to learn together. I’m looking forward to getting to know everyone and working together to create our new school community.  See you in September!

Laura Duncan


Hello! My name is Laura Duncan and I have been a teacher in Fort St. John for the past 6 years. I was born and raised in Langley B.C. and attended UBC for my Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education. When I graduated in 2013, my husband and I made the decision to leave the Lower Mainland and we moved to Fort St. John! We now have a beautiful baby girl, two cute little pups, and we love calling Fort St. John home. I have been teaching at Alwin Holland now for the past 5 years, and I am very excited to be part of the new team at Anne Roberts Young! I am looking forward to seeing where this new adventure takes us all!

Crystal Dutchak


Welcome!  My name is Crystal Dutchak and I am so excited to begin this journey with all of you as we establish our school community at Anne Roberts Young Elementary School.  I began my teaching career in 2000. I have taught in Alberta, Saskatchewan and northern BC; however, Fort St. John has always been my home. Born and raised here, my husband and I decided that the Peace River region would be the perfect place to raise our family.  Once my two daughters were old enough to attend school I went back to teaching. I have spent the majority of the last decade teaching grades three and four at Alwin Holland Elementary School. This past year I have been teaching at Bert Ambrose Elementary School. I believe that a strong sense of belonging and community where students and families feel welcomed, safe and included is an important part of having a positive school atmosphere.  Giving back to the community is an important responsibility that I like to share and encourage my students to do. Sharing hands on, real life, inquiry based learning opportunities with my students is my passion. I especially enjoy teaching with a literacy based lense that encourages my students to make connections and think deeply about their ideas and thoughts. I look forward to creating a vision, participating in collaboration, and all the learning that will take place at Anne Roberts Young.

Jason English


Critical thinking challenge: There are several things you can learn about me by analyzing the image.  

A long time ago, in a province far, far away (Ontario), I decided to travel a bit after having just graduated from Laurentian University. I took a position as an English teacher in South Korea, a choice that would change my life. I met my wife (we have two sons), it gave me my first glimpse into the privilege and possibilities of teaching, and it led to a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of British Columbia.

Some time ago, not very far away I realized that we all need to be lifelong students; that a successful teacher is one who is passionate about learning, who strives to challenge themselves, who is open to change, who loves to explore, especially the unknown, and most importantly, who is willing to listen to the ideas, opinions, dreams, fears, (you name it) of others.

I’m so excited to be joining the team at Anne Roberts Young Elementary and serving this community!

Jared Hamilton


Jared Hamilton is a numeracy & technology teacher in Northern British Columbia. Over the past decade he has taught in both Canada and the United Kingdom, and

is starting his phD in education. Interests include his family, learning with his students, the Edmonton Oilers, coffee and donuts.

Donna Hedges


I was born in Fort St. John and attended Buick Creek, Charlie Lake, Bert Bowes, and North Peace schools, then Northern Lights College, and Simon Fraser University.  I love our community and you will often find me hiking and exploring our many breathtaking locations.  I am also passionate about music, badminton, and Cross Country Running.   I spent 10 years at Upper Pine before teaching at Alwin Holland for the last 5.  I am so excited to be a part of the team at Anne Roberts Young and hope to help create an amazing school!

Tamara Hollman


I was born and raised in Fort St. John and even completed my teacher training locally. I love our community and I am looking forward to working with the parents and staff at Anne Roberts Young Elementary School to create a unique school community.  I have been teaching for 20 years and I have spent most of that time in the early primary grades. I have been a classroom teacher, a Reading Recovery teacher and a reading intervention teacher. I believe in creating active, hands-on opportunities for all children in a safe, positive environment. The more engaged children are, the more likely they are to learn and apply their learning in other places. I feel very fortunate to be able to say that I love what I do.

Kevin Kurkiniemi


Hello! My name is Kevin Kurkiniemi and I am so excited to be a part of the school community at Anne Roberts Young Elementary School.  I moved to Fort St John just under 3 years ago to continue my career as a teacher. I was born and raised in Williams Lake, and previously worked all across the province in many aspects of the forestry industry prior to teaching. Although I still have a huge enjoyment for the outdoors and recreate heavily in the wilderness, I came to a realization that pursuing a career in teaching was where I felt truly passionate about. In my five years of teaching I have taught many age groups, and have been finding myself passionate about the primary levels.  I am passionate about student learning, volunteering in the local community, and coaching school sports. Our learning journey is unique and I believe that having ongoing communication, implementing different learning strategies, and having a growth mindset are valuable personal qualities. I am really excited about joining the Anne Roberts team, and looking forward to the new school community and learning opportunities.

Anna Kursteiner


I was born in the Philippines and raised in Terrace, BC.  I moved to Fort St. John in 2006 and began my adventures in teaching at Charlie Lake Elementary School.  During my time there, I also became a certified Reading Recovery teacher.  I am Mom to two beautiful children and once they were school aged, I returned to teaching.  I have taught Reading Recovery and Grades 1-2 at Bert Ambrose for the past few years.  I am so looking forward to  being a part of what will be an amazing learning community at Anne Roberts Young!

Jennifer Larsh


My parents were both teachers in the community for over 30 years. They came to teach at Wonowon together for just one year…. You know how that story goes in Fort St. John! Although I was not born in FSJ, I grew up here and attended French Immersion at Central school and graduated from the program. I have always loved to travel, learning about the history of other places and of course the cultural experiences and food. Spending time with my family is always a priority for me as well as curling up with a good book and a warm cup of coffee. I began my teaching career at Duncan Cran for three years where I taught PE, Grade 1, and Grade 6/7. I then moved on to Bert Ambrose to teach Prep of many subjects combined with Learning Assistance, Grade 2, and Kindergarten for 8 years. I always enjoy the look on my students’ faces when I tell them I went to Kindergarten at Bert Ambrose! I am a strong advocate for the social-emotional well-being of my students and the importance of developing a positive mindset. A busy classroom with many hands-on activities and excited voices is where I love to be. I am excited for the new teaching opportunities that Anne Roberts Young will provide for our little learners.

Elaine McEachern

LA / RR Teacher

Check out this quick YouTube for more about Mrs. McEachern!


Tracie Watchel


Hello! My name is Tracie Watchel and I am very excited to be part of the Anne Roberts Young Kindergarten team.  I have been teaching in the Peace River North School District for the past 18 years.  I was a Teacher-On-Call for several years when my children were young and had several part-time positions after that before settling in full-time at Bert Ambrose for the past 8 years.  Although I have taught a range of age groups over the years my heart lies in Kindergarten.  I truly believe Kindergarten is a vitally important year for students as it sets the tone for their entire academic career.  I look forward each year to doing my part in ensuring that vitally important year is an amazing one.  I am inspired by the collaborative concept of teaching that Anne Roberts Young represents and cannot wait to embark on this new adventure!

Lori Wigglesworth


Hi My name is Lori Wigglesworth. I was born and raised in Fort St John, I moved away for university but always knew I would come back for my teaching career. I worked as a TTOC for a year to become familiar with the different schools, staff and administrators before settling into a position at Taylor Elementary. I worked there for 7 years teaching grades Kindergarten to Grade Two. This last year, I moved to Alwin Holland Elementary, which has been a great learning experience to work in a larger school. I have a strong passion for teaching younger students, as I always enjoy watching them grow and progress. I like to teach in a hands-on approach to meet the needs of my students. I look forward to the many learning opportunities ahead. I am excited to be a part of the community of Anne Roberts Young!

Alyson VanSnick


Hi! My name is Alyson VanSnick and I am thrilled to be a part of the Anne Roberts Young team for the 20/21 school year. I am originally from a small town in Nova Scotia. I moved to Fort St. John last fall all thanks to a friend who was having a fabulous experience working here. It has amazed me how many people I have met from back home which lead me to believe I have found my home within Fort St. John. Over the past 7 years, I have had the opportunity to teach in public and private schools, ESL, daycares, tutoring, and summer camps (even in England). I have also been a part of equine therapy programs. I believe, to inspire the young minds we are given the opportunity to teach, we need to allow our students the space to believe in themselves, give them opportunities to build confidence and to work as a team. We must help our students to develop into their unique selves. I am an advocate for allowing students to gain these skills while also promoting the importance of having a positive mindset. I look forward to getting to know the parents, students and staff of Anne Roberts Young and to explore all the new opportunities the new school year has to come.