Our Teachers

Our teachers are dedicated to their work and to our students, and they take pride in fostering academic excellence, creativity, and social conscience. All of our teachers are selected for their expertise in their fields as well as their passion for education.

Click on a photo to see the descriptions of each of our teachers

Michelle Lefolii, Principal of Abelard

Michelle Lefolii

Brian Blair, The Abelard School

Brian Blair

Alina Rossinsky, The Abelard School

Alina Rossinsky

Mark Young, The Abelard School

Mark Young

Inga Bratchuli, The Abelard School

Inga Bratchuli

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Dr. Michael Kilgour

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Jennifer Franssen 

Cassandra Silver, The Abelard School

Cassandra Silver

Carol Swartz, The Ablard School

Dr. Carol Schwartz

Oliver Cheng, The Abelard School

Oliver Cheng

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Dr. Adam Mepham

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Dr.Laurelle Veloce

“Guiding us through a challenging curriculum was a set of the most intelligent, highly educated, and dedicated teachers I have ever known. Whether to help with a difficult concept, to provide extra information for curious students, or simply to chat about this or that, Abelard's teachers with their infinite patience were always there for us.”

Anne-Marie Zapf-Belanger, A.B. (Harvard), JD, (UBC), Abelard Class of '05

 
Lefolii Abelard Principal

Michelle Lefolii

Michelle Lefolii is one of the founding members of the Abelard School. She has studied at the University of Toronto (Honours Bachelor of Arts in English, major in French), at the Sorbonne (French Literature), the École du Louvre (Art History) and at OISE (in the Masters of Teaching English programme). She is a firm believer in the importance of literature to personal experience and as a discipline worthy of rigorous academic study.

 

Brian Blair

Brian Blair is one of the founding members of the Abelard School. He studied first Chemical Engineering and then Classical Greek and Roman language, literature, history, and philosophy at the University of Toronto. After obtaining his Honours B.A. and M.A., he completed the coursework for his Ph.D. Mr. Blair teaches Classics, Political Science, and Philosophy. If he can pass on his love of learning to his students, he will be a happy man.

Brian Blair, Abelard Founder
 
Alina Rossinsky

Alina Rossinsky

Alina Rossinsky is one of the founding members of the Abelard School. She obtained her B.A. and M.Ed. in French Studies from the Department of Foreign Languages at the Pedagogical University in Moscow, Russia. She has years of experience in French language instruction, journalism, and translation. Ms. Rossinsky currently teaches French, French civilization, and modern languages, and enjoys nothing more than challenging her students to be the best they can be.

 

Mark Young

Mark Young has a Master’s degree in Classics from the University of Toronto and spent several additional years working towards his Doctorate in Classics. He was Principal of The Abelard School from 2004-2014 and began his second term as Principal in 2020. His most recent publication is Giannozzo Manetti: A Translator's Defence. Mr Young teaches English, Classics, and History with the hope of furthering his students’ zeal to read widely and think deeply. 

Mark Young, The Abelard School
 
Inga Bratchuli, The Abelard School

Inga Bratchuli

Inga Bratchuli holds a Master of Science in Biophysics from Georgia State University in Tbilisi, Georgia. She has been associated with the school in many capacities since 2000: as a teacher; as a parent (her son graduated from Abelard in 2010); as instructor for our after-school yoga club; and as our current Office Manager. If you have any questions about the school, or require any assistance, Ms. Bratchuli is happy to draw upon her wealth of experience to assist you.

 

Dr. Michael Kilgour

Michael Kilgour holds a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering Chemistry from Queen’s University and in 2019 completed his PhD in Chemical Physics Theory at the University of Toronto. He has been an Abelard School Teacher since 2016, and continues his Theoretical Chemistry research as a postdoctoral researcher at McGill University. Every year Michael looks forward to sharing his enthusiasm for science with the chemistry students, and his love of music with the Jazz Club.

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Jennifer Franssen Keenan 

 

 

Jennifer Franssen Keenan holds undergraduate degrees in Biology and Chemistry and English Literature and an M.A. in English. She studied law at the University of Toronto and the London School of Economics, earning the Juris Doctor degree with honours.  She spent two years working toward her Ph.D. in Law at the LSE  before returning to Canada to article at Stikeman Elliott LLP in Toronto. She was called to the Bar of Ontario in 2008. Jennifer has taught Law and English literature at Abelard since 2018 and is currently teaching English in our middle school program. 

Cassandra Silver, The Abelard School

Cassandra Silver

Cassandra Silver holds a Masters degree in Drama, and is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto's Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies. She has taught Drama at the university level since 2008. She has also directed and performed in numerous theatrical productions in Toronto, Ottawa, and Alberta.

 
Carol Schwartz, The Abelard School

Dr. Carol Schwartz

Dr. Schwartz holds a PhD in Molecular and Medical Genetics from U of T. She carried out postdoctoral research at the University of California at San Francisco and began work as a research associate at the Best Institute in the Faculty of Medicine at U of T in 1997. She has also worked as a research associate in the Department of Cell and Systems Biology. She is the author of numerous scientific publications. Dr. Schwartz has taught courses in the Departments of Zoology, Cell and Systems Biology and Human Biology at U of T.

 

Oliver Cheng

Abelard alumnus Oliver Cheng (class of 2004) is our Mathematics teacher. Since graduating from Abelard, he has had a spectacular academic career, obtaining his M.Sc. in Mathematics in 2009, and pursuing post- graduate studies at Brown University until 2015, where he was also employed as lecturer in Multivariable Calculus and Analytic Geometry. He is also an experienced high school teacher, having taught both Math and Latin (yes, he's a true Abelardian!) in schools in Canada, the U.S. and China.

Oliver Cheng, The Abelard School
 
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Dr. Adam Mepham

Adam has a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from U of T. His research revolved around designing and building biosensors for the detection and measurement of disease biomarkers.  He currently works as a professional computer programmer at a small independent company.  He has been teaching at Abelard since 2020.  He enjoys making computer science fun and approachable, and hopes that his students come to share his interest in the subject.

 

Dr. Laurelle Veloce

Laurelle Veloce holds a Bachelors degree in Physics from McMaster, a Masters degree in Experimental Particle Physics from Queens, and a PhD from the University of Toronto. She is a member of the ATLAS particle physics experiment at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). In the past she has worked at SNOLAB, TRIUMF, and the Canadian Space Agency.  Presently Laurelle is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Toronto. Laurelle teaches physics at the Abelard school from 2016. Some of her interests include piano and silversmithing.

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