Teacher Profile: Ian Esquivel

Ian has a long history with City School. After his first year of teaching, he was hired by one of the school’s founders, Myra Novogrodsky, to replace Bob Morgan, City’s Media teacher who was on Leave. The job became permanent, with Ian teaching English, Media, Social Studies, and History. 

It was a steep learning curve but he had great mentors – Myra and Elaine Mitchell. Hired at the same time was Marc Lichtenberg, the school’s eco-evangelist. Fast forward twenty-five years to when Ian returned to City School where Marc still taught, to Ian’s delight.

Ian has held positions as a Head of English; CL for ELS/English/Library; TDSB English/Literacy Instructional Leader; Gifted Program Coordinator; and OISE AQ Instructor. For years, he also was on the Executive of the Association for Media Literacy, and the Toronto and the Ontario Council of Teachers.

Ian enjoys the classroom and is a strong advocate for students. He is a fan of the work of Paulo Freire who believed that students and teachers should learn together. He also considers himself a feminist; he was raised by a single mother, nurtured by female friends, and mentored by many strong women.

Outside of school, Ian loves to read, cook, play and listen to music,  and travel. He has driven across Canada and the U.S.; toured many cities in Europe; led school trips to Kenya and Portugal; and visited Israel and Kuwait. Above all else, he values his family and friends, and is always ready to lend a hand or an ear. As well, he is involved in several charitable organizations.

Ian spent the 2017-18 school year teaching in Neuchatel, Switzerland.  It was a very good experience for him to be back in the classroom with few administrative responsibilities. But he is really looking forward to returning to City in September and especially to seeing those students that he taught over the past few years who still are at the school, among them Marielle.

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Student Profile: Marielle Wong

Marielle came to City School as a member of the first Grade 9 cohort. She had been encouraged by her family and teacher who thought it would be a good fit. At first, she was skeptical of a small-sized school until she went for a tour. She immediately fell in love and desperately wanted to enrol. She has been happy with her choice ever since.

It has been a good fit. Marielle has become an integral part of the school community, consistently demonstrating “quiet leadership” by modelling a commitment to her studies, helping her peers to succeed, frequently lending a hand, and when needed, stepping in to take charge. As a student in Grade 11 Leadership, she helped to organize and facilitate several key events, including the school’s first Games Day. She is reliable and trustworthy, and extremely perceptive. Marielle represents the type of student that City Schoovalues most - a creative, independent and critical thinker.

When she first arrived, Marielle had to overcome her habit of school avoidance, which manifested as skipping and poor attendance. It worried her that she might not succeed but she overcame that challenge, an accomplishment that she’s very proud of.  She found the right school with the right learning environment, but she also found her way by being eager to make friends. In no time, she had a “crew’ of pals that she has maintained over the years. She has lots of fun with them but also keeps them in line.

In fact, it is the sense of community that Marielle will remember most after she has graduated. She feels that everyone looks out for each other and pitches in when others need help. She believes that being at City makes you feel like you’re a part of a unique community. And it is students like Marielle that create that uniqueness by being open to diverse perspectives and ideas, eager to develop and grow, and curious about the world.

Her immediate education goals are to graduate with high marks and pursue post-secondary schooling. She plans to enrol in the nursing program at George Brown College. It seems a natural fit for a student as compassionate and dedicated as Marielle is. Her first taste of what it means to be a health practitioner will be this summer - she and her friend Eros have been accepted into a program in Health Sciences at the University of Toronto.

Outside of school, Marielle likes to read, cook, bake, listen to music, play with her cat, and watch TV. Her favourite show is Top Boy, a British drama about a housing estate in East London. It’s a gloomy and intense show but still a good watch, she says. And she also likes to spend time with family. They are fun to be around and always there for her, in the same way that Marielle is always there for the people she cares about.