Shannon Foley is the founder and operator of Red-tailed Hawk Forest School. She has over twelve years experience teaching both inside the classroom and outside. Shannon began by developing and implementing outdoor education programs in a private school setting with a local environmentalist. This is where her inspiration for nature-based education grew from! She performed extensive research on Forest Schools before developing and launching one of her own. Shannon has completed the Forest School Canada's Practitioners Course and Red-tailed Hawk is now fully recognized by Forest School Canada and the Child and Nature Alliance.  Her focus is on providing quality nature-based education through an inquiry-based approach, and fostering a life-long love of learning in our natural environment for her students.  Shannon is an active outdoor enthusiast who enjoys time running, hiking, SUP-ing, skiing, and snowshoeing with her young family when she is not teaching at Red-tailed Hawk! 


Joanna Horning is the mother of 2 young boys and has worked with children for over 17 years. From being a nanny to 3 young boys to starting the Youth Council for the Town of the Blue Mountains, she has always believed that it is through the relationships we form with children that will make our planet a better place.  Joanna has done programming and management for day/overnight camps and also performed music for many children's birthday party's and events. She has her Casa Montessori Teacher Training and ran her own Montessori inspired daycare. She studied Philosophy and Environmental Ethics at university and Recording Arts Management  at college. Joanna is passionate about finding solutions to environmental concerns, playing and writing music, as well as growing food, flowers and trees (and children of course!) She believes that deep connections to nature help us better understand ourselves and each other and feels grateful to be a part of Red-Tailed Hawk Forest School!


Ashton Grimmer is commonly referred to as Red-winged Blackbird at Red-tailed Hawk Forest School.  Ashton comes to Forest School with a background in early childhood education from a more urban setting.  Since joining RTH, Ashton has enjoyed supporting children in their natural environment to thrive and learn everyday!  Ashton is an active outdoor enthusiast who enjoys hiking, snowshoeing, and environmental photography!  She is also a fisherwoman who embraces time to sit immersed in nature and reflect.  Sit spots is often Ashton’s most favourite core routine at Forest School as she takes on a role to support students in increasing mindfulness in our natural environment.  Ashton worked and trained in a city daycare in Brampton for five years.  In this time she completed courses in early childhood education, behaviour management, and CPR first aid with specialized defibrillator training.  Ashton’s enthusiasm for working with children is infectious!  She supports and encourages children to learn and develop through imaginative play on a daily basis!  Ashton is committed to supporting children to become life-long learners in their natural environment, in her equal and inclusive role as an educator.


Suzanne O'Neil graduated from the University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Family and Consumer Studies, majoring in Child Studies. After completing her Bachelor of Education at the Ontario Teacher Education College in Hamilton, she began her teaching career in Peel County.  She joined Pretty River Academy as a founding staff member, teaching grades one to five. She has always been interested in child development, and the education of young children.

A love of reading has led to an extensive collection of children's literature, which Suzanne enjoys sharing with her young grandchildren. Other interests include drawing, painting, and photography. She believes in sharing these interests in the process of encouraging students to express themselves in a variety of ways, to demonstrate their understanding of the world around them.

Suzanne's interest in forest and nature education has grown and developed through family time at the cottage; hiking, swimming, and canoeing.Through many meaningful experiences in this setting, she has come to believe in the healing and restorative effects of time spent outdoors. She is thrilled to be involved in this new adventure, the creation of Red Tailed Hawk Forest School.


Brenda Beattie is a music specialist who has been teaching children in the Georgian Triangle for many years.  Training at the Dick Grove Music School in Los Angeles, Brenda has a background in jazz piano and vocals. She recently attained an LLCM in jazz performance from the London College of Music, London England.  She is a level two Orff instructor and is currently under-going training in the Dalcroze method.  Brenda currently runs her own business Brenda Beattie Music, specializing in children's music classes, drum circle facilitation and private lessons.

Students at Red Tailed Hawk Forest School receive bi-weekly Music and Movement Classes.  Through percussion playing, singing, eurythmics and improvisation students explore and learn the elements of music.  Children have fun participating in games and activities that re-enforce musical concepts and explore creativity, all in an out-door setting.


Occasional Teachers


Carly O'Neill My name is Carly O’Neill and I am actively working towards the completion of my Early Childhood Education Certification. Growing up in Collingwood I have always thrived on being outdoors and have reaped the benefits of outdoor activities within all four seasons. Spending time outside helps remind me that I am connected to all living things, and that I am part of the community of nature. Throughout my life I have dedicated a lot of my time to caring for children. I have over 10 years of experience working with children, starting from ski instructing at Blue Mountain Resort, working at the licensed childcare setting on the resort, teaching English abroad, as well as mentoring youth in the community. I take a great deal of pride in my work with children and love to see them develop and grow into wonderful individuals, each distinctly unique. I find that I learn from the children I am working with, and truly admire their endless energy, honestly, creativity and curiosity.  When I am working with children I constantly have a smile on my face. Children motivate me to be the best possible version of myself.  I believe I am committed to supporting children to become life-long learners in their natural environment in my equal and inclusive role as an educator. I am an active outdoor enthusiast who enjoys spending time hiking with my dogs, swimming, paddling, skiing and snowshoeing with family and friends.