Diane Nelson, Director of Instruction

diane-nelson-portraitWest Vancouver Schools Premier Academy

Diane Nelson, Director of Instruction, is founder of West Vancouver Schools ten Premier Academy programs.

Chosen as one of Canada’s Outstanding Principals in 2012 by the Learning  Partnership, Diane was selected for her ability to communicate a compelling vision, to engage the community by consistently bringing together a highly knowledgeable and competent team of teachers, coaches, instructors, and other community members to work together to deliver quality programs for student-athletes.  Diane is an exceptional leader, one who continues to lay the foundation for the success of her students and the betterment of the community through a strong and vibrant public education system.

Twice nominated (2002 & 2012) for the YWCA Women of Distinction Award in the categories of Entrepreneurship, as well as Education, Training & Development, Diane has been honoured for her achievements that contribute to the well-being and future of the community. The YWCA Women of Distinction Award is recognized as one of Canada’s most prestigious awards for women.

diane-nelson-awardWith over 30 years experience in education, as both a teacher and administrator, Diane has obtained her Bachelor of Education, Diploma in Counseling Psychology, and Master's in Educational Administration, all from the University of British Columbia.

As a MindUP Trainer, Diane has provided numerous workshops and in-service for teachers to help them deliver an evidence-based curriculum that helps foster social and emotional awareness, enhance psychological well-being, and promote academic success. Diane inspires educators to create an optimistic classroom that promotes and develops mindful attention to oneself and others, tolerance of differences, and the capacity of each student to grow as a human being and a learner.

An educational consultant for the Vancouver Canucks' Community Partnership Program since 2005, Diane is the creator and author of the character education program called Fin’s Friends. The program was written for teachers to help them provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to enhance ethical and responsible behaviour. This valuable classroom resource for teachers assists them with the teaching of social responsibility and character building. The program, written for Grades K-3, is being taught by primary teachers in over 3800 classrooms around the province. To date, the program is being used in over 35% of all K-3 classrooms in B.C. Diane last presented the program Nationally to educators at the Canada Character Conference held in Abbotsford, B.C. October 2015.

diane-nelson-w-gordon-campbellDiane's leadership style is marked by her entrepreneurial spirit. Her accomplishments are numerous including founding, owning and operating the Vancouver Griffins, the first women's professional hockey team in Western Canada, a member of the National Women's Hockey League (NWHL). The team featured Olympians such as Nancy Drolet, Cammi Granato, Shelley Looney and Courtney Kennedy. In November, 2010, Cammi Granato was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. Many of her Griffins' artifacts are on display in the Hockey Hall of Fame, including the signing of her first pro contract with the Griffins' organization. In 2002, the BC Sports Hall of Fame recognized Diane for her achievements in sport as part of an exclusive group of 35 outstanding women leaders and legends.

A long time athlete, she has competed in numerous sports including half marathons, 10km runs, triathlons, dragon boating, field hockey, figure skating, bodybuilding and swimming. Some highlights include 6 gold medals at the 1986 World Lifeguard Championships and Miss Vancouver, 1983 Bodybuilding Championships.

Diane's entire career has been about giving students an opportunity to better themselves and realize their hopes and aspirations. She firmly believes that enthusiastic and thoughtful guidance is the best way to assist our youth on the path that they choose.

Ms. Roberta Baseggio, Artistic Director, Ballet Russe BC


Born in Italy, Ms. Roberta Baseggio began her ballet studies at very young age.  She trained at the National Academy of Dance in Rome, where she graduated with a Degree in Arts and Dance in 1989.  There, she mastered the Vaganova method, Italian Enrico Cecchetti method, and the Martha Graham contemporary technique and trained with internationally renowned ballet masters Victor Litvinov, Loipa Araújo, Margherita Trayanova, Zarko Prebil, Luc Bouy, Floris Alexander, Patricia Neary, Elisabetta Terabust, just to name a few.

Over the course of her professional career, Ms. Baseggio performed throughout Europe and internationally, working alongside legends of dance such as Carla Fracci, Peter Schaufuss, Susan Hogard, Vladimir Vassiliev, Luciana Savignano, Charles Jude, Valentina Kolpakova, Monique Loudier, and choreographers such as Roland Petit, Rudy Van Danzig, Ricardo Nunez, Lorca Massine, Stephen Petronio, Luciano Cannito, Giuseppe Carbone, and Massimo Moricone.

Ms. Baseggio performed as a soloist and principal dancer with some of the most prestigious Italian state theatre companies such as the Opera House in Rome, the Maggio Danza in Florence, the San Carlo Theatre in Naples, and the Arena and Filarmonico Theatre in Verona, as well as with private companies like Astra Roma Ballet, the Balletto di Napoli and Koros.  She has performed leading roles in some of the most ballets of classical and contemporary works such as “Romeo and Juliet”, “Swan Lake”, “Don Quixote”, “Giselle”, “La Sylphide” by Peter Schaufuss, “Midsummer Night Dream”, “The Four Temperaments” by Balanchine, “The Nutcracker”, “Cinderella” by Rudolf Nureyev, among many others.

Since relocating to Canada in 2007, Ms. Baseggio has been teaching ballet and contemporary in Victoria and Vancouver, and has been invited to adjudicate in the city’s main dance festivals.  In 2009, Ms. Baseggio founded and directed the Vancouver City Dance Theatre (VCDT), and she choreographed a world premiere called, “The Dali Universe” featuring principle dancers from the National Ballet of Canada as well as various other local and international guest professional dancers.  The VCDT toured Europe and was later awarded “Best Dance Company of the Year” by Il Giornale della Danza”.

In 2010, she was appointed Teaching Director Representative for North America and Canada by the National Academy of Dance in Rome, with the directive to introduce and expand its curriculum based on the Vaganova method.  In addition, since 2011, she has been working as a Stage Movement Coach and Choreographer at the University of British Columbia, Opera and Music Division where she has designed and implemented Total Body Awareness workshops for opera singers. Ms. Baseggio is also a Member of the Association of Russian Ballet and Theatre Arts.  As the Artistic Director of Ballet Russe British Columbia, Ms. Baseggio is very excited to play an integral role in helping to shape and advance the future of ballet training in the lower mainland.

Ms. Tanya Jarrett, Founder and Executive Director, Ballet Russe BC

Tanya-JarrettBased on a deep respect and passion for the performing arts, Tanya has taken the first steps towards fulfilling a lifelong dream of hers by founding Ballet Russe BC and in doing so, creating an educational environment that is based on a set of strong core values for dancers in pursuit of exceptional classical ballet training. Born and raised in North Vancouver, BC, from the age of 3, she spent the bulk of her childhood and adolescent years training in both classical ballet and piano. Tanya’s career in the arts and entertainment industry spans over 16 years and she holds a Masters in Business Administration from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Given her passion, background, education, and professional experience, she is in a unique position to drive the school’s and its dancer’s continued development and success alongside an incredible team of Faculty, helping to solidify BC’s ballet presence on the world stage. Her goal is to ensure that Ballet Russe BC students receive unrivaled training in a demanding, yet remarkably uplifting and supportive environment.

Layla Casper, Teacher, Sentinel Secondary

Layla Casper

Overall Ballet Teacher-in-Charge

– Extensive background in professional dance in Europe and in Canada
– International Performance experience includes:
– The Tanz Atelier Wien Company in Vienna, Austria
– Canadian performances in Victoria & Vancouver
– Closing Ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games
– Dance training started at aged four in The Royal Academy of Dance syllabus
– Layla is a Canada Council, BC Arts Council, and National Ballet of Canada Award recipient
– Former Chairperson of the Arts in Education Committee for the Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria
– Taught and toured Austria, offering dance workshops to students of all ages
– Currently teaches multi-level dance classes at Sentinel Secondary
– Continues her professional development with opportunities that include travelling to Vienna for the ImPulsTanz International Dance Festival
– Very passionate about the Fine Arts curriculum offered in schools


Julianne Hoyak

julianne-hoyakBallet Academy – Supervising Teacher (Day 2-4)

Grades 8-12 English/Drama teacher: West Vancouver Secondary School including IB DP
Directs & produces school productions/sponsors Improv Club

Bachelor of Arts Advanced (English Major/ Double Minor: Drama & French)
Bachelor of Education: English Language Arts and Drama
Master of Education: Curriculum & Instruction: Arts Education


Julianne has been actively involved in the Vancouver and Winnipeg theatre communities as an actor, writer, director, and producer. She has regularly performed in Fringe Festivals in both Vancouver and Winnipeg. Julianne is presently a cast member with Vancouver’s Instant Theatre Company and a guest performer with Little Mountain Comedy Department, performing weekly improv shows and sketch comedy as well as touring shows with the Seattle Festival of Improv Theatre and Vancouver International Improv Festival. Julianne is also a trained vocalist, providing backup vocals on locally recorded pop and indie albums. She sings soprano with renowned rock and roll choir, the Kingsgate Chorus, collaborating with artists like Rae Spoon, Hot Panda, Bent Knee, Jenny Ritter, and Khari McClelland of The Soujourners. Julianne is passionate about mentoring youth in the arts and has served as vocal coach with Girls Rock Camp, as “Jam Boss” at the one and only Improv Camp, and as vice president of the Manitoba Drama Educators Association. She is thrilled to offer support to the committed students and instructors at the Ballet Academy as a supervising teacher this year.

Diane Nelson
Director of Instruction
West Vancouver Schools Premier Academy Programs
Office Direct Line: 604-981-1150
Cell: 604-786-3575
Email: dnelson@wvschools.ca