At Bessborough School we do our Personal Best!

Bessborough is a JK to grade 8 school located in the Leaside area of Toronto, a well-established community of mostly single-unit homes. It was the first public school in Leaside and at one point the Town Hall. Bessborough celebrated its 75th birthday in 1998. We now planning the 100th anniversary celebration in the year 2023.

Bessborough is a dynamic neighbourhood school with a tradition of academic excellence. Active and involved parents participate in the daily lives of their children. As well, many former students are now parents and grandparents of children attending the school.

At Bessborough we strive to enable all students to reach high levels of achievement and to acquire the knowledge, skills, and values they need to become responsible members of a democratic society. We value and are committed to providing a learning environment that is safe, nurturing, positive and respectful. Our Code of Conduct is rooted in commitment to our duties, respect for others and pride in ourselves. Safety is a priority and permeates all aspects of school life.

The Middle School

Students who join our school in Grades 7 and 8 from Rolph Road and Bennington Heights Public Schools take part in specialty programmes in vocal and instrumental music, visual arts, computers, drama, physical education, and science and technology. Our facilities include two gymnasiums, a music room, a computer lab, art rooms, and two science labs. The school houses the Bessborough Child Care Centre and also serves as a community centre for various local groups and agencies.

The picture of Bessborough Drive School was drawn by an art teacher that taught here for 20 years. His name was David Rice and it was completed in 1989.

2018- 2019 Teaching Staff

All teachers can be contacted by leaving a telephone message at the office or emailing them by using their Teachers cannot answer phone calls or meet with parents during class time.


Ms. Cathy Phillips

Ms. Nancy Willoughby 

Ms. Himali Atwal                Twitter: @MissAtwal  (

Early Childhood Educators:  Aki Miller & Ron-Anne Guerrero

Grade 1:

Ms. Stephanie Gamm  

Ms. Rachel Standing     Twitter: @rachellstanding


Grade 2

Ms. Susan Thurow Twitter: @MsThurow

Ms. Kathryn Dominique

Grade 3:

Mr. Mark King        Twitter: @MrKingTDSB

Mr. Jason Chong -

Grade 4:

Ms. Stephanie Manikas -

Grades 4/5:

Ms. Julie Millan       

Grade 5:

Ms. Karen Ho        

Grade 6:

Ms. Sarah Buksner - Twitter: @MsBuksner

Mr. Greg Ivan

Grade 7:

Ms. Tina Reid

Mr. Ryan Day

Ms Tina Surdivall


Grade 8:

Mr. Neil Casey  Twitter:  @MrCasey27 

Mr. Justin McMillan

Ms. Mirela Ciobanu

Mr. William Chang

Special Education Teachers:

Ms. Kelly Pornaras

Mr. William Chang

Mr. Tassie Tzavaras

Empower Reading Program:  Ms. Heather Cook

Special Education/Empower Reading Program:  Ms. Kelly Pornaras 

Physical Education Teachers:  Mr. Ritch Couper & Mr. Trifon Pantopoulos

French Teachers:  Ms. Tina Reid & Ms. Bernadine Rambarran    

Teacher-Librarian:  Ms. Tina Surdivall         

Music Teacher:  Mr. Justin McMillan

Guidance Teacher:  Ms. Bianca Angheloni

EAs & SNAs:  Ms. Karen Backus, Ms. Susan Nia, Ms. Carolyn Robus-Smith 

Class Placement

Student placements are decided by our Placement Committee, which consists of the sending and receiving teachers, the specialist teachers and the administration. The members of the committee follow the school’s placement policy and have the best interests of the children in mind. The following are examples of our guidelines used by teaching staff when placing students into next year’s class groupings.

They include:
  • Academic Strengths and Needs
  • Gender Balance
  • Social / Emotional Strengths and Needs
  • Class size
Occasionally, there may be personal information that is unknown to the school staff that may affect the child’s placement. This might include family changes, recent learning assessments or medical situations. Please feel free to share this information with your child’s present teacher.

In our Family of Schools, students and parents are notified of their class placement for the school year on the first day of school. We are trying to eliminate any possibility of disappointing or causing undue stress to children if classes need to be restructured.