Meet The Staff

Michelle Knoll (RECE) – Executive Director

Michelle joined the Centre in 2000 as a parent and volunteer.  In 2004 Michelle was hired as the Executive Director.  Michelle has diplomas in Community Work and Early Childhood Education.  She has been a community advocate for the last 42 years in the areas of neighbourhood capacity building, family support, poverty issues, tenants’ rights and inclusion. Michelle believes that a community has all the gifts and talents it needs to meet the challenges within that community if people are given the opportunity to connect and contribute.

Phone: 905-257-6029 ext. 101

Paige Lauer (RECE)- Early Years & Community Support Manager

Paige holds a BA in Family and Child Relations and is an RECE.  She comes to Oak Park with many years of experience planning and developing inclusive programs for children and their caregivers.  Her passion for programming is contagious. She is skilled at making connections, building relationships and earning the trust of her clients. Paige consistently produces engaging, entertaining and educational programs featuring essential aspects of early literacy, knowledge of child development coupled with creativity, spunk and enthusiasm.  A recipe that stimulates, educates and inspires.  Paige embraces opportunities to grow and evolve and is looking forward to connecting with the Oak Park community.

Phone: 905-257-6029 ext. 105

Vesna Rabba (RECE) – Preschool Lead Teacher

Vesna is an RECE with over 15 years experience in the field. She has worked with various age groups over the years, from toddlers to JK/SK’s. In 2015 she was promoted to Supervisor within her childcare organization and ran her own full-day Toddler/Preschool program as well as a before and after school JK/SK and School Age program. Vesna is passionate about language and literacy and was a member of the Early Literacy Hamilton committee. After many years of admin duties, Vesna is excited to be back in the classroom again.

Phone: 905-257-6029 ext. 104

Isabella Rossit – Youth Program Manager

I am enthusiastic about helping individuals reach their full potential and have worked with children and youth in a variety of settings as a tutor, camp counsellor, and mentor. I have a Bachelor of Social Work with a Minor in Psychology from Ryerson University. Throughout my undergrad I grew passionate about strengthening communities. My interest to be involved in community-based programs led me to enrol in the Community Engagement, Leadership and Development Certificate Program at Toronto Metropolitan University’s Chang School of Continuing Education. I am excited to make meaningful contributions to the wellbeing of the OPNC community.  My favourite quote is “I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort , where we overlap.” ­­— Ani DiFranco

Phone: 905-257-6029 ext. 102

Teresa Casciani – Office Administrator

Teresa’s journey to becoming a member of the Oak Park Neighbourhood Centre comes with decades of customer service under her belt.  Teresa brings not only professionalism but also warmth and compassion to her role.  She firmly believes in the value of strong relationships and the importance of nurturing with love and care.  Teresa’s generous spirit and kind-hearted nature makes her a natural fit for our community.  Whether she’s lending a listening ear, offering a helping hand, or simple sharing a smile. Her commitment to spreading joy and fostering connections enriches the lives of everyone she encounters.

Laila Zuberi – RECE School Age Children Teacher and Preschool Teach

I graduated with an ECE diploma from Sheridan College. I have experience working with children of different age groups from toddlers to school age. I enjoy working with children, watching them grow and learn new things. My goal is to create a safe, nurturing, positive and inclusive environment where children learn based on their curiosities and interests. Beyond the classroom I am a mom of two children. In my spare time I enjoy spending time outdoors, taking long walks and enjoying nature. I look forward to working with you and your children. 

Jacquie Ross – RECE School Age Children Teacher and Assistant Preschool Teacher

I have been an early childhood educator for almost 32 years. My career path is my passion . Working with children is enjoyable and rewarding . Many years have been spent with infants and toddlers . Now I’m enjoying preschool and school age . In my personal life I am married with 2 children . We have a dog and a rabbit we spend time together doing lots of fun activities. Let me know if you have any questions, I’m happy to help ! 

Heather Tompkins – Hope Support

Heather has worked vocationally as a school teacher and leader in a variety of charitable organizations. Heather established a Canadian micro-enterprise to provide practical support for the urban-poor in the Philippines. In frontline programming and as a board member for a Community Centre Heather has used her leadership skills to train, equip and encourage others. As a chaplain for 20 years with a bereavement support centre Heather provided leadership and multi-generational counsel to individuals and group support for the grieving. Over the years Heather has volunteered in many local and international faith-based organizations including work with Romanian orphans.


Nurali Mukhi – Community Financial Worker

Is a Bsc graduate and has completed Financial Service Essentials from Seneca. He has over 12 years of experience in Tax, financial services, and sales industries. He is able to communicate in English, Gujarati, Hindi, and Urdu. Nurali has also volunteered in  community tax clinics. He looks forward to working alongside the  OPNC team. He hopes to create a positive impact in the community  by providing financial literacy.

Phone: 905-257-6029 ext. 106

Maye Abdel Shafy – Tawasul Community Connector

Maye came to the centre in 2012  looking to build a social network and to make new friends for her little ones in her new hometown. With a BA in English literature and a career in education, she sees every individual as a unique story and a chance to learn something new. She quickly became one of the active members of the Centre, chiming into its tune of community support with an initiative to help newcomers and refugees and thus our program “Tawasul” was born.


Latifah Thompson- Churchill Community Navigator

Latifah is a Registered Social Worker with a master’s degree in social work. She has a special interest in newcomer experiences, vulnerable populations, and working with folks from marginalized communities.  She incorporates Indigenous worldviews into her daily delivery of services by locating herself and acknowledging her own privilege and power as a racialized settler that is situated in the Town of Oakville which resides on the treaty lands and traditional territory of the Mississaugas, Wendat, and Haudenosaunee. As a non-Indigenous person, Latifah acknowledges her own privilege and power as an African Canadian who is a guest on these lands. She practices critical self-reflection which helps her reflect on her experiences with service users by processing what she did right, what she did wrong, the power dynamics that were at play, her biases in the experience, assumptions, and her social location.

Phone: 905-257-6029 ext. 109

Charlene Abrahams- Inclusion Specialist 

Charlene joined OPNC in 2006 and has provided supports for families and children with complex needs for over 25 years. Charlene is a Registered Early Childhood Educator, adult and community learning specialist and family educator. She brings experience and training in the areas of supportive parenting, developmental ages and stages, stress management and anxiety, and wellness for children and adults with complex needs. Charlene enjoys being active outdoors, long bike rides and exploring thriller novels in her spare time. Charlene is excited to work collaboratively with OPNC families and students in our before/afterschool programs, preschool and supporting program staff with strategies and accommodations.  She is eager to be part of supporting the inclusion of children in programs to ensure they flourish alongside their peers and teachers and thrive at school and in the community. 



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