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Wednesday, November 3, 2010 - North Shore News - A21

PRIVATE SCHOOLS • IN THEIR OWN WORDS: SCHOOLS GET THEIR SAY Collingwood students Sofia Rojas and Carter Lim take a walk with headmaster Rodger Wright. NEWS photo Paul McGrath

A school’s environment, atmosphere and energy is determined by the entire school community: the students, teachers, even the parents. But without question, it is the headmaster or headmistress who truly determines the direction and philosophy of any academic institution. For this special Private Schools section, we asked each school

to tell us about the unique approach brought by the school leader. We asked about past work experience, about goals and aspirations and about philosophical ideas for the school. We even asked about interests, hobbies and personal passions. Read further to find out just who is in charge of teaching tomorrow’s leaders. —Deana Lancaster

Headmaster exudes energy HEADMASTER Rodger Wright arrived at Collingwood six years ago with more than 20 years of experience as a headmaster and more than 30 years of involvement in independent school education. His two most outstanding traits are his energy and his passion which are reflected in all that he does at Collingwood. Wright has been instrumental in moving the school forward with his vision and drive to continually improve and advance the Collingwood educational experience for all its students and faculty. He has led the school through two strategic plans and to accreditation with the Canadian Educational Standards Institute, making it the only school on the B.C. mainland to achieve such status. Teachers love working

for him because he instills an atmosphere where they and senior management feel supported, excited and encouraged to excel in their respective disciplines. He has a tireless work ethic so much so that one teacher is quoted as saying “no one on the faculty even thinks of complaining about how hard they work because their boss works harder.” Ask any student at Collingwood about their headmaster, they would immediately say that he knows their name, he wears colorful socks, and he seems to be everywhere — cheering them on at games, supporting them in their artistic endeavours — be it school plays, musicals, dance productions, music concerts and taking a personal interest in their lives outside the school. You can often find headmaster Wright with his camera in tow as he photographs literally hundreds of

events throughout the year. Parents delight in finding candid photos of their children in his Headmaster’s photo gallery on the School’s website. He has an uncommon devotion to the students under his care. It is not unusual for the Wrights to host dinners, afternoon readings with milk and cookies, and special receptions for students, volunteers, faculty, and alumni at “the lodge,” the headmaster’s home. Even Chief, the Wrights’ beloved cat has been unofficially adopted by the junior school students and they love to hear Wright’s fun and engaging presentations of Chief’s many adventures. Rodger Wright is a rare head of school. He not only works tirelessly with his teachers to realize the mission of the school, but takes a deep and genuine interest in the success of each one of his students.

Shawnigan expects best from students DAVID Robertson became Shawnigan’s 12th headmaster on Jan. 1, 2000. Under his guidance, the school has experienced unprecedented growth, and now boasts a larger number of boarding students than any other school in Canada. The native of Edinburgh, Scotland has been educating young minds at independent schools in B.C. for more than 20 years. He arrived at Shawnigan in 1993, originally serving as deputy headmaster before taking his current position. One of Robertson’s strengths has always been his relationship with the school’s students, and he prides himself on his ability to relate to everyone from the smallest Grade 8 to the most vocal Grade 12. His door is (almost) always open, and young students regularly seize the opportunity

to engage him in conversation and debate on any number of topics. Shawnigan promotes a true sense of community and togetherness that is essential to its success, particularly when considering the diversity of cultures and backgrounds represented in our student body. By helping create an atmosphere in which the home away from home is truly just that, he ensures that the 400 students who rest their heads at Shawnigan each night feel every bit as surrounded by family as they do when they return to their mothers and fathers. Robertson’s approach to education puts an emphasis on, among other things, a system of leadership and accountability that applies to all members of the Shawnigan community. A demanding curriculum See School page 27

A22 - North Shore News - Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Brockton students quiz the principal INQUIRING students want to know . . . who is Cathy Grunlund and what is she all about?

NEWS photo Mike Wakefield

BROCKTON school principal Cathy Grunlund sits in on a homemade pasta cooking class with some students.

A few weeks back, Grade 1 at Brockton School were in the thick of their unit of inquiry on community and decided to interview a few members of the Brockton staff to understand their roles. Here are some of their rather insightful questions to Grunlund and her answers. Have you always been at Brockton School? “No. This is my third year at Brockton. Before coming here I was the founding head at another International Baccalaureate school in Nanaimo called Aspengrove. I have also been a principal and vice-principal in the Vancouver school district.” Why did you come to Brockton? “I came to Brockton because I love independent schools and I really, really love working with the IB program. I also believe that small schools can do a better job, in lots of ways, than great big schools can. I want to know everybody in my school community; not just the students and teachers but your parents and grandparents, little brother and sisters. I even know the names of lots of your dogs because they sometimes come to visit too! I also knew about Brockton School before I came here and knew it was a very special place.” Were you ever a teacher? “Absolutely! I’m still a teacher. I teach Grade 9 Science at Brockton School right now. I’ve taught Grade 1 before and Grade 2 and Grade 3 and all the way up to Grade 11. I started off my teaching career as a special education teacher helping students who found it hard to learn to read and write and do math. I’ve been a learning

assistance teacher, a math teacher, a science teacher and a social studies teacher in the high school grades. I’ve also taught older students at university how to be teachers themselves.” Are you a mean principal? “Ahhh . . . the myth of the mean principal who stays in his or her office waiting for ‘bad’ kids to be sent to get in trouble. I know you can answer this question yourselves because you know I’m not. I don’t want anybody at Brockton School to be mean . . . especially not the head of school! Being mean just teaches kids that it’s OK to treat each other badly, but we all know that kind of behavior just isn’t accepted at Brockton. I like to teach children how to be respectful and kind and friendly to one another and how to solve problems in ways that don’t involve hitting or hurting feelings. I teach that to little kids and big kids and sometimes grown-ups even!” What do you do when you’re not at Brockton? “Well, I’m at Brockton a lot during the school week but on the weekends and later in the evening I like to run and lift weights. I just ran my first half marathon last May! I ran 21 kilometres, just like you are trying to do in Kilometre Club. I also like to read lots of different kinds of books and watch movies and go to restaurants with my friends.” Do you have any kids? “I do. I have two boys who are in university now. “ There were many more questions that the curious youngsters threw at Ms. Grunlund. By the end of it all agreed that Ms. Grunlund is one busy lady who loves her work, the school and every single member of the Brockton School community.

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Wednesday, November 3, 2010 - North Shore News - A23


New look and life at LGCA TERRY Kooy, the new principal of Lions Gate Christian Academy, is an undergraduate of University of Hawaii, where she began her career in education teaching sciences at Kaimuki Intermediate School in Honolulu. She has since taught in both public and Christian schools in California, Victoria, Kelowna, Surrey and now North Vancouver, B.C. Completing her masters in administration and curriculum development from Gonzaga University, Kooy became the first female secondary school principal in the public system in Kelowna. She moved to the Lower Mainland to be part of the learning community in Christian education and has served as assistant and head of school for the past eight years at Pacific Academy. Kooy and husband Doug are parents of three children. Daughter Kimberly, husband Michael and grandsons David and Sam live a busy life in New York City. Son Jason and granddaughter, Emily, reside in Calgary where Jason works with Youth Unlimited. Youngest son Jonathan and wife Maren live closer by in Cloverdale. Because of (or in spite of) geographical distance, family gatherings are precious times for this family. The Kooy family are all avid tennis players and competitive on the court!

NEWS photo Mike Wakefield

LIONS Gate Christian Academy students Amanda Boland (left), Alexa Rochfort and Heidi Scoten enjoy the school’s new volleyball court with principal Terry Kooy. Kooy is passionate about outreach. She has lead student teams to Uganda, Trinidad, Guatemala, Tanzania, China and Israel. Lives are changed, people are helped, leaders are grown and God is glorified with each outreach trip. A note from Kooy: From the first day, former principal David North showed me the property God provided for Lions Gate Christian Academy, I understood this is a very special community. I am honoured to be part of the new look and life of Lions Gate Christian Academy. I am excited to find the balance of strong, sound, caring traditions with new growth, new goals and a new grad class

of 2012! One of my goals I to bring the global outreach experience to LGCA and continue to enhance uniqueness of an interdenominational Christian school on the North Shore with a target of excellence in all we do! Are you wondering about the “big white tent”? Yes, it is a full-size gymnasium! Keep your eyes on our new Harbourside location as we prepare for the dedication of our new facilities. As one board member recently said during a walk through of the building, “Behold, the substance of faith!” In anticipation, Terry Kooy

Make most of middle school MIDDLE school is a time in most people’s lives they would like to forget. It defines a period of tremendous physical, cognitive, and emotional growth that bridges the great divide between childhood and adolescence. Michael Simmonds understands the importance of providing an educational program for middle school students that is developmentally responsive, challenging, and empowering. He is the head at Island Pacific School — a small middle school for students in grades 6-9 that is located on Bowen Island. He knows that young people navigating the transition from childhood to adolescence do so best when schools provide opportunities for students to be themselves in a mediasaturated world that exerts tremendous pressure on the children at every age. In the 24 years experience that so far define Simmond’s professional practice he has taught elementary, middle, secondary, and college-aged students. He knows that students develop selfconfidence when they feel safe to take risks in the supportive environment of a small school where teachers know their students by name and care about what, and how, they think. Simmonds is a school leader that values the importance of research in education. He holds two masters degrees from McGill and Columbia and he’s almost finished his doctorate at UBC. He relates very easily to his Grade 9 students who complete a yearlong, independent study called Masterworks.

photo submitted

MICHAEL Simmonds wants a positive middle school experience for all IPS students. They too are guided through their journey by committees of external advisors — experts in their respective fields — that also believe that young people can achieve remarkable things when they are personally engaged and excited about learning. Middle schools can be tumultuous and unforgiving places where insecurity, apathy, and the pressing need for peer conformity resides in the hearts and minds of the young people attending them. Simmonds and his dedicated team of teachers are committed to providing a middle school experience for students that disrupts that notion. At IPS every student has what the head of school likes to call a place at the table. And when young people are given a place at the table they soon realize two important truths: (1) they are part of a larger whole; and (2) their words and deeds directly impact others.

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A24 - North Shore News - Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Principal boosts school’s confidence STEPHEN Smith, principal of Bodwell High School and Bodwell Academy since August 2004, will be retiring at the end of December, 2010. History will record the Stephen Smith Era of Bodwell as a time of character formation for the school. Such character may be summarized in three areas: ■ Staff collaboration. Smith has brought openness and clarity in communication among teachers, between different departments, and between the management and staff. It has been done through vision and goal statements, staff meetings, pro-d days, collaborative team meetings, weekly bulletins, and individual meetings with all of us. Staff participation and teamwork have become a norm, and a professional learning community has taken shape. As a result of the collaboration, our program quality has been much enhanced and student performance much improved over the last six years. ■ Culture and values. The school community shares a strong Bodwell spirit and a set of common values. Smith has introduced new Bodwell traditions including the house system, the school motto and school song, the student parliament, after-school activities, our winning sport teams, global awareness activities, and heart-connecting school events. Our students today are more active and hardworking, and share a

set of universal values. ■ Confidence and longevity. Smith has brought us pride and confidence in Bodwell. The North Shore community, and beyond, has begun to recognize us as a unique and respectable school for international students. We have become known in many more countries, too. Our waterfront school campus, together with the school culture and program quality developed in the last six years, has led to an increase in enrolment of 44 per cent since 2004. Bodwell has re-defined the image of the Canadian international school. Everything Smith has introduced is for the long-term, to sustain Bodwell for many more years and decades. Smith was born in China, but grew up in Zambia. After completing high school there, he attended UBC and UCLA before beginning his teaching career in Zambia. For the next 42 years, he served as an educator in Zambia, Zimbabwe, B.C., and Alberta. His experience included elementary, secondary, and post-secondary levels, as a teacher, principal, and school superintendent. He retired as chief deputy superintendent of Battle River school division in Alberta in 2004 to take up his appointment at Bodwell. Smith was actively involved in community theatre for 27 years, as an actor, director, and festival organizer. He was also active in the community in other ways, such as in Arts Councils and Rotary Clubs. He has always

NEWS photo Cindy Goodman

BODWELL principal Stephen Smith encourages students from all over the world at the school including Andrea Felix (left) of Mexico, Brian Figel of Canada, Nicky Yuan of China, Alberto Almeida of Mexico and David Remes of Kazakhstan. enjoyed playing golf, a pastime he hopes to resurrect in retirement. He enjoys reading, especially books on Africa, and has an extensive Africana

They are bright· Their potential is extraordinary They simply learn differently

For 37 years, our school has helped kids grow in confidence. At our new North Vancouver home, even more bright futures can take root. Kenneth Gordon School has moved to North Vancouver for the 2010/2011 school year. Located on the site of the former Maplewood Elementary School, our school has grown to help more B.C. Children with dyslexia and specific learning difficulties between grades 1 to 8 excel in the classroom and in life. The program is aimed at developing the whole child. Tailoring our teaching program to each student, we wrap the program around the child rather than requiring the child to fit within a rigid program. We are thrilled to bring our passion for learning to North Vancouver and to adopt a name rooted in our new community: Kenneth Gordon Maplewood School. for more information, contact mr. john wilson, head of school at or 604 985 5224

collection. Smith is married to Norma, who was his classmate throughout their school days in Zambia. Between them,

they have six grown-up children, and six grandchildren. They look forward to having more time to spend with their family.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010 - North Shore News - A25


Students treated as individuals NEW Mulgrave head of school John Wray has been at the helm of three successful schools around the world. The scope of his leadership experience has convinced him it is more important than ever that education prepares young people with the skills and qualities not only to thrive in the rapidly changing world of the mid-21st century, but also for global citizenship and community responsibility. A commitment to the International Baccalaureate Programs sits at the heart of Wray’s philosophy — a broad, holistic international education that includes a rigorous academic program recognized by universities around the world, as well as experience of the arts, athletics and service. “While I am committed to a modern, forward-looking approach to education, I also understand that good schools are based on traditional values and caring, and developing caring, supportive relationships that treat every child as a unique individual,” says Wray. “Against a backdrop of a high quality, broad education, every young learner has his or her own preferred style of learning — their own interests and passions in and out of school


NEWS photo Mike Wakefield

HEADMASTER John Wray of Mulgrave School works with Grade 3 students to stuff backpacks for the homeless for a community service program. that need to be nurtured.” Building supportive relationships with individual students is best placed within the broader context of the school community. Indeed, engaging parents and teachers in a strategic planning process involving the entire school community has been one of his first orders of business since arriving at Mulgrave this past August. Wray was educated in London and completed bachelors and masters degrees in education at the University of Exeter. Before arriving at Mulgrave, he spent nine years as the principal of South Island School, one of Hong Kong’s leading interna-

tional schools. Wray arrived in Canada with his wife and two young children this past summer. His interests include sports, the arts, international travel and the great outdoors. Wray has made building a strong sense of school community with a clear mission and vision a priority since arriving at Mulgrave. Much of his daily agenda is devoted to meeting one-on-one with students, parents and faculty. He brings to the school fresh perspective and global vision. This coupled with the breadth of his experience are key elements in leading Mulgrave School to new levels of excellence.

Dates: Tuesday, November 16, 2010 Tuesday, January 18, 2011 Times: 9:00 am to 12:00 pm (Kindergarten to Grade 12) 9:30 am to 11:30 am (Early Learning Centre) Location: Mulgrave School 2330 Cypress Bowl Lane West Vancouver, B.C. V7S 3H9

For more information call: 604-913-6018 or email:

A26 - North Shore News - Wednesday, November 3, 2010


North Star teaches independence AS head of school of North Star Montessori, Tiffany Howard is driven by a passion for children, for families, for the Montessori method, and one may even go so far as to say, world peace! With over a decade of experience, Howard is a gifted teacher and leader who can make any child she encounters feel well understood. She models leadership and respect for children in her frequent exchanges with parents, whether it is celebrating a child’s progress or empathically working with them on issues. She is approachable, friendly and a consummate professional at all times. Howard’s training and expertise in choice theory, a powerful model for understanding human behaviour and applying personal freedom in learning, is ideally suited with the Montessori approach. Tiffany loves seeing the way Montessori philosophy and choice theory work together to help to inspire independence and build critical thinking skills in children. “The goal is to inspire them to work because they want to and choose to. This sets them up for taking responsibility for their work and their success.”

photo submitted

NATACHA Beim works with a student at CEFA.

NEWS photo Cindy Goodman

NORTH Star Montessori students Madison Pettigrew (left), Willem Young and Owen McMenemy-Brown work and learn with head of school Tiffany Howard. Howard holds an approach at North Star which emphasizes non-coercive practices; where students collaborate to create negotiable and non-negotiable aspects of school and classroom rules. She holds each person responsible for their own choices, which in tandem with the multiage groupings of the Montessori method, helps to form a socially cohesive group. At North Star, there is effective collaboration between students and teachers because they communicate with

mutual respect and trust. In 2010, to account for the growth of the school, Howard’s duties shifted primarily to those of head of school. In addition to being a key advisor to the board of directors and directing on the growth of the school, she is a supportive leader to staff and faculty, manages human resources issues, heads the marketing and fundraising teams and always makes time to talk with parents. Within all these responsibilities, the relationship she has with the

WANTED North Shore News Carriers for Immediate Delivery

children remains important to her. She accompanies children on small group “going-outs” where the children actively learn while in the community, leads the school’s running club and does small group or one-to-one support where needed. Personal passion connects directly to professional passion which is why Howard enjoys her job so much. “I choose to work with children and families because I love seeing the results. By providing an environment that is optimal for growth, exploration and learning, children have an opportunity to develop into responsible and contributing citizens of the future. I believe it is the most effective way to build a peaceful world.”

The early years are key “Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.” — John F. Kennedy

AN education is more than a report card that evaluates a child’s progress in math, reading, and arts. It involves, particularly in the early years, nurturing individual curiosities and empowering each child to embrace their unique gifts and contribute to the world around them. This is a key belief of Natacha Beim, the founder of Core Education and Fine Arts. Beim is a renowned writer, speaker and educational leader. Born in Uruguay and raised in Montréal, Canada, she has travelled extensively and studied educational systems around the world. As a pioneer in the field

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of modern education, Beim continually pursues studies in the field developmental psychology, focusing on the early years. “I always wanted to be a teacher, to help others find their passion in life,” said Beim. “Through Core Education and Fine Arts, I know that children have an incredible opportunity to not only explore and learn, but to discover how they can contribute to the world.” Beim opened the doors to the first CEFA school on the North Shore nearly 15 years ago. Her goal was to provide a curriculum that would meet and in many cases exceed the international standard for junior kindergarten education. She did so with the knowledge that stimulating the mind during the brain’s most formative years — before the age of six — was critical. Beim designed the methodology as an open learning source, meaning leading educators continually contribute to it, allowing the most creative, up-to-date and advanced philosophies to be incorporated. She also hired teachers who were great thinkers and trained to question “what and why” they teach their students. They felt empowered to adapt the curriculum to meet the unique needs of each student. This approach proved effective, enabling Beim to open 10 locations across the Lower Mainland, with plans for 250 locations across Canada and the U.S. in the next two years. Beim also continues to lobby the government for a standardized junior kindergarten program that is accessible to all children across the country. This year she is working towards publishing both a parenting book and a reading program. She also hopes to make more time for her other passions — writing and designing educational toys. Above all, Beim aspires to maintain the healthy balance she’s achieved in her life, which allows her lots of time with her husband and two sons. She strives to always find time to appreciate her passions in both life and work. That’s the ultimate test.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010 - North Shore News - A27


Administrator returns

School head asks students for their best

ARNOLD Grimm, in his third year as pedagogical administrator of the Vancouver Waldorf School, is no stranger to the school, having once been a student there.

From page 21 that includes sport and fine art requirements on top of academic classwork allows Shawnigan to produce well-rounded and empathetic young men and women of character who are ready for the challenges that await them after graduation. Students are forced to learn to budget their time wisely and to hold themselves accountable for completing work diligently and thoroughly. The skills they develop at Shawnigan are carried forward into post-secondary pursuits — and beyond. One of the first things you learn upon meeting Robertson is that “just good enough is never good enough.” He demands that his young charges work to produce the very best results they are capable of, whether on a test, in an art studio or on a rugby pitch. He works equally hard in ensuring that achievements in

photo submitted

SHAWNIGAN Lake School headmaster David Robertson works hard to make the school a home away from home for students. all endeavors are acknowledged and celebrated. As Shawnigan approaches its centennial year in 2016, David Robertson will continue to influence the direction of the

School as it begins its second one hundred years. Because of his vision, the school finds itself positioned in a way that ensures success, both today and in the years to come.

While coming full circle Grimm went abroad to gain the experience and insight that he brings to his current position. After completing high school, Grimm started training and work with behaviourally challenged children in Germany. He soon returned to Vancouver to pursue academic studies at Capilano College and Simon Fraser University, where he earned a B.A. in geography. He returned to Germany to lead after-school care programs for delinquents. It was during this time that Grimm’s memory of having been a Waldorf student was stirred. In his work he often found that as soon as progress was being made, the students were pulled out or moved on. In most Waldorf schools, the ideal is for one class teacher to work with the same group for eight years. Grimm became attracted to this idea, as it would enable him to develop longterm personal and academic relationships with his students. He entered a Waldorf teacher training program and, after graduation, stayed in Germany where he worked as a Waldorf class teacher for the next ten years. Although immersed in German culture and work life, Mr. Grimm’s memories of British Columbia remained strong. His love of the outdoors eventually led him, his wife and their family to seek positions in B.C. As luck would have it, the Vancouver Waldorf School was able to hire both Grimm and his wife, a trained and experienced Waldorf remedial teacher. Grimm is clear about his role in the school,

NEWS photo Paul McGrath

one that is unique in the field of education. “Waldorf schools do not have principals,” he says. “As pedagogical administrator, I administer as a support person for the teachers, not as their supervisor.” Grimm explains that he is part of a team of three that works collaboratively to administer the daily business of the school. This includes a director of development, business and facilities manager and himself. Grimm emphasizes the word “collaborate,” as he strives to fulfill the Waldorf ideal of a non-hierarchical structure of staff and teachers working together to run a school. Grimm speaks passionately about his love of Waldorf education, the enjoyment of working at his alma mater and of being back in British Columbia. Aside from the enthusiasm for his work, he makes a point of telling me that he has explored more than 35,000 km of highways and back roads in B.C., the Yukon and Northwest Territories, and that 20,000 of those have been clocked since returning to Vancouver in 2008. Welcome home, Mr. Grimm! —Jeff Feldman



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BODWELL HIGH SCHOOL & BODWELL ACADEMY The four great men after whom the houses at Bodwell are named: Trudeau, Gandhi, Mandela, & King These men have come to symbolize universal values that Bodwell seeks to instill in our students: respect for the dignity of each individual; social justice; compassion; non-violent, peaceful solutions to conflict; self-discipline; adherence to moral principles; service to others; cross-cultural understanding; and hope for a better world. ÊUÊ>…>̓>Ê>˜`…ˆ]ʏi>`ˆ˜}ʘ`ˆ>Ê̜ʈ˜`i«i˜`i˜ViÊ œ˜Ê̅iÊL>ÈÃʜvÊ̜Ì>Ê˜œ˜‡Ûˆœi˜Vi\ʺ7iʓÕÃÌÊLiÊ̅iÊ V…>˜}iÊÜiÊ܈ÅÊ̜ÊÃiiʈ˜Ê̅iÊܜÀ`°»

955 Harbourside Drive, North Vancouver, BC CANADA V7P 3S4 Tel: 1-604-924-5056 | E-mail: |

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A28 - North Shore News - Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Private Schools_November 2010  

Private schools in the North Shore

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