Meet the Board

CAIS Board of Directors

CAIS' identity is reflected through strong governance. The Board is a national and capable group committed to best practice in governance policies and procedures. It is committed to a thorough, consultative and transparent decision-making process while serving the best interests of member schools.

The mission and work of the not-for-profit organization is overseen by a volunteer Board of Directors. The term of office of elected Directors is three years, with the understanding that Directors will ordinarily serve two terms (i.e. six years). A majority of the directors are people who are independent of CAIS schools, that is not Heads of Schools, Chairs of Boards, directors, officers or employees of CAIS schools.

In addition to the two councils, Standards and Evaluation, there are three standing committees: Finance and Audit, Governance, and Executive Director Performance Review. From time to time, task forces may be formed to deal with specific projects or issues. All councils, committees and task forces report to the full Board.



Jim Nelles, Chair

Jim’s professional background has been in media with a particular focus on managerial and operational requirements for television, radio and cable network operations. He has had a career that began 40 years ago and has included senior management positions with Selkirk Communications, Rogers Media Inc. and Quebecor Media. Over the course of his career he has also been a board member and chaired numerous broadcast industry associations and committees. Jim currently manages a consultancy that works closely with television, radio and cable network operators as well as program content distributors.

Jim is a Past Chair of the Conference of Independent Schools and was a member of the board of the Canadian Educational Standards Institute. He has served as Chair of The Country Day School, in King City, ON and was a member of its Board and has also been a member of the Board of Directors of Rothesay Netherwood School in Rothesay NB.

Jim is currently Chair of the Kensington Health Centre (KHC) which is a 350-bed long term care facility in Toronto that includes hospice, community care, diagnostic imaging, ophthalmology divisions. It is also home to the Ontario division of the Eye Bank of Canada.

Jim holds a BA from Bishop’s University and an M.Sc. from Boston University and has completed the NFP Governance Essentials Program jointly facilitated by the Institute of Corporate Directors and the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.

Jim and his wife Louise live in Aurora, ON and all three children were lifers at The Country Day School in King City.



Patricia McDermott, Past Chair

Patricia McDermott joined the CAIS board after seven years serving on the Board of Halifax Grammar School, a leading independent day school in Halifax for grades JP-12, and she served as Board Chair from 2012-2014. She was employed for twenty-five years in the transportation industry, responsible for marketing and business development at the Halifax Port Authority when she retired in 2005. Patricia holds a Bachelor of Commerce and an MBA from Dalhousie University. She has been a committed volunteer with a number of local and national organizations, including the United Way of Halifax and United Way-Centraide Canada, serving as Board Chair of the national organization from 2005 to 2007. Patricia has also served on the Board of Laing House, a peer support centre for mentally ill youth and on the Board of the YMCA.

She is the recipient of a number of volunteer awards including the United Way-Centraide Canada Andre Mailhot award, the 2002 Queen's Jubilee Medal and the 2012 Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal. Patricia and her husband, Dr. Michael Gross live in Halifax with their son Max.



Denise Burke

An executive coach and business consultant with fervor for people, business, and entrepreneurial thinking, Denise is accomplished in diverse sectors including financial, pharmaceutical, real estate, toy, food, communications, media relations, sales, and marketing. Her excellent client relationships are built on trust and integrity. A strategic, focused, and goal-driven leader, she is recognized for helping decision-makers to find minessence in challenging business issues. Denise is committed to recognizing the science behind human behaviour, and to assisting leaders with the move from relevant to essential in their businesses.

Denise is Founder and President of DeniseBurke.ca, is a Canadian Values Coaching and Leadership Company, coaching decision-makers responsible for influencing business, people, and cultural climate.

DeniseBurke.ca based in Montreal, provides a full range of services including executive, career transition, and leadership coaching, supported by C-IQ - Conversational Intelligence, Everything DISC certified, Values Technology, Arbinger Institute: Outward Mindset and Outward Leadership,  and Genos Emotional Intelligence, testing and behaviour charting.



Dr. J. Colin Dodds

Dr. J. Colin Dodds is President Emeritus of Saint Mary’s University and Professor of Finance, Sobey School of Business.

Colin Dodds served as President and Vice Chancellor of Saint Mary’s University from 2000-2015; having served as Vice President Academic and Research and Dean of the Sobey School of Business at the University. Following his transition from the President’s Office, he is enjoying a return to the classroom as a Professor of Finance. 

Born and educated in the UK, his teaching career has spanned over 40 years in Financial Economics, Investments and Portfolio Management and Corporate Finance in Asia, the UK and Canada. More recently he has focused on teaching International Capital Markets and International/Global Finance to graduate students in the Executive MBA and Masters of Finance programs. He has published many books, journal articles and conference papers, particularly on financial markets.

He has served on Boards of the Bank of Canada, Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, the Better Business Bureau for Atlantic Canada and is Past-Chair of the Greater Halifax Partnership. He is Chair of the Board of the Discovery Centre in Halifax, Treasurer of WUSC and Vice chair of the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo Society and Foundation. He is also on the Selection Committee for the Canadian Investment Industry Hall of Fame awards through the Investment Industry Association of Canada. He was inducted into the Atlantic Canada’s Top 50 CEO Hall of Fame, holds the Queen Elizabeth Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals and the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia’s Award for Excellence in Public Administration.

Colin Dodds is a strong community supporter devoting his time and expertise to a number of local organizations in both formal and informal capacities. He has been called upon, by the Province of Nova Scotia, to advise on a variety of immigration matters.



Dr. Leanne Foster

Dr. Leanne Foster is Head of School at Trafalgar Castle School, an all-girls’ day and boarding school in Whitby, Ontario. A dedicated and experienced educator, Leanne’s career in teaching and consulting has taken her from kindergarten classrooms to university lecture halls to government ministries, working in both public and independent schools, as well as the private sector.

Leanne earned a B.A. from the University of Toronto, as well as a B.Ed. and M.Ed. from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE/UT). She completed her Ph.D. in Educational Administration at the University of Toronto where her doctoral research focused on school improvement and educational change management.

Dedicated to supporting her community, Leanne serves on the Boards of Hearth Place Cancer Support Centre in Oshawa and Station Gallery in Whitby. She is a member of the Family Council at Isabelle and Arthur Meighen Manor, a long-term care facility in Toronto.



Carol Grant-Watt, B.Ed., M.A.

Carol Grant-Watt is passionate about all things education and is the Head of school at Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School in Okotoks, Alberta.  She is excited to be working in a rural setting again with a dynamic staff, amazing team of leaders and caring community and loving her work in the K-12 environment. She is pleased to be working within the International Baccalaureate Programme as well as with the Outdoor Education program which is a passion for her as she loves hiking and kayaking. (Especially with her two faithful canine companions.)

She recently jointed the CAIS Board and is enjoying learning from this talented group of people and she is committed to the work of CAIS in supporting the great network of schools in our Association.

Carol completed her undergraduate degree in secondary education at the University of Calgary and has spent thirty six years teaching social studies, working as a guidance counsellor and taking on a variety of roles in educational leadership and administration in a number of schools.

She completed her Master of Arts in Educational Leadership at San Diego State University with a focus on crisis management.  Her work at Western Canada High School in Calgary prepared her for her foray into the independent school world. This two thousand student school is a centre of academic excellence and she thoroughly enjoyed her work as Principal leading an IB, University Preparatory public school with exceptional fine arts and athletic programs. Following this she moved into the independent school world taking on the Head of School role at West Island College in Calgary bringing in a focus on innovation, standards of excellence and co-developing the Institute program.

Carol has worked with Alberta Education in a variety of capacities over the years, most recently with the Leadership Standards Committee and Instructor Corp. Passionate about developing the capacity of school leaders, this work has been engaging and rewarding.



Dr. Bill Jones

Dr. Jones is passionate about education. In fact, he likes to say that he went to school for close to 60 years. He began his career as a music teacher in northern Alberta and spent 13 years as a teacher and administrator in public schools before entering the realm independent schools. He served as the Head of School at Southridge School in South Surrey and Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School in Calgary before retiring after four decades of service in 2018.

As a school leader, Bill believed in the importance of modelling ongoing professional growth and learning throughout his career. In addition to his pre-service undergraduate degrees in music and education, he earned a Masters in Educational Administration from the University of Victoria and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy from the University of British Columbia. His research focused on the implications of ubiquitous technology for teacher-student relationships.

One of the most fulfilling aspects of his career as a school leader was developing and mentoring aspiring leaders. To enhance his skills in this area, Dr. Jones completed the Executive Coaching Program at Royal Roads University and since retiring as a school head has supported clients in both the education and not-for-profit sectors in elevating their performance.

Bill’s experiences in independent schools involved a wide range of activities including: strategic planning, governance, technology integration, program evaluation, leadership and organizational development, campus development, visioning, fundraising, risk managemen, marketing, and extensive community engagement. As a school leader, he was involved in the International Baccalaureate Programme and Round Square, which focus on developing global citizens with strong values and international perspectives. He has been an advocate for character and experiential education - particularly in outdoor settings.

Bill has served on several not-for-profit boards and currently sits on the CAIS Governance Committee and Evaluation Council. He has also participated in and chaired a number of CAIS school accreditations.



Sharon Klein

Sharon Klein is currently Head of St. Margaret’s School in Victoria, BC. and was formerly Head of St. George’s School of Montreal from 2014-2019. St. Margaret’s is Western Canada’s only all-girls, independent day and boarding school and is an international centre for girls’ learning and leadership development providing empowering education for girls from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12.

With a Bachelor of Education from the University of Regina, and a Master of Arts–Educational Leadership from San Diego State University, Sharon began her career in Saskatchewan as a teacher and coach in 1984. She later joined Queen Margaret’s School, in Duncan, B.C., where she served as Deputy Head Student Life, Senior School Principal and Deputy Head, Education.

Sharon is a lifelong learner who is passionate about education and about building leadership capacity in both students and staff. With a positive reputation for community building, she is widely respected by her peers as a collaborative leader. Sharon embraces inquiry and reflection and is an advocate of progressive and research-based education. She is committed to whole-child approaches in rigorous learning environments, always striving to empower each student to find their voice.

In addition to her duties as Head of School, Sharon is an actively involved member of the Canadian Accredited Independent Schools (CAIS), serving on the Board of Directors. She previously served on the Quebec Association of Independent Schools (QAIS) Executive Committee. She served on four CAIS Accreditation Committees, one of which she chaired, served on the CAIS Strategic Planning Committee, and currently sits on the CAIS Evaluation Council. Sharon holds a diploma in Independent School Leadership through the CAIS Leadership Institute and is a certified Fierce Conversations Facilitator (Fierce Inc.). In addition, she has presented at several conferences, including the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), The National Coalition of Girls’ Schools (NCGS) and CAIS.



Deryn Lavell

Deryn Lavell is a highly respected educational leader with over 35 years experience in premier academic environments across Canada, the United Arab Emirates and now, Bermuda. 

She holds Master of Educational Administration and Bachelor of Education from the University of Victoria, B.C., and had begun a PhD programme in 2008 before being called to return to The Bishop Strachan School in Toronto. At BSS she had been formerly Principal of its Junior School, and returned to assume a key leadership role in Advancement and Admissions, before a successful 8 years as Head during which the school was transformed by an unprecedented capital expansion and ground-breaking programme innovations.

Currently she is the Head of the Saltus Grammar School, one of Bermuda's premier co-educational independent schools for students from Foundation through to SGY 2 (Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12).  Here she is making her mark once again with an ambitious strategic plan and a vision to inspire students to lead us to a more just, fair, and sustainable world.

Ms. Lavell has always held fast to her belief, formed long ago as a teacher in Alert Bay in British Columbia, that all children have the capacity to be leaders in their lives. Each student possesses individual gifts that when unleashed can transform lives. The educators' role is to guide students to their own power, independence, and confidence.



Kevin R. McHenry

Kevin R. McHenry was appointed the eighth Headmaster, retitled Head of School in July 2019, of St. Andrew’s College on July 1, 2009. Founded in 1899, St. Andrew’s is an independent all-boys’ day and boarding school for 650 students in Grades 5 through12 located in Aurora, Ont.

Kevin earned his B.B.A. (Hons) from Wilfrid Laurier University, his B.Ed. from Western University, and his M.Ed. from the University of Toronto. He holds additional qualifications in law and co-operative education, earned both parts of his Principal’s Qualification program through York University, and his diploma in Independent School Leadership through the CAIS Leadership Institute.

Kevin continues to be actively involved in many CIS and CAIS committees and initiatives. He has taught the Academic Administrative module for the CAIS Leadership Institute on several occasions; was co-chair of St. Andrew’s CAIS internal evaluation team; served and chaired numerous external CAIS accreditation teams, and is a member of the CAIS Board of Governors and Standards Council. He was co-chair of the CIS Curriculum Network, chair for the CAIS Online Learning Steering Committee, and sat on the committee that developed the last CAIS strategic plan. As well, Kevin has presented at three international conferences on a variety of topics over the years.

Through various capital campaigns with Kevin as Head, St. Andrew’s has added more than $60M in new facilities. The school’s endowment/planned gifts total more than $70M. Throughout Kevin’s tenure, the school has acquired two adjacent properties adding 16 acres and housing to its assets. In 2020, SAC acquired a 40,000-square-foot manor and property valued at more than $35M to start an independent school for girls, St. Anne’s School, just across the road.

Kevin, his wife, Karan, and their children, Caden ’21 and Hadley, reside in the Head of School’s House on the SAC campus. Their son William ’18 is a student at Queen’s University studying commerce.



Dr. Saida Rasul

Dr. Saida Rasul is a volunteer at Aga Khan University (AKU) where she has applied her professional expertise to build capacity, set up dental clinics and develop preventive dental programmes as part of the University Hospital system operating in East Africa, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Distance learning supported by faculty at Canadian and American universities complements the programmes. Working with a team of volunteers, she has helped AKU set up an associate of science in dental hygiene programme to train dental health workers from the same regions on promoting oral health and disease prevention in communities. She has been a dentist for 44 years and was in private practice in the Kerrisdale area of Vancouver, BC for 26 years she worked as a clinical instructor at UBC.

In Canada, as Chair of the Board of Simon Fraser University, Dr. Rasul was very active in the planning of the Burnaby UniverCity, Surrey campus and Woodward’s site developments, and securing funding for the Centre for Performing Arts and for the Centre for the Comparative Study of Muslim Cultures and Societies, among other initiatives.

Dr. Rasul served as Chair and Member of Advisory Council of MultiVan Broadcast Corporation and on the board of the British Columbia Automobile Association. She has chaired board fundraising committees of the Children's and Grace Hospital Foundations, York House School (as a parent) and Outward Bound Canada. She served as Co-Chair of the 2004 United Way Community Campaign in the Lower Mainland of BC. Dr. Rasul served on the boards of community organizations such as the United Way as Chair, Science World, and the Aga Khan Health Board. She also served on the Advisory Councils of the BC Cancer Foundation, the UBC Faculty of Graduate Studies and Middlesex School in Concord, Massachusetts.

Since 2003, Dr. Rasul has been a member of the Vancouver chapter of International Women’s Forum (IFW) where she promotes women in business and professions, coaching and supporting them to operate on various corporate and professional boards. Dr Rasul is mentor for young women looking to progress in their professional careers.

Dr. Rasul graduated from London University in England and the University of Toronto Dr. Rasul has received numerous awards including the YWCA Woman of Distinction; the Andre Maillot award, the national award presented by United Way Canada; and honorary doctorate degrees from Simon Fraser University (2013) and University of Alberta (2017). In 2015, she was conferred with Order of British Columbia for her service to the community.



Riva Richard

Riva J. Richard is the Executive Vice President, Legal Affairs, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Pollard Banknote Limited, one of the world’s leading full-service lottery vendors and a major supplier to the North American charitable gaming industry.

Prior to joining Pollard Banknote in December 2010, Ms.Richard served as Vice President, Legal Affairs and Corporate Secretary of Canwest Global Communications Corp. Until September 2001, Ms. Richard practiced as a corporate law associate with the Toronto office of McCarthy Tétrault LLP.

Ms. Richard lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba and served as a member of the Board of Governors of St. John’s-Ravenscourt School from July 2011 through June 2018. During her tenure on the Board, Ms. Richard served as Chair of the Governance Committee from July 2012 through June 2015; Vice-Chair of the Board from July 2013 through June 2015; and Chair of the Board from July 2015 through June 2017. Following her retirement from the Board in June 2018, Ms. Richard was awarded the St. John’s-Ravenscourt School Distinguished Service Award.

Ms. Richard received her Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Civil Law Degrees, with distinction, from McGill University and holds an undergraduate business degree from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. She is a member of the Ontario and Manitoba Bars and in 2005 was named as one of Canada’s “Top 40 Corporate Counsel Under the Age of 40” by Lexpert Magazine.



Kathleen Ritchie

Ms. Ritchie is a partner at the law firm of Gowling WLG (Canada) LLP in its Toronto office. She serves as head of Toronto’s Business Law Department and is the past leader of the firm’s Corporate Finance, M&A and Private Equity Group (2010-2013). She practices securities and corporate law, and has over 20 years of experience advising on public and private merger & acquisition and corporate finance transactions, as well as corporate governance and securities regulatory matters. Ms. Ritchie’s M&A practice involves providing advice on mergers, acquisitions and divestitures for both public and private companies. She is ranked as in The Best Lawyer in Canada in the area of M&A. Ms. Ritchie's corporate finance practice includes acting on behalf of public companies in public offerings and private placements of both equity and debt securities. Ms. Ritchie’s corporate governance experience includes advising boards of directors and management, including not-for-profit organizations, on corporate governance structures, policies and best practices, compensation matters, and officer and director liability. Ms. Ritchie is a long-standing member of the Institute of Corporate Directors.



Peter Sturrup

Peter Sturrup has been Headmaster of Pickering College, a coeducational, K to 12 day and boarding school in Newmarket, Ontario since 1995. Previously, Peter was a Geography teacher and Dean of Residence for nine years, also at Pickering College, and taught Geography at Wilfrid Laurier University (in Waterloo, Ontario) for ten years.

Peter received his B.A. and M.A. (Geography) from Wilfrid Laurier University and his B. Ed from the University of Toronto. Peter's volunteer time includes having just completed his term as Chair of the Board of the Ontario Conference of Independent Schools (CIS) and he is the Chair of the Standards Council of the Canadian Accredited Independent Schools (CAIS). In his community, Peter has served as Honourary Chair of the Canadian Cancer Society's Relay for Life and is Chair of the Newmarket Celebrates the Arts Bursary Committee.

In addition to his duties as Head of School, Peter has presented at conferences, seminars and workshops for the National Association of Independent School (NAIS), The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS), the Friends Council on Education (FCE), the Canadian Association of Independent Schools (CAIS), and the Ontario Conference of Independent Schools (CIS). Topics include "The Soul of Teaching", "Leaving a Legacy of Leadership", "Schools as Sacred Places" and "Becoming the Head You Aspire to Be". Over his career he has served on or chaired nine Accreditation Visiting Committees to other schools.



Martha J. Tory

Until her retirement in June 2015, Martha had spent 39 years at Ernst & Young LLP where she was a partner specialized in serving not-for-profit organizations.

Martha is a member of the board and chairs the Finance Committee of several not-for-profit organizations including MaRS Discovery District, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and U of T Press. She is also a member of the Standards Council of Imagine Canada.

Martha is the past Board Chair of St. Clement’s School and Trinity College at the University of Toronto, was a member of the Board, Finance Committee and Chair of the Governance Committee of Crescent School, and was a Board member and Treasurer of the Conference of Independent Schools.

Martha holds a B.Comm from the University of Toronto. She has an FCPA, FCA and an ICD.D designation.



Fiona Webster Mourant

Fiona Webster Mourant is the President and Co-Owner of Manrex Ltd, whose mission is to help health care providers save lives by eliminating medication errors.

Fiona is the recipient of numerous business awards including Manitoba Woman Entrepreneur of the Year in the category of International Trade and also the winner of the Overall Excellence Category. She was a finalist in the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award as well as a regional finalist in the Canadian Women Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.

Fiona is very active in the community serving on many boards. She is currently the Co-Chair of the World Trade Centre Winnipeg Board, a member of the St. Boniface Hospital Research Enterprise Committee and an executive on the Board at Women of Winnipeg. 

Some of her past Board commitments include The Children's Hospital Foundation where she served for numerous years including the positions of Chair and Past Chair.  She previously Chaired the Children's Health Advisory committee and also sat on the Board of the Manitoba Institute of Child Health as well as on the Board of the Business Council of Manitoba.  Fiona was a board member for The Women's Enterprise Centre where she  served on the loan and finance committees and also Chaired both the Audit and Human Resource committees.

Fiona served on the Board of Governors for St. John’s Ravenscourt School and also participated on the Finance, Governance and Executive Committees.



Peter Wilken

Peter has over 30 years experience working on some of the world's most prestigious brands in Asia, Europe and North America.

He has a multi-discipline background having built integrated Advertising, Public Relations, Customer Relationship Management and Brand Consultancy Operations. He has run companies for three of the top four global marketing communications networks: WPP, Publicis and Omnicom. His most recent corporate role was Regional Managing Director of BBDO Asia Pacific and prior to this he ran companies for Leo Burnett and Ogilvy.

Brands he’s worked with include: AIG, Coca-Cola, BMW, Disney, Fedex, IBM, Kodak, McDonalds, Nestle, PepsiCo, Proctor & Gamble, Seagram (Diageo), Shangri-La, Shell, SONY, Unilever and Visa International. In Canada, he has helped St George’s School develop their vision and long-term strategy for the past eight years.

Peter has led three different agencies to become the leading creative agency in their respective markets. In 2001 he was a co-winner of a coveted a Cannes Gold lion, the Oscars of the advertising world.

He co-founded The Brand Company in 2002. The company grew into Hong Kong’s leading specialist Brand Management Consulting firm consulting to clients such as: AIG, Hong Kong Trade Development Council, Lane Crawford, Shangri-La Hotels, SmarTone-Vodafone, Sun Hung Kai Properties and Swire.

In March 2006 The Brand Company was acquired by The Ingram Partnership, the London-based Consulting group headed by CIA Media founder Chris Ingram.

Peter moved with his wife and three sons to Vancouver BC in August 2007. In addition to his private consulting practice in Vancouver, Dolphin Brand Strategy, he is a Co-Founder and Director of The BioCube Corporation Ltd, which has designed and developed the BioCube™ a community-sized transportable biodiesel refinery that makes commercial biodiesel production viable for developing markets using renewable and waste feedstock.

He graduated from the University of Edinburgh with Honours in Psychology and has a Post Graduate Diploma in Advertising. Peter is a global citizen having lived in Edinburgh, Southampton, Jackson Mississippi, Honiara in the Solomon Islands, London, Singapore, Manila, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and now Vancouver. Work and play has taken him to over 50 countries across every continent.



David Young

David Young is the Head of School at TMS in Richmond Hill. It is a pre K – 12 school of roughly 800 students.

He has thoroughly enjoyed his time at TMS where he has the privilege of working with a wonderful leadership team and school community. Working together, the school has grown over the last 5 years by nearly 100 students, expanding its High School, developing its campus and entrenching its excellence as an IB school.

David has a MA (Hons) in History from the University of St. Andrews, a PGCE from the University of Durham, and an M.Ed from the Open University and is a Fellow of the Klingenstein Center at Columbia University.

David began his teaching career in the North East of England teaching Grade 5 and 6. He moved to the Czech Republic to be the Assistant Head of Lower School at the Riverside International School. In 2003 he moved to Canada where he has worked at The Country Day School and Crescent School, holding a variety of leadership roles, culminating as Deputy Head at Crescent School.

David was born and raised in Bangladesh to a Northern Irish mum and a Scottish dad, attending an international school in Dacca. He returned to Scotland aged 8. After graduating high school, he attended the University of St. Andrews. Sandwiched between high school and university was a spectacularly mediocre and inevitably doomed professional soccer career that was, none the less, a lot of fun.

David is married to Sue and they have two children, McKenzie (19) who is in her 2nd year studying Neuroscience at the University of Guelph and Callum (16) who is entering his Grade 12 year. By no means last is their dog, Rory, a lovely, if rather dim, member of the household.



John Wray

John Wray joined Mulgrave School, The International School of Vancouver as Head of School on August 1, 2010. Mulgrave. Mulgrave is a co-educational, PK-12, IB Continuum School with 1040 students. Mulgrave is accredited by CAIS, CIS (Council of International Schools) and ISABC.

John and his family relocated to Vancouver from Hong Kong, where he served nine successful years as the Head of South Island School, one of Hong Kong’s leading international schools. South Island became an International Baccalaureate World School and received CIS/WASC accreditation under his leadership.

Prior to this, John was Headteacher of Kingsmead Community School, a public school in the southwest of the UK. He led Kingsmead to achieving the UK government's highly acclaimed Beacon School status and to Language College specialist status. John qualified as a teacher in 1979 after a short career in the financial sector in London. He taught at a variety of schools in the UK and had a period as a district educational adviser/inspector before achieving his first Headship.

John was educated in London and completed Bachelors and Masters degrees in education at the University of Exeter. He is a Geographer by training but has taught many subjects in school and especially personal and social education, a subject that he believes sits at the heart of modern education. John continues to teach today.

John is passionate about young people, holistic education and learning. He has a track record of innovation, high standards and developing international school links in all the schools that he has worked. John was Chair of the Independent School’s Association of BC 2015-2019 and Chair of the North Shore Multicultural Society a large not for profit organization providing services for immigrants and refugees in Vancouver 2016-2020. He has been a member of the CAIS Board since 2016.


CAIS Board Advisors



Alan Whyte

Alan is a semi-retired human resources lawyer (for management) who also conducts a human resources consulting practice.

He is enthusiastic about assisting CAIS schools, Boards and senior leadership teams with (non-legal) human resources and governance issues and challenges, building on his 13 years of experience on the Board of Albert College (4 as Chair) and 11 years on the CIS Ontario Board (3 as Chair). He also sits as a regional Advisor on the CAIS Board.

He has acted for a number of independent schools in human resources legal matters throughout his 40 year legal career.

Alan has the full perspective on the independent school world – proud Alumni of Lower Canada College; school Board member as described above; proud parent of Albert College and Ridley College students; association involvement at both the provincial and national levels and legal counsel to several independent schools.

He has conducted Board training on good governance and has presented extensively at numerous legal conferences and webinars on human resources topics. Alan is also a CAIServices Advisor.



Michel Lafrance

Michel Lafrance is a passionate educator and school leader who has been making a difference in the lives of youth for nearly 25 years. He is described as a leader, a coach, an innovator and a visionary.

Michel is currently enjoying his 5th year as the Headmaster of West Island College (WIC) in Montreal and is the Executive Director of the Quebec Association of Independent Schools (QAIS). Michel earned his Bachelor of Education degree from McGill University and his Master’s degree in Educational Leadership at l'Université de Sherbrooke and completed both the CAIS Diploma and CAIS Next Step Diploma in Independent School Leadership. Michel currently serves on the Board of Directors of The Priory School and the GMAA (Athletics) and is a long-standing member of the selection committee for the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence. Michel is a member of the CAIS Research Advisory Committee and also a frequent guest speaker within the Faculty of Education at McGill University.

Michel is devoted to helping others succeed, dedicated to having a positive impact on the lives of students, parents, and teachers, committed to continuous learning, and driven to contribute to the development and implementation of a vision for the next generation of schools.



Tam Matthews

Tam Matthews is a graduate of the University of Toronto, Trinity College and he studied at the University of Nice prior to starting his career in international banking with CIBC. Tam began teaching at Upper Canada College as a history teacher and Associate Director of Guidance. He was hired as Director of Admissions at Lakefield College School in 1989. He became Headmaster at Albert College in 1996 opening a new Junior School and was appointed Headmaster at Ashbury College in 2000. There he led two strategic plans that resulted in a facilities transformation, co-education through all grades, a greater focus on internationalism with the IB, Round Square membership and a strong boarding program. Tam was appointed Head of School at West Point Grey Academy in 2013 where he strengthened school leadership, governance, facilities and learning experiences with membership in Global Online Academy and Connected North.  He retired in 2019 and established Matthews Consulting doing head searches, strategic planning and coaching. Tam is currently Chair of the Independent Schools Association of British Columbia (ISABC) and a past Chair of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Accredited Independent Schools (CAIS), past Director of the Canadian Olympic Committee and a former Olympic sailor.