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.

Patricia McDermott


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.

Jim Nelles

Chair Designate


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 career that began almost 40 years ago 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.

Denise Burke

Denise Burke BPHE, CPCC, CNTC, joined the CAIS Board after serving for six years (2010-2016) on the Board of Miss Edgar’s & Miss Cramp’s School (ECS), serving three years (2013-2016) as Chairman of the Board.

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 Full Speed Ahead On Life, a Canadian Values Coaching and Leadership Company, coaching decision-makers responsible for influencing business, people, and cultural climate.

Full Speed Ahead on Life, based in Montreal, provides a full range of services including executive, career transition, and leadership coaching, supported by Values Technology and Genos Emotional Intelligence, testing and behavior 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.

Dr. 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 in Great Britain, Dr. Dodds is President Emeritus of Saint Mary’s University, and is a Professor and Director in the Master of Finance Program - Sobey School of Business.

Dr. Dodds’ teaching career has spanned over 40 years in Financial Economics, Investments and Portfolio Management and Corporate Finance. More recently he has focused on teaching International Capital Markets and International Finance and Banking 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 was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Bank of Canada in October 2013, and is on the Board of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. He is a current Board member and Past-Chair of the Board of the Better Business Bureau for Atlantic Canada and is Past-Chair of the Greater Halifax Partnership. He also judges the Canadian Investment Industry Hall of Fame awards through the Investment Industry Association of Canada. He was inducted to the Atlantic Canada’s Top 50 CEO Hall of Fame, and holds the Queen Elizabeth Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals.

Dr. 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 the Head of School and CEO of Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School in Okotoks, Alberta. She completed her undergraduate degree in secondary education at the University of Calgary.  She spent seventeen years teaching social studies as well as her work as a guidance counsellor and Principal in Sundre, Alberta before moving back to Calgary in 2001. While in Sundre, she fell in love with the foothills area and became active in the community coaching volleyball and developing a high-level dramatic arts program.

She completed her Masters of Arts in Educational Leadership at San Diego State University. She spent four years at Bert Church High School as Principal before landing at Western Canada High School in Calgary. 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. This was an extraordinary opportunity providing her with the opportunity to work with educators from the independent school community. She and her team launched a bold new strategic plan and implemented a very successful Institute and Certificate program that continues to provide unparalleled real world learning experiences. Taking on the challenge of secondary school redesign and adopting a new view on timetable redesign, the College is helping students connect their passion to purpose in meaningful and authentic ways.

Most recently, Carol has enjoyed moving to the Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School and is excited to be working in a rural setting again with a dynamic staff. She is enjoying her work in the K-12 environment and is pleased to be working within the International Baccalaureate Programme. The Outdoor Education program is a draw for her.

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.

Carol is married to William (Sandy) Watt. She is stepmom to two children and a proud grandma to Hudson and Cal. In addition, she loves spending time in the outdoors, hiking, kayaking and spending time with Einstein and Tommy, her two faithful canine companions.


Dr. Bill Jones




Bill Jones spent more than 30 years in public and independent school teaching and administration. He was appointed the Head of Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School (Calgary, AB) in 2007 (retired in 2018) and previously served as Head of Southridge School (Surrey, BC) for 8 years. Bill holds undergraduate degrees in music and education, a Master of Education in educational administration and has earned a Doctor of Education in educational leadership and policy at the University of British Columbia. As a school head, he had been involved in the International Baccalaureate and Round Square organizations and had been a strong advocate for the development of an international perspective within students.

Sharon Klein

Sharon Klein has been Head of School at St. George’s School of Montreal since July 1, 2014. Founded in 1930, St. George’s is a K- 11 independent, co-educational and non-denominational day school committed to providing a progressive education of the highest quality.

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 as a teacher and coach in 1984. She later joined Queen Margaret’s School, in Duncan, B.C., as Athletic Director, and then went on to serve as Deputy Head Student Life, Senior School Principal and Deputy Head of Education, before becoming Head of School at St. George’s.

Sharon is a lifelong learner who is passionate about education and about building leadership capacity. With a positive reputation for community building, she is widely respected by her peers as a collaborative leader. Fully aligned with St. George’s mission and vision, 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 become a passionate leader.

In addition to her duties as Head of School, Sharon is an actively involved member of the Canadian Association of Independent Schools (CAIS) and Quebec Association of Independent Schools (QAIS). She served on three CAIS Accreditation Committees, one of which she chaired, served on the CAIS Strategic Planning Committee, and currently sits on the CAIS Standards Council and the QAIS Executive Committee. 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 a number of 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 30 years experience in Canada and internationally. With a Master of Educational Administration and Bachelor of Education from the University of Victoria, B.C., Ms. Lavell’s career has taken her from the classrooms of Alert Bay, Prince Rupert, and Victoria, B.C., to increasingly senior roles in the United Arab Emirates and Canada. Currently she is Head of School at Saltus Grammar School and former Head of school at The Bishop Strachan School (BSS). Deryn is a powerful advocate for equality and empowering girls with the confidence they need to thrive in an increasingly complex world, a philosophy that has distinguished her leadership at BSS.

James Lee

James was born in Seoul, South Korea on July 11, 1972. His family emigrated to Canada in 1973 and he spent most of his childhood growing up in Etobicoke, a western suburb of Toronto. James is a 2004 CAIS Leadership Institute graduate and holds three degrees from:

  • University of Toronto, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (Bachelor of Education)
  • University of Toronto, Rotman School of Management (Bachelor of Commerce)
  • Queens University, Graduate School of Education (Master of Education).

His educational career commenced in late spring of 1997 where he taught high school Mathematics at Phillip Pocock Catholic Secondary School in Mississauga, Ontario. He then moved on to Royal St. George’s College (a private independent day school for boys from Grades 3 – 12 located in Toronto) and taught Grade 12 Economics and Accounting. After three years, he became the Department Head of Business Studies and then eventually transitioned to school administration as Dean of Students/Vice Principal for seven years at RSGC. After eleven wonderful years at RSGC, he moved on to Villanova College (a private independent coed Catholic school from Grades 5 – 12 located in King City, north of Toronto) He spent four years as Dean of Students and Upper School Vice Principal within a diverse educational environment and then transitioned in July of 2012, to his current role as Head of School, at The Rosedale Day School (Toronto, ON) where he has transformed the school in the following areas:

  • An enrolment growth of 80% since 2012 and attrition level that went from 25% annually prior to 2012, to 3% by 2016.
  • Strategic institutional partnerships with the University of Toronto.
  • Building a culture of philanthropy which has fostered the school’s first Capital Campaign with successful metrics.
  • Successful implementation of a school-wide pedagogical shift from a traditional educational environment to a model integrating inquiry, PBL and The Design Thinking approach to problem solving.
  • Development of a strong engaged school community, faculty culture and morale.

Since 2001, he has presented annually on behalf of The Conference of Ontario Independent Schools at the OISE Faculty of Education, University of Toronto Employment Conference and also chaired the organizing committee for the Teacher Recruitment Fair held annually at the Ontario Science Center. He has now completed his seventh year as Head of School at The Rosedale Day School where he feels very fortunate to be a part of a wonderful school community. Outside of education, he spends most of his time travelling to Collingwood, ON with his family, wife Jennifer and two sons Alex (Age 10) and Aiden (Age 7) who are all avid skiers. He loves the Art of Cooking, quiet reflection time to think powerfully and finally, an avid and dedicated Toronto sports fan.

Kevin McHenry

Kevin R. McHenry was appointed the 8th Headmaster 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, 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 four separate 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 Standards Council. He was co-chair of the CIS Curriculum Network, chair for the CAIS Online Learning Steering Committee, and on the committee for development of the last two CAIS strategic plans. As well, Kevin has presented at a number of international conferences on a variety of topics over the years.

Kevin was at the helm for the St. Andrew’s College Not An Ordinary Place Campaign, which over six years successfully raised $46M for additions and improvements to the St. Andrew’s College facilities.

Kevin, his wife Karan, and their three children–William ’18, Caden ’21, and Hadley– reside in the Headmaster’s House on the SAC campus.

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 26 years and in private practice in the Kerrisdale area of Vancouver, BC and 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 practicing securities and corporate law, and has almost 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 is the past leader of the firm’s Corporate Finance, M&A and Private Equity Group (2010-2013). Ms. Ritchie’s M&A practice involves providing advice on mergers, acquisitions and divestitures for both public and private companies. She is ranked as a Best Lawyer in Canada 2016 in the area of M&A. Ms. Ritchie's corporate finance practice involves acting on behalf of public companies in public offerings and private placements of both equity and debt securities. She is currently one of 12 members on the Ontario Securities Commission’s Securities Advisory Committee. 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 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 George Brown College, MaRS Discovery District and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. She is also a member of CPA Canada’s Accounting Standards Oversight Council and 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 a member of the Winnipeg World Trade Centre Board, a member of the Manitoba Patient Access Network and is a member of the executive on the Board at Women of Winnipeg. She was a Board member of The Children's Hospital Foundation since 2001 and recently completed a two year term as President. She previously Chaired the Children's Health Advisory committee and also sat on the Board of the Manitoba Institute of Child Health

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

Fiona was a board member for The Women's Enterprise Centre from 2001 to 2005. During her time with the centre she also served on the loan and finance committees and also Chaired both the Audit and Human Resource 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.

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 980 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 a modern education.

John is passionate about young people, 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 has been Chair of the Independent School’s Association of BC since 2015 and Chair of the North Shore Multicultural Society a large not for profit organization providing services for immigrants and refugees in Vancouver since 2016. He has been a Regional Advisor to the CAIS Board since 2016.

CAIS Board Advisors

Alan Whyte

Alan is a partner at Cunningham, Swan, Carty, Little & Bonham LLP, and also provides employment mediation and workplace investigation services.

Prior to joining Cunningham, Swan, Carty, Little & Bonham LLP, Alan served as a Vice-chair of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario where he mediated and adjudicated human rights disputes across the province.

Before joining the Tribunal, Alan represented employers throughout Eastern Ontario and beyond in all aspects of the employment relationship for over 25 years. He assisted, and continues to assist, clients in relation to both union and non-union matters and in both the public and private sectors.

Alan has extensive experience and is able to provide legal services in the following areas:

  • Strategic proactive advice so as to prevent or minimize liability
  • Collective bargaining/strike management/interest arbitration
  • Labour arbitration
  • Wrongful dismissal litigation
  • Managing and advising on workplace harassment investigations
  • Restructuring advice and representation
  • Workplace Safety and Insurance matters
  • Ontario Labour Relations Board proceedings
  • Human rights proceedings
  • Occupational Health and Safety charges and other matters
  • Supervisor/management training

Alan has appeared before all levels of the courts in Ontario and numerous administrative tribunals.

Alan is a frequent speaker and presenter at conferences and other events in both Eastern Ontario and Toronto.

Alan has always been actively involved in the community and currently serves as a Board member on a number of non-profit boards as well as a member of the Queen’s Law School Dean’s Advisory Council

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. 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.