Developing Leaders for Canada's Best Independent Schools
2016 - 2017 Program
In 2000, a group of CAIS Heads had a vision that the national organization should develop talent, and they created a Leadership Institute (now affectionately known as the LI). The program includes a variety of modules that are specific to the unique nature of independent schools, and the facilitators are leaders in our community who ensure content is relevant and practical to school improvement. Over the years, this program has grown to include a variety of modules, and we are honoured to engage with over 100 participants each summer. The evidence of success is twofold:
- Many of our grads have gone on to assume leadership positions in our schools, including Headships.
- Our grads report that our program has had significant impact on their growth both personally and professionally; additionally, they can demonstrate the impact of our program on our schools.
In 2010, we heard from our graduates that they wanted to experience more CAIS leadership development. We also heard from our schools that there was a need for a targeted program for those administrators who were looking to take the next step in their careers. There had to be an application process and there had to be more experiential learning with impact on our schools. And thus, we launched the Next Step Program. We developed a two-year curriculum, hired three facilitators and five mentors, and limited the program to 12 participants. Our program included two summers and a one-year change project that was supported by mentors.
In 2015, we commissioned Susan Wright to conduct research to better understand the changing leadership landscape. “Leadership in our schools: A Research Project” highlights the following:
- 6 out of 10 Heads in CAIS schools (That’s 58 people!) anticipate they will retire or leave their schools in the next 6 years
- 1 in 5 of the Heads (22%) say they anticipate retiring or leaving their schools fewer than 3 years from now
- 66% of current Heads were not selected from within their school – they were at another school within Canada (50%) or came from a school outside Canada (16%)
- 18% of Heads are not developing any potential successors for potential future headship at their schools
Clearly, there is going to be incredible turnover, and all members of the leadership team are going to need to be more conversant with all aspects of school change.
Now in 2016, after two rounds of the program, we are excited to offer an enhanced opportunity with five facilitators. We surveyed participants; we researched leadership models and competencies; we listened to the advice of Heads, Boards, Leaders, and Search Consultants; and we met as a team to really understand how to best prepare future leaders.
We are proud to share our new program. Click here for the full document. Note, this document is being updated for the summer of 2017. The program will end on July 5, 2017.
A sincere thank you to the facilitators that are developing our future leaders and shaping the future of education:
- Val Cambre, Vice Principal & Chief Administration Officer/Executive Director, Human Resources, Appleby College
- David Hadden, retired School Head, Lakefield College School
- Anne-Marie Kee, Executive Director, CAIS
- David Robertson, School Head, Shawnigan Lake School
- Barry Wright, Dean of the Faculty of Business, Brock University
2016/17 Next Step Program Cohort
The 2016/17 Next Step Cohort was held at St. Andrew's College at the Summer Leadership Institute.
View participants and facilitators below.
Holy Trinity School - Assistant Head of Lower School
Brenda Balfour holds an Honours degree in Outdoor Recreation from Lakehead University and a Master’s in Science from Indiana University. Before earning her Bachelor of Education at Brock University, she taught in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies for six years at Green Mountain College in Vermont. She joined the HTS faculty in 2002 as a Grade 5 homeroom teacher. In 2010, she assumed the role of Junior School Coordinator, Curriculum Mapping Lead, and Grade 6 homeroom teacher. Since 2013, she has held the position of Assistant Head of Lower School.
Hillfield Strathallan College - Vice Principal, Grades 11/12
Taya Cicchetti has been teaching global languages (French and Spanish) from grades 7 – 12 for 15 years in CIS Ontario schools: Holy Trinity School, Appleby College and presently, Hillfield Strathallan College. Over the years, she has been a Department Head, School Life Coordinator and in May 2015, she became the Vice Principal of Grades 11 & 12 at HSC. Her passions include mentoring student leaders, French language teaching, recruitment, and personal growth and development in leadership. Taya proudly graduated from the CAIS Leadership Institute in 2015.
Holy Trinity School - Head of English Department
James Darling. As a former student and teacher at Lakefield College School, James Darling has literally grown up in the independent school system. Completing an Honours BA in English at Wilfrid Laurier and Trent University, a teaching degree at the University of Toronto and his Master’s of Education in Melbourne, Australia, James has had plenty of opportunity to observe and assess various theories about education.
Since James first came to HTS in 1999, he has taught both English and drama in Senior School. For the past decade, he has been the Leadership Programme Coordinator for the Senior School, co-director of the Senior School play and coach of the Senior Boys Soccer team. Currently, he is Head of the English Department.
James resides in Toronto with his wife Linton, their two boys and the family dog. James and his family recently spent a year abroad, travelling and studying in Australia.
Kingsway College School - Director of Student Life
Tamara Drummond is the Director of Student Life at Kingsway College School in Etobicoke, ON, where she oversees student wellness and discipline, including personal counselling, guidance and providing teacher support.Prior to joining Kingsway College School, Tamara was the Dean of Students (2007 – 2013) and a Social Studies teacher (2001 – 2013) at Sacred Heart School of Halifax, in Halifax, NS.
While at Sacred Heart, Tamara oversaw discipline, assisted with the day-to-day operations of the school, and served as the faculty advisor to both the girls’ high school student council and prefect program. She was the Parents’ Guild Liaison (2007 – 2011), the faculty representative on the Board of Governors (2011 – 2013), and had the pleasure of serving as the faculty Conference Chair when Sacred Heart hosted the CAIS Student Leadership conference in April, 2011. Before relocating to Halifax, Tamara had worked for both the Peel District School Board and a private school in Mississauga, ON where she worked as a grade 7 homeform teacher. She also taught grades 9 – 11 mathematics and OAC World Issues. In all of her roles, Tamara has coached and continues to coach a number of school teams.Tamara Drummond holds an M. Ed. in Counselling from Acadia University, a B.Ed. (Intermediate/Senior History and Geography) and B.A. in History. Additionally, Tamara is a member in good standing with The Ontario Association of Consultants, Counsellors, Psychometrists and Psychotherapists.
Stanstead College - Assistant Director of Admissions
Patrick Fraser currently serves as the Assistant Director of Admissions at Stanstead College. He holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Victoria, an MA in International Relations from the University of Waterloo, and is presently working on an M. Ed. at Bishops University. Prior to moving to Quebec, Patrick lived in South Korea, China, and Thailand where he worked as an ESL teacher. He lives on campus with his wife, Katie, and his daughter Elizabeth.
Trinity College School - Director of Teaching and Learning
Myke Healy completed his undergraduate degree and his Bachelor of Education (concurrent) from Queen’s University in the Outdoor and Experiential Education program. Myke joined the Social Sciences Department at Trinity College School in 2004. He became the Department Head the following year and has served as the Director of Teaching and Learning for the past five years. In addition to faculty development and curriculum, Myke oversees a number of strategic initiatives at TCS including the AP Capstone Diploma, the education technology plan, and the middle years Touchstones discussion leadership program. Myke currently serves on the board of eLearning Consortium Canada.
Glenlyon Norfolk School - Deputy Head
Chad Holtum. After completing his Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing and Finance, Chad spent 4 years in government implementing programming for youth throughout British Columbia. A teacher at heart, Chad then returned to school and completed his Bachelor of Education. He began his education career in the classroom teaching IT, Media Arts, Business Education, Marketing, PE, and band! Yes, band!!!
After a short stint in the public system, Chad joined Lakeside Preparatory Academy as Director of Admissions and teacher. During his time there he doubled the school enrolment in two years. He then moved to Queen Margaret’s School as Director of Admissions & Marketing, and was promoted to Deputy Head of School. It was here where Chad was able to achieve a 50% increase in enrolment in six years, and build Queen Margaret’s to be the largest all-girls boarding school in Canada at that time -while also completing his Masters in Education and Leadership.
In 2008, Chad was hired as the Director of Enrolment and Marketing at Shawnigan Lake School, Canada’s largest boarding school. During the next four years, Chad spearheaded the overseas enrolment, domestic and international marketing department, and created the first preparatory school in Canada for second language learners as part of a boarding school. Chad was also able to increase Shawnigan's international enrolment by over 30% and broaden the student diversity by recruiting students from Russia, Brazil, Thailand, Nigeria, and Spain - to name a few.
Currently as Deputy Head at Glenlyon Norfolk School in Victoria, Chad has increased new student enrolment by 50%, along with implementing an innovative family boarding program, the first of it’s kind in Canada. He leads a newly formed unit that is responsible for advancement, admissions, marketing, communications, family boarding and alumni relations. This past year Chad doubled capital gifts to the school and not only doubled the parent participation to the annual fund but the dollar amount.
Appleby College - Senior School Faculty
Claire Kelly has returned to the classroom full-time after serving as Upper School Director (2007-2011), Asst. House Director, and more recently, as Director of Academics (interim). She teaches grades 11 & 12 English and will be adding the Capstone program (seminar) in the fall. She is completing a PhD in Education, and is married with two young boys. She looks forward with to the experience of the Next Steps program.
St. George's School - Head of Grade 8
Santhe LeBlanc is the Head of Grade 8 and an Art Teacher at St. George's School, an independent school for boys in Vancouver. Santhe has 18 years of experience in an all boys environment and is described as having an ability to motivate the unmotivated and inspire students and faculty to leverage their creativity.
In her Head of Grade role, Santhe oversees the transition of students from the junior campus to the senior campus, the academic and character education for 150 grade 8 students, as well as the grade 8 advisory program. This year Santhe further led the development of a Grade 8 interdisciplinary academic cohort, which saw her work with faculty to create new curriculum opportunities while ensuring the establishment common elements and competencies across the grade.
Santhe has also recently spent two years revamping the St. George’s Annual Hamper Drive, a charitable endeavor that has the entire school community come together to provide hundreds of families in need with basic necessities over the holiday season. Outside of work, Santhe has spent five years serving as a board member with the Reading Bear Society, a non-profit organization that runs a mentorship reading program for disadvantaged elementary school children.
Santhe lives in Burnaby with her husband and two daughters
Shawnigan Lake School - Assistant Head - Academics
Wendy Milne joined the Shawnigan Lake School staff in 1997 after completing her B.Sc. in Mathematics and Geography at Trent University and her B.Ed. at the Intermediate-Senior level through the Trent-Queen’s Concurrent Education Program. After 15 summers attending and working at YMCA Camp PineCrest in Muskoka Ontario, making the move to the boarding environment was a quick transition, and the best decision she could have made for her career. Her move to BC was supposed to be for only one year, but when she settled into the School, she quickly wanted to stay.
In addition to continuing with her passion as a mathematics teacher, Wendy has been a House Director, the Registrar, the Dean of Academics and is now the Assistant Head – Academics. Since her arrival 19 years ago, Wendy has also been able to be involved with rowing, outdoors, the Yearbook, and organized the School’s annual Ski Week for 15 years. Now living just off campus with her husband, Wendy’s life and career have been significantly impacted by Shawnigan and being able to work with such an amazing group of students and staff has been a privilege. Her latest project has been to finish her Masters of Education in Educational Leadership at VIU, a program that she draws from in her role as Assistant Head - Academics. These are exciting times in education, and as Shawnigan celebrates it centenary, Wendy is looking forward to being involved in the evolution of the Shawnigan curriculum for the next 100 years. And on a more personal note - yes, she has been struck by lightning.
St. George's School - Director of Operations
Neil Piller completed a BA in geography, a BEd in Social Studies and an MA in Curriculum Studies at the University of British Columbia. Neil owned and operated a successful adventure tourism business for nearly ten years before entering the field of teaching. After a short career with the Vancouver School Board, Neil moved to St. George[?]s School where he has held a number of positions including Head of Outdoor Education, Director of Risk Management and currently Director of Operations. He is responsible for six departments: buildings, grounds, transportation, safety and security, food services and retail. In the risk management area, Neil[?]s expertise is in developing strategies that enhance strategic goals, create organizational sustainability and protect the well being of students and staff.
St. Andrew's College - Assistant Headmaster, School Life and Operations
Greg Reid joined the faculty of St. Andrew's College in 2000 as Director of Athletics and was promoted to Assistant Headmaster (School Life and Operations) in September 2012. His current responsibilities include overseeing all aspects of student life, leadership, and discipline.
He earned BA, B.P.H.E.(Hons.) and B.Ed. degrees from Queen’s University and completed an M.Ed. degree in Educational Administration at OISE, University of Toronto. Greg is also a graduate of the CAIS Leadership Institute and holds the professional designation of Certified Athletic Administrator (CAA).
Greg has an extensive teaching background, having taught physical and health education, outdoor ed., special ed., co-op ed., mathematics, geography, and science, at both the elementary and secondary levels in four schools in York Region. Prior to moving to SAC, he was the Head of P.H.E. and the Elite Athlete Program at King City Secondary School. He is a past President of the York Region Athletic Association (YRAA), past Chair of the Conference of Independent Schools’ Athletic Association (CISAA) and held the position of Boys' OFSAA representative for six years. Greg has convened and hosted numerous CAIS and OFSAA tournaments at SAC and is a past Chair of the OFSAA Sport Advisory Committee for lacrosse.
Greg has been the Head Coach of St. Andrew's 1st Lacrosse team since 2004, winning numerous tournaments and championships including nine straight OFSAA appearances and five OFSAA medals (gold in 2007). He has coached hockey at all levels and is currently an assistant coach with SAC's JV Hockey team. Greg assisted in the design of the School's upper fields project, which resulted in the outstanding Yuill Family Athletic Complex, and recently consulted on the design and construction of the School's new La Brier Family Arena.
Greg was an assistant coach in the Team Ontario Field Lacrosse program for four years, volunteers his time coaching hockey and lacrosse in the community, and is currently the Director of High School Teams for Evolve Elite Lacrosse. He holds multiple coaching certifications as well as qualifications in scuba, canoeing, and challenge course management. As a retired Sergeant-Major in the Infantry and Armoured Reserves, Greg takes a special interest in the Cadet Corps program where he holds the rank of Lieutenant.
Greg lives with his wife, Chryssi (an elementary school teacher), and their two sons, Bowen (SAC '15, Queen's '19) and Brayden (SAC '18).
Appleby College - Vice-Principal, Head of School
Katrina Samson is the Vice-Principal, Head of School at Appleby College, in Oakville, ON, a role she has had since 2010. Originally from the Ottawa area, Katrina completed her undergraduate (English/Health)and B.Ed (I/S, English, History) degrees at Queen's University, her M.A (Human Kinetics, Sports Administration) at the University of Ottawa, and is doing her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership at OISE/University of Toronto, focusing on leadership succession in Canadian Independent schools. Katrinalives on campus at Appleby with her husband (also a teacher) and four children.
Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School - Assistant Principal - Senior School
Chris Schneider. After earning my BA and MA in Political Science from the University of Calgary, I took a one year teaching position at a private university in Mexico. It was during this exciting and foundational experience that I became convinced that a career in education was the path for me. Upon returning to Canada and completing my BEd, I was fortunate enough to earn a teaching position at Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School where I have been for the past 13 years.
My time at STS has been extremely rewarding and I have taught social studies, international relations and economics in the Middle and Senior Schools, coached volleyball, planned and led international athletic, history and service trips, and directed our school’s Model UN program. After six years of full time teaching, I began to split my time between the classroom and my role as Director of Mentorship, leading an induction program for new faculty and liaising with area universities in support of teacher internship placements. Two years ago, I was posted to the position of Assistant Principal in our Senior School and I have enjoyed the challenges of managing the many dimensions of student life, supporting professional development, and directing a variety of initiatives in support of our school’s mission.
I currently live in Calgary with my beautiful wife, Kara and have two daughters and a son who have all benefited from attending independent schools. As often as we can, we pack up our gear and head west to ski the breathtaking slopes of the Rocky Mountains.
Appleby College - Vice Principal & Chief Administration Officer/Executive Director, Human Resources
Val Cambre. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and fluent in Spanish, Val Cambre has 18 years of Human Resources experience. She spent several years in the Financial Services sector, specifically Canada Trust, in retail banking before moving into the field of HR, after completing her Certified Human Resources Professional designation.
After several years in various HR roles at the bank, Val moved into an HR service partner role, working closely with operational areas and supporting business units as an HR generalist.
In 2000, she joined a small HR firm in Toronto as a consultant, and then began her own independent consulting business, and consulted with various clients in different industries. Val’s consulting work focused on supporting organizations that needed HR implementation, or a review of the function. She would advise on the strategic role of HR and support clients in everything from implementing policy, to hiring and establishing an HR department where one wasn’t in place.
Val also began teaching strategic planning at Sheridan College in their HR certificate program. She then joined Appleby College in order to implement an HR function. At Appleby Val established the HR function with a focus on strategic partnership, and put in place a department that supports the school’s HR management. This includes the implementation of various programs including a recruitment program, mutual respect programs, rewards and recognition programs and performance management programs.
Val’s business studies and certification, including her CHRP designation, were completed at the Rotman School of Management at U of T. Val has focused her career in strategic HR partnership and leadership coaching, and is very passionate about the strategic role of HR in an organization.
Val is certified in Employee Opinion Surveys, Myers Briggs, and SDI behaviour assessment. She now also leads the Operations side of the school, which includes HR, Marketing, IT and Facilities planning and oversight of Finance.
Val loves to spend time with her family, and her husband is a calculus and physics teacher, (her two worst subjects)!
Canadian Accredited Independent Schools - (CAIS) Strategic Advisor
David Hadden possesses a passion for independent school advancement, sustainability, strategic planning, and boarding.
Currently, he is an educational consultant supporting these interests for Canadian Accredited Independent Schools (CAIS). He is a strategic advisor to the Executive Director of CAIS. He conducts workshops at CAIS conferences and for school boards and management teams. He is an executive coach for several individual school and CAIS administrators and teaches annually at the CAIS Leadership Institute and New Heads Workshop.
Recently he served a two year term as Strategic Advisor to the Principal (Boarding) at Upper Canada College and to The Lakefield College School Foundation with its $100M campaign, launched in 2012.
David received his B.A./B.Ed. from Queens University. He played football professionally in the CFL (1975-78). He has been a teacher at Crescent School, Canadian Junior College, and Upper Canada College.
In 1985, David became the Head of Lakefield College School, and latterly during his 23 year term, he served additionally as CEO of the LCS Foundation. He was responsible for Lakefield's staff driven "Securing Our Future" campaign which raised $44M from 2001-2008.
David is a Board member and part owner of two summer camps: Onondaga Camp and Camp Kandalore.
Canadian Accredited Independent Schools - (CAIS)
Anne-Marie Kee is the Executive Director at the Canadian Accredited Independent Schools (CAIS), an association of 96 schools that are passionate about learning and leading. She is responsible for strategies designed to support continuous school improvement and leads research, PD and accreditation programs that reinforce the vision of CAIS, to shape the future of education.
Since joining the national organization in 2005, she initiated the National Tracking Project, co-authored theNational Technology Project: A Report on Effective Practice and lead the organization through a national collaborative review of the National Standards and procedures of accreditation, which eventually lead to recognition by the NAIS International Commission of Accreditation. The CAIS Standards challenge schools to examine all aspects of program and operations, including innovative learning, graduate success, student engagement in arts, athletics, leadership, and community service; and student wellness.
In the past four years, she developed a series of research projects on risk management, governance, teaching and learning, enrollment management, and online and blended learning. She launched a marketing project for Canada’s boarding schools to collaboratively recruit more international students in 2010, and launched the first National Parent Motivational Survey in 2013, which examined CAIS and general population parents’ attitudes.
She oversees the CAIS Leadership Institute, which trains over 150 leaders each year, and established several new modules including Women in Leadership, Coaching Leaders, Teaching for 21st Century Learning, and Marketing. She initiated a two-year program for current administrators that mandates an innovative change project to be implemented in one year while working with a mentor.
She began her career teaching English in the Kingston area then went on to become the Dean of Studies and Chair of the Integrated Technology Implementation program at Lower Canada College in Montreal.
Kee sits on the Board of The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS); and she is the President of Independent Schools Association Network (ISAnet) and on the Executive of the NAIS International Commission on Accreditation. She is a Founding Board Member of the eLearning Consortium of Canada (ELCC).
She is a frequent speaker, having visited over 150 independent schools in 7 countries, and writes a weekly blog on trends in parenting, administration and education.
Kee holds a BA, B.Ed. and an M.Ed. from Queen’s University, attended the Independent Schools Institute at Harvard in 2008, and obtained the Chartered Director (C.Dir.) designation from The Directors College (a joint venture of McMaster University and The Conference Board of Canada) in 2012.
Shawnigan Lake School - Headmaster
David Robertson was born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland. After completing his M.A.(Hons) at the University of Aberdeen and his teaching degree (P.G.C.E.0 from Loughborough University, he began his teaching career in 1978. After 11 years of teaching English and French in Scotland, David and his family moved to Canada, where he took on the role as House Director, Head of Languages, and Senior Rugby Coach at Brentwood College School. In 1993, he moved to Shawnigan Lake School, working as a Deputy Head and Principal before accepting the position of Headmaster in 2000.
A former Chair of the Independent Schools Association of British Columbia and the current Chair of the CAIS Collaborative Boarding Project, David serves on the Board of Directors for the national organization of independent schools (CAIS - Canadian Accredited Independent Schools.
A passionate advocate of strong independent schools, David has led Shawnigan Lake School through a period of unprecedented growth and development, cementing his reputation as an exceptional educator, facilitator and leader.
Brock University - Dean of the Faculty of Business
Barry Wright is an Associate Professor and the past Associate Dean of the Undergraduate Program in the Faculty of Business at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario. Prior to joining Brock University, he worked as an Assistant Professor at St. Francis Xavier University, taught at the International Study Centre in Herstmonceux, UK and at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. He has also worked as an administrator with the City of Red Deer. During his career as an educator, Barry has been nominated several times for teaching awards and has been recognized as a Macleans Magazine “Popular Professor”.
At home in the classroom, Barry is also comfortable in the boardroom. He has provided a variety of training and research consultations to Canadian organizations. These include: the Bank of Montreal, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Queen's Executive Program, Ontario Basketball Association, Royal Oak Mines, the MacLeod Group, Centre for Innovative Management at Athabasca University, Football Canada, Human Resource Department at Brock University, Insurance Bureau of Canada, Constellation Software and Sobeys Canada Inc. Barry also provides one-on-one “coaching” sessions for senior executives who have expressed a desire for outside counsel.
He received his MA (Sport Psychology) and Ph.D. (Management) degrees from Queen’s University. His academic research focuses on understanding and solving leadership challenges; change and its influence on organizational members; and creating effective work environments.
2013/14 and 2011/12 Next Step Program Cohorts
2013/2014 Next Step Cohort - Summer LI - Ridley College
2011/2012 Next Step Cohort - Summer LI - Shawnigan Lake School