“I would say that I am someone who leads by example, that I am hard working, and that I am not a man of many words. But when I speak, I hope my words are short and to the point, and most importantly, are remembered. I like to connect with people. I enjoy meeting individually and in small groups to help strengthen connections. Being a coach has helped me get used to speaking in front of bigger groups and getting everyone on the same page, and that is something that transfers to the House, and getting the boys to buy in to how the House is going to be run.
When I was finishing my hockey playing career, I discovered that Shawnigan was starting a hockey program, and so I contacted Kevin Cooper about opportunities to coach. Shortly after, I met some of the boarding staff at the School and we quickly became friends. I was asked in those early months if I would ever want to be involved in boarding.
When I was a student at St. Michaels University School in Victoria, I had lots of friends who were boarding students from all over the world, and I remembered how much I enjoyed having friends from all over, and how much I learned. I was definitely very interested in getting into boarding because I saw its value. When the opportunity arose to become an Assistant House Director at Shawnigan, we didn’t balk at it. It quickly became what everyone had told us before getting into it – a lifestyle. It’s a lifestyle that we have grown to become really passionate about.
After having been an Assistant House Director in Ripley’s for the past four years, I am very excited to have the opportunity to lead my own House. Lonsdale’s is a House with so much history here on campus, and I am excited to build on the atmosphere and culture that has been built by the previous House Directors.
My wife Julia works in Admissions here at the School, and she is so excited to be on this journey alongside me. Julia just loves being around the boys, and she has such a motherly presence. I am going to need her support as my responsibilities have grown significantly by taking on the House Director role. She knows that there are going to be a lot of early mornings and late evenings, but she’s excited. As a family we are going to work and support each other through it all, and we can’t wait to see how the year unfolds.
I love the fact that my family gets to meet and learn from students from so many different cultures and backgrounds. I also love the fact that my kids can learn from this group of teenagers in Lonsdale’s – teenagers who I am hoping to instill with qualities that I would want my own kids to have. Because I am not only parenting my own kids, but I am also parenting kids that are older than my own kids, who my kids in turn are going to learn from as they watch them go through successes and failures.
Coaching hockey has taught me about leading a team. Lonsdale’s is the new team that I will be coaching. And having been a player as well as a coach, I definitely understand the fact that you are going to go through both tough times and great times together. I know from being in Ripley’s House for the last four years that it’s not all roses. The kids have tough days. The idea is to have as many great times as you can, and to learn lessons from both the good and the bad.
There are different characters and personalities in every room in the House. I know from being on sports teams that it is important to respect everyone for who they are. That’s what I want for the boys in Lonsdale’s – for them to be proud of who they are, and to be proud of their brothers and roommates for who they are. I want each boy to be excited to come home, after a class, a game or a break. I hope to create a close-knit group that respects each other, and has fun together, and always has each other's backs. It’s so important for teenagers to have role models, and that’s a huge part of being in a House.
It’s exciting for me to be one of those role models and I am looking forward to being a part of their growth here at the School. I want them to be able to look back at their time in Lonsdale’s and be proud of the lessons they learned and the friendships they have made while being here. When alumni come back, they want to visit their old Houses, and look at their House photos. You can see them recollecting all the amazing memories from the past.
It’s very cool to be a part of that. I am really excited to work with Ms. Russell and the entire duty team. The whole group comes from a variety of different backgrounds, and working with them is going to be a great learning experience for me. They all have different strengths and qualities that enable them to connect with so many different kids.
I am looking forward to learning from them, and having their support. My hopes for the House are also my expectations for myself as the House Director of Lonsdale’s. My biggest hope is that my team and I will create a place that each and every one of the boys is excited to come home to after school, activities, and holidays. I hope to instill confidence in all the boys that they can go out into the world after graduating from here, and be kind, respectful, hardworking and successful individuals who can contribute to their new community away from Shawnigan, using the values that they have learned during their time in the House and at the School.”
Shawnigan Lake School is a co-educational boarding school on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. The school is home to nationally-ranked academics, arts and athletics, with 100 per cent of graduates accepted to university.