Board of Governors
Photo top left to right: Elizabeth Wooding – Chair, Development & Admissions Committees, John Olson – Vice Chair & Finance and Admissions Committees, Scott Herrington – Head of School & Admissions Committee, Simon Clarke – Ex Officio, Chris Cormier – Risk Committee, Don Durand, Ian MacLeod – Secretary, Abbey-Jane McGrath, Shahrooz Nabavi – Governance Committee, Karen Wiebe – Treasurer & Finance Committee
Over the years, the Island Pacific School Society has been very fortunate to continually attract a diverse range of Board members who bring strong qualifications, a wide range of skills and experience, and most importantly, a deep interest in education and student development. Our passionate Board ensures that IPS is focused on the Big Picture, while still delivering exceptional learning experiences through a strong school administration and faculty foundation. We are as dynamic and innovative today as we were the day we started, 25 years ago. Read the Executive Summary of our Strategic Plan.
At Island Pacific School, we have a 25 year history of doing a few things really really well. First and foremost, we allow middle school students, at a crucial time in their lives, to explore who they are and what their passions are. We ask them: Who are you as an individual? What values drive you? How are you connected to your community and the larger world?
In addition to posing these larger questions of kids, our remarkable teachers challenge them intellectually, socially and physically with a number of extensions throughout the year. From climbing a rock face to raising funds to address youth homelessness to tackling difficult polynomial equations, IPS teachers strive constantly to encourage students to take on personal challenges and test their limits — ultimately bolstering their sense of warranted confidence. It is remarkable to watch.
Finally, at IPS, we know how to have fun. The zany energy of middle schoolers is legendary; we see it as a strength to be harnessed as a force for good in the world. Buttressed by our core values of Wisdom, Courage and Integrity, kids are encouraged to express the full scope of who they are.
Our Board of Directors comprises talented, values-driven, and committed leaders from various sectors. This depth of experience has enabled us to support our incredible Head of School, Scott Herrington, to lead his staff to act nimbly in the face of the extraordinary challenge of the global pandemic. Their resilience and skill have created a gold standard distance learning platform to help guide our students through this tumultuous time. And we are becoming stronger and better able to navigate the demands of 21st century learning because of this effort.
I am humbled and delighted to be part of our community of learners and leaders. Please reach out if I can be of service or if you have any questions about our school. I look forward to chatting with you!
Island Pacific School is an independent middle school that equips and inspires students to cultivate their humanity at this pivotal point in their lives. We are an education community that fosters intellectual engagement, citizenship, leadership, and self-confidence.
Island Pacific School will be widely recognized as a distinctly different, innovative leader of program excellence in middle school education.
Board Members, 2020-21
Elizabeth Wooding — Board Chair & Development & Admissions Committees
Since first reading Ted Spear’s message about the purpose of IPS, to ultimately sending all four of our children to Island Pacific School, my partner, Simon, and I have been delighted to watch our children grow as individuals through their middle school years. Our three eldest have now graduated and our youngest is in grade 9 this year. I have seen firsthand how IPS excels at encouraging students to step up to the challenges and responsibilities offered them and am now pleased to have the privilege to serve on the Board as Chair.
Although trained as a dentist, my background was in French literature both in undergraduate and graduate training programs at UBC. I have served on two other boards – the West Van Youth Band and the Adler Center in Vancouver. Currently, my interests centre around education and community, as well as writing — and when I’m feeling brave — a bit of live theatre!
John Olson — Vice Chair & Finance & Admissions Committees
John and his wife Kim were introduced to the IPS community in 2015, and the following year their son Nicko joined the school as a sixth grader. The IPS experience has been fruitful for the whole family, delivering notable benefits for Nicko during these formative years, and starting many new friendships from the mosaic of IPS families.
John is in his third year on the Board of Island Pacific School, where he seeks to bring his experience as a leader and manager of businesses & people. He was born and raised in Vancouver, completed his BA at SFU, and moved to the North Shore in 2004. John spent ten years in the Pattison Group, working in two different divisions in an array of positions, including Vice President, before moving on to become President and part owner at Ames Tile & Stone until 2017. Since then, John has been exploring management consulting and other volunteer posts.
Scott Herrington — Head of School & Admissions Committee
Scott joined IPS as the Head of School in July, 2017. Over the course of his 30+ years in education he has had the pleasure and privilege to teach at some remarkable schools. His career began at the Peace Zone International School in Kathmandu, Nepal (while backpacking through Asia) and then more formally at Crystal Park School in Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada. The next 16 years were at the American School of Dubai where he taught in the middle school classroom for nine years before taking over the role of Recreation Director for seven years. The KAUST School in Saudi Arabia was his last overseas assignment where he held the roles IB MYP Coordinator, CIS/NEASC Accreditation Officer, and Activities Director.
Scott is a lifelong learner, an avid Ultimate player and loves to travel and explore this amazing planet.
Simon Clarke — Ex Officio
Simon and his wife Louise were inspired to join the IPS Community by the positive impact IPS had on the children of close friends of theirs. 9 years later after their 3 children have all attended IPS and with Simon embarking on his 8th year as part of the Board of IPS, their passion for IPS is stronger than ever.
“The foundation and values IPS instills in all students, and all involved with the school, enables them to move ahead and tackle the challenges that life brings and is clearly more important than ever. With all its has brought to our family and friends, the School deserves our ongoing support in any way we can.”
Simon has worked closely with small to mid-sized organizations both as an adviser and “in-house” throughout his 30 years in business. He has served in senior management roles and on the boards of several companies and has first-hand experience of the opportunities and challenges that typically face businesses. Simon has an LLB and a Diploma in Legal Practice from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.
Chris Cormier — Risk Committee
Chris has two children attending Island Pacific School, Harrison (grade 9) and Malcolm (grade 7). Chris, his wife Karen and boys moved to Bowen several years ago and the attraction to IPS was a major factor in their move. They loved IPS’s sole focus on the informative middle years program and had similar ideals that middle school mattered and these years would be foundational to the growth and development of their two boys. After thee years at IPS they see the confidence and camaraderie their boys have developed through meaningful planned interactions with their peers.
Chris, is a Mining Engineer (P.Eng) and currently is a General Manager of a large project who brings a career of progressive senior management roles in projects, community development with various natural resource public companies and community board experience to the IPS board. As an engineer, Chris believes every opportunity is a chance to learn and is an avid supporter of the schools out trips. Chris also serves as a risk champion for IPS and provides guidance to the Board and School Head on opportunities to continually review and improve safety standards.
With 25 years of direct leadership experience from military operations to high profile international business ventures, Don focuses his consulting practice on helping companies build sustained competitive advantage through leadership effectiveness.
Prior to moving back to Vancouver in 2013 and starting his consulting practice, Don held executive roles in two high profile West African companies. One included working with the Prime Minister of Cameroon to re-establish public transportation infrastructure throughout country. This venture was awarded The US State Department’s Award for Corporate Excellence.
The second was a renewable energy business in Liberia. Don worked with the President of the country to create thousands of jobs and indirect social benefit for the country. This company was awarded the Business Excellence Award for Natural Resources
Development by the Corporate Council on Africa in 2009 and Time Magazine recognized the company’s achievements in an extended article in its July 2009 issue.
He served in both the Canadian and British Armies where he led soldiers and officers in complicated and dangerous hostile environments including operations during the Balkans crisis in the mid-nineties and in Kuwait in the aftermath of the first Gulf War.
Currently, he works with some of Canada’s most recognized brands and is known as the person to call when other things have not worked.
Don holds an Executive MBA from SFU and a Bachelor of Engineering from Royal Military College. When he is not travelling with his wife and three kids, Don can be found exploring the peaks of BC (and beyond) year round.
Ian MacLeod — Secretary
Ian and his wife Julie were initially drawn to IPS for its focus on the crucial middle school years. The mission statement of ‘equip and inspire’ resonates with them. Their two daughters, Phoebe (grade 9) and Charlotte have both attended IPS. IPS has had a significant and positive impact on their girls and the IPS teachers, students and parent community continue to inspire them.
Originally from Ontario, Ian moved to Vancouver for the outdoor lifestyle. He is trained as a lawyer and has spent his career working in senior corporate roles. He has decades of experience with the acquisition and operation of businesses both big and small and serves as a director to public companies. Ian and his family live on the North Shore and are passionate about the west coast lifestyle and pursuing outdoor challenges.
Ian is a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors and the Law Society of British Columbia.
Abbey-Jane holds a communications degree (with first class honours) from McGill University and a law degree from the University of Toronto. Abbey-Jane was also previously called to the Bar of British Columbia, as well as commissioned as a Notary Public for British Columbia. Most recently, she has worked in the field of public participation and engagement for municipal, provincial and federal projects and key decisions.
A common theme that runs through her work is working to give voice to all stakeholders in decisions that affect them, including the vulnerable and hard-to-reach. Abbey-Jane grew up in West Vancouver and has lived on Bowen Island now for 15 years. Her son, Hudson, is an IPS alumni and graduated this year from Rockridge. Her daughter, Wylie, is in grade 9 this year at IPS. She also has an eight-year-old in grade three, who is keen to join IPS in 2023.
Shahrooz Nabavi — Governance Committee
Shahrooz Nabavi is a partner in the Vancouver office of Fasken Martineau DuMoulin, practicing as a corporate commercial and corporate finance lawyer primarily working with innovation based companies. Shahrooz grew up in Calgary, Alberta where he started his middle school education in grade 7 and completed his undergraduate and law degrees at the University of Calgary and practiced in Calgary for 5 years before coming to Vancouver in 2008 with his wife Alexa and then 2 kids, Leila and Cyrus, who are both IPS students this year. Shahrooz, Alexa and their 3 kids live in North Vancouver and he spends his free time attempting to play the various sports his kids are involved in, and cycling and running. Shahrooz’s interest in IPS comes from seeing his daughter’s growth over the past 3 years at IPS and the attitude of engaged citizenship and focus on academic growth that the school has instilled in her.
Karen Wiebe — Treasurer & Finance Committee
Karen and her husband Jeff were introduced to the IPS community through past families who had sent their children to IPS after years at North Star Montessori Elementary school. It was clear that the IPS environment was unique and the children who attended loved their school. Their goal as parents was to seek a school environment with teachers who would continue to foster the love of learning which was nurtured in their two boys from a young age, and allow for a unique education which stretched beyond the walls of the school and the basic curriculum.
Karen & Jeff’s two sons Jacob and Adam joined the school in 2017 and 2018, respectively, and are currently in grades 10 and 8.
Karen was born and raised in North Vancouver, completed her B. Comm at UBC, articled at Ernst & Young in Vancouver while earning her CA designation, and after relocating for 12 years to Bermuda she returned “home” with her family to the North Shore in 2009. Karen spent the years in Bermuda working in the offshore investment industry, with the majority of the time spent working for Jupiter Asset Management (Bermuda) Ltd. as the Head of Fund Operations and as a Director, and once resettled in Vancouver spent several years as a consultant to Bermuda based Investment Management Companies and subsequently 6 years with Orbis Investments Limited, where she was able to continue to employ her international relationships, tax and audit experience, and operational expertise.
Karen is excited about the prospect of participating on the Board of Island Pacific School, and hopes to contribute through her love for organization, thoroughness, details and experience as a former auditor, operational head and Director.
Our independent middle school is a non-profit, which is different than a private middle school. We embrace the opportunities we have as an independent school with an arms-length Board of Governors dedicated to supporting an innovative and evolving middle school program. Not all independent schools or private schools meet rigorous and defined education standards. Our school is an accredited CAIS school and International Baccalaureate (IB) Global School teaching the Middle Years Programme (MYP). We’ve been accredited since 2009.