Photo top left to right: Ian MacLeod, Anita Peters-White, Frazer Elliott, Jun Wang, Michael Florendo, Abbey-Jane McGrath, Joseph Cooke, Park Heffelfinger and Ragu Raghavendra.
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, 27 years ago. Read the Executive Summary of our Strategic Plan.
Life is getting back to normal, and metaphorically speaking the clouds are lifting and the sun is beginning to shine. Covid restrictions are easing, and for IPS this means being able to resume activities that are at the core of our school’s values of equip and inspire.
Scott and the whole team really rose to the challenges presented by the pandemic during the past two years. They created an entirely new means of teaching practically overnight and were successful in doing so with fewer options and resources. Most notably though, they did this, with few exceptions, without the crucial involvement of the IPS parent community and the volunteers that set IPS apart. The entire IPS team’s effort and dedication through the pandemic has served to reinforce our decision as parents to follow a path of alternative education.
The team has built up momentum this year starting with a great new event – the Mudder, which was by all accounts a lot of fun for everyone and quite successful. Hopefully, this event will become an annual highlight like the Golden Disk ultimate game and Coffee House. We were also fortunate this year to resume Discovery Week and the Rites of Passage, two key events in a child’s journey through IPS.
Recently, with generous support from the Smooth Stones Foundation and others, IPS took ownership of the school and the adjacent lands. This is a big step that will allow IPS to create a vision for school facilities, starting with the new Field House project – IPS’s first significant capital project.
Scott has been the driving force behind the Colin Ruloff Community Field House. When completed, this structure will provide a much-needed group activity space that will evolve over time and will be shared with the Bowen community.
For its part, the board has focused this year on a more intentional approach to a few key areas. Attention was placed on marketing and communication, opening the path to having Casey James join the team at IPS. The EDI Committee worked with members of the community to create its terms of reference, and an Enrollment Committee was created which established an annual enrollment plan of action to ensure the school’s continued success. The board members have generously donated their time, and many participate in committee work, fundraising and events. A special mention should be made for the 8-year contribution of Elizabeth Wooding, our former chair who gave so much to IPS and who, I feel, did not get the chance for proper recognition due to the pandemic.
I am heartened to see IPS building momentum and returning to its core values and activities. The future looks very bright. I invite you to get involved and help build on the momentum that Scott and the team have built and to come back together as community around this great little school.
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 2022-23
Ian MacLeod — Board Chair
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 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 McGrath — Vice Chair
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 last year from Rockridge. Her daughter, Wylie, graduated in 2021 from IPS. She also has a ten-year-old in grade five who is keen to join IPS in 2023.
Frazer Elliott — Director
Frazer moved to Bowen Island in 1988, attended Bowen Island Community School and commuted to West Vancouver for high school. Frazer holds a Bachelor Of Arts (History) from UVic, and a Bachelor Of Education (Social Studies/Social Sciences) from UBC.
A former high school teacher, he made the switch into real estate in 2014, and enjoys running his business on the island.
He strongly believes that our little island community cannot sustain itself without dedicated volunteer work. As such, he was co-chair of the Bowen Island Community School Association for six years, and has sat on – or continues to sit on – the boards of Theatre On The Isle, the Bowen Island Museum and Archives, and the Bowen Island Football Club.
Joseph Cooke — Treasurer
Joseph and his family have been Bowen Island residents for 10 years. He is currently the president of a multinational technology firm with operations across APAC and a headcount in excess of 400.
Joseph has been recognized as CIBC’s Top Entrepreneur, EY’s 2021 Entrepreneur of the Year finalist and a recipient of BIV’s 40 under 40 in 2021.
As an active member of the Bowen Island community, Joseph has served on numerous boards including the Bowen Children’s Centre (BCC), the Community School Association (CSA), and is the current Chair of the Bowen Island Gymnastics Club.
Joseph’s eldest daughter currently attends IPS in grade seven and his youngest daughter, in grade three will attend IPS in grade six.
Jun Wang — Director
.Jun has a Master’s Degree in Information Technology from the University of Nottingham in the UK. She has worked in many different countries including the UK, US and China, and also worked for many Global companies, such as HP, TCS and Capgemini.
She is now a partner of a big data company and one of the founders of WingChun Kongfu Academy. She is also the director of Enhance West Van. She has lived in West Vancouver with her husband and three children for the past eight years.
Michael Florendo — Secretary & EDI Committee
Michael and his wife moved to Bowen Island in 2005 and have had the privilege to send both of their children, Hannah (now in Grade 10 at WVSS) and Abbie (currently in Grade 8), to IPS. The school’s focus on fostering intellectual engagement, citizenship, leadership, and self-confidence were key reasons their children attend IPS.
Born in the Philippines and raised on the North Shore, Michael is an alumni of UBC Engineering. As a licensed Professional Engineer with over 20 years of experience, he has delivered community infrastructure projects across western Canada and the USA for various levels of government and First Nation communities. His focus is on resilient and sustainable infrastructure design for projects for the Province of BC and Metro Vancouver.
He currently serves as a National Director for the Canadian Water Resources Association and as a committee chair for the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies of British Columbia
Park Heffelfinger — Development Committee
Park is originally from the prairies, born in Winnipeg and now living on Bowen Island. His background is Sociology and Hospitality Management. He also has the distinction as a Sommelier and is a former Director of the Vancouver Wine Academy. He’s the founder and former owner of Memphis Blues BBQ House. He retired to tend his small community-based microgreens business with his wife Charmaine and to help on the family farm. His daughter Franny graduated from IPS in 2019 and his 11 year old, Ema, is at IPS in grade seven.
Ragu Raghavendra - Director
Raghavendra is a visual artist originally from Bangalore, India. He has built a multidisciplinary art practice that integrates public art, multi-media work, painting and graphic design.
Prior to that, he gained fifteen years of full-time teaching experience at Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore one of the top design Institutes in India, from 1997 till 2012. As a co-founder and Artistic Director of the South Asian Canadian Histories Association (2016-2020), he has been involved in a number of public art and multi-disciplinary arts projects.
He most recently held a solo show at The Hearth Gallery on Bowen island, BC titled Mending Cracks; Beyond exploring his research on trauma and healing and at present is working on a project Viewing Dissents; Dissenting Views on a Canada Council for the Arts research and Creation grant.
He moved to Bowen Island in 2020 with his family and his son is currently in grade 6 at Island Pacific School.
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.