Head of School

Ref: 6980

St. Michaels University School

3400 Richmond Road, Victoria, BC, Canada, V8P 4P5

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Role coordinated by:

Lucy McLaughlin

Associate Consultant

t: +44(0) 20 3928 7377

e: Lucy.McLaughlin@perrettlaver.com

Primary Practice Group: Schools and Education Organisations

Salary & Benefits: $450K-$600K (to be negotiated); health benefits, RRSP matching benefits, tuition discount for children, residence on campus, and other benefits.

Closing Date: 30/04/2024

Job Type: Full Time, Permanent

Start Date: Summer 2025

Language: English

Job Description

One of Canada’s leading independent schools, St. Michaels University School (SMUS) is a world-class, values-led school providing an ‘outstanding preparation for life’. Drawing on over 100 years of heritage and set on two beautiful campuses in Victoria, British Columbia, SMUS provides an exceptional education, characterized by excellence and breadth, to over 1,000 day (Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12) and boarding (Grades 8-12) students from over 25 countries worldwide.

The Board of Governors now seeks an exceptional leader to succeed Mark Turner, our current Head of School, who will step down in summer 2025 after seven years of dedicated service to the school. His successor will join a strong community and an in-demand, thriving school with a local, national, and international reputation for excellence and innovation. The arrival of the next Head of School will coincide with the midpoint of Floreat 2030, our current strategic plan, and there is significant scope to shape the next phase. This is a wonderful opportunity to guide the evolution of a high performing school and further enhance SMUS’s position at the forefront of independent education in Canada and beyond.  

The successful candidate will be an experienced senior leader with the vision and strategic abilities to build on strong foundations, marry tradition and innovation, and lead SMUS into an exciting new chapter. A collaborative leader and team player, the next Head of School will build leadership capacity in others, inspiring an experienced faculty and working in partnership with the Board to achieve our ambitious goals. We seek a leader with outstanding communication and relationship-building skills, financial acumen, an appreciation of the importance of advancement in 21st century school leadership, and the energy and vision to fully support SMUS’s philanthropic aims. High levels of self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and humility are essential, as is an authentic resonance with the mission, vision, and values that unite our diverse community.

Key Responsibilities

The Head of School is responsible to the Board for the delivery of first-class education and the effective leadership and management of our school. The Head of School works closely with, and is accountable to, the Board in their stewardship responsibility for the future direction of SMUS, as articulated through our Vision, Mission, Values and Strategic Plan, Floreat 2030.

This is a complex, multi-faceted and deeply rewarding leadership role. The key responsibilities for our next Head of School are:

Vision and Strategy

  • To invest in understanding SMUS, its culture, values, and community in order to lead the school forward with purpose and authenticity.
  • To work in close partnership with the Board on refreshing and delivering Floreat 2030, ensuring SMUS is well-placed to seize the opportunities and meet the challenges of 2025 and beyond.
  • To engage the broad SMUS community in an inspiring and inclusive process to develop our next strategic plan, establishing our school as a globally recognized leader in education beyond 2030.
  • To ground this work in the context of a rapidly shifting geopolitical environment, positioning SMUS to respond to changes locally, nationally, and internationally.


  • To play a lead role in developing a strong, sustainable culture of philanthropy through compelling communication of our vision and aspirations.
  • To ensure the effective cultivation and stewardship of key alumni and donors by building and actively investing in these highly important relationships.

People and Team Development

  • To provide clear, inspiring leadership to the Senior Leadership Team, empowering each individual to uphold our commitment to excellence in their respective areas, and further developing a high performing, cohesive team.
  • To bring a clear and compelling philosophy on leadership development, encouraging potential, building capacity in others, and ensuring robust succession planning is in place across all key positions in our school.
  • To bring a creative approach to recruitment and retention, acting as a magnet for talent and strengthening SMUS’s reputation as a destination for outstanding faculty and staff from across Canada and further afield.

Organizational Management

  • To develop a strong partnership with the Board of Governors, valuing support and challenge in a relationship based on mutual trust.
  • To work in partnership with the Board and the Chief Financial Officer to ensure effective financial and resource management.

External Engagement

  • To lead SMUS with a genuinely global perspective while valuing our heritage and identity as a Canadian independent school.
  • To be a compelling ambassador for SMUS on a local, provincial, national, and international stage.
  • To build strong relationships with provincial and municipal government stakeholders, as well as leading independent school associations in Canada and internationally.

Education and Innovation

  • To articulate a clear vision for outstanding 21st century education, preserving the values and culture of our school while evolving SMUS in the continued pursuit of excellence and the delivery of an exceptional, future-focussed education.
  • To maintain mastery of the latest pedagogical developments, nurturing SMUS’s culture of innovation while ensuring the school is thoughtful in its response to emerging trends.

Community and Culture

  • To be a visible, accessible, and approachable leader who fosters a collegial and inclusive community.
  • To celebrate the diversity of our community, championing SMUS as an inclusive school which is proudly reflective of Canada’s pluralism.
  • To uphold our core commitment to Truth and Reconciliation, and fully support the cultivation of mutually beneficial and authentic relationships with local Indigenous communities.
  • To further strengthen our work in advancing equity, diversity and inclusion, recognizing that respect is one of the core values underpinning our community.

Person Specification

Our new Head of School will be an inspiring leader and passionate educator enthused by our existing strengths and excited by the many opportunities that lie ahead.

The successful candidate will demonstrate most or all the following experience, skills, knowledge, and personal attributes.


  • At least 5-10 years of senior strategic leadership experience, ideally as a Head, in a comparable independent school.
  • Proven experience of leading, motivating and developing high performing teams with a demonstrable commitment to the continued professional development of SMUS’s future leaders and all colleagues.
  • An accomplished educator with a personal record of excellence and innovation.
  • The intellect, personal academic credentials, and commitment to inspire faculty, staff, and students.

Skills and Knowledge

  • Excellent discernment skills with the ability to prioritize and make sound judgements on where to invest energy, time, and resources in the context of a complex, multi-faceted leadership role.
  • Strong fundraising skills, philanthropic expertise, and experience communicating the needs and vision of an educational institution.
  • An understanding of the financial, organizational, and operational underpinnings of an independent school.
  • A collaborative approach to decision-making and strategic development with the skills to meaningfully engage the broad SMUS community in the evolution of our school in this next chapter.
  • An ability to articulate an inspiring vision, set challenging goals, prioritize strategically, and delegate for success.
  • A strong team player, driven by collective success, with a deep understanding of how to develop and lead high performing teams with complementary skills.
  • An ability to work in effective partnership with the Board, building relationships based on transparency, collaboration, and trust.
  • A global perspective on education, a clear view of Canada’s role in the world and the opportunities and challenges for SMUS in a rapidly changing sector.
  • The flexibility to rapidly understand and assimilate to the school, and if coming from outside of Canada, to the British Columbian and/or wider Canadian contexts.
  • Bachelor of Education, related studies or equivalent in work experience.

Personal Attributes

  • A collaborative, inclusive and highly personable leadership style characterized by low ego need and high emotional intelligence.
  • High levels of self-awareness with the humility to recognize strengths and successes while understanding weaknesses and limitations.
  • Strong personal drive with the energy, stamina, and resilience to hold in balance the various competing demands placed on the Head of School.
  • An empathetic, approachable, and trust-inspiring style, with the capacity to influence and engage at all levels of the organization.
  • A genuine respect for the culture and traditions of SMUS, while cognizant of the fact that all high performing institutions change and adapt over time.
  • An authentic resonance with the mission, vision, and values that unite our diverse community.

St. Michaels University School acknowledges that our school rests in the heart of Straits Salish territory, a living culture with its own rites, ceremonies, and unfolding history.

We honour the Esquimalt, Songhees, and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples – whose homelands we share and whom we recognize as our neighbours.

Applications should consist of full CV and cover letter addressing the criteria set out in the position description and person profile.

For further information about the role, please contact Lucy McLaughlin at Lucy.McLaughlin@perrettlaver.com.

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