Women Leaders in Canada

We have 47,504 students attending CAIS schools this year. Of those students, 27% attend a school that is run by a woman; and only 12% attend a co-ed school run by a woman. All of our boys schools are run by men, and four of our girls schools are run by men.

Here’s another number: Of the 25 largest co-ed CAIS schools across Canada, only one is run by a woman.


So when that Head invites me to the opening of her new campus, I had to be there. And it was a spectacular morning. Eileen Daunt, Head of Bayview Glen, spoke eloquently – as always! – about the future of education and how the new facilities will help to address many of the new demands. (The entire Moatfield Campus is outstanding, by the way, with a Learning Commons, Rooftop Patio, Contemplative Gardens, Robotics Lab, Fitness Lab, and more.) Plus the children’s choir sang beautifully (and I am a real sucker for children singing). The fact that Prince Andrew was there was a pretty nice touch…okay, it was more than a nice touch, it was impressive.

But the best part of the morning was that the Chair of the Board focused not just on the building but also on Eileen’s leadership. She said the following:

“We ARE here because of the building, for sure, but this is more than a celebration of the bricks and mortar. We are here to celebrate leadership, because it takes leadership to build something wonderful, like the amazing community we have here at Bayview Glen…. Like a great leader, Eileen Daunt has been a devoted and consistent mentor to the staff and faculty. She is a role model who leads by the best example. She is ridiculously hardworking; she is so wise and demonstrates kindness and compassion in her words and action, qualities that set her apart from all others….

I don’t know how she does it, but Eileen knows every student by name, their siblings, their parents (and I’m sure even the grandparents). I can attest to the fact that she really has a truly open door policy. I remember coming in one morning for a meeting to be greeted by an adorable Grade 2 student who had come to borrow a toonie from her, as he had forgotten that it was civies day. I need help and Mrs. Daunt will help me…”

I am happy to report that the new dining hall will be named The Daunt Dining Hall. How amazing. How many Heads have a building named for them? And how many of those buildings are named for women leaders, in co-ed schools?

I am inspired by Eileen, and her accomplishment comes at a perfect time, as over 150 educators from across Canada gather at Ridley College for the CAIS Summer Leadership Institute in early July. My hope is that more people – women in particular! – will be motivated to emulate her leadership style and lead some of Canada’s best schools.

p.s. For the record, Eileen, I would have gone to your opening even if you weren’t the only woman to run a large co-ed school.


One thought on “Women Leaders in Canada

  1. The question that should be asked is WHY there are not more Eileen Daunts at the helm of our schools? I’d love to know what Ms. Daunt and other female Heads of school have to say about their experience on the job relative to that of their male counterparts and curious to know why THEY think there are so few women following in their footsteps? Being the Head of a leading independent school is a complex marathon of endurance, stamina, diplomacy, sacrifice, resilience and ingenuity. Perhaps its worth taking a closer look at why so few women are choosing to run.

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