Meet our Principals
Head of their Class
Principal, Senior School
With a degree in Fine Arts and a Graduate Diploma in Education, Brendan Lea entered the teaching profession in 1991 in Queensland, Australia. There, he took on successive leadership positions, and also completed a Masters of Education at the University of Southern Queensland.
Mr. Lea always aspired to be a teacher and is especially passionate about visual art. After coming to Canada, he was the Arts Department Head and the Coordinator for the IB Middle Years Program at Toronto French School. In 2011, Mr. Lea was hired by BSS as Vice Principal, Curriculum for the Senior School. While serving in that role, he took on the position of Visual Arts Department Head, where he also taught several classes. Mr. Lea has a sincere pride for the wonderful art program at BSS and how the Studio has evolved into an innovative and inspiring space for our students.
Mr. Lea brings a wealth of international research experience, as well as knowledge about teaching, learning and assessment in schools. He believes inquiry is at the heart of good pedagogy, that high-quality assessment design is key for student learning, and that continual teacher learning ensures a scholarly excellence for all. In 2016, Mr. Lea completed the Graduate Diploma in Professional Inquiry through Queen’s University, enhancing his existing knowledge-base considerably. In addition, he brings a deep commitment to the student experience and to girls’ education, and a warm sense of humour.
Speaking with Mr. Lea for even a few moments, you will capture his immense pride and commitment to the school and the programming that is offered here. Constantly inspired by the girls’ curiosity and their genuine interest in learning, as well as the amazing Faculty and their drive and dedication, working at BSS is a dream come true for him.
His advice for his Senior students: Be comfortable that your journey moving forward is going to look different from your peers. Look at your own journey and less at your peers, you are unique!
Principal, Middle School
Ian Rutherford’s life began in a quiet farming community outside of Brantford, Ontario. He quickly discovered that a career in education was a way to fling the doors open and explore the beautiful vastness of the world.
For Mr. Rutherford, education and international adventure have always gone hand in hand. At the end of high school, he was enamoured with the idea of becoming a diplomat, largely because of the constant opportunity for travel. After completing his undergraduate, he was offered a position working with Canada World Youth as an educator in Uruguay and Costa Rica, and he jumped at the chance. He quickly discovered that he not only had considerable skill as a teacher; he also felt profoundly energized working with young people.
Over the course of 18 years, Mr. Rutherford has taught at schools in Lebanon, San Francisco, Moscow, Kenya and the Netherlands. In July of 2015, he became Principal of the Middle School at BSS. His unique background gives him a keen sensitivity to diversity, inclusivity and, not only an appreciation for other cultures, but an eagerness to learn from them.
In his role at BSS, Mr. Rutherford strives to honour and address the particular challenges inherent in pre-adolescence. For girls in Grades 7 and 8, it’s a time of immense transition and transformation; many are exploring different identities and beginning to diverge from their parents and peers in new and exciting ways. His goal is for every girl in the Middle School to feel “included, challenged, and successful.” He sees the homeroom as the nucleus of social and emotional development of his students — a place where each girl is nurtured and encouraged to be the person she is slowly becoming, or wants to become. By prioritizing and revitalizing this space, he feels the homeroom will instil in the girls the kind of confidence that spills out into the other realms of life at BSS, such as academics, co-curricular activities, and relationships with fellow students and teachers.
Decades after his stint working for Canada World Youth, Mr. Rutherford finds himself just as delighted by the boisterous energy of his students at BSS. He enjoys spending time in their classes and observing their enthusiasm for learning, their quirky senses of humour, and the bonds they create with each other.
Mr. Rutherford still finds time to keep travelling, and he spends much of his summers reconnecting with friends in Europe and Latin America. He’s an avid reader, loves film and theatre, and admits that one of the perks of returning to life in Canada is finally being able to fully understand the dialogue in plays and movies again.
Principal, Junior School
Catherine Hant has a vivid memory of being a young teacher at BSS and a colleague asking her where she saw herself in five years. At the time, she really struggled to answer, because she was just so happy teaching. Over the years, having great mentors helped her shift her focus and realize the limitless opportunities for growth available to anyone at BSS. In September 2017, 23 years after joining BSS, Ms. Hant began her term as Principal of the Junior School.
Ms. Hant first realized she wanted to work in education after a summer job in high school at a camp for children from low-income Toronto neighbourhoods. While she was at university, her father, an Anglican minister, became the rector at Grace Church on-the-Hill across the street from BSS. Ms. Hant worked at the BSS summer camp for three summers, while also supply teaching in the physical education department each spring. Growing up around a close-knit church community, she was drawn to the strong sense of community at BSS. She also loved the school’s Anglican foundation and holistic, all-in-one student experience.
After eight years as a teacher, Ms. Hant became the Primary Division Head and then the Junior School Admissions/Student Services Co-ordinator. In the latter role, she researched, developed and implemented the Social Emotional Growth curriculum. A five-year stint as Director of Admissions came next, where Ms. Hant gained in-depth knowledge of the business side of BSS and travelled internationally to meet prospective families. That global mindset grew during her term as Vice-Principal of the Junior School, a role she held from 2009.
In both her professional and personal life – she’s the mother of a daughter in Grade 12 – Ms. Hant says she’s always believed in modelling a commitment to ongoing growth. She strongly believes in encouraging both students and educators to put themselves in situations that challenge their thinking and develop their skills. Even after all these years, she embraces the feeling of still being a learner.