People and Perspectives
A Man For All Seasons
Newcomer Lindsay Thierry is right at home at BSS
A few weeks after starting his new job at BSS, Lindsay Thierry stopped a staff member to ask something that had been on his mind since arriving at the school. “I said to her, ‘Is everyone always this nice?’” he laughs. “BSS is very high-tech, very progressive, but it’s also so warm and welcoming.”
As the first incumbent of a newly created position on the Senior Leadership Team – Assistant Head, Enrolment Management – Mr. Thierry plans to extend this welcome to more people outside BSS by increasing the school’s many community outreach initiatives. The end goal, he says, is to continue to foster the diverse, inclusive student body that enriches the learning environment.
Mr. Thierry’s portfolio includes communications, marketing and community relations – areas where he has gained extensive expertise during his leadership positions at independent schools over the past 20 years. It is his second career. The first, which also spanned two decades, was in retail management, where he honed his training skills and developed a passion for uncovering young people’s potential.
In his mid-thirties, a life change sparked a major career change. “I found myself a single parent to a one-year-old child, looking for new opportunities,” he says. He decided to do an education degree, and landed his first job at St. Michaels University School in Victoria. Combining his business acumen with his teaching skills, Mr. Thierry developed new programs at the school and eventually led the admissions department. He later served as Director of Admissions and Marketing at Athol Murray College of Notre Dame in Saskatchewan and St. George’s School in Vancouver.
Mr. Thierry’s last post before coming to BSS was at the Shanghai American School in China, where he spent four years. He had progressive responsibility at the school of 3,200 students, culminating in his role as Director of Institutional Advancement, where he oversaw development, admissions, marketing, and relations with alumni, parents and government.
“It broadened my knowledge base on language, cultural expectations and fundraising in China,” he says. It also gave his three children a transformative international experience.
When Mr. Thierry began looking for job opportunities back in Canada, there were several in his field. But BSS met his dual priorities: professional development and an exceptional education for his youngest child, Chantelle (his two sons were already at university). “BSS is a very dynamic place in terms of its educational pedagogy. This was important to me as a professional, but also as a parent,” he says.
The name of Mr. Thierry’s position at BSS illustrates the more strategic, data-driven approach that admissions directors have adopted in recent years. “My responsibility goes well beyond recruitment. It’s an all-encompassing role based on a business model that defines social, economic, political and demographic trends,” he says. “Toronto is changing, and so is the international scene, and we have to transition our outreach and communications to reflect that.”
An avid traveller and people person, Mr. Thierry relishes the challenges ahead. “There are still misperceptions about independent schools, but if you can get people on campus, or get in front of them, you can open up a window and say, ‘Hey, take a look. There’s extraordinary things going on here.”