The culture and climate of a school is an important factor in both student success and staff satisfaction. Here at King’s-Edgehill, our school culture has been shaped by many of our long-standing teachers who have made KES a part of their lives for many years. Tenured teachers like Mr. Kevin Lakes, Mr. Derek Bouwman, and Mrs. Taya Shields have helped develop our school culture into one that is grounded in positivity, support, and community. While the contributions of our veteran staff are appreciated, it is always wonderful when our School is infused with new ideas, perspectives, and energy. This year, we welcome five new members to our teaching faculty in Ms. Katie Sheehan, Mrs. Sarah MacDonald, Mrs. Karen Brierly, Mr. Paul-Josef Baumann, and Mr. Kevin Simonar.
Mr. Simonar, who teaches Grade 7-9 music, and Mr. Baumann who teaches English, are both new additions to our Junior School team. Mr. Simonar who is originally from Montreal, Quebec, makes his way to KES from a Montessori school in Victoria, British Columbia. Mr. Baumann, on the other hand, is the newest iteration of our fantastic exchange teachers from Germany. Originally from, Brunswick, Germany, Paul now teaches English and technology, was a key member of our ELL summer camp in late August, and is a house parent in our main boys’ dorm.
Our new Senior School faculty also come to KES with diverse experiences and skillsets. Ms. Sheehan who teaches math, chemistry, and physics, grew up between Halifax and Fredericton, but has taught in high schools in Calgary for the past number of years. Mrs. Brierly was born in Liverpool, UK, and was most recently on staff at a private school in Ontario. While she teaches math here at KES, she has worked in various other roles at previous schools including guidance counsellor, and principal. Mrs. MacDonald, who also hails from the UK, taught in Indonesia and schools in both the UK and Greece before joining our team as a chemistry and physics teacher.
To no one’s surprise, the interests and hobbies of our new faculty members are as diverse as their backgrounds. Mrs. MacDonald, a self-confessed chocoholic, for example, noted her love of food, travel, and white-water activities, with a special highlight being her experience exploring the Soca River in Slovenia. Mrs. Brierly, whose son Jack is a Grade 7 student with us, and Ms Sheehan, who used to put on science magic shows for children, both noted outdoor activities, including canoeing, kayaking, hiking, and cycling as some of their favourite pastimes. While Mr. Simonar also enjoys such outdoor activities as his new colleagues, he is also a student and teacher of yoga who enjoys a good book. Mr. Baumann is a talented and accomplished musician who has released three albums with his band You Silence I Bird back in Germany, turns to music and sport for enjoyment.
When asked their first impressions of our community here at KES, their responses were consistent. “An extremely friendly school with warm staff and great students,” noted one new teacher. Others added, they have been “overwhelmed by the warm welcome and kindness shown to me,” and that it “feels like I’ve been here longer than a few weeks thanks to the tightknit community.” “What I especially love about KES,” chimed in another new member of faculty, “is that this school embodies such a broad learning environment. Learning does not limit itself to the classroom but is taking place everywhere and all the time.” Finally, one of our new additions eloquently replied, “I love KES. I love Nova Scotia. It’s like coming home to a home you’ve never been to before.”
Our students and entire school community will no doubt benefit from the positive infusions and contributions these new faculty will make now and in the future here at King’s-Edgehill.
J. Rory Campbell
Junior School Teacher
Basketball and Rugby Coach