Meet Our Interim Principal
Interim Principal Nasrin Matini.
Nasrin Matini began her career at Linden in 1999 and currently serves as Interim-Principal. With over 40 years of teaching and leadership experience, Nasrin brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to Linden. Her feminist vision, innovative pedagogical practice, and ability to lead at the intersection of academic excellence, student well-being, teacher/curriculum development, and school operations earned her a key leadership role at Linden as Principal Designate, which she assumed 15 years ago, stepping in whenever needed, or when the principal is absent.
Professional Background, Feminist Pedagogy & Transformative Teaching Style
Nasrin earned a B.Sc. in Mathematics and a Certificate in Education from Brunel University, U.K and her experience spans teaching in the Middle East, Europe and North America. Nasrin is widely recognized for instilling a love of math in her students— especially amongst those who previously loathed the subject because they considered themselves “not good at math.” As a senior mathematics specialist and a strong proponent of feminist pedagogy, she has spent her entire career helping students and families understand how gender biases in STEM can negatively affect student choices when it comes to selecting courses and post-secondary careers. "The reason why girls don’t take advanced mathematics is not necessarily because they do not like it, it is because they are certain that they are not good at it. It's important to inspire girls to overcome a defeatist approach to math. Math is the foundation of so many career options, such as engineering and computer science. Those who stop taking it in higher grades close doors to so many opportunities," she always tells students and families.
To inspire and engage her students in math, Nasrin integrates real-world problem-solving in her classes. "Like history, math can be analyzed and discussed. When I introduce a new concept, I make sure that I explain where the formula comes from, why it was invented, and how it can be applied to different problems. A Linden alumna once told to me that she dropped calculus at university because the professor was not able to make the subject as interesting as she had always found it at Linden. Therefore, it is important, when teaching girls, to make the subject matter come alive. I talk about calculus as if it has a life of its own. In class, we discuss formulas and our favourite approaches to solving problems, and the girls always argue and discuss all aspects of the problems and the solutions they have discovered. It would be hard not to get involved in our heated discussions, and not to have an opinion! I always tell my students that the solutions I provide for mathematical problems are not the only ones. They should find their own favourite solution and teach me a few as well. This approach motivates students to be more creative, and to think about math beyond the classroom. It is amazing to see them come in the following day with a variety of solutions, some that I have never come across before! Since most girls are given the impression that math is a male-dominated subject, succeeding in math and solving problems can give them a great sense of enjoyment and accomplishment."
It's no surprise that Nasrin's transformative teaching style, larger-than-life personality, and an irreverent sense of humour make her one of Linden's most beloved faculty members. A few years ago, when we asked some of her senior students to describe their experiences with her, this is what they had to say:
“Nasrin has a deep-rooted belief in us, and she is not satisfied with us unless she knows that we have fulfilled the potential she sees in us. She will match any effort you put in. If you want to do well, she will stay in school till 6:00 PM every day till she has helped you improve your math skills. In class, she is so open to suggestions, and to trying different methods of solving equations and problems.”
Another student admitted: “Nasrin’s the reason why I’m still doing math. I had completed all my high school math requirements, but felt...hmm...no more math, no more Nasrin. So I’m taking AP math, which is weird because I plan to study linguistics at university. I suppose this is what is called ‘the joy of learning math’.”
Championing Student Voices
Particularly inspired by student voices, Nasrin has been influential in promoting an inclusive and vibrant school community. She not only coaches students in math after school, but also serves as an athletic coach, regularly driving teams to games throughout the city. She leads Linden's Chess Club, and enthusiastically supports student-led initiatives, contests, spirit week activities, and more.
Rapport with Linden Parents
Nasrin understands the parent perspective; her daughter Tara graduated from Linden in 2005 and now enjoys a distinguished career in international development. Nasrin's experience as a teacher and ongoing role as a parent not only enables her to understand and meet the needs of both teachers and parents, but also allows her to support students in the best way possible. "When I started teaching at Linden, my daughter was at another school. After a few weeks of observing how Linden teachers taught and how involved Linden's Co-Principals’ were with the students, I knew that this is where I wanted my daughter to study and to graduate from," shares Nasrin when asked about her daughter. "For me, Tara showcases Linden’s ability to support and listen to each girl. Linden gave her the confidence to be able to stand up in front of a crowd and voice her opinion. I don’t think there is anything else that I can say as a mother and as a teacher to describe the positive effect that Linden has on its students. Where else have you ever heard so many students say that they love their school?"
Additional Leadership Roles at Linden
Nasrin's multi-faceted leadership role has had a lasting impact on both Linden and our students. Thanks to her expertise in guidance and university preparation, Nasrin has mentored every single Guidance Counselor at Linden, while managing our complex schedule and high school course offerings to best meet student post-secondary educational and career plans. She has also played a key role in Linden's numerous successful inspections by the Ministry of Education by helping Linden exceed the Ontario curriculum standards; her knowledge and expertise in reporting, curriculum development, and teacher evaluation have been invaluable to the school.
Nasrin has also had a key role in managing Linden human resources, faculty hiring and professional development. Faculty and staff alike value Nasrin’s mentorship, and as Principal Designate, she has been vital to the successful tenures of our past principals.
Current Role as Interim Principal
Nasrin is more than well-suited to serving as Interim Principal and overseeing a smooth transition once Linden's next principal is selected. “With Nasrin’s leadership, mentoring expertise, and institutional knowledge, I am confident that Linden will be in good hands through the transition to the next phase of leadership,” said outgoing Principal Janice Gladstone, who retired from her role in January 2021 after a successful 5-year stint at Linden. “Linden’s faculty is stronger than it has ever been. The administrative team is functioning as a well-oiled machine. Our communications and support for new families stand out amongst our peer schools. I feel certain that families will continue receiving excellent support, and, most importantly, students will continue experiencing the highest quality Linden education.”