New Leadership Model: Long-Standing Linden Teachers Appointed as Associate Principals

Posted by Admin on March 25, 2021 at 9:02 PM

In an extensive review of Linden's leadership needs, which incorporated consultation with many stakeholders, Linden’s Board of Trustees heard that the Principal role is wide-ranging, requiring a focus on the needs of many stakeholders, including faculty, parents and, most of all, students. “We heard a need to ensure that Linden’s curriculum and pedagogy continue to evolve and remain cutting-edge,” said Zenab Pathan, Chair of the Board of Trustees. “As part of Linden’s strategic plan, we identified the continued growth and development of our amazing faculty as a key strategic priority.”

A new model for leadership

To ensure that Linden’s new Principal and our faculty and students are well supported, the Board created two new Associate Principal positions, one for Elementary and one for Intermediate-Senior. They will focus on providing coaching and development support for faculty in their sections, and take the lead in ensuring that pedagogy and curriculum continue to innovate and incorporate the latest research in girls’ education.

Two Associate Principals appointed

Tonja Armstrong-MacInnis has been appointed Associate Principal, Elementary School. Tonja has more than 30 years experience as an educator, including teaching at Linden for 13 of them. Tonja is a leader in integrating best practices into elementary education, including prior work customizing the Ontario Ministry of Education’s early learner curriculum to ensure its alignment with feminist, social justice, anti-racist and anti-oppressive pedagogical frameworks. Tonja also has more than five years of experience as a Partial Load Professor in the Early Childhood Education Department at Humber College.

Beth Alexander has been appointed Associate Principal, Intermediate-Senior School. Beth is well known to the community, with 18 years of teaching experience at Linden. Beth developed and runs our CERES Lab to teach advanced coding, engineering, robotics, electronics, and science to Grades JK–11. She is a sought-after speaker at conferences on topics related to girl-centred, social justice pedagogy, and is one of the founders of the Teaching for Justice Conference in Toronto. In 2017, Beth received a Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence from Justin Trudeau. In 2019, she was awarded a Fellowship at the Lowell Milken Center in Fort Scott, Kansas.

Both appointments will be effective August 1, 2021, and Beth and Tonja will be actively involved in planning for the 2021–22 school year with Interim Principal Nasrin Matini.

Mission-aligned search firm engaged to recruit new principal

Boyden Canada, a well-regarded executive search firm with a practice focused on education, including K-12 schools, has been engaged by the Board to conduct an external search for a new principal, and they are well along in the stakeholder consultation phase of the process. “We were impressed by Boyden’s strong model for incorporating diversity and inclusion practices in the search process,” said Zenab.

Generous, anonymous donor ensures highly effective search process

Although the cost of engaging Boyden is not insignificant, a donor who shares the Board’s commitment to finding the best available Principal for Linden has made a generous gift to cover their fees. All of us at Linden are deeply grateful.

Linden’s strong foundation for the future

“We are very optimistic about Linden’s future,” said Zenab. “Our Associate Principal appointments, and the engagement of Boyden to conduct a thorough search for a new Principal, are building a strong foundation for school leadership”