The partnership between between Head of School, Stephen Clarke and Board Chair, Jill Hennigar, has created a collaborative and distributive leadership style that energizes the School.
Stephen Beatty, Headmaster of Royal St. George's College and Chair of Armbrae's CAIS Visiting Committee had this to say in the wake of Armbrae's accreditation visit in the fall of 2021:
“Following their own motto, Be Kind, Work Hard, the School, under the leadership of their much-respected Head of School, Armbrae has steadily worked to prepare for the long-term future of the School. Our Visiting Committee arrived at the school with its highest enrolment, a vibrant and energetic leadership team, a renewed and diverse Board of Governors, and a Head of School who is universally admired for his vision of what the School can be and his manifest love of what and who it already is.”
Executive Leadership Team
Head of School
Stephen Clarke: Head of School
Stephen (Steve) Clarke began his Headship on July 1, 2019, joining Armbrae from Ridley College in St. Catharines, Ontario, where he was most recently Deputy Headmaster and Head of Lower School, and where he and his wife Elizabeth (Liz) worked as educators and leaders for 20 years.
At Ridley College, Steve began as Director of Information Technology in 1999 and held increasingly broader leadership roles, focusing on school improvement and community enhancement including Curriculum Director, Head of Academics, Head of Upper School and Head of Lower School. His long list of accomplishments at Ridley include: advancing educational technology; championing professional development; guiding the launch of the globally recognized IB programme; initiating the expansion of the school from a Grade 5-12 to a JK-12 "IB Continuum School"; supporting the development of the Strategic Plan and Master Campus Plan; and shepherding upgrades and enhancements to facilities throughout school. In addition to his leadership contributions at Ridley College, Steve taught in the classroom and coached hockey, sailing and golf.
Stephen Clarke is an Ontario Certified Principal with an academic background in Biochemistry, Honours Bachelor of Science and Master of Science, and a Bachelor of Education, all from the University of Ottawa. Before joining Ridley College, Steve began his career teaching general Science, Biology, Chemistry and Math in Ontario (Ottawa) secondary schools in 1990, and he spent four years at Crestwood School (Toronto) as Director of Information Technology.
Suzanne Morrison: Admissions and Marketing Director
Suzanne is a proud Cape Bretoner and even prouder Xavierian. A graduate of St. F. X University with her Bachelor of Arts in English and Poli Sci, she has spent most of her career in communications. She has worked for Tourism Nova Scotia and several advertising agencies in Halifax, as well as years partnering with her sister in an event management company - Offspring Productions. Offspring produced an annual event in the HRM which was a four-day activity-driven family weekend with a large exhibition component. Suzanne has been a partner with her husband photographer James Ingram in their production company Jive Photographic Productions for over 20 years. During this time she became a certified Make-Up Artist to assist with the family business. Suzanne has three sons, Hogan, Redford, and North, the eldest who graduated from Armbrae in 2016. Her strong passion for the school during Hogan's time at Armbrae and her sales and marketing experience made for a great fit for the role of Admissions and Marketing Director which she began in 2017. Responsible for the popular quotes on the Armbrae sign, her motto is "Do what you love, love what you do."
Meaghan was born and raised in Halifax, and she is a proud Armbrae Alumna. Meaghan attended St. Francis Xavier University, earning her Business degree with a major in Marketing. She has experience working in a variety of industries including real estate, property management, event management, and tourism. Meaghan's role at Armbrae involves inspiring, engaging and strengthening the Armbrae Alumni Association and the community to invest in Armbrae’s vision of the future while nurturing a culture of Philanthropy.
Ashley Matthews-Duffett: Auxiliary Programmes Director
Ashley Matthews-Duffett is the Director of Auxiliary Programmes, responsible for all aspects outside of the academic day. Many of those areas include our Afterschool programme, Co-Curricular programming, and Camps. Ashley believes in creating many new opportunities and experiences for all our students.
Ashley attended St. Joseph College, completed her Early Childhood Education and has worked with children in many different settings for over 25 years.
When not at Armbrae you can find Ashley spending time doing all the things she loves practicing yoga, going to the beach and just being outside with her two boys, husband and sweet little puppy.
Susan Beazley has been a part of the Armbrae community for over 42 years. She is the Athletic Director and teaches Physical Education to Grades P-2. Susan has coached for over thirty years at various levels from school, club, provincial to university. Sports include basketball, field hockey, soccer, volleyball, badminton and hockey, winning several different championships. Susan is currently on the CAIS Athletic Director’s Executive and is the Chair of Metro High School Athletic Associations. She received her Bachelor of Arts from SMU and worked one year at Sacred Heart before coming to what was then The Halifax Ladies College, now Armbrae. In 2010, she received her Masters in Physical Education and Sport from Drake University and her certificate for Canadian Athletic Administration in 2014. Susan was actively involved with Team Nova Scotia at the Canada Games in ‘05 & in 07 was Chef for Team Nova Scotia. Susan now sits on the Canada Games Management group for Team Nova Scotia.
Susan was inducted into the St. Mary University Sports Hall of Fame for her contribution to women’s sports in 2004. Over the years, she has received many awards including the Nova Scotia Athletic Coaches Service Award and the Dorothy Walker Distinguished Service award for Nova Scotia in 2019
She was also a member of the Nova Scotia Field Hockey team that was inducted into the Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame in 1995. Susan has had the great pleasure of watching her three children (and now 2 of her 3 grandchildren) grow up at Armbrae Academy.
A.B. cum laude in Anthropology (Archaeology), Harvard College, 1985
M.Ed. in Teaching and Learning (Technology in Education), Harvard Graduate School of Education, 2001
My ‘first career’ was in archaeology, where I specialised in later European prehistory and worked in France and the UK. In 1992 I moved back to Boston, my home town, and changed my focus to teaching at the high school level. I taught Computer Science and served as a Technology Director at boarding and day schools in New England before accepting the position of Director of Technology at Armbrae and moving to Halifax in 2009.
At Armbrae, my job includes teaching students of a variety of ages as well as supporting teachers in their use of instructional technology. I love the variety that every day brings and the challenge of navigating the always-changing waters of technology. I also love helping students to become creators, rather than consumers, of technology.
Outside of school, my passions are sailing with my family in our 41-year-old wooden schooner COMET II and volunteering with the Canadian Ski Patrol.
Rebecca Cornick has been the PreSchool/PrePrimary Lead Teacher and Director for the last seven years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree with a concentration in Psychology from Ottawa University, Qualified Teacher Status from School Centred Initial Teacher Training in England, an internationally recognized Montessori Primary Teaching Diploma from the Montessori Training Centre of British Columbia and an Early Childhood Education Certificate, Level 3, from the Nova Scotia College of Early Childhood Education.
Rebecca has lived and taught in Ottawa, South Africa, New Zealand and England. She began her career as a Montessori Teacher in 2003 in a small rural school in Cornwall, England. During this time she went back to University to obtain her teacher’s certification. With this new qualification, Rebecca expanded her teaching scope and began working as a Primary teacher in the local public elementary school where she remained for 4 years.
Rebecca returned to Canada in 2008 and soon after opened her own Montessori School in her home. She operated this for several years before she was appointed her dream position as Director of the PreSchool and PrePrimary division of Armbrae in August 2015.
Rebecca is passionate about her curriculum and enjoys the privilege of seeing the students flourish at the beginning of their journey at the school. She has a strong understanding of child development and prides herself on creating a nurturing environment with an educational flair that promotes lifelong learners.
Throughout her 20 year teaching career, Tara has taught in both public and independent schools and has been a teacher at Armbrae for the past 18 years. During this time, she has taught a variety of grades in the Lower School including Grades 2, 3, 5 and 6. Tara was appointed to the position of Lower School Director in July of 2019. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Dalhousie University, and both a Bachelor of Elementary Education Degree and a Masters in Elementary Education from Mount Saint Vincent University. Currently working on her CAIS Diploma in Independent School Leadership, Tara is committed to excellence in teaching and learning and is well known for developing positive and collaborative relationships with students, colleagues and parents. She has an excellent understanding of child development and the needs of young learners. This year Tara has been highly involved in developing lessons for the Lower School on resilience as part of our new partnership with Dr. Michael Ungar's R2: Rugged and Resourced programme.
Stephanie is an energetic, passionate educator committed to fulfilling the needs of students. As a relational leader, she recognizes the importance of building caring, trusting relationships with all stakeholders to create a positive school culture. Education is more than a vocation for Stephanie, it's a passion. Over the past 20 years Stephanie has been fortunate to teach in both public and independent schools in Canada, England and Hungary. A committed life-long learner, Stephanie's educational background includes a B.Sc. with Distinction from Mount Allison University, B.Ed. from the University of Ottawa, Qualified Teacher Status Teacher Training in England and two M. Ed's - one in Curriculum from Mount St. Vincent and the other in Leadership from Acadia. She completed a thesis: Women Leaders “Doing Emotional Labour” in Atlantic Canada: Leading in an Era of Neoliberalism. She also completed the CAIS Leadership Diploma in 2013.
During her time at Armbrae, she has gained the reputation as an engaged community member, endeavoring to participate in all aspects of school life: classroom teacher, coach, student council liaison, Board committee member, administrative team lead and in 2019 was appointed Middle School Director. In her career she has also won 2 prestigious national teaching awards: The Canadian Association of Physicists High School Physics Teachers Award and the Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence. Always striving to learn and improve, Stephanie has more recently become interested in restorative practices and social emotional learning. This approach to education led to the launch of Armbrae's Caring Schools program in Advisory which developed into a partnership with Dr. Michael Ungar's R2 (Rugged and Resourced) program. Stephanie embraces all aspects of the learning environment and thoughtfully considers ways it can be enhanced. She prides herself on being an approachable, collaborative leader who strives to inspire others with her love of learning.
Ally holds a Masters degree in Educational Leadership from Acadia University in Wolfville and a Bachelor of Education from Western University. Prior to this, she earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and a Bachelor of Commerce Degree with dual majors in Entrepreneurship and Human Resource Management, both from Saint Mary’s University. A committed life-long learner, Ally earned her certificate in career counselling at Dalhousie University, recently completed the CAIS Leadership Institute Accreditation module and currently holds the position of VP Atlantic with the CISC (Canadian Independent School Counsellors).
Ally is an enthusiastic and relationship-focused educator who knows that building a strong and authentic relationship with each and every student is essential to working with young people. She finds great joy in helping students shape their paths and gain the skills and confidence to navigate current and future opportunities. Now in her thirteenth year at the school, Ally has taught upper level English courses, Yoga and Healthy Living and now teaches Career Education in the Upper School. Ally has been the Upper School Director at Armbrae since 2019, integrating this leadership position with her existing role as the Head of Guidance and University Counselling. Her background in University Guidance, combined with leadership training and extensive entrepreneurial experience has provided important insight into the needs of students at the high school level, and how innovative programming can support long-term student success. Ally brings an entrepreneurial mindset to every aspect of her work and she strives to continuously incorporate creative and innovative elements into the Upper School program.
Armbrae’s Board of Governors is made up of alumni, parents, and other community members. Under the dedicated and passionate leadership of Jill Hennigar, Armbrae’s Board of Governors is responsible for advancing the School’s mission, vision and securing the future for the School.
Chair, Governance Committee Chair
Jill Hennigar: Chair, Governance Committee Chair
Jill Hennigar is the VP, Operations at Dash Hudson and oversees: people operations, team growth, community, and diversity, equity and inclusion.
Before joining Dash Hudson, Jill spent just over a decade at Emera Inc., where she held various positions in: Investor Relations, Human Resources and Communications and Sustainability. Prior to Emera, Jill worked at KPMG in Assurance. Jill is a native Haligonian, Chartered Accountant, and graduate of Saint Mary's University. She has two children in the Junior School.
Marc has practiced law at Cox & Palmer since being called to the Bar in 2007 and is currently the practice group leader for the firm’s real property group. He obtained a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Saint Mary’s University before attending law school at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton and MacQuarie University in Sydney, Australia.
Marc attended Armbrae Academy from Primary until Grade 12 graduating in 1998.
Marc is the past Board Chair at the Waegwoltic Club Ltd. serving on the governance, nomination, human resources and aquatics committees, and serves on the Board of Directors at the Nova Scotia SPCA.
Sam is a faculty member and the coordinator of Financial Services programs at the Nova Scotia Community College, Ivany Campus. He is a qualified CPA from Kenya. Sam started his accounting career with KPMG Kenya. He later joined KPMG Cayman Islands and UBS Funds Services where he was involved in hedge funds audit/accounting. Sam the treasurer and Chair of the Finance, Risk and Audit Committee.
Sam is an Associate Member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (CFE), a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS). He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Atlantic ACFE since 2019. Sam has three children at Armbrae.
Rob Jeffery: Treasurer, Finance Audit and Risk Committee Chair
Rob is a Tax Partner with Deloitte, providing tax and business advise to Canadian companies and their shareholders. Rob is a graduate of Acadia University with a Bachelor of Business Administration (Honours) degree and holds a Master of Business Administration from the Ivey Business School. He is a Chartered Accountant (CPA, CA), Certified Public Accountant. Rob currently Chairs the Fred C. Manning School of Business Advisory Board at Acadia University. He resides in Halifax with his wife and three daughters.
Shakara is a passionate business builder in our community. As the CEO of Junior Achievement Nova Scotia, Shakara has led the organization to become the fastest-growing charter in Canada with increased program delivery, student reach, and impact. Before joining JA, Shakara was the Director of Client Development and Youth Entrepreneurship at the Black Business Initiative.
Shakara is engaged with various community organizations and currently serves on the Board of Directors of Lake City Works, a social enterprise focused on helping one of Nova Scotia's most vulnerable populations; and the Patoria Legacy Project. Previously, Shakara served as the founding Director of Hope Blooms Social Enterprise and on the Board of Directors for Credit Union Atlantic and the United Way of Halifax. Shakara has been a part of the Armbrae community for two years and has a child in grade four.
Nick Szymanis: Governor, Academics Committee Chair
Nick Szymanis has been a parent at Armbrae Academy since 2015. He and his wife Oona have been educators at Canadian Independent Schools for 18 years; and Nick has held leadership positions at Crofton House School in Vancouver (Department Chair - History, 2000 - 2005) Havergal College in Toronto (Department Chair - History, 2005 - 2010) and was the Director of Academics at Sterling Hall School, also in Toronto, from 2010 to 2015. Nick is also the Founding Director of Debate Camp, now in its 20th summer, providing day camp academic programming throughout Canada (Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Ottawa in 2021), and in 5 US locations (Boston to New York) each summer. Nick is the past President and current Vice President of the International Independent Schools Public Speaking League and has coached the Armbrae Debate Team since 2015.
Shanti Dogra is the General Counsel, Director of Legal & Regulatory Affairs and Secretary of the Board for Canada’s Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board. Shanti is a lawyer with several years of experience with governance matters and is a corporate secretary. In addition to legal matters, Shanti is also involved in strategic planning, community outreach, budgets and risk management. Shanti has been part of the Armbrae Community for two years and has two children in Middle School.
Colin is the Manager of Human Resources at the Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia and brings a depth of experience in functional HR areas, including: recruiting and staffing, performance management, respectful workplace matters, employee and labour relations, payroll and benefits administration, job evaluation and compensation and policy development. Colin served on the Board of the HR Association of Nova Scotiafrom 2010 – 2015. Colin has three children at Armbrae.
Heather is a Technology & Strategy consultant at Deloitte Inc. in Halifax. Now an Industrial Engineer, Heather attended all twelve grades at Armbrae, and like Marc, is a fellow “lifer”. During Heather's time at Armbrae, she was heavily involved in Athletics, Students' Council, and community engagements. Heather's father, Ian MacKnight, chaired Armbrae's Board of Governors for six years during her time at the school. Ian passed away in 2016, and her identity as an Armbrae Academy Alumnus continues to be a great source of pride and inspiration for her. She is passionate about developing an Armbrae Alumnae engagement strategy at the school and looks forward to maintaining this connection in the years to come.
Dr. Babar Haroon is the Director of Education in the Department of Critical Care for the Nova Scotia Health Authority. An Intensivist and Internist, Babar is a devoted patient advocate who is a passionate educator with the aim of improving patient care by influencing the junior physician as they develop into their best selves. He is a leader in fostering system change to improve the delivery of healthcare by affecting change amongst learners and policy makers to achieve the common goal of providing optimal patient care. Babar has been part of the Armbrae community for seven years, and has three children in the Junior School.