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At the heart of it all, being head of school means Chris Grieve is Aberdeen Hall Preparatory School’s biggest champion and supporter.
From math lessons with kindergarten students to lunch meetings with the High School Student Council, to programming, fundraising and marketing, ‘Mr. Grieve’ as he’s best known around campus, is involved in every facet of the school.
Aberdeen Hall was founded 16 years ago by a group of dedicated parents when the school their children attended was closed.
After a year in operation, the school’s board of directors conducted a nation-wide search for a head of school that would share their vision for preparing children to lead fulfilling lives contributing to their communities around them and to thrive in their post secondary choices.
The board welcomed Chris Grieve as the school’s first full-time head of school.
His energy and expertise honed through tenures at Upper Canada College, Fieldstone School and Crescent School quickly became a valuable asset.
Additionally, Chris believed strongly in building community and worked hard to establish an atmosphere where everyone at Aberdeen Hall would feel welcome and valued. With Chris at the helm, Aberdeen Hall expanded from a school of 70 students in a rented facility on Acland Road in 2004 to a school of approximately 700 students, with 100 staff and faculty, on a stunning, 40-acre, purpose-built campus on Academy Way.
It’s hard to believe how far Aberdeen Hall has come from those early days when parents painted walls and drove the school bus to the present, with over 250 students in their alumni class all pursuing their next educational steps or careers.
Aberdeen Hall has continually been ranked as one of the highest-performing independent schools in BC and being a ‘preparatory school’ means that excellent academic programming is at the essence of their mission. Aberdeen Hall strives to prepare every student to go on to have success at post-secondary in the best fit program for them. “Last year we had 100% post-secondary placement,” says Chris. “We’re able to accomplish this with small class size, personalized attention, enriched curriculum and partnership with families.”
While the head of school typically runs the business of the school, it takes the efforts of many to become one of the leading independent schools in British Columbia. “We have a visionary board of directors, a dedicated senior management team, faculty and staff and wonderful families and students. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of such a dynamic community” says Chris. “We also have a fantastic working relationship with UBC Okanagan.”
In fact, approximately 40 Aberdeen Hall parents are professors at UBC Okanagan, who support developing course work, act as guest speakers, and generate incredible synergy between the two schools. “We strive to provide an elite education to all of our students, but are by no means elitist as we are an open community school that is family-oriented,” says Chris.
“As an independent school, Aberdeen Hall is a charitable organization run by a volunteer board of directors. The school also has a generous financial assistance package, to help families that might not otherwise be able to afford independent school fees.”
It’s not all academics.“We are a university preparatory school, but we want our students to be happy and balanced,” says Chris.
“Aberdeen Hall isn’t just about education. It’s about community, family, fun, wellbeing, citizenship, and shaping the leaders of tomorrow.”
To round out the school’s offerings and complete the final phase of the campus, Aberdeen Hall is about to embark on it’s largest and most ambitious project to date, a $10 million Athletics and Wellness Centre; an expansion which will include a double gymnasium, fitness studio, and additional classrooms for art and drama.
While the campus has come a long way and the school is excited for what’s to come, the staff and faculty always remember the true motivation behind what they do day in and day out: prepare students to realize their potential and strive for excellence in learning and in life.
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