Sam came to Greenwood in 2012 as a Health & Physical Education teacher, coming to us from Scotland by way of Trinity College School. He has held a number of different roles in his time at the school, taking on the Senior Director portfolio following several years as Director, Athletics. This opportunity to wear many different hats is one of the things he likes most about the school.
“I’ve experienced a lot of different things, professionally and through Outdoor Education,” he says. “I’ve learned so much during my time here, from the roles I’ve held and from my colleagues.”
As Athletics Director, Sam oversees all of the moving parts that make up an athletic program. He schedules games, arranges transportation (with support from the Main Office), determines which teams to offer based on student interest, and assigns and mentors coaches. He also ensures that the teams we’re offering align with student interests.
“If there’s a lot of interest in a particular sport, I will look at adding an additional team to ensure that as many students as possible get to participate,” he says.
What does Sam love most about his athletics role? “I love seeing teachers develop different relationships with students through coaching, and seeing students working together to represent the school,” he says. He also enjoys seeing athletes’ hard work come to fruition. “You get to see students working through new skills and challenges behind the scenes, and then you have the joy of watching it play out on the pitch or the court or the track.”
As a coach himself -- Sam coaches senior girls’ soccer and rugby -- he has found coaching this year to be particularly rewarding. “It’s so nice having students back in action after COVID and seeing them offscreen,” he says. “Playing sports is an amazing opportunity to relax and do something else. Even if it’s challenging, it’s different.”
In his Senior Director role, Sam oversees much of Greenwood’s co-curricular programming, including athletics, service learning, and outdoor education. “I ensure that those programs are safe and that we are thinking about all angles during the planning process,” he says. He also works with our School Nurse to ensure that all programs follow the latest COVID-19 guidelines. “We’ve been able to safely offer Outdoor Education opportunities and restart athletics this year, which has been wonderful,” he says.
Reintroducing co-curricular programming in a way that is both safe and rewarding is Sam’s main goal for the year. COVID-19 has added a layer of challenge, but Sam knows that working through that challenge is worth it. He also has a COVID silver lining at home: his 9-month-old daughter, Lucy.
“Though the last year and a half has been really difficult, I’m so grateful that I got to be home with her in the early part of her life,” he says.
When asked about his favourite Greenwood memory, Sam (not surprisingly) calls up a coaching experience. It was the semi-finals of the CAIS Senior Girls’ Soccer tournament, and the Grizzlies were headed to a shootout. Greenwood won, but that’s not what stands out.
“It was how into it the students were,” he says. “They had trained so hard to that point, and they were completely invested in the outcome of the game. You could tell that they were going to remember this for a long time. Finding authentic learning moments can be tough, but that was a perfect one.”