Anthony first came to Greenwood as an educational intern in 2005; because he already had his teaching degree, he also taught Grade 12 History and Grade 11 Health and Physical Education that year. “The nature of the educational intern role meant I really got to know the school,” he says. “I had supervision duties in all areas of the building, chaperoned service learning and Outdoor Education trips and coached, while also learning classroom management and how to effectively implement lessons.”
Anthony had originally considered becoming a police officer, but his father encouraged him to give teaching a try before committing to police training. “I was interested in teaching, but I knew I had to find the right school to really enjoy it,” he says. “I was looking for a place that focused on a broad breadth of skills that fit with my values. After a year at Greenwood, I knew that the school embodied all of those things. I believe in what we’re doing here.”
Since starting at Greenwood, Anthony has taught Canada and World Studies and Health and Physical Education (HPE) at all grade levels. The leadership roles he has held over the years include the Subject Team Leader for HPE, Expert Teacher, Director of the Grade 7/8 Program, and now Dean of Students. He has also coached several teams, led many Outdoor Education trips and chaperoned international trips to France, Costa Rica and Kenya.
As Dean of Students, Anthony oversees student behaviour and supports student success. This includes monitoring the attendance, ensuring proper wearing of the uniform and dealing with discipline issues. “When it comes to discipline, I lead with education and compassion first,” he says. “It’s important to look at each individual situation and respect the nuances involved.”
Anthony also brings a coaching approach to his work with students. “If a student isn’t wearing the uniform properly, I start with asking about the ‘why’”, he says. “I also ask them to think about the importance of the uniform for our community and the visible inequity that might be perceived by other students. If you’re wearing a hat in the school and another student isn’t because they are following the uniform guidelines, they might say ‘That’s not fair’. There are many perspectives to everything, and we want to encourage students to look outside themselves and to help them become positive members of the communities they choose to join when they leave here.”
As Anthony notes, though, there is also room for student voice and flexibility. “After we relaxed the uniform rules last year due to COVID, we heard from students that they enjoyed being able to wear more casual clothing,” he says. “So, we took that feedback into account and made every single Friday this year a dress down day.”
Building relationships with students is one of the things Anthony enjoys most about his role.
“I will never stop learning,” he says. “Every single individual has their own set of understandings and perspectives and their own way of doing things, and they will surprise you in the very best ways. “There are always students who will challenge me to think about things a little differently, and that’s exciting for me.” He also enjoys that his role keeps him on his toes - even as he’s being interviewed for this article, someone knocks on his door with a question.
A bright spot in the challenging COVID period for Anthony was the arrival of his son, Caden, who celebrated his first birthday last weekend. It has meant sometimes conducting meetings with a baby in his lap when working from home, but Anthony is grateful for the opportunity to watch him grow.
One of the most rewarding parts of working at Greenwood for Anthony is the fact that his fellow staff members share his dedication. “The people here really care and work very hard at their jobs,” he says. “We are all pulling the rope in the same direction, and it’s a very good direction.”