Dave Pontich was born and raised in Windsor, Ontario. He earned a Business degree with Honours before moving to Australia where he completed his teaching qualification and worked at an independent school in Melbourne. Afterward, Dave taught for nearly three years in the UK before returning to Canada to return to his studies where he completed an MA Economics.
After intending to complete his Ph.D., he took a short hiatus from his studies and accepted a two-term teaching contract at a top international school in Egypt. Eight months turned into thirteen years and during this time Dave met and married Nadine, an Egyptian who is also a Teacher. After being a successful member of the Secondary Leadership Team, he was appointed as the Head of Secondary, a position which he held for ten years. The school developed a reputation as being the best school in Cairo due to its outstanding care for students and exceptional examination results in external examinations.
After several happy years in Cairo, Dave and Nadine decided to take a sabbatical for one year and drive across Africa. During their travels, Dave was appointed as the Vice-Principal at the Amman Baccalaureate School (ABS) in Jordan where he spent two years. Whilst in Jordan, Dave worked with the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) and World Academy of Sport ensuring ABS was one of the first three schools in the world to be granted the unique status of Athlete Friendly Education Centre.
Most recently, Dave has been Head of School at a 3-18 international school in Qatar, which is part of the world’s leading premier family of schools. During his time in Qatar, the school experienced rapid growth whilst reconsidering their vision and curricula. They adopted an inquiry-based approach to learning with an emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) education across the entire school.
Self-reflection is central to Dave’s educational philosophy and a key aspect for school improvement.He has gained a lot of experience in taking part in accreditation visits and inspections both as Chair of a Steering Committee and as a Visiting Team member.
Dave has always maintained that Vancouver Island is the most beautiful place on earth and is delighted to be returning to Canada. He has already began working with the team that is being formed at St. John’s Academy Shawnigan Lake. He is looking forward to ensuring a smooth and unforgettable start to the new school year.
Burkie Burgess graduated from the University of Regina, SK in 2004 with a Bachelors of Arts and a Bachelors of Education, receiving the Saskatchewan Teachers of English Language Arts Award (2003) and the Joe Duffy Memorial Prize for “Most Outstanding Student in Secondary Teaching” (2004). She has taught at four different schools over the last 16 years: Ecole Ross School & Prince Arthur School in Moose Jaw; St. Paul’s Academy/The Centre for Learning@HOME in Okotoks; and Shawnigan Lake School in Shawnigan Lake. All of her teaching experiences have been memorable and have helped to shape her into the teacher she is today.
She decided to become an English teacher because she loves working with and inspiring youth to become the best versions of themselves, so that they can enrich their lives and the lives of others, making our world a better place. Additionally, she is passionate about literature and creative writing as forms of self-expression and connection. Through reading and writing, we come to better understand ourselves and the experiences of others, allowing us to become more empathetic, inclusive, globally conscious human beings. There is nothing more rewarding for her as an educator than seeing her students become enthusiastic about the books they are reading or watching their confidence grow in their own writing abilities.
Recently, Burkie has become enamored with stand up paddle boarding and kayaking, so she hopes to continue to explore these new passions in the future. Some of the qualities she values and strives to embody as an educator are empathy, honesty, resiliency, flexibility, strong work ethic, and a good sense of humor. She looks forward to having the opportunity to contribute to the school’s community in a positive way.
After graduating from university with a Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Arts, Bradley began his teaching career in Alberta, Canada. He then went on to teach within the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, beginning in Kuwait, then moving onto an IB pioneer school in Jordan, and eventually moving to Vancouver Island. Bradley also has a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from the University of Victoria which specializes in education development. While working on his MPA he had the opportunity to work with the Government of Canada and the Government of Tanzania in aiming to improve the quality of education and the effectiveness of education spending within the Tanzanian education sector. This background in administration has also influenced how Bradley approaches stakeholder engagement, program evaluation, and data analysis.
While teaching with the IB, Bradley has taught the Diploma Programme (DP) Language and Literature and Literature courses and the Middle Years Programme (MYP) Language and Literature course from grades 7-10. He has also coordinated the MYP as an MYP co-coordinator, Global Contexts coordinator, Personal Project coordinator and Approaches to Learning (21st-century skills) coordinator. Working directly for the IB, Bradley is also a Workshop Leader, School Visit Team Member, Examiner and Examiner Team Leader.
Bradley and his wife, Serena, have been living and thriving in the Cowichan Valley with their two little girls for nearly 6 years. Previously, they lived and taught overseas while traveling the world. In fact, together they have visited over 60 countries and have continued traveling with their children. Aside from traveling, Bradley enjoys learning, hiking, camping, reading and spending time with his family.
Over 20 years ago Matt Jonah began his life-long commitment to international student education while recruiting for Canada’s top-ranked Liberal Arts University, Mount Allison University (MTA).
His initial focus was on recruiting students from prestigious boarding schools in New England, B.C. and Ontario. Loving the opportunity to work with international students and their families, he soon expanded to international markets and travelled to +25 countries over the following 10 years. After the Associate Registrar for Admissions and Recruitment role at Mount Allison, Matt then moved into admissions at the Independent boarding school level as the Executive Director, Admissions for Appleby College in Oakville, Ontario.
After 8 years of additional admissions leadership, Matt then moved into fundraising as Appleby’s Director of Development and followed that to work at Glenlyon Norfolk School in Victoria, BC. This move allowed Matt to develop expertise at the University, Boarding school, K-12 (IB+AP) levels.
Having reviewed thousands of Canadian and international applications for both University and Independent school applicants, conducted over 1,000 student interviews and raised over $3 million (CAD) in donations, Matt is now combining all of these diverse professional experiences, with his entrepreneurial mindset, to help grow and enhance St. John’s Academy on the beautiful campus of Shawnigan Lake. As the Director of Admissions and Marketing, Matt looks forward to working with you further and assisting your families.