Mark Turner is the new head of school for St. Michaels University School in Saanich. Kyle Slavin/SMUS

Mark Turner is the new head of school for St. Michaels University School in Saanich. Kyle Slavin/SMUS

St. Michaels introduces new head of school

New school head Mark Turner comes from England

The search for St. Michaels University School’s first new head of school in 20 years is complete.

Mark Turner accepted the position after a thorough search and arrived this summer with his wife Elizabeth, one of his two sons, Alexander (22), and Martha the flat-coat retriever. The family will reside on campus in SMUS’ Reynolds House.

Turner’s last post was an eight-year tenure at Shrewsbury School in England where he oversaw its graduation into the modern era of co-education.

Shrewsbury, like St. Michaels, is both a boarding school and a day school, something that’s still unique among private schools, he said. What brought him here was SMUS’ reputation. After 20 years, Bob Snowden retired from the head of school position at SMUS and, while interim Andy Rodford was at the helm, a recruiter tracked Turner down.

“There are many similarities here,” Turner said. “Schools are about communities, the talented students and committed faculty, and here, the blend of day students and boarders from around the world, gives it a unique character.”

An athlete and an academic, Turner even spent a short time acquainting himself with the rules of another unique piece of Canadiana, the Canadian Football League.

“I’ve been studying the rules, and I noticed the league’s slogan, ‘Diversity is Strength,’” he said. “I have that in mind as I get to know the school’s community made up of 1,000 students, staff, parents and alumni. And to uphold SMUS’ reputation as a leading school in B.C. and Greater Victoria.

“It’s very clear, everyone has been telling me that SMUS’ academic reputation is very high, and I will want to reinforce that reputation in the first couple of years,” Turner said. “To keep [SMUS] as a leading academic school in Greater Victoria is a key part of my job.”

Of course Greater Victoria, more than any other region in B.C., is a holdout for English sports. Rugby is in most schools here, including St. Michaels, while American football is not. And St. Michaels is one of the few schools that are committed to cricket in addition to the local high school field hockey, rugby and rowing scene.

In three weeks this summer Turner has held multiple meetings with Snowden and held a briefing with Rodford, as he continues to prepare for the coming school year.

“Snowden deserves a lot of credit. Over his two decades as head of school, SMUS grew from 500 to 1,000 students and the facilities built on campus are shining examples of best practices,” he said. “I’m honoured to take over after what he achieved.”

So far Turner and his partner have toured the Island, driving the route from Cowichan Lake to Port Renfrew, and flew to Haida Gwaii.

Turner’s head of school contract starts with a typical five-year appointment.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nikita, a four-year-old German Shepherd that was attacked by a buck in a backyard in Esquimalt Sunday is lucky the injury wasn't more severe. (Photo contributed by Suzette Goldsworthy)
Esquimalt dog owner issues alert after deer injures German shepherd

Nikita needed stitches after an early morning encounter

The Victoria Police Department headquarters. (Black Press Media file photo)
Investigation launched into man’s death after arrest in Victoria

IIO investigation to determine if police actions or inaction played a role in the man’s death

Capital Regional District Animal Control say an eight-month-old Rottweiler bit a Langford mother and her child near Glen Lake on Nov. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Large dog attacks mother and child in Langford

Mother puts three-year-old on top of car to protect him

Victoria School for Ideal Education at 2820 Belmont Avenue is the second school in Greater Victoria with an active confirmed COVID-19 exposure. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Private school becomes second Greater Victoria school with COVID-19 exposure

Victoria School for Ideal Education follows Lakeview Christian School in Saanich

Brenda Schroeder thought she was reading it wrong when she won $100,000 from a Season’s Greetings Scratch & Win. (Courtesy BCLC)
New home on the agenda after scratch ticket win in Saanich

Victoria woman set to share her $100,000 Season’s Greetings lottery win

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

A rider carves a path on Yanks Peak Saturday, Nov. 21. Two men from Prince George went missing on the mountain the next day. One of them, Colin Jalbert, made it back after digging out his sled from four feet under the snow. The other, Mike Harbak, is still missing. Local search and rescue teams went out looking Monday, Nov. 23. (Sam Fait Photo)
‘I could still be the one out there’: Snowmobiler rescued, 1 missing on northern B.C. mountain

As Quesnel search and rescue teams search for the remaining rider, Colin Jalbert is resting at home

More than 70 anglers participated in the bar-fishing demonstration fishery on Sept. 9, 2020 on the Fraser River near Chilliwack. DFO officers ticketed six people and seized four rods. A court date is set for Dec. 1, 2020. (Jennifer Feinberg/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Anglers ticketed in Fraser River demonstration fishery heading to court

Sportfishing groups started a GoFundMe with almost $20K so far for legal defence of six anglers

Most Read