Wishing a Fond Farewell: Kathy Kealey, Director of Junior School

After 20 years of dedication to York House School, Kathy Kealey, Director of Junior School, will be retiring at the end of this school year. Kathy’s exceptional career in education began 40 years ago in Montreal where she first taught at various French immersion schools for 14 years before transitioning to administration. It was because of her experience working in French immersion schools that she was sought after by York House and made the move to Vancouver.

Kathy has worn many hats in addition to her role as Director of Junior School. For many years, Kathy held a dual role as Director of Junior School and Assistant Head of School before coming over to the Senior School as Deputy Head and then returning as the Director of Junior School. Throughout her time at York House, Kathy has proven herself to be a thoughtful and forward-thinking leader as well as a caring community builder with faculty, staff, students, and families alike.

Her excellent leadership over the years has led to the successful implementation of many school-wide endeavours such as the introduction of our AIM French language program as well as the purchase of the Little School in 2008 and our adoption of the Reggio Emilia philosophy of teaching. She also played a key role in the development of our YHS 2030 strategic priorities.

Reflecting on her time at York House, there are so many memorable experiences that come to mind for Kathy. She has particularly enjoyed accompanying our band students to Italy twice and just last year, to Cuba. Often what the students say they enjoy the most about these trips is the service opportunities and she is right there with them. In fact, one of her fondest memories is being involved with a YHS Habitat for Humanity project in Paraguay many years ago.

Those who know Kathy know her love of keeping fit with competitive dragon boating, cycling, and speed skating! It was her passion for fitness, the outdoors, and our students that inspired her to go on the Grade 10 Outdoor Education trip to Garibaldi not once, but twice!

Throughout her time at York House, Kathy has particularly loved seeing how a child entering Kindergarten transforms into an incredible athlete, musician, actor, public speaker, and/or leader in the Senior School. Over the years, our students’ accomplishments have shaped her belief that, through hard work and determination, anything and everything is possible.

These final months of the school year took an unexpected turn as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Undoubtedly, not the way Kathy thought she would be spending the final few months of her career. But true to Kathy’s resilience and adaptability she rose to the challenge as, together with Junior School faculty and Carolyn Green, Assistant Director of Junior School, she helped our families transition to remote learning. 

Her love, dedication, and tireless commitment to our community, for the past 20 years, has been outstanding and we will truly miss her.

Two Long-standing Staff Retire

This year, we have had two long-standing employees retire from York House School.  

Julie Rousseau, Head of School, and Lynne Massel, Senior School Mathematics Teacher

Lynne Massel, Senior School Mathematics Teacher, will retire this year after an astounding 39 years of service to our school.

Lynne obtained her B.Sc and her BEd. degrees in South Africa. She began her career teaching high school mathematics for several years in South Africa before moving to Canada in 1979. She first taught at Vancouver’s Talmud Torah School prior to joining York House School in 1981.

Since then, Lynne’s commitment, dedication, and enthusiasm for teaching mathematics has been widely recognized by many of her students and their parents. Lynne was the Mathematics Department Head for 27 years where she guided the philosophy of the department and was a willing mentor to her colleagues. In 1988, she introduced the AP Calculus course at York House.

A lifelong learner, she completed her M.Sc. in Mathematics Education at Simon Fraser University in 1989 and has presented at many mathematics conferences throughout BC. Lynne has also served on a number of Ministry Committees and marked Provincial Mathematics Examinations, where she was a Table Head, for all the years they were written.    

In recognition of her contributions to teaching, Lynne has received a number of accolades: in 1993, she was nominated by a group of students for the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence; in 1996, she received the Outstanding Teacher Award from the University of Chicago and in 1998, was nominated by students of the UBC Department of Chemistry as an influential teacher. 

Lynne’s commitment to the school has extended beyond the classroom. Her many contributions have included supporting the swim team, the Environment Club, and being the House sponsor for many years. During this time, Lynne initiated and introduced Pyjama Day and House Breakfast as well as Funarama, two annual school-wide events that students continue to enjoy.

We thank Lynne for sharing her passion for mathematics with our students and for her many contributions to York House School.

On June 20th, we hosted a retirement celebration for Lynne Massel at the school where current staff, former staff, alumnae, students, and her family gathered to reminisce about her career and the positive impact she has had on the school. We wish Lynne the very best for a healthy and happy retirement.

Head of School, Julie Rousseau and Anita Irani, Director of University Admissions

Anita Irani will retire from her role as Director of University Admissions at the end of the school year. In her 26 years at York House School, Anita has held various roles that have contributed to her strong leadership in her role as Director of University Admissions. Anita’s career at York House School began in 1993 as an administrative assistant where she was responsible for everything from school supervision and switchboard coverage to technology support and network backups followed by a position as an administrative assistant in the counselling department. It didn’t take long before her natural ability to work with students and families was evident. In 1998, she became our school Registrar and the following year became our Director of Admissions and University Admissions. It was in 2002 that her role evolved to that of Director of University Admissions.

Throughout her career at York House, Anita has been deeply committed to ensuring that our students have everything they need to make successful scholarship and university applications and are well-prepared for their transition to their university careers. Within this role, she has expertly guided both students and families with regard to course selection in the Senior School and has ensured that our students have the support they need during AP examinations. In more recent years, she has also been instrumental in important year-end events coordinating our Graduation and Prizegiving ceremonies.

Her dedication and commitment to the success of our students have undoubtedly helped to guide the career paths of so many of our alumnae; something I know she is deservedly very proud of.

We wish to thank Anita for her strong leadership, her immense care for the YHS community and her tremendous dedication to students and their families. Anita has not yet decided what future opportunities she wishes to explore but wishes to thank the entire community for an outstanding 26 years at York House School.

Anita will certainly be missed by students, staff, parents, and alumnae alike and we wish her all the very best in her future endeavours. In lieu of a retirement celebration, at Anita’s request, the school will be making a contribution to the Khimji Family Teaching and Learning Excellence Fund and the Audrey Fund Scholarship.