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Gryphon Gallery: Jennifer J. Bennett

Stuart Brambley, School Archivist
Jennifer Jane Bennett (Jen) taught at Glenlyon Norfolk School as the PE teacher on the Junior Girls campus from 1987 to 2000.
She was a fun-loving, dedicated teacher providing many happy memories for her colleagues and students alike and at the time she was able to successfully pursue two concurrent and demanding careers. She was a teacher and reserve naval officer.

However, in the new millennium, she pursued her dream, following in the footsteps of her family's ‘line of duty’ in the Naval Reserve. She rose through the ranks of the military to become Canada’s first female rear-admiral in the Royal Canadian Navy and the first female to be appointed Chief of Reserves and Cadets, the most senior reserve officer position in the Canadian Armed Forces (2011).

She holds a Bachelor of Physical Education from McMaster University, a Bachelor of Education from Queen's University and a Master of Arts in Leadership and Training from Royal Roads University. She was promoted to Commodore in 2007, as the Commander of Canada’s Naval Reserve, leading over 4000 Naval Reservists serving across Canada. Promoted to Rear-Admiral in 2011, Rear-Admiral Bennett was appointed as Canada’s Chief of Reserves and Cadets and served as a national and international advisor. She was also responsible to the Minister of National Defence for the design, support and delivery of the Cadet and Junior Canadian Ranger programmes to more than 57,000 Canadian youth.  Rear-Admiral Bennett has been recognized for her leadership and exemplary service in the military and civilian communities.  In 2011, she was named one of Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women as a Public Sector Leader and she was promoted from Officer in the Order of Military Merit to Commander by the Governor General of Canada. In January 2013, Rear-Admiral Bennett was appointed as the National Champion for Women in Defence between January 2013 and September 2018. In this role, she worked with members of NATO and the UN, as well as other nations, regarding the integration of women into the military and developing a more diverse and inclusive military culture. 

In 2018, Rear-Admiral Bennett led the NATO Gender Key Leader Seminar at the Nordic Center for Gender in Military Operations in Sweden; she was the first international officer in that role.

Jen retired from the Canadian Armed Forces in December 2019, having also been awarded two Honorary Doctorates at the University of Alberta and McMaster, a Chief of Defence Staff award and a Dept. of Justice Litigation award. In retirement, she continues to serve in several voluntary positions in the Navy League of Canada, DND’s Defence Advisory Board and the University Naval Training Division Association Board of Directors. She is also a patron and member of the Advisory Committee of the Juno Beach Centre.

Jen, “we” salute you!

Glenlyon Norfolk School

Junior School (JK to Grade 5)

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We wish to acknowledge and respect the Lekwungen-Speaking Peoples on whose traditional territory we stand, and the Songhees, Esquimalt and Wsáneć Peoples whose historical relationships with the land, where we live, work, play and learn, continue to this day.