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Gryphon Gallery: First Chairs of the School’s Societies

Gryphon Gallery
Lavinia Greenwood

These days at our school, we are used to the idea of a Board of Governors, headed by a Board Chair, to oversee the operation. It has not always been that way and when our school was in its infancy as Norfolk House and Glenlyon, both were operated for several years as private institutions.

From 1913 to 1931, NHS was run solely as a private enterprise under the proprietorship of firstly Julia McDermott until 1917 and then her colleague Dora Atkins through to 1931. At that time, the opportunity to purchase 4.5 acres of land at “Pemberton Woods” made it necessary to create the Norfolk House Limited Co., remaining a private company, headed by lawyer Mr. Harry Davis.

Between 1952 and 1955 however, NHS went through ‘difficult times’ and the only way to move forward was to change the structure of the school. This required establishing the Norfolk House School Society in order to successfully administer the assets of the Society to maintain the school’s relevance and continuance. It was registered on March 6, 1952 and Mr. Hugh Henderson was the first Chair of the elected Board. He was a respected lawyer in the city, a parent of two students, successfully managed the restructuring of the school’s finances and then hired Winifred Scott to come to NHS for July 1st 1957.

Hugh Henderson

Norfolk House Chairs of the Board who followed Hugh Henderson were Col. C.T. Overman, Cdr. Howard V. Clark, Cdr. Patrick Crofton, Dr. Charles Simpson, Supt. T.E. Gardiner, Dr. P. Jean McCaw, and David Hambleton. Each played a significant role to support the headmistress and direction of the school.

In September 1932, Major Ian Simpson started his private school, Glenlyon Preparatory School. It remained a private institution through his headship to 1964 and his son’s leadership, Hamish, as a Limited Company until 1970. In order to guide and support development, a new Society was registered in May 1970, and the first Board of Governors was elected the following year. Mr. Eoin Ruthven became Chairman, a parent of two students.

Glenlyon Chairs of the Board who followed Ruthven were J. Stewart Bland, J. Ronald MacKenzie, R. J. “Ian” Taylor, Ian E. Cairns, Alan E. Emery, “Scotty” T. Gardiner, and Cedric Steele. Similar to NHS, these Chairs were instrumental in their guidance and support of future progress.

In March 1986, when Glenlyon Norfolk School was born, enormous amounts of work were done by many, many people including the Chair of the Boards for NHS and Glenlyon to reach that point. However, when it came time to create a brand new Board for GNS and a new Chair to lead the new school, neither of the previous leaders – David Hambleton at NHS and Cedric Steele at Glenlyon – stood for consideration. The new Board of Governors were chosen from the existing Boards by within-board ballots and by them, Mrs. Lavinia Greenwood was chosen as Chair. She had joined the NHS Board a year earlier after ten years on the Victoria School Board. Both her daughters had attended NHS. She skillfully managed a Board with a wide range of competencies to handle many of the needs of the school, parents, students and staff to move forward as Glenlyon Norfolk School.

Lavinia Greenwood

Glenlyon Norfolk Chairs of the Board who followed Greenwood were William McCallum, Deborah Todd, Gail Gabel, Stuart Piets, Tim Taddy, Bruce Homer, Kristina Campbell, Douglas Easton, Chris Denford and currently, Curtis Mundstock. Each has given valuable leadership essential for GNS success.