Mike Downey will become the ninth headmaster of Selwyn House School, taking over from current Headmaster Hal Hannaford in June. Currently serving as Assistant Headmaster and Head of Senior School, Mr. Downey has worked at the school as a teacher, coach and administrator for 30 years.
Board Chairman Jonathan Goldbloom made the announcement to faculty and staff on the morning of Nov. 13, and shortly afterward to the students. Parents and alumni were simultaneously informed of the decision by email.
“We scoured the world,” Mr. Goldbloom said of the search process. “We interviewed people from Hong Kong, California, Ontario and here in Montreal. And what we discovered is that the best candidate is right here in our own backyard. We have someone amongst us who knows and loves Selwyn House. He knows all the staff and faculty, he knows all the students, he knows all the parents and he knows all the alumni. And one thing that came through in the process is the enormous amount of respect all of us have for him.”
The announcement was met with a standing ovation from the faculty and staff, as well as from the Middle School and Senior School students.
At Selwyn House, Mr. Downey has taught ecology, biology, physical science, chemistry, science & technology, environmental science, and math. He has coached football, hockey, rugby, tennis, basketball, and ball hockey.
“I couldn’t be more excited for the future of the school,” said current Headmaster Hal Hannaford. “I’m convinced Mike Downey will be one of Canada’s great heads of school.”
Concerning his own future plans, Mr Hannaford said, “After 40 years in education—31 years as a Head of School—I am retiring, and very grateful to be leaving on my terms. I am focusing on having another successful year at Selwyn House, so no definite plans, but many ideas in the works. My wife, Susan, and I will continue our work supporting mental wellness issues, and I will be carrying on my quest for helping schools become truly great. I will always advocate for the importance of relationships, connection, and faculty culture as the top strategic priorities for any school. It can’t be anything else. And I plan to drum much more!”