SMUS Teacher Feature: Mr. Reagan Daly

Reagan Daly

Mr. Reagan Daly was recently named Head of SMUS’s Experiential Education program. In addition to running this key program, Reagan teaches Global Politics 10, coaches basketball and is an Assistant Senior Houseparent in Barnacle House.

Reagan was born in Vancouver and was raised in Greater Victoria, graduating high school in Sidney. He attended the University of Victoria, playing basketball for the Vikes while completing his Bachelor of Education degree. Reagan spent time travelling, substitute teaching and working briefly for the Ministry of Forests before being hired at SMUS in 2007 to teach Physical Education and Social Studies.

Reagan and his wife Aimee have two children, Harper and Hudson, and a dog Nootka. They live on-campus in Barnacle House.

Let’s get to know Reagan better.

What was the best class you took in school?
I had a lot of great classes and teachers, but the one that was most memorable was a Disaster Planning course at UVic which examined the earthquake hazard on the west coast, particularly along the Cascadia subduction zone. Looking at what could be possible if all the stored energy releases in one big event is not easily forgotten!

What was your first-ever job?
I worked at the Sidney Bingo Hall every Friday night when I was 11 to 13. I got paid $5 an hour in working conditions that by today’s standards seem pretty bad for a young boy to be exposed to; you could hardly see through the thickness of smoke in the room, but I loved it. My job was to empty the ashtrays and run the bingo cards up to the front. I would earn $20 a shift and get a free bowl of chili!

What do you do on a day off?
If it’s a perfect day and I get to do everything that I want: I would likely wake up with my daughter Harper snuggling up in bed, make some coffee and we would have some nice chilled out morning time (in this scenario nobody is fighting or crying). I would then sneak away and go rock climbing to a local spot (it’s also sunny on this perfect day). I would have some more family time around dinner and cap things off with a nice IPA with Aimee.

Where do you most want to travel, but have never been?
There are a few places for climbing I would love to visit, but at the absolute top of the list is an area in South Africa called the Rocklands, north of Cape Town. I would love to head there with the family and explore. The area looks beautiful with an incredible landscape of bright red sandstone.

What is one goal you want to achieve in your lifetime?
My sister’s husband is Argentine and both of her kids will grow up in a bilingual house – she speaks exclusively in Spanish to them. This summer Aimee and I made an effort to try and use an app to practice some Spanish, but ultimately I think it’s going to require spending some time immersed in a Spanish-speaking country to learn to communicate. If my kids and I could learn this language, I would be very happy.

Why did you want to be a teacher?
Coaching played a large role in pulling me into teaching. I had always coached youth basketball through my time at university and really enjoyed the experience. Coaching and teaching share many similarities, and the qualities of effective coaches – like preparation and passion – are usually what define great teachers as well.

What was your dream job growing up?
My dad was very involved with municipal politics when I was growing up, and I remember attending heated all candidates’ meetings and listening to his speeches. I don’t know if it was a dream job but I think there was a brief point in time when I was young and dreamed of a life rising to great heights in politics.

What was the first concert you went to?
The first big concert I went to was a Creedence Clearwater “Revival” tour in Vancouver. I was 15 or 16 and took the ferry over with a few friends. It was at the Pacific Coliseum, and it was loud and exciting.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve overcome?
I tore the labrum in my hip while playing basketball in university, which has more recently developed into bone spurs limiting what I can do. I’ve always grown up identifying myself as an “athlete”; it’s an interesting thing not being able to play the sports you love and not being able to move the way you want. It has been more of a mental battle than I anticipated. However, the result has been that I have found other ways to exercise, and now look forward to my time riding an exercise bike.

What hobby would you pursue if money and time were no object?
Playing the guitar. I’ve dabbled for about a decade now and never really spent much time “trying” to improve. I didn’t have much of a musical interest growing up, so it is a really fun thing for me to try and do as an adult.

What’s been your most memorable teaching moment?
I have had a few coaching moments that stick out. I can’t pick a favourite season but it was certainly unforgettable watching a group of Senior boys in the 2014-15 basketball season make a run to a provincial title. They were great athletes, but also such a tight group socially and really cared deeply about each other, which made for a special season. Couple that with a Junior boys team that same year who made a very unlikely run in the provincial tournament and it made for a memorable year on the hardwood.

If you could time travel, when would be the first place you go?
I’d head to the 1970s and get front row seats to a few concerts to see some of the musicians I love performing in their prime. The music that I tend to listen to the most now is the music that my parents listened to when I grew up.

What are you currently reading?
Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss

What’s the best part of your job?
The people that I get to work with at the school every day. Some of my best friends are also my colleagues. What makes SMUS so special is that each teacher genuinely enjoys what they do here and the people they work with. Aimee and I have also had the opportunity to raise our kids on campus in an amazing boarding community, which has been very special. It is a rare thing to enjoy coming to work as much as I do and I’m grateful for that each day.

Where is your favourite place on Vancouver Island?
It’s really hard to beat Tofino. However, on Nookta Island you have a few beaches very similar in quality to Chesterman or Cox Bay, and there is absolutely nobody else there. I have been twice and have never shared the beaches with another camper.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
It would have to be the ability to manipulate time. It seems I am always just trying to pack as many things into the day as possible. Sometimes I am just barely arriving to things when I need to be there. I wish I had the power to turn back the clock 5-10 minutes every now and then!

What are you passionate about?
I have maintained a second “job” of route-setting at a local climbing gym since university. Route-setting is creating the routes or sequences climbers take in a range of difficulty levels. I love the creative element to it!

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Kyle Slavin
Kyle Slavin is the school's storyteller. Through words and photos, he shares with the community all the amazing things that happen on campus.

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