SMUS Teacher Feature: Mr. Richard Brambley

Richard Brambley

We are delighted to introduce Mr. Richard Brambley, our Director of Middle School starting in the 2019-20 school year.

Richard was born and raised in Victoria and attended Glenlyon Norfolk School. He graduated from the University of Victoria with a bachelor’s degree in history and followed that up with a teaching diploma. He began his career at the GNS Junior School before moving to London, England, where he spent 12 years teaching math and working as a school administrator at independent schools. Before coming to SMUS, he was the Junior School Director at Armbrae Academy in Halifax.

Richard and his wife Pamela have two children, Jackson, 6, and Samantha, 2.

Let’s get to know Richard:

What drew you to SMUS?
I felt the school really matched the values and the standards that I so very much enjoyed in the UK and what I hold to be important components of a child’s educational experience. My wife and I felt that those values and standards matched what we want for our own children.

What was the best class you took in school?
I was always enthralled with sports so physical education and playing for sports teams – soccer, baseball, cricket – was a big part of my school experience. I’d also say that Grade 11 and 12 math is where I had some really wonderful teachers who inspired me and helped draw me to math.

What was your first-ever job?
Beginning when I was 14 I cleaned golf clubs for a few summers at Uplands Golf Course.

What do you do on a day off?
I spend a lot of time with my kids doing different activities with them such as swimming or playing sports. My son and I go skiing every Sunday in the winter months, which I love doing with him. If it’s not family related I’ll either be playing cricket or golf.

Where do you most want to travel but have never been?
I have had the fortune of travelling through Europe, Africa and Asia quite a bit. I haven’t touched South America at all. Buenos Aires, Argentina appeals to me in terms of the architecture and the culture and the spirit and the character.

What is one goal you want to achieve in your lifetime?
I want to make sure that I’m giving my children every opportunity to be successful, productive contributors to our community. I think things like giving them the opportunity to come to a school like SMUS and having the opportunity to pursue their dreams would be my greatest personal achievement.

Why did you want to be a teacher?
I initially didn’t want to get into teaching. My dad was a teacher so, being the son of a teacher, I wanted to forge my own path. I spent a few summers working at kids camps and I really enjoyed it. As I was going through university and not sure what I would do with a history degree it just kept coming back to working with kids because I found so much pleasure, enjoyment and personal satisfaction in it.

What was your dream job growing up?
I wanted to play or be involved in some professional sports organization. Sports have always been a huge passion for me. One of the things that’s nice about being in a school is I still get my fix of sports being a spectator and cheering on the student athletes.

What is one achievement in your professional life you’re most proud of?
What means a lot to me are the relationships and connections I build with students. When students I’ve taught or previously been involved with come back and say, ‘Thanks a lot, you made a difference,’ that is exceptionally rewarding, unexpected and very special for me.

What hobby would you pursue if money and time were no object?
I would love to travel and play the most brilliant golf courses all over the world. Augusta National would be at the top of that list.

If you could time travel, when would be the first place you go?
My grandfather served in the Second World War and I heard many stories from him, my grandmother and my father about their experiences during that time. I would probably go back to Britain during that period to try to get a better understanding of what happened.

What was your favourite field trip as a kid in school?
I always loved riding the ferries so any time we went to Vancouver to play sports was a highlight. I loved being 12 years old and having a few dollars for the arcade. I have some really great memories from those trips.

What are you currently reading?
Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela. My wife is South African, so that, along with my enjoyment of history, meant this book was a long-overdue read.

What’s the best part of your job?
The laughter, conversations and the joy that comes with working with children.

Where is your favourite place on Vancouver Island?
Cadboro Bay. I’m really looking forward to going for walks along the beach there with my kids on a sunny summer day. That’s my happy place.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
I would love to be able to turn back the clock and be able to correct mistakes every once in a while. I’m a firm believer that we all make mistakes, that’s very much part of who we are as humans, but there are a always a few lessons that I would’ve loved to have never had to learn.

What are you passionate about that members of the SMUS community may not know about you?
I love architecture. When I travel I love going into grand churches and cathedrals and just looking at them. I think it has something to do with my math background because it’s the symmetry and the beauty of that aspect of architecture that draws me in.

What are you most looking forward to as Director of Middle School here?
I’ve heard fantastic things about the school and in my limited time interacting with the students it’s clear to see that they are exceptionally talented and capable, and I can’t wait to work with them. I’m excited to tap into their enthusiasm for learning and for their experiences outside of the classroom. As a family, we are excited to return to Victoria and to be joining the SMUS family.


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