We are pleased to introduce Craig Kelley, Director of External Programs at St. Michaels University School.
Craig was born and raised in Nova Scotia, and attended Dalhousie University in Halifax where he earned a Bachelor of Commerce degree. After university he spent two years teaching English in Korea, where he “fell in love with teaching.” Craig earned his Bachelor of Education from the University of Maine and returned to Nova Scotia to teach high school business, entrepreneurship and accounting. He then shifted to the administrative side of education, working with Class Afloat in Nova Scotia before moving to Ottawa to open an English as a second language school. Craig came to Victoria in 2014 and remained in education administration, first with an English-language school and then Camosun College.
Craig and his partner Amanda have three daughters and a Labrador-English Pointer mix.
Let’s get to know Craig better:
What drew you to SMUS?
The school’s reputation. I visited SMUS when I worked at Class Afloat, and was immediately impressed with the people I met and the facilities. The other draw was the opportunity to work in external programs to offer programs that are relevant and valuable for kids.
What are your early observations of SMUS?
It’s been a really amazing start. I’ve seen that the community here is very warm, welcoming and supportive. There are a lot of bright staff here who clearly enjoy what they do and love to work here.
What was your first-ever job?
I pushed grocery carts at Sobeys when I was a teenager.
What do you do on a day off?
I spend a lot of time with family and I like to be outside. We have a vegetable garden that I tend to a lot, and I try to stay active playing a lot of sports: frisbee golf, surfing when I can, hockey and baseball.
What should parents know about the work done by your department?
We’re here to serve the SMUS community first. We provide programs that emphasize skill development that focus on participation, cooperation and fun. Although our programs are open to the public, everything we’re doing is in line with the greater strategic plan of the school.
What is one goal you want to achieve in your lifetime?
I’ve always dreamed about sailing around the world; crossing the Pacific and the Atlantic on a boat is very much a goal for me because I love adventure and travelling.
What are you passionate about that the SMUS community might not know about you?
I’m really passionate about nature, and protecting the beautiful natural environment that we have on Vancouver Island. Tied to that, I think getting young people out into nature is very important.
What is one achievement in your professional life you’re most proud of?
Moving to Ottawa and opening the English as a second language school is an experience that I look back on that I’m really proud of. We built it from the ground up. I hired the teaching and administrative team and managed to grow it into a supportive school community. To be there from the very beginning and be able to create something from nothing was a really great experience.
If you could time travel, when would be the first place you go?
I would go back to Victoria before colonization to see how the First Nations people lived, sustainably and in harmony with nature.
What are you currently reading?
A lot of One fish two fish red fish blue fish with my youngest daughter. I’m also reading Who Do We Choose to Be? by Margaret Wheatley on creating positive change in your local community.
Where is your favourite place on Vancouver Island?
Hot Springs Cove. I went when I first came to Vancouver Island and I was blown away; it was probably the coolest place I’ve ever seen. It’s amazing there!
What are you most looking forward to about your role as Director of External Programs here?
I’m looking forward to building on the success of the department by working with teachers and staff across the school to provide additional academic and enrichment courses for students in a number of areas such as: math, science, robotics and languages.