2020 Retirees: Dariol Haydock

Every year, we are honoured to recognize members of the SMUS community as they retire and take on new adventures. Read the 2020 Retirees series to learn more about their outstanding contributions to the school. In this story, we recognize Dariol Haydock, Assistant Director of the Middle School.


When you find yourself in a role where you’re building meaningful relationships, working hard for a common cause, supported to develop yourself further, and having a wonderful time, you stay. For Dariol Haydock, this describes her 18 fulfilling years at the Middle School.

Dariol joined the SMUS community in September 2001 to teach French. Before SMUS, she led the Modern Languages department at Collingwood School. Dariol became the Middle School Assistant Director in 2002 and continued to teach as well.

In her position, she was responsible for much of the success of the non-academic part of SMUS life. The Middle School is an intimate campus, with an average of 220 students, so Dariol had the opportunity to get to know each student and parent well.

She was struck by the calibre of adults who worked at SMUS. They cared deeply about their students and took time to consider how best to support their personal and academic growth. One example of this was the Middle School’s early decision to ban cell phones. It was not always a popular decision, but the team pulled together and ultimately changed the tone and climate for students. In the long term, the children benefited deeply from this decision.

Dariol was also deeply impressed by the parents she worked with.
“If a child was beginning to struggle, everybody mobilized. Sometimes that meant tough love, other times it meant we needed to just love them up.”

The relationship between home and school was strong. Children were at the centre of the discussions.

One of Dariol’s key accomplishments at the school was championing and co-creating the Middle School leadership program. She noted there was a positive evolution in the concept of what leadership is and in the methods used to develop students as leaders. “Now, It’s more about being a good person, a person of integrity. It doesn’t always mean you have to wear your hair above your collar. … You do open the door and make eye contact.” She emphasizes that it is on the school to help find what each kid can do and to explore how to turn that into a way in which they can lead.

A constant she witnessed over her years was “the shared focus on being diversified as a student. There was support [for each student] to be your best and to find out who you are. There was weight on the character piece.” she adds.

Dariol says she also appreciated the encouragement from the school to pursue professional development. “If you want to learn about something, there was always the opportunity.” She took two sabbaticals, one when her children were in Junior School and the second when her youngest child graduated. Both of her children, Bryn and Georgia, are SMUS Lifers now studying in Kingston and Montreal.

It was satisfying to come across students in Grades 10, 11 and 12 lunching at the Sun Centre, and seeing them, “locked and loaded” after their Middle School experience, she says. Dariol enjoyed connecting with them again at this new stage of their school lives.

Dariol loves to travel and was looking forward to a cycling trip in northern Quebec at the time of writing. Her list of things to do in retirement includes travel, more reading, learning to make better soup and getting involved in some type of service work. She hasn’t decided what that will look like yet.

Dariol knows that SMUS will always be part of who she is. She “never took the community for granted.” When she thinks of new staff and faculty coming on board, she muses, “SMUS is student-centred. That may sound trite or overused, but it’s true. We were all supporting, pushing and encouraging. We were all learning. And that made it great, great place to be.”

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