Our Instructors

Dr. Joanne Robinson

Committed to exemplary professional learning for global school leaders, Dr. Joanne Robinson is frequently called upon universally to consult in the assessment and tailored development of unique professional programming needs for various Ministry’s of Education and international school systems. She has devoted much of her time to inspiring global school leaders in directional growth, with much success to date in Abu Dhabi, Aruba, Australia, Cayman Islands, Chile, China, Denmark, Egypt, India, Italy, Jordan, Lesotho, New Zealand, Peru and South Africa.  Joanne strongly believes in creating collaborative learning environments across the globe.

Joanne is the Chief Executive Officer of International School Leadership (ISL) and the Director of Professional Learning for Education Leadership Canada (ELC) at the Ontario Principals’ Council (OPC).

She has been an educator since 1972, serving in many capacities including her previous role as principal. Her involvement with the OPC began in 1998 as a founding member of the provincial associations Interim Council during the initial planning and development. She was appointed President in 1999, for a one-year term, and later returned to oversee the implementation of the renowned Principal’s Qualification Program and Supervisory Officer’s Qualification Program.  Joanne has formed several partnerships for program accreditation with highly regarded Universities in Australia, Canada, England and Peru.

Passionate about mentoring and coaching, as it is a powerful vehicle for supporting education leaders, Joanne completed her Doctorate of Education Leadership in 2010 on Mentoring and Coaching School Leaders: A phenomenological study of adaptive expertise for school administrators.

She regularly consults with global leaders in the framework or expansion of workshops, on-site courses, online learning programs and leadership skills training to support evolving achievements in a progressive education landscape. Often invited as a keynote speaker, she provides presentations on topics such as school leadership professional development programs, mentoring and coaching, student achievement initiatives, collaboration, associations supporting school leaders, equipping aspiring and experienced school leaders, pedagogical leadership, system leadership and keys to maximizing innovation in education and the changing role of school leadership.

Focus: Professional Leadership, Mentoring & Coaching, Student Achievement, Principal Leadership Training Programs, Mentoring and Coaching, Student Achievement Initiatives, Collaboration, Associations Supporting Principals


Dr. Andy Scott

Having extensively studied educational systems in various parts of the world, Dr. Andy Scott is the architect of highly specialized professional development programming intended to engage school leaders across the globe. His proficiency was sought after during a venture in Abu Dhabi that culminated in an extensive analysis of the professional development needs for vice-principals within the country. In 2011, his assessment insight into processes and models were adapted to create a tailored leadership program delivered to Chinese delegations in Ontario. Currently, he remains focused on the creation of exceptional and accessible online professional development programs, to guide school leaders globally.

As Director of Program and Operations for International School Leadership, Dr. Andy Scott oversees the creation and delivery of our highly specialized training programs internationally. He is a successful Educational Consultant and the Master’s Dimension Coordinator for the Ontario Principals’ Council (OPC), responsible for the administration of the program and serving as an Adjunct Professor of Charles Sturt University teaching Masters students. As the Aspiring School Leaders’ Program Coordinator for the OPC, he continues to develop workshops, recruiting facilitators and administers to this unique program.

Andy brings more than 30 years working experience in the field of education, including as a teacher, elementary principal, secondary principal and superintendent of schools. With a long history in the recruitment, selection and development of school administrators, he has a clear understanding of effective school leadership based on extensive experience and research in the field. His successes include the development of polices supporting all aspect of school leadership, including the evaluation of practitioners.

Andy has developed solid leadership practices and a professional network across Ontario, Canada and the world. In 2007 he was awarded the Ontario Public Schools Officials’ Association Distinguished Leadership Award in recognition of his work, particularly in the field of educational computer technology.

Focus: Program Assessment and Development, School Supervision, Online Learning, Leadership Assessment, Aspiring School Leaders


Dr. Sergio Pawel

Universal knowledge would cultivate a love of wisdom that could overcome national and religious hatred and ultimately lead to peace”

Proclaimed back in 1650 by J. A. Comenius, these goals remain poignantly contemporary and the basis of a moral compass that govern Dr Sergio Pawel’s commitment to international education.

With a vast experience in international education spanning three decades across four continents, Sergio has led international schools in the United Kingdom and the Middle East where he had a chance to put to the test the notions of international mindedness, intercultural understanding and distributed leadership.

In the capacity of a leadership consultant, Sergio has developed more than 20 schools and curriculum models for schools and group of schools in China, Middle East and Europe as well as acted as adviser to government officials, corporate investors and charitable organizations on matters of school set up, curriculum development and school improvement.

With a solid and extensive academic background, which includes a MSc in Nuclear Physics, MPhil in Philosophy of Science and PhD in Education, he has contributed to the development of the English national Curriculum, the IB Middle Years Program (MYP) and the IB Diploma Science Programmes (DP), the early stages of the development of the international Middle Years Curriculum (IMYC) and many other smaller projects. Sergio’s pioneering work on integration of the mother tongue into the mainstream curriculum two decades ahead of time is now widely acknowledged as a point of reference in international education.

Sergio is a regular contributor to the International Baccalaureate Organization (IB) as a consultant, examiner curriculum designer and programme authorization visits, to the Council of International Schools (CIS) as a team leader in accreditation and authorization visits, to the Alliance of International Education (AIE) and ECIS as a conference presenter. He is also an associated inspector for Dubai’s KHDA.

His research interests ranges from authentic laboratory based learning practices to the study of cultural diversity as learning resource and he is a member of the review board for the Science Education Review journal. Sergio has been a regular presenter at national and international conferences, symposiums on workshops on themes that range from academic leadership, Mother Tongue, post-constructivism, science education, international education, international mindedness, cultural identity, interdisciplinary learning, strategic planning. More recently, Sergio has been researching Mezirow’s transformative learning theory with a view to create framework for global mobile learners.

Besides his regular job as the Chief Academic Officer for an educational consultant company (MIEDAN), Sergio has recently joined the ISL/OPC team as an instructor of courses.

Focus points: curriculum development, school models, international education, strategic planning, governance, international accreditation, curriculum implementation, educational policies, technology integration


Marg Warren

Leading numerous system-wide and provincial Ontario initiatives, including developing processes, research studies, resources and assessment tools that support the work of school and system leaders, Marg Warren continues to engage “learning leaders as passionate visionary concentrating on strategic alignments and achievement for all.”

Having held diverse leadership roles at the school district and provincial levels in Ontario, Marg has advised and learned with school and system leaders throughout the globe. She currently acts as instructor for the International School Leadership programs and as Provincial Facilitator for the Leading Student Achievement Project.

After teaching all grades from Kindergarten to grade 13, Marg held roles as a Program Coordinator, elementary and secondary principal, system principal for leadership and staff development, and Senior Education Specialist in the Leadership Development and School Board Governance Branch at the Ontario Ministry of Education.

She has served on advisory committees and worked as an Education Officer for the Ontario Education Quality Accountability Office contributing to and lead the development of provincial assessments. Marg has taught the Principal’s Qualification Program and Experienced Principal Development Course modules for the Ontario Principals’ Council (OPC) and has presented at many conferences internationally.

Marg has been a Councillor and President for the Ontario Association of Mathematics Education, President of the Ontario Mathematics Coordinators Association, Instructor and Academic Coordinator for Teachers Teaching with Technology and Canadian Affiliate Services representative for the National Council for Teachers of Mathematics. She has been presented with an Innovation and Excellence Award for her contribution to mathematics education in Ontario.

Focus: Facilitation, Government & Ministry, Mathematics, System-Level Professional Development, Mathematics Instruction, Program Alignment, Tri-Level Improvement Initiatives, Teaching Strategies to Improve Student Achievement


Joni Heard

Joni Heard is a passionate, committed educator driven by the highest standards. For over three decades, Joni has served in many different leadership roles: teacher, instructor, associate professor, consultant, elementary school principal and Education Officer with the Ministry of Education.

Joni’s experiences with International School Leadership include facilitating online and onsite courses for current and aspiring educational school leaders and provides workshop presentations to international education study tours. Her most recent appointments have been in Denmark, Norway, Brazil and Peru to deliver the International School Leadership Certificate program.

Joni worked as an Education Officer with the Leadership Development Branch of the Ministry of Education in Ontario and during that time was the provincial lead for Mentoring for Newly Appointed School Leaders, chaired the Ontario Leadership Congress and supported school districts across the province in implementing the Board Leadership Development Strategy.

Other professional experiences include her role as sessional instructor and faculty advisor at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Faculty of Education and as instructor for Principal’s Qualifications Course at York University for many years. Joni continues to consult with the Ontario Ministry of Education on various education related initiatives.

“Joni inspires and engages participants with her knowledge and interaction skills … perfect modeling of methods to use within schools, both in classrooms and during teacher collaboration time.”
Elisabeth Rudi Lund – Principal in Norway

Focus: Study Tours, Facilitation, Government & Ministry, Mentoring Programs for Leaders, Special Education Program Assessment, Aspiring School Leaders, Classroom Instruction, Leadership


Joe Atherton

Thriving on the ability to assist school leaders in the development of the skills and competencies needed to be effective leaders in today’s 21st century education, Joe Atherton brings a decade of international school leadership experience and an extensive background within education leadership in Ontario, Canada.

Currently, Joe instructs for International School Leadership Programs and recently served as the International School Principal with The American School of Brasilia. Additional foreign experience includes principal positions at The American School of Bombay and The American International School of Budapest. Since going overseas, Joe has delivered leadership workshops in Nepal, Thailand, India, Egypt, Hungary, Greece and, most recently, Brazil, Denmark and Qatar. Further, he instructs at the Master’s level for a university in the United States. He has also served on Accreditation Teams for the Middle States Association, Council of International Schools, and Advanced Education in Saudi Arabia, Kenya and Guyana.

Joe was a principal for many years in Ontario, Canada. During this time, he demonstrated a strong commitment to the delivery of professional learning opportunities as a workshop leader and instructor of the Ontario Principals’ Qualification Program.

“Joe also knows his craft and is a master of conveying the approaches, practices, and personal dispositions that position others for success in school leadership.”
Andrew A. Hoover – Head of School, American International School of Chennai

Focus: Facilitation, Innovative Leadership, Use of Data in International Schools. Cultural Intelligence, Teacher Recruitment and Training, Governance, School Accreditation, Leadership of National and International Schools


Bob Jackson

Bob has over 20 years of expertise in school leadership and has been an elementary school principal in various school settings. During his leadership career, he was honoured to be recipient of the Award of Distinction for Outstanding Contributions to Education and recipient of the prestigious John W. Laughlin Award for Educational Leadership.

He was a valued instructor for the Principals’ Qualification Program at the University of Western Ontario and has authored a number of articles for the OPC Register magazine, an award winning professional publication for Ontario’s school leaders.   He was a Lead Reviewer with the Ontario Curriculum Centre for Intermediate Science and Literacy Texts.

Bob continues to consult for the Ontario Principals’ Council (OPC) and is a founding member and district facilitator for the Leading Student Achievement Initiative in Ontario.

“Bob is a great instructor. While presenting, Bob’s approachable attitude coupled with his use of personal examples of both successes and failures generate a trusting environment in which participants feel that they can be open and speak freely about their doubts.”
Principal from Peru

Focus: Facilitation, Strategies to Improve Student Achievement Innovative Leadership, Inquiry-Based Learning for Teachers


Laura Somerville

“Creating empowered leadership teams is the driving force in building school cultures where student centred leadership is pivotal to student success and well-being.”  This is the foundational belief upon which Laura Somerville has guided her own career. She brings a varied and extensive background with school, system, provincial and international experience in the areas of establishing networks for learning with leaders as “lead learners” and with a particular interest in social justice issues, equity, inclusion and learning for all students.

Formerly a principal with the Toronto District School board, Laura has served as a Senior Specialist of Education in the Leadership Development and School Governance Branch of the Ontario Ministry of Education. She is a coach/facilitator for the International School Leadership program and the Leading Student Achievement project. She is currently the lead for the Safe and Caring Schools: Healthy Relationships, Ontario Principals’ Council (OPC) initiative which supports school leaders in addressing cyber and social media concerns in a 21st century learning context.

Laura is committed to providing authentic professional development education that is relevant to the local context of the participants.  She has been an instructor for the Principals Qualification Program for the OPC and has created and facilitated numerous workshops focusing on Courageous Conversations, Mathematics Leadership, the Ontario Leadership Framework and Learning for All through the use of differentiated instruction and assessment. Through coordinating International School Leadership (ISL) Education Study Tours, she has developed a keen understanding and interest of the adult learning needs of international visitors.

Moving from theory to practice, Laura is able to create meaningful and practical connections that support students, teachers, parents and communities.

Focus: Study Tours, Mentoring, School Improvement, Leadership Development, Data Analysis, Classroom Instruction


Phil Baker

Phil Baker enjoys the reputation of a school leader who is able to move a school forward. During his many years as a school principal, Phil successfully engaged all stakeholders in efforts to improve the learning environment. He remains current in his reading and focused on student achievement.

As a colleague, Phil mentored many new principals and vice-principals, as well as serving as an advisor to district leaders. He also led the local Ontario Principals’ Council (OPC) group and sat on Provincial Council for a number of years. Consequently, Phil developed a broad network across the province.

In recent years, Phil worked within the Student Achievement Division, the Literacy Numeracy Secretariat of the Ministry of Education. As a Student Achievement Officer, he was engaged with a number of districts in co-planning, co-facilitating sessions on system improvement, implementation and monitoring. Phil continues to be called upon to replace principals on extended leave.

Phil is an exceptional teacher. He has a deep understanding of what it takes to lead a school and imparts that knowledge with the greatest of skills. Those participating in his International School Leadership (ISL) Modules, in Denmark and the Cayman Islands, and online, consistently rank the experience as exceptional.

Focus: Facilitation, Mentoring, School Improvement, Classroom Instruction, Collaboration


Stephen McCombe

Stephen was a principal for 16 years in the Thames Valley District School Board in Southwestern Ontario.  Having retired after 32 years in education as a teacher, learning support teacher and administrator, he began to work for International School Leadership.

He has lead several different schools through very difficult transitions, while maintaining a focus on student achievement. His exemplary work at the school-level, coupled with his board-level commitment to professional learning, resulted in provincial-level involvement as an educational consultant in professional learning with the Ontario Principals’ Council and International School Leadership for over the last decade.

With an academic and practical interest, Stephen values staff collaboration to improve capacity in the context of a Professional Learning Communities (PLCs).  Consequently, he was a major contributor to The Principal as Professional Learning Community Leader, in 2015 published an article in a Danish publication, Canadisk Paedagogik i Skolen and has lead a variety of workshops to educational leaders from around the world.

Stephen has found his interaction with international educational leaders to be rewarding, and although he has had an opportunity to share a variety of topics, he has learned from his international colleagues as well.


Lisa Vincent

Lisa has been involved in international educational leadership for the past 10 years. Through her work as the Ontario Principal’s Council President in 2006-2007, Lisa became involved in the International Confederation of Principals (ICP), and served as President of ICP from 2012-2014. She has visited schools, attended conferences and chaired ICP World Council meetings in China, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, England, Scotland, Finland, Netherlands, France, Brazil, USA and Canada. Among many memorable experiences, Lisa convened the 2013 World Convention of the International Confederation of Principals in Cairns, Australia; and contributed as a part of a small organizing committee to host the 2011 Gender Equity Conference at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Upon retiring from her 34-year career in Ontario education, 14 years as a Principal in both the secondary and elementary panels, Lisa began a new role at a private international school in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Having completed her Master of International Education, School Leadership degree through Charles Sturt University and with her previous international experience, Lisa was motivated to field test her skills.   As a member of the administrative team and the college counselor for the Pan American School of Porto Alegre, Lisa had the opportunity to immerse herself within the Brazilian culture, and to continue her learning and leading within an international school team in a very different school environment. She also enjoyed her travels throughout South America.

As an instructional leader in Ontario, Lisa was placed in numerous schools with a specific emphasis on school improvement, to increase student achievement. Her most recent secondary school received the Bette M Stevenson Recognition of Achievement for notable improvements in student achievement. Lisa co-authored an article in Dr. Ken Leithwood’s “Leading Student Achievement: Networks for Learning (LSA).” She also authored Nelson’s Careers 10 Teacher Resource Book and has published work in a number of professional journals.   Lisa has served as a guest lecturer at McArthur College, Queen’s University.

Lisa has participated in numerous Ontario Ministry of Education initiatives including Student Success/Learning to 18, K-12 School Effectiveness Framework, Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy, Safe Schools, Ontario Leadership Strategy and the Minister’s Partnership Table, among others. Through her work on the Institution for Education Leadership Committee, she contributed to the early development of the Ontario Leadership Framework and the Leadership Self Assessment Tool. She was a founding member of her district’s mentoring/coaching program, and of their leadership development team. Lisa has mentored aspiring and experienced leaders for many years, and has found this to be a truly rewarding contribution.

“Lisa Vincent and I worked together while at the Panamerican School of Porto Alegre, and I couldn’t have been more impressed with her as a professional…. It was clear that while Lisa had many years of experience as a teacher and a campus leader, she was humble, reflective, honest, and genuine to her own educational values.”

Peter Iverson, Science Teacher, The Pan American School of Porto Alegre, Brazil

Focus: School Leadership, International Schools, Mentoring, Coaching, and School Improvement


Paul Tufts

A demonstrated leader with 34 years of service in the education sector, Paul is committed to leading with integrity and modelling a balanced approach to life while serving and inspiring others to realize their full potential.

Currently, Paul is the Principal of Rosedale Academy – an innovative Toronto-based international school that develops and delivers the Ontario secondary school curriculum to Canadian students (online) and to Chinese students (in partnership with schools in China.) Looking to expand, Rosedale is actively pursuing other global opportunities.

In November 2016, Paul completed a two-year term working as an Education Advisor for a private education service provider in Malaysia. As a member of the advisory team leading the implementation of the Malaysian government’s blueprint for school transformation, his responsibilities included: developing a team of education partners to work effectively within the schools; providing consulting services to school leaders and teachers to improve school standards; and serving as a coach and mentor to school leaders and teachers to develop their practices, skills and knowledge of effective pedagogy.

Prior to his international experience, Paul worked for 31 years with a large school board in Ontario. His roles included teacher, vice-principal and principal in the secondary panel, as well as Superintendent of Education for the final six years, bridging the elementary and secondary panels. Within these various roles, Paul has worked in rural and urban areas, and in schools of all sizes.

At the provincial level and through OPC, Paul has taught the qualification programs for both principals and supervisory officers, and led a project to develop resources for principals to assist in the implementation of the Ministry of Education’s Student Voice Initiative. In addition, Paul has worked as a mentor with the Ontario Public Supervisory Officer Association providing formal support to newly appointed supervisory officers.

Focus: Education leadership and leadership development at the system and school levels, Strategic planning and organizational change management, Conflict management


Heather Cockburn

As a mentor and coach, Heather Cockburn is a dedicated lifelong leader and learner. Over the 29 years she’s worked in education, Heather has developed meaningful relationships while encouraging collaboration, fun and humour for learners of all ages. Heather has influenced change throughout the province of Ontario by providing her expertise to new initiatives developed by the Ontario Ministry of Education, Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO), Board Improvement and Strategic Plans. With each project Heather applies the lens of the School Effectiveness Framework and the Ontario Leadership Framework.

Throughout her career as an educator, Heather built knowledge and expertise at the school, board and provincial levels. She strengthened her skills in child development while working as a primary teacher and curriculum consultant. Heather has brought key learnings from her past positions to the role of First Steps Tutor. As a First Steps Tutor, Heather encourages kids’ success with oral skills, writing, reading and spelling. Her time as a First Steps Tutor taught her the important role play has in learning. She has infused this lesson throughout her career, encouraging child development through play.

Heather has shifted her focus by working on projects where she can share her learning experiences with fellow leaders. She worked with emergent leaders as a Principal’s Qualification Program instructor for the Ontario Principals’ Council (OPC). Heather has also connected with school leaders and educators as a workshop facilitator. Her workshops have covered a range of topics from effective teaching strategies to developmental continuums. As a team leader and keynote speaker, Heather influenced the implementation of the Guide to Effective Instruction: K-6 (Literacy, Mathematics and Assessment) for the Barrie District.

Heather recently began sharing her leadership expertise at an international level. Heather worked with ISL in Vejle, Denmark. She has also played a substantial role on several key projects, serving as a lead facilitator and organizer.

Heather is a collegial and energetic leader who understands the tremendous value of developing and nurturing relationships while being of service to others. Schools led by Heather have been awarded the Garfield Weston Award for Improvement in Academics and one has been recognized by the Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat as a Lighthouse school.


Mitch Centre

Mitch Centre was 22 years old when he started working in education. He started his career with the mindset that schools are the best places to make a positive change in the world. Mitch’s experience as a teacher, assistant principal, principal and assistant superintendent has only strengthened this belief. He holds a Masters in Developmental Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University, a Masters in Educational Leadership from Pace University, and has his principal and superintendent’s licenses in both New York and New Jersey.

In 2005, after 10 years in education and youth development, Mitch began his journey in educational leadership as a principal-in-residence with New Leaders for New Schools (now New Leaders). Following his residency, he joined the flourishing Success Charter Network where he was fortunate to collaborate with several brilliant teachers and leaders. Mitch went on to become the founding principal at Success Charter School 4. There he helped design the approach to professional development and the instructional model that is used in over 50 Success Charter Schools across New York City.

Mitch worked as Assistant Superintendent in Newark Public Schools for four years, where he led a network of schools serving more than 10,000 kids in New Jersey’s largest city. He led the design and implementation of the city’s new teacher evaluation and development framework, working closely with district and school leaders as he managed and supported 14 K-8 schools and four early childhood centers.

In 2016, Mitch launched Center Educational Consulting where he tailors support to leaders in education as a leadership coach and consultant.

Focus: Teacher Evaluation, Leader Evaluation, Teacher and Leader Development, New School Design, Elementary Literacy and Classroom & School Culture


Joe Ravesi

Joe Ravesi is an educational professional with over 20 years of principal experience in the United Arab Emirates and Canada. He has participated in International Schools conferences in: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Cairo, The Hague, Rome, Seville and Singapore. Joe has recruited and selected teachers and administrators in the United Arab Emirates and Canada.

He has been a University Lecturer, Principal’s Qualifications Instructor, College of Education Field Placement Supervisor and a Leadership Development Consultant.

Joe has his Ontario Supervisory Officers Certificate, has been trained in Literacy Walk Through Observations, Mediation and Conflict Resolution. He has facilitated educational workshops in the United Arab Emirates and Canada.

As a principal, he has implemented programs such as the Bring Your Own Device program and Blended Learning.  Joe’s curriculum experience includes: International Baccalaureate, Advanced Placement, Standards-Based Assessment and Common Core State Standards.

Joe enjoys being a life-long learner and helping others achieve their educational goals.

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