Profile of Anne-Marie Kee, Head of School, Lakefield College School
Anne-Marie Kee, Head of School
Anne-Marie Kee’s passion for Lakefield College School didn’t just start when she became Head of School. Kee actually enrolled her children at the school prior to signing on as Head of School.
While she is a new Head of School, having just one year under her belt, Kee is not new to independent schools. She served as Executive Director of Canadian Accredited Independent Schools (CAIS) for more than a decade. She’s been a teacher, the dean of studies, and the chair of the integrated technology implementation program at Lower Canada College in Montreal, Quebec.
Kee believes strongly in relationships and constantly has her ear to the ground with the school community. Kee listens to students and believes students are important contributors to the school. She even includes students in the development of the school’s strategic plan.
Kee has an open-door policy at her house, which is on campus, and invites students to share their feedback about the school. She’s also the first female head to move into the head of school’s house (Sarah McMahon, who served as Head between 2010 and 2012, did not live on campus).
“I try as much as possible to be with students.” Kee meets with students, visiting the houses every term. “Every fall I spend my evenings going into the houses and having snacks with (the students) so I get to see them in their environment”. Kee also invites the day students to her home on campus for cookies and chocolate milk. “When I have time with them I ask them the same three questions: what’s working, what’s not working and what can we do to improve.” Kee makes listening to students a priority. She wants students to feel a sense of ownership. “This is our school. It’s a great school because we are all committed to making it the best place it can be.”
In addition to valuing relationships with students, staff and parents, Kee says she was attracted to the school’s beautiful campus. “I just came off of a paddleboard where I saw a huge bald eagle. The fact that we have this kind of opportunity is amazing.”
Kee believes in providing students with a well-rounded education, one that doesn’t only focus on academics. “This is about life, not just going to university”. The immersive environment at Lakefield is, she says, what makes the student experience unique. Programming at Lakefield is seven days a week. The academic program is six days a week including classes on Saturday mornings. “We’re kind of all in at Lakefield. You buy into the relationships with students, you buy into the spirit events, you’re here on the weekends. This is your life.”
While most other schools have outdoor education programs that see students going to a camp for a few days, at Lakefield, outdoor education is incorporated into the school because outdoor adventure exists right on campus.
Although it may appear students live in somewhat of a bubble at Lakefield, Kee says students do get exposure to the broader community through their service work. “Our vision is to inspire teenagers to become leaders, figure out what they care about they connect with others. The important part is then contributing back. That’s where we’re forcing students outside of the bubble. They have a responsibility to give back which means they have to have an awareness of what’s going on.”