“I feel so fortunate to be on such a beautiful campus.” St. John’s-Kilmarnock School is located on 36 acres of land in rural countryside nestled between Waterloo, Guelph, and Cambridge. “When I drive to school in the morning I drive through farmers fields and I see the mist and I see the crops. It feels very refreshing to come here. Every single day when I drive into school I feel so fortunate to be head of such a beautiful school.”
Boughton can often be found taking photos outside the school, and she says she’s often not the only one taking a snapshot of the beautiful scenery that surrounds them. “We are surrounded by farmers’ fields. There’s a horse farm next to us. We really have beautiful views all around us.”
Boughton started her career in the public school system during a time when there was a lot of unrest and instability in public education. Boughton decided to take a year off and go to England. “I went for one year and I ended up staying for 11.” Boughton worked at four different independent schools during her time in England. She held the position of deputy head at Belford Preparatory School, an independent boarding and day school for boys, then worked at three independent all-girls schools before returning to Canada in 2008 where she was head of school at Elmwood School in Ottawa.
Her years of leadership in independent education led Boughton to be selected by Queen’s University’s Faculty of Education as one of the members of their 50 Influential in 50, a recognition which celebrates the leadership and accomplishment of Queen’s faculty of education alumni across the globe.
Boughton became head of school at St. John’s-Kilmarnock in 2021 and was amazed at the strong community feel of the school. “Everybody says that the community is something really special about the school. It really surprised me just how strong the community is and how warm and welcoming it is.”
Lunchtime is a highlight of the school day for Boughton and an example of the school’s strong community values. “We have a beautiful dining hall and the whole community eats together.” Lunch is a technology-free environment for both students and teachers, who all put their cell phones away at lunch to share time with each other. “I think that’s a really unique feature of the school.”
As an IB School, Boughton says St. John’s-Kilmarnock School is “an unapologetically academic program.” However, that doesn’t mean that academics are the only thing students can pursue. Although academics are a priority, Boughton believes in encouraging students to be well-rounded through participation in the school’s thriving sports and arts programs. “We would be really challenging our students to reach their potential, develop all facets of themselves while still keeping in mind the importance of their academics and the success that comes from those academics and the opportunities that those academics afford.”