Profile of Ginie Wong, Head of School, Fieldstone School
“If we can cultivate a love of learning, they will always be longing for knowledge and not be satisfied with the status quo.”
Ginie Wong never set out to be an educator. She graduated from the University of British Columbia in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in science. “I thought I was going to be a lab researcher.” Instead, she landed a position at Fieldstone in 2000 as a tutor. Soon after, she became an ESL teacher. Then, in 2007, she went back to school and got a bachelor's degree in education.
Wong fell in love with the field of education at Fieldstone and never left. She has held many positions at Fieldstone School—from a tutor to a teacher, to an assistant head, to director of business development, to her current position as the head of school.
Her decision to pursue the field of education came from her passion for learning. “I’m a lifelong learner and I encourage my students and staff to do the same.” Wong always described herself as an introvert. “I never thought I would feel so natural and confident teaching in the classroom.” By challenging herself to step outside her comfort zone and achieve more than she thought she was capable of, Wong has now found herself solidly in a career in education.
Wong credits Fieldstone School’s founder, David Butcher, with pushing her beyond what she felt she was capable of. “There were many occasions I’ve said I don’t think I can do this and he would simply say ‘Ginie, yes, you can.’ He gave me a lot of guidance and support throughout my career.”
Butcher founded Fieldstone School in 1997. The school’s original location was in the basement of a church in Toronto with only eight students in the school. “He has a genuine belief in children and he deeply believes they are capable of achieving at a higher level than most schools expect of them.”
Fieldstone was founded with two goals in mind: to provide a strong foundation of knowledge upon which students could build as they move into adult life, and to provide a strong sense of self-worth and self-esteem within each student. “The curriculum is used as a vehicle for accomplishing these goals. Students are constantly challenged to achieve goals that appear to be slightly beyond their reach.” Wong says her career is proof that this method works. “I have witnessed his philosophy. I have experienced it in myself.”
A lifelong learner herself, Wong most recently earned a master’s degree in education and says that learning should never stop—not for her or for her students or staff. She seeks to instill this love of learning in all students, to ensure that they are prepared for their future, whatever that may be. “What we are teaching them now, it’s necessary and appropriate, but the world is constantly changing, therefore the curriculum will also change. We as educators are not able to predict what students will need to know when they graduate. So if we can cultivate a love of learning, they will always be longing for knowledge and not be satisfied with the status quo.”
Although Wong is no longer in the classroom, she is an engaged head of school, staying connected with students and families. Through door duty, cafeteria duty, and yard duty, Wong makes sure she has multiple touchpoints throughout the day with students. “What I like most about what I’m doing is I’m able to interact with the students and parents in a positive, engaging way. Say, if they want a club that we don’t offer, I can find ways to make it happen.”
What Wong enjoys the most about Fieldstone is that the school isn’t just a building where learning happens. “Fieldstone is a family. We know each other, support each other. We see not the child we meet here, but who the child will become. We care about them. We think about what their needs are and we do our best to help them shine.”
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