Profile of Dave Krocker, Head of School, Rosseau Lake College
Dave Krocker, Head of School (since 2021)
Head of School Dave Krocker arrived at Rosseau Lake College in 2021. One of the things that attracted Krocker to the school, and that continues to inspire him, is the range of learning spaces the campus provides. This environment, Krocker says, is one that helps to encourage new ideas and new ways of thinking. “We need to be building innovators, creators, thinkers, problem-solvers, communicators.”
Krocker is no stranger to embracing new ways of thinking. At the beginning of his career in Alberta, Krocker and two colleagues were awarded a million-dollar grant with which to improve education in any way they saw fit. They used the funds to redesign the school, removing walls and partitions and creating spaces for collaboration and experimental learning. “We combined the entire thing into an experiential humanities program.”
Rather than students sitting in rows facing the front of the room, students were seated in groups, looking at each other. Krocker describes the project as a renegotiation of the learning experience with the intention of granting students the skills, postures, and literacies that they would need as they moved ahead in education and in life. Krocker knew the students of the future would need to work together to solve problems, rather than simply reciting facts from a textbook. For Krocker, this experience to think differently about education defined the rest of his career. “I was a brand new teacher, and that really set the appetite of thinking differently about learning and the possibilities of teaching.”
Krocker spent the next several years of his career travelling all over the world, filling administrative roles at the International School in Bangkok and the Colegio Interamericano in Guatemala City. “I have a very strong sense of adventure, no question. I’ve always loved that sense of, ‘I don’t know this, and I’ve got to really figure this out.’ That sense of actually not knowing the answer, of not being comfortable. I loved being pushed.”
It seems everything in Krocker’s career has been preparing him for this leadership role at Rosseau Lake College. “I’ve really landed somewhere special.” Rousseau attracts students from all around the world and has adopted a style of learning that requires students to work together, both of which Krocker found appealing. “I believe our major strategic advantage as a school is our diversity.” By living together, students naturally learn about cultural norms, become aware of their own and others’ sensitivities, and learn how to fit into a community that may have competing interests at times.
As a leader, Krocker says his role is about asking the right questions and taking the time to reflect on all angles of the problem at hand. He makes it a priority to listen to students, stopping to chat with them on campus and greeting them every morning. “The best ideas come from your users. The kids live this—they eat the food, they sit in the classrooms, they live the schedule we create—and they come up with the most amazing ideas.”
Krocker is known to encourage student ownership. For instance, rather than send out a staff-created survey to students, Krocker had the students themselves make the questions. Krocker provided the headings—campus life, academics, co-curriculars, food service—and asked the students to create the questions themselves. “They know the right questions to ask.” Students were involved in the data analysis as well. “They have to be part of it, because they know it.”
Krocker has been tasked with overseeing a major capital campaign at Rosseau Lake College, to upgrade existing facilities as well as build new ones.