Principal Fred Howe has lived and taught in Toronto all his life, except for a few years when his studies in Post-Colonial Literature and cross-cultural adoption led him to James Cook University in Australia. Fred made a lot of close ties in Oz and still visits when he can. Fred also has a lifelong interest in sports, and when not at WillowWood has been found playing Basketball, teaching Swimming, Golfing religiously, Bowling and Curling competitively, playing Softball and more. See if you can find him on-screen in the curling movie "Men with Brooms".
Fred is a strong advocate for mental health, initiating and supporting wellness programs at the school and leading fundraising programs to the tune of over $1 million in support of the Institute for the Advancement in Mental Health. Fred brings together his passions in his teaching practice: he imbues our Athletics with his thoughtful philosophy and inspires students to use coaching to grow in all areas of development. Fred sees no reason why we have to limit what we can do in life and he encourages our students daily to reach beyond.
It's not earth-shattering; it's simply good teaching to provide an opportunity for students to understand themselves in the context of a world that is constantly changing around them - and to do so in a place that is caring if needed, nurturing at times, firm with guidelines, positive in approach, and always, always challenging students to be their best. My staff and I strive to provide such an environment at WillowWood in our efforts to produce life-long learners fully cognizant of the world around them and the tools they need to establish their place in it."
Principal Lower & Middle School
Jill Block has had a passion for teaching since she was very young and has been an educator for over four decades. She emigrated to Canada from South Africa 35 years ago and joined the WillowWood family shortly thereafter.
She specialized in developmental and remedial learning; she authored a reading series called 'Rookie Reader' and has run learning seminars and workshops on the same subject. She has mentored many, many teachers and has dedicated her career to helping students reach their potential and become confident learners. She recharges for each following year by floating summerlong on her beloved houseboat with her family.
I am proud to have been a part of the WillowWood family for almost 25 years, and I love my job! I am passionate about teaching and enjoy being a part of creating a caring and effective teaching team.
I believe in the power of changing lives by reaching students and helping them achieve their goals. At WillowWood we don't limit ourselves to traditional ideas and methods - we persist until we find an approach that meets the varying needs of all of our students.
Andy Hall comes to us from Northern England and has been teaching for 20 years. After studying Earth Sciences at Liverpool John Moores University, Andy worked as a Logging Geologist onboard a variety of offshore drilling rigs in the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Enforced redundancy led him to his true path of Teaching. Following training at the University of Nottingham, he taught Social Sciences in a former mining community. After 5 years he made the decision to resign his post of Head of Geography to travel for a while and followed up previous visits to North America, landing in Toronto. Here he met his now wife Cath, fell in love, and made the move permanent in Summer 2007, first gaining Permanent Residency and finally Canadian Citizenship in 2014.
He started teaching at WillowWood in a supply role in January 2009 and became a full-time staff member in September 2009. He became a father of twins, Oliver and Sarah, in October 2010. He has taught numerous subjects including Careers, History, Business, Economics, Leadership, and Cooperative Education to name but a few. In 2017 he was promoted to the role of Vice-Principal. In his spare time, he enjoys hanging out with his own kids, watching real football, occasionally working out, reading, traveling to Europe and the UK every couple of years and time at the family cottage on Manitoulin Island.
Welcome to the busiest small school you could ever imagine! Every day at WillowWood is as unique as all of our students and staff who engage in the wide range of daily activities.
Your son or daughter’s individual needs are at the core of everything we do. We aim to develop the key personal, social, emotional and academic skills needed to flourish in the ever-changing world in which we live.
School days should be some of the best days of our lives and if we can play a part in this, our mission is complete.