Shortly after the appointment of Mr. William Mitchell, BCS’63, as Interim Head for the 2019-2020 academic year, the Board of Directors launched an international search for a permanent Head of School. With input from a broad range of BCS stakeholders, the Search Committee published a position profile that generated many inquiries from qualified school leaders across five continents. BCS was in a strong position to attract outstanding applicants wishing to lead our school, and our objective was to identify an exceptional individual uniquely suited to our special community. After carefully reviewing applications, hosting campus visits, and conducting both informal and formal interviews, the Search Committee unanimously and enthusiastically recommended one candidate.
The BCS Association Board is delighted to announce the appointment of Mr. Michel Lafrance as our 32nd Head of School, effective July 2020. Mr. Lafrance, current Head of School at West Island College in Quebec, is a seasoned, bilingual, Canadian educator and school leader. He has a passion for experiential learning, the arts, athletics, and personal growth, and the proven ability to move schools forward.
Throughout the selection process, which spanned several months, Mr. Lafrance demonstrated an ardent desire to lead our school, a sharp intellect, an evident commitment to his profession, and a deep connection with his students and their families. He also exhibited the creativity and mindset to identify and promote the distinctiveness of our school. He shares our ambition to make BCS not only the best place to learn but also the best place to work, and to situate us among the premier boarding schools of choice internationally—which distinguished him among a strong field of candidates. The Search Committee was convinced he would be a highly credible representative of our mission, and an outstanding exemplar of the values and behaviours BCS expects from members of our community.
Mr. Lafrance has been Head of School for seven years and an Assistant Head of School for ten, all at independent schools. He has extensive experience with QAIS, where he served as Executive Director from 2010-2013 and is currently President, NAIS, FÉEP, and CAIS, our accrediting body, from which he earned his Advanced Diploma in School Leadership. His athletic and cultural interests include a multitude of sports, poetry, and photography. Mr. Lafrance earned his Bachelor of Education from McGill University (English and Physical Education) and holds a Masters in Educational Leadership from the Université de Sherbrooke.
Mr. Lafrance brings his family of four to Moulton Hill: his spouse, Carine, who is a career Human Resources professional for the National Bank of Canada, and daughters Léa (17) and Rosalie (9). Léa plans to attend Form VII next year and Rosalie will attend public school in Lennoxville, where her grandmother served as principal, until she is old enough to attend BCS. The Lafrance family has deep roots in the Sherbrooke area and are thrilled to be returning ‘home.’
Mr. Lafrance is joining BCS at an exciting time. Our school has an ambitious strategic plan and a bold campus master plan, evidenced by the recent opening of Mitchell Family House. This year BCS will undergo a CAIS re-accreditation review, which will help us continue to improve the BCS experience for students, parents, staff, faculty, and alumni. We are on an evolutionary path and the results are measurable and positive. BCS is currently enjoying our strongest enrolment numbers for our boarding population in over a decade. Our graduates are gaining admission to a broader range of excellent universities. We have in place an outstanding, dedicated team of highly qualified faculty and staff.
Mr. Lafrance appreciates the need for a long-term commitment in order to advance our plans. Furthermore, he has shown a prescient understanding of the need for BCS to be a good neighbour and to connect with the community beyond the boundaries of our campus. He looks forward to his ambassadorial role in the local community and to connecting with alumni, parents, and other friends of the school around the world:
“The BCS family can expect me to immerse myself in the community, to get to know the culture and rich tradition of the school, to build relationships and thoughtfully establish the strategic vision for the future.
My family and I were drawn to BCS for the exceptional learning experience that it offers, the emphasis on multiculturalism and bilingualism, the magnificent campus and surrounding Eastern Townships, and the school environment that is grounded in kindness, care, and respect.
We look forward to actively contributing to one of the brightest periods in BCS history and seeing you all on Moulton Hill. Go Bears!”
The smooth transition from Mr. Mitchell to Mr. Lafrance will ensure the remarkable momentum and positive energy generated by the school in recent years continues. A special thank you to Mr. Mitchell who provided invaluable insight throughout the search process: “I am delighted for both the school and Michel in this timely appointment. Michel has the experience, energy, and credibility to fulfill the aspirational mandate he has accepted.”
Thank you to the members of the Search Committee for their effort and commitment over these past ten months. Events celebrating the arrival of the Lafrances and opportunities to meet our new Head and his family will be announced in the coming weeks. In the meantime, please join us in welcoming them as the newest members of our caring community where cultures connect, learners live, and leaders grow.
Linda G. Rodeck, BCS’81
Chair, Bishop’s College School Association Board of Directors