Headmaster's Welcome

As Collingwood’s fifth Headmaster, I am honoured and humbled to welcome you to our school. If you find yourself here as a prospective member of our community or perhaps as a lifer who has only known education the Collingwood way, I am equally excited to share our vibrant learning community with you.

Some background about me: I come by my love of children, teaching and the profession of education honestly. My family, going back several generations, has been involved in schools at both the secondary and university levels. My grandparents were teachers in Jamaica in the ‘40s and ‘50s. My father also began his teaching career in Jamaica before immigrating to Toronto in the late ‘60s. I was born in Toronto and lived there until we moved to the U.S., where my father began a 30-year teaching career at some of the East Coast’s finest private schools. My mother worked at both the secondary school level and university level in Boston for decades. I met my wife, Heather, at a small New England boarding school and I am proud to say that she is one of the finest educators that I have ever met. While I was born in Toronto, I have spent my entire life and working career in the U.S., with brief stints studying and working in Italy and Germany. Mom and Dad never pushed me into teaching, but I could sense their pride when it became clear that this was my calling. Over the years, I have taught English, History and Ethics; I have coached soccer, lacrosse and tennis; I have been a mentor to many students; and I have held a range of positions in Admissions, Financial Aid and various Dean’s offices before becoming a Headmaster.

I have the best job in the world because success happens when I can bring together three things: my love of children, my belief in the transformational power of an exceptional teacher, and my optimistic outlook on the magical time of change and opportunity that we live in today. My educational philosophy can be summarized simply in three sentences:

  • As educators, we must dedicate every ounce of our being to the teaching, inspiring, and preparing of our young people for their futures.
  • Our role, much like that of a good parent, is to provide both the environment and the foundation from which children will be able to thrive, problem solve and find their own path based on their own informed wisdom, without us guiding the way.
  • Schools must develop pedagogy based on brain research and the creative ethos of this exciting moment in our world’s history when time-honoured traditions and innovation, blended together, can be deployed to create solutions for some of the world’ s most intractable problems.

I am energized by listening to everyone’s story about what makes Collingwood amazing as well as by hearing about the different ways that we can continue to grow our great school. I look forward to having an opportunity to get to know you, as does Heather, and our two boys Casey (grade 11) and Tucker (grade 9). We already feel so connected to this community of educators and families. Thank you to everyone for making this such a special place.


Rob Lake

Collingwood School

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