A portrait photo of Jeff Aitken

On behalf of the St. Michaels University School Board of Governors, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Jeff Aitken as our new Head of School, effective August 1, 2025.

Following a global search by our recruitment consultant partners at Perrett-Laver and the dedicated efforts of our Head of School Search Committee, finalist candidates engaged in a rigorous three-day evaluation process. This included conversations with our Senior Leadership Team, students, the Board Chair, Vice Chair, Chair of Facilities, Treasurer, and two intensive interviews with the Search Committee. We had the privilege of choosing from an exceptionally qualified pool of candidates, each bringing extensive educational leadership experience. Ultimately, the Board unanimously chose Jeff Aitken as the individual best suited to lead SMUS into the future.

Jeff joins us with an impressive background in educational leadership that spans continents.  His global outlook and perspective on education stood out as significant strengths, making him an excellent choice for our, multi-cultural, international school community.

Jeff will join SMUS from Upper Canada College (UCC), where he is currently the Head of Upper School. Prior to joining UCC in 2021 and returning to Canada, Jeff was at Dulwich College, Singapore, where he was the Head of Senior School.  Prior to that he was the Head of School at St. John’s Kilmarnock School in Ontario, and Assistant Head of the Tanglin Trust School, Singapore.

Jeff also worked at the American International School in Venezuela and the British International School of Penang, Malaysia. Having spent nearly all his 28-plus years in education in highly diverse, CAIS, International Baccalaureate, and international schools, Jeff brings a global perspective on education and extensive experience in educational leadership to SMUS.

Jeff is excited to move to British Columbia and will pursue Floreat 2030’s forward momentum in the areas of academic excellence, community engagement, reconciliation, sustainability, and preparing our students for life. His entrance to SMUS is perfectly timed with our commitment to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) in both programming and facilities.

Jeff’s understanding of independent schools, his commitment to progressive education and his clear priority on the health and well-being of faculty, staff and students makes Jeff an excellent choice for SMUS.

Shelly Berlin, Chair of the Head of School Search Committee and Vice Chair of the Board of Governors expressed her enthusiasm: "I am thrilled that Jeff will join us in 2025. His deep expertise, visionary leadership, collaborative style and profound commitment to working with the world's best schools promise an exciting future for SMUS."

Jeff is also looking forward to this next step in his career and joining the SMUS community, stating: “I am deeply honoured and excited to be joining SMUS, well known as one of the best independent schools in Canada. I was particularly impressed with the community’s progress and commitment to areas of EDI (equity, diversity and inclusion), reconciliation, and the breadth of programming in boarding, sports, arts and STEAM. I look forward to engaging with members of the community to build on the strengths that have made SMUS what it is today, as well as looking to the future and all that the school can be!”

Jeff, born and raised in Toronto, Canada, holds a Bachelor of Arts (English/Theatre) from the University of Windsor, a Postgraduate Certificate in Education from the University of Strathclyde, a Masters of Education from the University of Manchester and a PhD in Education from Birmingham City University. Jeff also has a Certificate in Educational Leadership from Harvard Business School. Come August of 2025, Jeff will also be joined in Victoria by his wife, Mariana and their two children, Nicholas and Alexander.

I would like to thank the entire Head of School Search Committee as well as the various groups who assisted in this comprehensive search.

Eliot Anderson will continue as our Acting Head of School until Mark Turner’s return in August 2024.  Mark will continue to lead our school until handing over his responsibilities to Jeff in the summer of 2025.

On behalf of the Board, I wish you all a productive and safe end of this academic year and summer.


David Longridge's signature

David Longridge ’88
Chair of the Board of Governors

Read Mark Turner's announcement to the community on October 27, 2023, and the Head of School Succession Plan: Q & A.