Principal: Ms. V. Collis

Degrees/Training for Position:  Bachelor of Arts:  Wilfrid Laurier University (1989); Masters of Public Administration:  Queen’s University (1990) Bachelor of Education;  Brock University (2001); Principal’s Qualifications, Supervisory Officer Certificate, Educational Law Additional Qualification:  Ontario Principal’s Council.

Number of Years with the WRDSB:  This is my 17th year with the Waterloo Region District School Board.  After working 10 years in the fields of social services with high-risk youth and for the YMCA, I began my teaching career at Forest Heights Collegiate in the History Department before moving into Student Success.  Previous to being appointed Principal at Southwood Secondary School for September 2016, I served as a Vice-Principal at three sites within WRDSB:  SJAM for 3 years; Eastwood for 4 years and 2 years at Southwood.

Anecdotal Comments/Thoughts:

Being born and raised in Preston and having spent most of my 20’s in Cambridge (YMCA, John Howard Society), I am very grateful to be able to return to my hometown to support students, their families and Southwood’s staff.  Student achievement and well-being is our shared goal and it is an honour to lend my experience to the attainment of those objectives.  With equity and inclusivity issues close to my heart, I am committed to ensuring that our schools are accepting, welcoming and safe for all.

How I see my role:  My Personal Philosophy of Educational Leadership

The role of the Principal is to guide, support, and champion success for all of its members, with students being the first and foremost priority.  With the overarching goal of securing student achievement, the school leader must know how to build capacity and foster a multiplier effect amongst its stakeholders (students and their families; staff and the community) in a manner that is positive, infectious, engaging and self-sustaining.

Inspired Learners:

  • Our school will be limitless. We will understand the power that happiness, positivity and Growth Mindset has upon the individual and the collective.
  • Our school will be welcoming, safe, caring and inclusive: People will see each other not for their outward appearance but for what is in their minds, hearts and souls.
  • Our school will be honest: All people will act and speak truthfully in a manner that respects one other.
  • Our school will be celebratory: We will share in each other’s accomplishments and will support each other along the way.

Tomorrow’s Leaders:

  • Our school will be industrious. Challenge will be seen as an opportunity and not something to be feared.
  • Our school will be resilient: We will know that life is not without challenges and we will work collaboratively through them.
  • Our school will be brave: We will live life according to our shared values though many in society choose a negative and destructive path.
  • Our school will have integrity and empathy and will be kind: People will respect themselves in spirit, mind and body and will do so for others.

A leader’s role is to model the vision of what is possible and to help people realize that they can move towards an outcome that they may not have believed was within their grasp.  This leader believes in and respects the role of the Principalship and knows her purpose is to foster the energy and optimism needed to fulfill the goals of public education.