Diane Nelson, Director of Instruction

diane-nelson-portraitWest Vancouver Schools Premier Academy

Diane Nelson, Director of Instruction, is founder of West Vancouver Schools ten Premier Academy programs.

Chosen as one of Canada’s Outstanding Principals in 2012 by the Learning  Partnership, Diane was selected for her ability to communicate a compelling vision, to engage the community by consistently bringing together a highly knowledgeable and competent team of teachers, coaches, instructors, and other community members to work together to deliver quality programs for student-athletes.  Diane is an exceptional leader, one who continues to lay the foundation for the success of her students and the betterment of the community through a strong and vibrant public education system.

Twice nominated (2002 & 2012) for the YWCA Women of Distinction Award in the categories of Entrepreneurship, as well as Education, Training & Development, Diane has been honoured for her achievements that contribute to the well-being and future of the community. The YWCA Women of Distinction Award is recognized as one of Canada’s most prestigious awards for women.

diane-nelson-awardWith over 30 years experience in education, as both a teacher and administrator, Diane has obtained her Bachelor of Education, Diploma in Counseling Psychology, and Master's in Educational Administration, all from the University of British Columbia.

As a MindUP Trainer, Diane has provided numerous workshops and in-service for teachers to help them deliver an evidence-based curriculum that helps foster social and emotional awareness, enhance psychological well-being, and promote academic success. Diane inspires educators to create an optimistic classroom that promotes and develops mindful attention to oneself and others, tolerance of differences, and the capacity of each student to grow as a human being and a learner.

An educational consultant for the Vancouver Canucks' Community Partnership Program since 2005, Diane is the creator and author of the character education program called Fin’s Friends. The program was written for teachers to help them provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to enhance ethical and responsible behaviour. This valuable classroom resource for teachers assists them with the teaching of social responsibility and character building. The program, written for Grades K-3, is being taught by primary teachers in over 3800 classrooms around the province. To date, the program is being used in over 35% of all K-3 classrooms in B.C. Diane last presented the program Nationally to educators at the Canada Character Conference held in Abbotsford, B.C. October 2015.

diane-nelson-w-gordon-campbellDiane's leadership style is marked by her entrepreneurial spirit. Her accomplishments are numerous including founding, owning and operating the Vancouver Griffins, the first women's professional hockey team in Western Canada, a member of the National Women's Hockey League (NWHL). The team featured Olympians such as Nancy Drolet, Cammi Granato, Shelley Looney and Courtney Kennedy. In November, 2010, Cammi Granato was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. Many of her Griffins' artifacts are on display in the Hockey Hall of Fame, including the signing of her first pro contract with the Griffins' organization. In 2002, the BC Sports Hall of Fame recognized Diane for her achievements in sport as part of an exclusive group of 35 outstanding women leaders and legends.

A long time athlete, she has competed in numerous sports including half marathons, 10km runs, triathlons, dragon boating, field hockey, figure skating, bodybuilding and swimming. Some highlights include 6 gold medals at the 1986 World Lifeguard Championships and Miss Vancouver, 1983 Bodybuilding Championships.

Diane's entire career has been about giving students an opportunity to better themselves and realize their hopes and aspirations. She firmly believes that enthusiastic and thoughtful guidance is the best way to assist our youth on the path that they choose.

Brooks McNiven

Head Coach/Teacher of Programbrooks-mcniven

Brooks McNiven’s baseball career started in Vernon, British Columbia, where he grew up and graduated from Kalamalka Secondary. In 1999, Brooks was drafted in the 46th round by the Toronto Blue Jays. However, instead of signing, he chose to attend the University of British Columbia where he played for the Thunderbirds for four seasons. In 2003, he was named the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Region 1 Player of the Year. Brooks was then drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 4th round. Brooks signed with the Giants, completing 7 seasons & playing as high as AAA. Brooks also had the honor of playing for the Canadian National Team a number of times including the 2007 and 2009 World Cups, winning a bronze medal in 2009. Brooks also pitched for Canada at the 2008 Beijing Olympics as well as at the 2009 World Baseball Classic. Since retiring from playing, Brooks was the Pitching Coach with Douglas College from 2009-2011 and is currently the Pitching Coach with the North Shore Twins. Brooks graduated from UBC with a degree in Human Kinetics and is currently attending Simon Fraser University completing his Bachelor of Education.

News Article – The Canadian Press

Parker Kynoch

Parker KynochPremier Academy Assistant Coach

Parker grew up playing baseball in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan participating in National Championships at every level from Pee Wee to Junior including the 1999 Canada Cup & 2001 Jeux Canada Games in London Ontario. After playing in the baseball programs at the University College of the Cariboo (now TRU) and Douglas College, Parker then began a coaching career in the lower mainland.

This career began with Parker instructing both private and group lessons at the Bullpen Baseball School since 2004 and providing coach and player development through the role of Technical Director of New West Little League from 2012-2014.

Parker took on a Head Coach role with the Bantam AAA Burnaby Minor Braves winning a Provincial Championship in 2009, with the Vancouver Cannons of the BCPBL. As well, now he is with the North Shore Twins of the BCPBL winning a BCJPBL League & Provincial Championship in 2013 and finishing as a finalist in 2014 & 2015.

Parker contributes to Baseball BC’s High Performance program by assisting and being involved with events such as the AZ Fall Classic, PNC’s, BC Summer Games and player ID camps.

Parker also played a key baseball skill instruction role during the inception of the Saskatchewan Baseball Academy in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan during the fall of 2014. Since then Parker has been an instructor with the West Vancouver Schools’ Premier Baseball Academy which includes student-athletes from all secondary schools: Sentinel, Rockridge & West Vancouver Secondary. In all baseball-related ventures, Parker has accumulated well over 10,000 hours as a baseball instructor in both a head coach role and an individual skill development role.

Ken Mackenzie


Premier Academy Coach


Bachelor of Arts: History Major, Simon Fraser University
Teaching Certificate: Simon Fraser University
Killarney Secondary School, Vancouver (Social Studies & English) 1972-2005
Department Head (Social Studies) 1999-2005
Rugby league co-coordinator – VSSAA 1983-2005
Basketball coach (boys and girls) – Killarney and Handsworth 1973-2005
Rugby coach (boys and girls) – Grades 8-12
Full Level 3 certified coach
1967-1988 – player and coach of Ex-Britannia Rugby Club
1986-2002 – Instructor – Okanagan Major League Baseball Camp (Oliver, BC)
Western Canada Games Coach (baseball) 1999, 2003, 2011
Team BC Selects Coach 1992, 1995
Canada Games Coach (baseball) 1989, 1993, 2001
Team B.C. Coach – Female baseball – 2004-2007
Coach – North Vancouver Girls Softball Association, 1993-2004
Coached in 11 Western Canadian and Canadian Championships from female to senior men’s.

Dan Marshall Jr.

dan-marshallInstructor: In-Field & Hitting

  • Graduated from Villanova High School 2000 in Windsor, Ontario. All State, All Conference 1999 and 2000.
  • Attended Lake Michigan Junior College NCAA1, Benton Harbor, Michigan 2000 to 2002
  • Attended Bemidji State University, Bemidji, Minnesota 2003 to 2005
  • Signed professional baseball contract out of Bemidji State University with the Edmonton Cracker Cats of the Northern Professional Baseball League. 2005-07
  • Signed professional baseball contract with the Gateway Grizzlies of the Frontier Professional Baseball League. 2007-08.
  • Signed overseas professional baseball contract with PSV in Amsterdam, Netherlands in the Royal Dutch Professional Baseball league 2009-10.
  • Instructor with the Doyle Baseball Academy in Lakeland, Florida; Four years as a hitting and fielding specialist.
  • Hired by Major League Baseball as an instructor at their Major League Baseball Academy in Amsterdam, Netherlands called the Bixie Baseball Academy, as a hitting and fielding specialist, training and evaluating Major League Baseball’s select top potential Dutch prospects aged 13 to 17 within the Bixie Baseball Academy 2009-10
  • Instructor at the Bullpen Baseball Academy in New Westminster BC for 6 years to present day as a hitting and fielding specialist.
  • Instructor at the Sands Baseball Academy in Delta BC.

Michael Crouse

michael-crouseMichael R. Crouse is a Canadian professional baseball outfielder in the minor league baseball organization of the Toronto Blue Jays of Major League Baseball. Crouse has also competed for the Canadian national baseball team.

Crouse attended Centennial Secondary School in Coquitlam, British Columbia. Crouse played baseball and American football in high school, eventually choosing to focus on baseball.

Out of high school, Crouse was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 16th round (489th overall) of the 2008 Major League Baseball Draft. Crouse chose to sign with the Blue Jays instead of attending college. He made his professional debut in 2008, appearing in seven games with the Gulf Coast Blue Jays of the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. He returned to the Gulf Coast Blue Jays in 2009. He was promoted to the Lansing Lugnuts of the Class-A Midwest League in 2010. With the Lugnuts, Crouse established himself as the team’s starting right fielder, finishing the season with a .261 batting average, 14 home runs and 55 runs batted in. He led the Lugnuts with 38 stolen bases. Crouse joined the Dunedin Blue Jays in the Class-A Advanced Florida State League in 2012.

International career:

Crouse has played for the Canadian national baseball team. He played in the 2008 World Junior Baseball Championship, being named to the tournament’s All-Star team. He also participated in the 2011 Baseball World Cup, winning the bronze medal, and the 2011 Pan American Games, winning the gold me

Ivan Hartle

ivan-hartleBaseball Career Highlights:

3 year starting shortstop for Coquitlam Reds (2005-2008)
Named to Reds Head Coach Bill Green’s top 50 All-time Coquitlam Reds List
Member of Canadian Junior National baseball team (2007, 2008)
Competed for Canada at 2008 IBAF World Junior Baseball Championship in Edmonton, Alberta
Starting middle infielder at Iowa Western Community College (2008-2010)
Named NJCAA Academic All-American (2010)
Won Junior College World Series with Iowa Western (2010)
Named Tournament MVP at Junior College World Series (2010)
Named Best Defensive Player at Junior College World Series (2010)
All-Tournament Team Infielder at Junior College World Series (2010)
Easton Defensive Player of the Year for all Div. 1 Junior College (2010)
Rawlings Gold Glove Award NJCAA (2010)
Played summer ball with Peninsula Pilots of the Coastal Plains League (2010,2011)
Starting middle Infielder at NCAA Division 1 Western Kentucky University (2010-2012)
NCAA Capital One Academic All-District team(2012)

Academic Highlights:

Bachelor of Science (Exercise Science) from Western Kentucky University (2012)
* Graduated High honors with a 3.8 GPA
Masters of Arts in Teaching Health and Physical Education from Columbus State University (2014)
* Graduated with a 4.0 GPA
Currently hired in West Van School District as a TTOC and a half time contract at Sentinel Secondary Teaching Physical Education

Connor Lewis

connor-lewisStrength & Conditioning Specialist
Bachelor of Arts – Kinesiology
NASM – PES – Performance Enhancement Specialist
NSCA – CSCS – Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

Connor is a proud North Vancouver local who attended Windsor Secondary school. Growing up, Connor played soccer, baseball, football, hockey and basketball. However, Connor chose to dedicate himself to basketball in grade 10.

In his Grade 12 year, Connor led his Windsor Dukes team to a 2nd place finish at the AA Provincials and earned himself a First Team All-Star selection. After his Grade 12 season, Connor was selected to the BC Provincial All Star Game, which featured the top 20 players in the province from both AAA and AA.

After graduating from Windsor Secondary in 2008, Connor decided to stay local and play basketball for 2 years at Capilano University. He was the starting point guard at Capilano for two years before getting recruited to go play NCAA Division II basketball at SFU. For his final two years, Connor was the starting shooting guard for the Clan, and in his senior season broke an SFU record shooting 48% from the 3 point-line.

After his 4-year eligibility was completed, Connor joined the SFU Men’s Basketball staff as an Assistant Coach while he finished his degree. Connor attributes much of his success to the many hours he put in at the gym with Anthony and the Level 10 staff.

In 2013, Connor graduated from SFU with a Kin degree where he was featured on the Dean’s Honour Roll for “Outstanding Academic Achievement.”

Furthering, his knowledge Connor has taken several post-graduate Kinesiology courses and has become a certified Performance Enhancement Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. He is also currently finishing becoming a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Sport Conditioning Association.

With a strong passion for Strength and Conditioning and Rehabilitation, Connor joined the Level 10 staff in May 2016, after a 4 month internship. When he is not working with clients in the gym, Connor is a basketball coach for the Level 10 Basketball Academy. Connor is excited about the opportunity to combine his love of athletics with his passion for Strength and Conditioning.

Chris Spencer

chris-spencerStrength & Conditioning Specialist
Bachelor of Human Kinetics – UBC
Certified Personal Trainer – Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist – CSCS

Chris grew up on the North Shore attending West Vancouver Secondary School from grade 8-10 and St. Georges for grades 11 and 12. He played hockey, baseball, soccer, rugby, tennis and participated in track and field at the school and community level but it was basketball that became his passion.
Upon graduation from St. George’s Secondary School in 2006, Chris chased his goal of playing collegiate basketball to UBC Okanagan in Kelowna.

After serving two years as a red-shirt manager Chris earned a roster spot. He attributes a large part of this achievement to the training hours he spent with Anthony Findlay at Level 10 – first as a high school athlete and then later as a university student.

Chris graduated from the UBCO with a degree in Human Kinetics, specializing in clinical exercise physiology.

While at UBCO he was a member of the Human Kinetics Student Union, ‘Heat’ Athletes Council, and was the elected speaker for his graduating class.

Upon Completing a summer internship, Chris joined Level 10 as an employee in May 2012.

When not working with clients he has an internship with the Vancouver Whitecaps where he is experiencing first hand the application of strength and conditioning and injury rehabilitation with their athletic therapy staff.

Diane Nelson
Director of Instruction
West Vancouver Schools Premier Academy Programs
Office Direct Line: 604-981-1150
Cell: 604-786-3575
Email: dnelson@wvschools.ca