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

Teacher & Head Coachbrooks-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

Ken Mackenzie


Retired Teacher & Assistant 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.

Lachlan Fontaine

Baseball Instructor

  • North Van Central Little League
  • North Shore Twins
  • Team BC 2011
  • Canadian Junior National Team 2012-2013
  • Drafted by the Seattle Mariners 13 Round 2013
  • Instructor at Inside Performance
  • Quebec Capitales 2016 – Present

Ivan Hartle

ivan-hartleTeacher & Coach

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

Rene Tosoni

Baseball Instructor

  • 2018 hired by Atlanta Braves to be a high A hitting coach
  • 2017 selected to play for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic
  • 2015 Gold Medalists in the Pan Am Games with Team Canada
  • 2013 selected to play for Team Canada in the MLB World Baseball Classic
  • 2012 won World Baseball Classic Qualifier with Team Canada
  • 2011 major league debut with Minnesota Twins
  • 2009 Futures Game MVP & Bronze medalists with Baseball Canada
  • 2006  signed with the Minnesota Twins
  • 2005 draft and followed by the Minnesota Twins


Brian Gillis

Inside Performance Trainer

Coaching Experience:

*Assistant Coach: Team BC Field Lacrosse U14 2016/17
*Coach 2016 Sheffield Hallam mens lacrosse team
*Burnaby Mountain Selects: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 coached summer camps, travel, one on one
* North shore Minor Box lacrosse: Head Coach 2015: Assistant coach 2010, 2011, 2012
*North Shore Field Lacrosse: Assistant coach 2009
* Coached at various youth camps throughout college.

Ireland National Men’s Lacrosse Team:
2015 World Indoor Box Lacrosse Championships; Onondaga / Syracuse
2014 World Field Lacrosse Championships; Denver
2010 World Field Lacrosse Championships; Manchester,UK
2011  World Indoor Box Lacrosse Championships; Prague

Personal Credentials:

2016, 2015, 2014 player: Coquitlam Adanacs: Western Lacrosse Association (WLA)
New England College NCAA Men’s Lacrosse;
*4 year playing attack man: 3 year as a starter
*Senior year: Captain:
*2013 USILA All American
*2013 USILA Scholar All American
*2013 North South game for accomplished graduating seniors
*2012 and 2013: NAC first team all conference player
*2013 New England College Athlete of the Year and Men’s Lacrosse Athlete of the Year
*Freshman year: New England College Rookie of the year


Diane Nelson
Director of Instruction
West Vancouver Schools Premier Academy

Office Direct Line: 604-981-1150
Cell: 604-786-3575

Email: dnelson@wvschools.ca