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.

Amanda Francis

Born and raised on the North Shore, performing has always been a passion for Amanda. As a child she was busy putting on shows, and choreographing routines for anyone who would watch. At 16, Amanda was hired as a dancer in Cirque Pop and Fire in the Night, two shows that ran simultaneously at the Pacific National Exhibition. The following summer, at 18, Amanda left home to dance with Norwegian Cruise Lines where she travelled to the Caribbean, Mexico and Alaska. Realizing the importance of a good education, Amanda left Norwegian Cruise Lines to pursue a Business Degree with a Specialization in Human Resources at the University of Western, Ontario. While at Western, Amanda was captain of the Varsity Dance Team. Dance has shown Amanda what hard work and dedication can accomplish. It has shown her the importance of believing in oneself and gave her the confidence to travel Southeast Asia, Europe and South America after university. For the past 2 years Amanda has been pursuing her passion by teaching, where she instils her love for dance into her students. Amanda loves to teach and knows of no greater reward than seeing students practice, learn and perform and take that confidence away with them.

Layla Casper

– Extensive background in professional dance in Europe and in Canada
– International Performance experience includes:
– The Tanz Atelier Wien Company in Vienna, Austria
– Canadian performances in Victoria & Vancouver
– Closing Ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games
– Dance training started at aged four in The Royal Academy of Dance syllabus
– Layla is a Canada Council, BC Arts Council, and National Ballet of Canada Award recipient
– Former Chairperson of the Arts in Education Committee for the Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria
– Taught and toured Austria, offering dance workshops to students of all ages
– Currently teaches multi-level dance classes at Sentinel Secondary
– Continues her professional development with opportunities that include travelling to Vienna for the ImPulsTanz International Dance Festival
– Very passionate about the Fine Arts curriculum offered in schools


Diane Nelson
Director of Instruction
West Vancouver Schools Premier Academy

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

Email: dnelson@wvschools.ca

COVID-19 UpdateRead More