Sports Academy Administration

Diane Nelson

Diane Nelson

Director of Instruction

Diane Nelson, Director of Instruction, is founder of West Vancouver Schools 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.

Paul Eberhardt

Paul Eberhardt

Vice Principal Academies

A Vancouver native Paul began his coaching career in 1982 while he was still a student at Magee Secondary and continued coaching as he got both his Bachelor of Physical Education and Bachelor of Education from the University of British Columbia. He also earned his Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Phoenix in 2005. He began teaching in the Richmond School District in 1989 where he spent 28 years prior to moving to the West Vancouver School District in 2018 to take on the job of Vice Principal for the Academy Programs.

During his career Coach Ebe has coached just about every sport but his main passion is coaching basketball which he has coached at every level including High School, College, Provincial Teams and the Canadian National Team. Presently Paul is the head coach of the Langara Falcons men’s team and the West Vancouver Highlanders grade 9 boys team. Paul has been recongnized as one of top coaches in the Country as he was selected as the 2013 Canadian Colleges men’s Basketball Coach of the Year. He has also been selected by Sport BC as the Coach of the Year in 2014 and Basketball BC has named him the College Coach of the Year in 2013 & 2014 and the High School Coach of the Year in 2007 and 2011. Paul’s colleagues also recognized him as the PACWEST Coach of the Year in 2013, 1014 & 2017 as well as Richmond Coach of the Year in 2011 and the Lower Mainland Coach of the Year in 2007.

Paul has been chosen to lead our BC Provincial teams on numerous occasions winning five gold medals and one silver at the Western Canada Games and one silver medal and three bronze at the Canadian National Championships. Paul was also selected to be an assistant coach with the Canadian Men’s National Basketball Team from 2000 to 2004.

Paul is also one of only two coaches in the Country to have won both a High School Provincial Championship which he did in 2011 with the Palmer Griffins and a Canadian College National Championship in 2014 with the Langara Falcons.

Paul has also been very actively involved in athletic administration as he was an Athletic Director for over 20 years and he has also served on the Board of Directors for the Nighthoops Program which works with at-risk youth in Vancouver. Paul has also worked with with Basketball BC on a number of occassions serving as the chair for a variety of the elite programs and he was the longest serving President of the BC High School Boys Basketball Association serving from 2014 to 2018. For all his voluneer work in high school sports BC School Sports recognized Paul with a Special Merit award in 2018. Presently, Paul is the head coach of the Langara Falcons men’s team and the West Vancouver Highlanders Junior boys team.

Tara Ledingham

Tara Ledingham

Assistant

Tara was raised in West Vancouver and attended UBC and SFU, graduating with a double major in Sociology and Communications.

Since graduating, Tara has been employed in the human resources field for over twenty years.  She initially worked as a recruitment specialist for Medical Recruiters International Canada, placing medical professionals in hospital and clinic settings in the United States.

After taking time off to raise her two children, Tara was hired by Mackay CEO Forums as a meeting and event planner before starting with West Vancouver Schools in 2016.

Tara has also enjoyed contract work with BC Children’s Hospital and the Crystal Ball Foundation and was registrar for the North Shore Inline Hockey league.

Being a part of the West Vancouver community has always been important to Tara and she spent several years managing her children’s sports teams and volunteering at the school level.

Teacher/Coaches

Igor Gantsevich

Igor Gantsevich

Head Coach

Dec 21, 2018:
A big congratulations to Mr. Igor Gantsevich, Head Coach of the Premier Fencing Academy as he has just been selected as Manager of Team Canada for the next four years (2019 to 2022) responsible for both Cadet and Junior World Championships.

Igor is a former member of the Canadian Men’s Epee Team (2004 to 2012), a high performance coach, mentor and owner of Dynamo Fencing Club.

Igor’s lifelong commitment to the sport of fencing and his dedication to the Canadian National Team make him the ideal candidate to lead the next generation of the Canadian Team.


Igor Gantsevich’s decade as an elite athlete and National Fencing Team member culminated in 2008 when he won a bronze team medal at the International Grand Prix – the first of its kind in Canadian history. Igor finished his career on a high note with a bronze medal in Men’s Team Épée at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara.

Moving from an athlete role, Igor is a major force in the development of fencing in Canada and throughout the world. He is the President of Dynamo Fencing Club – one of Canada’s top fencing clubs.

Igor sits on the Board for the Canadian Fencing Federation as the Athlete Representative and is an Executive Committee Member of the Pan American Fencing Club Organization.

Since 2013, Igor has exposed the sport of fencing to over 10,000 students across the lower mainland of British Columbia, and as a result, he now instructs over 500 full time students on a weekly basis.

Career Result Highlights:

Member of Team Canada 2004 – 2013
2011 Pan American Games Bronze Medalist – Guadlajara, Mexico
2008 World Cup Team Bronze Medalist – first ever in Canadian Team History
2008 Pan American Champion
2014 North American Cup Champion
2014 Canadian National Champion (winning this more than 10 times!)
5 time North American Cup Finalist
2009, 2010 and 2011 Pan American Medalist

Professional Career:

Assistant Coach / Mentor to Dylan French – 2014 World Championships Bronze Medalist
Team Canada Manager / Head of Delegation – 2014 Senior World Champions, and Cadet / Junior World Championships
President – Dynamo Fencing Club, largest fencing program in Canada
Co-chair Vancouver International Fencing Grand Prix – 2013, 2014 and 2015

Website: www.igfencing.ca

Zbigniew Pietrusinski

Zbigniew Pietrusinski

WVS Supervising Teacher / Assistant Coach

Zbigniew was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1957. At 10 years old, he joined the Academic Sports Club (AZS Warszawa), a member of the first Fencing Academy in Poland. This group of 40 students took part in high performance training sessions during both their elementary and high school years (1968-1976).

Zbigniew eventually went on to become part of the Polish National Team in Sabre, Under-17 (Cadet) and Under-20 (Junior). At the age of 19, Zbigniew was accepted to the prestigious Academy of Physical Education in Warsaw, Poland where he continued competing and coaching in sport of fencing during four years of study.

Zbigniew graduated from the Academy of Physical Education with a Master’s Degree in Physical Education and Maitre D’Armes Diploma L’Academie D’Armes in Warsaw, Poland in 1980.

In 1981, Zbigniew immigrated to Canada. He opened the North Vancouver Fencing Club where he fenced and coached students in all three weapons (foil, epee and sabre). Zbigniew has also run fencing programs in different Recreation Community Centers in the Greater Vancouver Area including North and West Vancouver, Surrey, White Rock, Coquitlam, and North Delta.

Over the years Zbigniew’s students have finished in the top three places on Provincial, Western Canadian and National levels. Some of his students include David Hopps in Foil, Dotan Amitt in Epee, Kris Horodyski in Eppe, Zoe Clarke in Sabre, Shant Basmadjian in Sabre, and Hunter Moricz in Sabre.

Zbigniew has been teaching Physical Education at St. Francis Xavier School for the last 27 years. He obtained his BC Teaching Certification after graduating from UBC Faculty of Education in 1988.

Zbigniew is also a certified NCCP Level 4 in Epee, Foil & Sabre in Canada. He is certified as National Referee in all three weapons.

Zbigniew continues to fence for Canada as a Veteran in Sabre, earning 7th place in the 2008 World Fencing Championship in Limoges, France. More recently earning 9th place at the 2018 World Fencing Championship in Livorno, Italy.

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