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.

Klaus Heck

klaus-heckInstructor: Off-Field Training & Classroom Theory

Coaching Experience:

Taught Physical Education in many schools in the Vancouver School District for 33 years, serving as P.E. Department Head as well as the role of Vice Principal and Principal of Summer School for many years.

As a basketball coach, he has not only coached many levels – bantam to senior levels for 33 years, but he has also been the President of BC High School Boys Basketball Association, conceived the current 20 team format for the AAA tournament, and launched the original slam dunk contest at the AAA tournament.

Klaus is on the Board of Directors for BC High School Track & Field and was named to the BC High School Track & Field Hall of Fame in 2007.

Klaus has been highly involved in baseball, his team winning a BC Little League Championship. As a player, he was a part of a team that competed and won the Canadian National Baseball Championships in the Master’s division.

B.Ed & Master’s degree from Western Washington

Curry Hitchborn

curry-hitchbornDirector of Rugby

View an article about Curry Hitchborn by The Province here.

Curry is currently the joint Head Rugby Coach at the University of British Columbia as well as coaching at the provincial level for the BC Rugby Union (BCRU) and at a National level with Canada U17’s.

Curry has 10 years’ experience coaching Rugby at youth and men’s levels and 20 years’ experience as a player.  As a coach, Curry has won National and Provincial championships in highly competitive leagues and ensured the retention of athletes through a multi-sport year.

Curry has tremendous involvement as a coach in the local community at both the high school and club levels for the past nine years. This role allows him the ability to identify athletes and maintain relationships with coaches from all over the province.

Curry is currently the BC U19 Assistant Coach and he continues to be the Head Coach for the U17 and U18 program at Capilano RFC.

Curry is passionate about Rugby and not only strives to improve himself as a coach but the abilities and skills of players and coaches around him. Curry is NCCP Intro to Competition certified and working towards the Competition Development /IRB Level 3 Certification.

Notable Achievements:

Joint Head Coach/Head Forwards’ Coach for the University of British Columbia
Head Coach – BC U19 team – Winners of the 2015 Canadian Rugby Championship
2015 Rounsefell Cup Winner as joint Head Coach with University of British Columbia
Canada U17 Coach
2014 U18 Tier 2 National Champions
4 time BCRU U17/U18 Provincial Champions
Premier Forwards’ Coach/First Division Head Coach Capilano RFC – Rounsefell Cup 2012
Recipient of Gerald McGavin Coaching Award – BC Rugby Union

Deon Smith

Strength & Conditioning Coach
Hons. BSc Sport Science, CSCS, NSCA


  • Honours BSc. Sport Science, High Performance Specialty – Stellenbosch University
  • Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist
  • World Rugby Strength & Conditioning
  • National Strength & Conditioning Association Member

Training Philosophy

Train right, train smart, get results. Deon comes from a high performance background. He has been involved as a Strength & Conditioning coach with both University and national rugby teams in South Africa, highlights which include winning Silver (New Zealand) and Bronze (Italy) at  Junior Rugby World Cups.

Megan Van Keulan

megan-van-keulenStrength & Conditioning Specialist
NSCA- Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
CSEP- Certified Personal Trainer

Megan moved from Ontario to the West Coast January 2016. As an adventure seeker, she wanted a new challenge in life and made the trek across the country looking for new opportunities.

Growing up, Megan was involved in many sports; basketball, volleyball, track & field, cross country running and speed skating—but her passion was for figure skating. She dedicated 15 years to the sport—3 of those years she was a member of the Provincial team and also represented Carleton University for a year.

After realizing a business degree wasn’t the direction she wanted to go, Megan enrolled at Humber College in the Fitness and Health Promotion Diploma program. She furthered her education at Guelph Humber University by taking the Kinesiology Program. During her time there, she completed two Strength and Conditioning internships—one with FITS Toronto, and the other with Ryerson University. Here she had the opportunity to work with athletes of all levels ranging from grassroots to National team members. Also while at Humber, Megan was a member of the Varsity Cross Country Team for 5 years, which produced many top 3 Provincial and National championship results. In her last year, she was named Captain of the team.

After finishing her degree, Megan had the opportunity to work with figure skaters at the Niagara Falls Summer Skating Academy. Here she created the Strength and Conditioning Program for the past 2 summers.

Another highlight of Megan’s career was being invited to assist in the fitness assessments for the NHL Officials.

Shortly after Megan moved to North Vancouver, she was introduced to Level 10. She instantly knew this was the place she wanted to start her career. She joined the team in late May 2016.

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.

Noah Spence

noah-spenceStrength & Conditioning Specialist
Bachelor of Kinesiology – UBC

Certified Personal Trainer – Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology
Certified Athletic Trainer

Noah is a North Vancouver native who attended high school at Handsworth Secondary. Noah grew up competing in a large number of rep and provincial level sports. Most notably: baseball, snowboarding, football, and rugby.  As a senior in high school, Noah earned All-Provincial team honors in football and rugby.  Following high school, Noah played rugby in New Zealand where he realized his passion for injury prevention and active rehabilitation. Noah finished his Bachelor of Kinesiology degree at UBC. The focus of Noah’s education and professional development has been on injury prevention, rehabilitation, and neurophysiology as it relates to trauma sustained in sport. Noah is currently publishing a paper on neurological trauma related to force of impact in rugby players. He also enjoys giving back to the community through various volunteer programs such as the DDA, Special Olympics BC, and Neuromotion. Noah is currently deciding between graduate studies in either medicine, neuroscience, or physiotherapy. He hopes to one day develop viable and pragmatic treatment modalities for people who suffer with trauma-related neurological injuries. Noah continuously integrates his practical background in S&C with higher education to help people overcome injury and safely return to sport or a pain free lifestyle.

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.

Lucy Weninger

lucy-weninger-yogaRegistered Yoga Teacher

I found yoga in 2004 and it changed my life so profoundly that I felt compelled to take my practice from student to teacher.

In the past 10 years I have taught thousands of people, of all ages and all abilities. I can be found teaching at West Vancouver Community Centers, West Vancouver High Schools, Hollyburn Country Club and as a Yoga Coach for the West Vancouver Schools Academy programs.

I am passionate about inspiring and educating others about how to train not only their bodies, but also their minds – to experience life with more presence, awareness and focus so that they can access their natural intelligence and innate potential.

I believe that health comes from a much deeper place than simply having a body that looks strong – true health originates from balancing mind, body and spirit.

lucy-weninger-yoga-2My teaching style is described as engaging, intuitive and uplifting. I use concise, intelligent and accessible language. I focus on teaching optimal physical alignment using structural alignment principles. My ongoing training as a yoga therapist in contemplative neuroscience allows me to infuse my classes with a dialogue that brings my students to a place of inner peace through outer wellness.

I come from an interdisciplinary background with formal education and career experience in Marketing and Human Resources.

Combining my past career experience with ongoing training in neuroscience, mediation and psychotherapy allows me to bring a language and a skill set into the yoga room that is inspiring, compassionate, motivational and far beyond the average yoga experience.

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