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-hitchbornHead Coach, WVS Premier Rugby Academy

View an article about Curry Hitchborn by The Province here.

Curry is currently the Head Rugby Coach at the University of British Columbia.

UBC are the two-time defending University National Champions, the National University 7’s title holders, ranked 3rd in the University Rugby World Cup standings.

Curry has 13 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.

Currently Head Coach of the BCU19 team and have been for 4 years.

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:

  • Head Coach for the University of British Columbia
  • Formerly, the Director of Rugby Development for the Seattle Seawolves that competed in the MLR and won the league in 2018
  • Head Coach – BC U19 team – Winners of the 4 Canadian Rugby Championships
  • Head Coach, the Vancouver Senior Men
  • 3-time Rounsefell Cup Winner as joint Head Coach with University of British Columbia
  • 3-time McKechnie Cup Senior Men’s
  • Canada U17 Coach
  • 2014 U18 Tier 2 National Champions
  • 5 time BCRU U17/U18 Provincial Champions
  • Formerly Premier Forwards’ Coach/First Division Head Coach Capilano RFC – Rounsefell Cup 2012, 2015, 2016, 2017
  • Recipient of Gerald McGavin Coaching Award – BC Rugby Union

Will Hammill

Will graduated from Handsworth Secondary, in the North Vancouver School District. He has always had a passion for athletics so continued his education in coaching theory and application but specifically focused in the area of rugby and fitness.

Will worked as an Assistant Coach for the Handsworth Rugby Team for 6 years. In addition, he gained excellent experience coaching various regional select teams. Over the years, Will has coaches both girls’ and boys’ club teams at varying age levels and covering a broad range of skills and experiences within these teams. Currently Will coaches the West Vancouver Schools Premier Rugby Academy for U14 to U18 athletes.

His primary objectives for the academy include developing a safe and challenging learning environment while facilitating overall athletic development.  In this way, this program enables students to use their creativity to hone rugby skills while learning about game tactics and macro play.  Will believes his role is to lead students in a supportive environment, regardless of ability, to increase confidence, skill and engagement.

Will works with students to expand participation in this outstanding rugby program while enabling the student-athletes to achieve their personal goals in the sport.  Gaining experience working with other leaders in BC rugby, supporting teamwork and safety, and adapting the program to best support our players are key elements to achieve the program objective of becoming a premier developer of rugby talent.

Tito Oliviera

Tito was born and raised in Brazil and came to Canada at  the age of 16 on an Exchange Program. He attended Handsworth Secondary where he played rugby and was coached by Curry Hitchborn.  Now Tito enjoys working with Curry helping the students in the Rugby Academy develop their skills.


Diane Nelson
Director of Instruction
West Vancouver Schools Premier Academy

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

Email: dnelson@wvschools.ca

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