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-Ice 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

Tessa Ainge


Tessa started coaching at the Hollyburn Country Club in Sept. 1995, after emigrating from South Africa to Canada with her family. Tessa is a Tennis Canada Certified Coach and also has her Wheelchair Tennis Certification.

In 1999, 2003 and 2007 Tessa was the Assistant Coach on the Gold Medal winning Team BC at the Western Canada Summer Games. In 2005, Tessa was the Assistant Coach on Team BC at the Canadian Summer Games.

In 2006 Tessa played for Canada at the World Team Championships. She loves to play the game participating in tournaments when time permits. Tessa is passionate about tennis and is continually striving to update her knowledge and stays at the forefront of developments in tennis. Tessa loves teaching and has a genuine desire to help people improve their game.

Audie Wong

audie-wongHollyburn Country Club Tennis Pro

Audie has been a coach locally for over thirty years, starting at the Burnaby Tennis Club then moving to the U.B.C. Tennis Centre before working at the Jericho Tennis Club for five years and now has been at the Hollyburn Country Club the past twenty years. Audie’s goal is simple: to share with the student-athletes, his knowledge and love of the game.

Todd Beechinor


Todd is Tennis Canada certified at the Club Pro2 level and has been teaching at the Hollyburn Country Club for almost six years. He loves to work with players of various age and ability levels. Todd is an avid tennis player and has a passion for the game that he hopes to pass on to all who he coaches. Todd loves playing tournaments and leagues when the time permits and indicates that tennis will always be a part of his life, in some capacity, for as long as it is physically possible for him to do so.


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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