The name on the door says “James Bond 007” but the man behind the desk is no secret agent.
Bond is the new principal of Park Manor P.S. and says the name is a great icebreaker with the students. While people assume his parents must have been fans of the series, he’s actually a third generation James Bond; his father and grandfather had the name before him.
“My story is that we had the name first, before Ian Fleming wrote the book,” he chuckled.
He enjoys the films for their exciting action – his favourite Bond is Sean Connery – but Bond doesn’t model himself after his namesake.
“He doesn’t always exemplify the best of masculine characteristics,” Bond said diplomatically, pointing to 007’s cavalier treatment of women.
The new principal bypasses fast cars and vodka martinis in favour of faith, family and leadership. He describes himself as a servant leader whose job is to make the school an inspiring place for students and teachers.
“That staff want to come here every day and have fun and students do too – that’s the most important thing,” he noted.
Bond has a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s in plant biochemistry from the University of Waterloo. After finishing teacher’s college at the University of Western Ontario, he worked for two and half years at Toyota in the welding and quality control engineering departments.
Bond enjoyed his time with Toyota but realized that he wanted to work in education and took the opportunity to switch careers. He taught science at Waterloo Collegiate and Preston Heights before taking the vice-principal’s job at Northlake Woods.
After a stint at Lester B. Pearson Public School, Bond accepted the principal’s job at Park Manor. Coming from a school of more than 1,000 students to one with 268 pupils, he was impressed with the level of spirit he found.
“It’s amazing – the school spirit, respectfulness. Although I’ve had some students down to visit me, they’ve always been respectful. The staff is awesome, willing to trying new things and excited and they’re really dedicated to the students.”
The walls of Bond’s office are decorated with his photographs of landscapes and wildlife; he’s a keen outdoorsman and digital photography enthusiast. Bond said he’s very comfortable with technology, and he’d like to see the students making use of it, not just for instruction but real-world applications like blogging and Internet research.
He’s also working with students, staff and parents to come up with lists of the skills and qualities they would like to see students demonstrate and the ways and means of making it happen.
“It’s not just about marks, it’s all the other things that happen at school that are really good – all the clubs, the sports activities, the events,” he said. “We’re already doing great things, it’s just putting down on paper this is what we want to do and this is why we want to do it.”
So far, the transition has been a smooth one. Bond notes that his leadership philosophy and style may differ from other principals and take some getting used to, but he tries to be as transparent as possible. He encourages people to tell him if they see him straying from his leadership vision, promising that both his door and his mind are open.
Bond plans to spend as much time in classrooms as he can, and to work for the benefit of his students no matter where in the school he is.
“There’s paperwork stuff that sometimes seems very far removed from the classroom, but everything I do should try and help our students.”