Dr. Greg O’Leary, Principal

Principal Profile—Dr. Greg O’Leary

In August of 2012, the Board of Governors and the Administration of St. Bonaventure’s College welcomed Dr. Greg O’Leary as Principal of the school. The St. Bonaventure’s College community is very excited about the strong leadership that Dr. O’Leary, a highly trained Jesuit educator, has brought to this position and, particularly, of the many new curricular initiatives that Dr. O’Leary has brought forward since his arrival.

Work Experience

Dr. O’Leary brings extensive experience as an educator in many schools and at two universities.

Greg began as a Retreat Speaker in a Jesuit School in 1993 and then began formally teaching English Literature in Jesuit Schools in 1997. From his early days as an educator, Greg has always been involved in large-scale, national and international, cross-curricular initiatives that extend learning for students. He co-organized “WRITE Across Canada”, the first ever federally-funded national writing exchange involving students, teachers, writers, musicians and artists from several Canadian provinces. He also helped produce an anthology of different types of student writing with students from three different Canadian provinces. He has travelled extensively with students in all different curricular areas, even to the World Debating Championship in England with the Canadian student delegation. At St. Bonaventure’s, he has already travelled to more than six European cities with students, most recently Spain, and went on a Science Curriculum field trip to the Rainforest in Costa Rica with Ms. Carolyn Power and a number of the St. Bonaventure’s Senior Science students. He has also attended and helped organize a plethora of high-level academic events at Jesuit institutions in New York, Miami, Phoenix, Winnipeg, Montreal, and St. John’s. He undoubtedly has a passion for curriculum, teaching, and learning and believes in creating opportunities to extend learning for students, both at home and abroad.

Greg has also taught for a number of years in the School of Graduate Studies at the University of Toronto and at Memorial University. At the university-level, Greg has taught a number of English teaching courses, national proposal writing courses, curriculum studies seminars, and several teaching and learning courses at both the undergraduate and graduate level. He has also had rich and unique opportunities in his positions to work with teachers in various educational settings, through curricular initiatives, research, workshop facilitation, observation, evaluation, and the development of beginning teachers. All told, he has led and instructed over a thousand K-12 educators in this province, as well as a large number in the province of Ontario. He has also completed several research-based positions in the aforementioned universities, as well as various positions as a Writing Instructor, Grants Facilitator, and National Scholarships Instructor.

Greg has served in several national leadership positions at the Newman Center—the Catholic Chaplaincy at the University of Toronto. He was also active as a Mentoring Program Coordinator, Social Justice Moderator, and Youth Council Chair at the University of Toronto.

Education Background

Greg graduated as the Valedictorian of his Jesuit School, Gonzaga, and also completed an Honors Degree in English Literature and a Bachelor’s of Education Degree from MUN. As an undergraduate, Greg was a Dean’s List student in both the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Education and, at his convocation, he was named the overall recipient of the University’s Gold Medal for Academic Excellence. He later went on to complete his M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Toronto and, in both degrees, was awarded the country’s top scholarships at the time—the prestigious Canada Graduate Scholarships. He followed this up by receiving Memorial’s first-ever national Postdoctoral Fellowship in Education from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. His application was ranked second overall in the country across all the disciplines of the Social Sciences and, as a result, he was also nominated for the ultra-competitive national postdoctoral prize.

Research

Dr. O’Leary’s research on curriculum, teacher and student development has been recognized across the country on numerous occasions and has garnered over a quarter of a million dollars in top-tier national funding, as well as dozens of invitations to speak at prestigious academic events around the world. He has conducted three national studies that, in various ways, analyze how curriculum has changed and how it can be improved. More specifically, his work looks at the implications of how curriculum is constructed and how this shapes and affects teacher and student development. Greg also investigates how literacy changes over time and has brought forth recommendations to some of the world’s top academic bodies about improving literacy practices in the subject areas and implementing these changes into re-conceptualized curriculum frameworks.

Commitment to Jesuit Education

According to Ted O’Keefe, past Chair of the Board of Governors of St. Bonaventure’s College and current parent, “Dr. O’Leary has brought both a track record of academic excellence and a commitment to Jesuit philosophy, two of the defining characteristics of St. Bon’s. A Jesuit education at St. Bon’s is a call to human excellence and this is why the value of a Jesuit education is so renowned and celebrated worldwide. It emphasizes the fullest possible development of all human qualities, critical thinking and disciplined studies. Given his exposure to and experience with the Jesuit philosophy all throughout his training as a student, a teacher, an academic, and a leader, both on a provincial and a national stage, Dr. O’Leary is ideally suited to lead such a learning environment.”

Commitment to Students, Teachers and entire St. Bonaventure’s College Community

In commenting on Dr. O’ Leary’s stellar relationship with all educational stakeholders, Tom McGrath, current President of St. Bonventure’s College, says, “Its my pleasure to be working with Dr. Greg O’Leary whom I have known for many years.  Greg brings a unique combination of theoretical and practical professional learning to his senior leadership position at St. Bon’s.  An award-winning academic, Greg balances a passion for Jesuit education with proven classroom experience to stimulate a collaborative team approach among colleagues at the College.  Curriculum innovation and a desire to achieve cura personalis has been a hallmark of his efforts to date.  Greg has a tremendous relationship with students in which he motivates and encourages academic and extra-curricular excellence.  They respect him and he reciprocates.  It’s an exciting time to be at St. Bon’s and Greg is a big part of the future growth and development of our Ignatian School.”