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Principal Sam McKinney

Principal Sam McKinney

Meet Sam McKinney, Upper Canada College’s 19th Principal


Samuel James McKinney is the 19th principal of Upper Canada College.

Mr. McKinney was formerly the deputy headmaster and head of senior school at St. Peter’s College in Adelaide, South Australia. “Saints,” as it is known in Australia, is a 168-year-old boys’ school that has produced 42 Rhodes Scholars and three Nobel Laureates. With a student population of more than 1,400 boys, including 90 boarders, Saints offers both the IB Diploma and the South Australian Certificate of Education.

The son of schoolteachers, Mr. McKinney was born and raised in the Niagara region and attended St. Catharines Collegiate before receiving his bachelor of arts from Carleton University in Ottawa in 1990. He furthered his education in Australia, receiving a graduate diploma in education from the University of Adelaide in 1993 and a master’s of education from Edith Cowan University in Western Australia in 2003. More recently, he has undertaken study at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education Principals’ Centre and resilience training through the University of Pennsylvania Positive Psychology Centre.

Mr. McKinney’s teaching career began in Canada in 1994, when he taught at Guelph Collegiate Vocational Institute. In 1996, Mr. McKinney moved to Australia, where he taught for eight years at Hale School in Western Australia. In addition to his teaching duties at Hale School, he was a head of department, master in charge of rowing, pastoral care leader for Years 8 and 9 and the head of the boarding house. From 2004 to 2006, Mr. McKinney was a teacher and director of boarding at St. George’s School in Vancouver, before moving back to Australia in 2007 to teach and assume the position of director of the Middle School at Pulteney Grammar School in Adelaide. In 2011, he took on his current role at Saints.

While at Saints, Mr. McKinney was instrumental in the development of a Middle Years Programme and the physical construction of a new Middle School. He oversaw a review of the sports program at Saints and the creation of the position of director of sport and athletic development.

Mr. McKinney was also responsible for the development and introduction of a new and comprehensive outdoor education program that begins in Year 4 and concludes with a 21-day journey in Year 10.

A keen sportsman who enjoys rowing, football, basketball and hockey, Mr. McKinney competed at Henley on Thames in 1984 for St. Catharines Collegiate where he suffered ignominious defeat at the hands of a UCC crew in the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup. He has stayed true to his Canadian roots, playing hockey at the only rink in Adelaide for the last eight years.

In appointing Mr. McKinney, UCC is also welcoming his wife, Rose, and their three boys, Jack ’17, Connor ’19 and Charles ’20. Also a teacher, Rose has taught in the Junior and Middle schools at Pulteney Grammar School in Adelaide since 2007.

Get to know Principal Sam McKinney

Upper Canada College Youtube – September 15, 2016

Principal Sam McKinney’s First Address to Upper School Assembly

Upper Canada College Youtube – September 8, 2016

New principal Sam McKinney introduced to Upper School boys

Upper Canada College Youtube – January 22, 2016


Traditional schools’ challenge: how to be inclusive

The Globe and Mail – September 28, 2016

he new headmaster at prestigious Eton College in Britain created quite a buzz two years ago when he announced his aim to put the 566-year-old independent school for boys on a more modern, inclusive and progressive path.

Simon Henderson was just 38 when he left the helm of Bradfield College for the 1,300-student boarding school near Windsor at a time when then-Prime Minister David Cameron was being attacked for having what some considered an inordinate number of Old Etonians with privileged backgrounds in his political inner circle.


Upper Canada College announces incoming principal

The Globe and Mail – January 22, 2016

The new head of Upper Canada College, an all-boys private school in Toronto, is returning home to Canada.

The school announced on Friday that Samuel McKinney, who is the deputy headmaster and head of the senior school at St. Peter’s College in Adelaide, South Australia, will replace Jim Power.

Mr. Power is leaving the school after 12 years at the helm. He accepted a position at Culver Academies, a college preparatory school in Indiana, a UCC spokeswoman said.


CHALKBOARD: St. Catharines native new UCC head

St. Catharines Standard – February 5, 2016

St. Catharines native Sam McKinney has seen the best of private-school worlds in Australia and Canada.

McKinney was recently appointed as 19th principal of the Upper Canada College boys school in Toronto. He starts his job there on July 1.

“UCC is also an extraordinary school,” McKinney said, remarking he competed against them while in St. Catharines high school rowing.


The Larry Fedoruk Show

St. Catharines’ NewsTalk 610 – January 27, 2016