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Incoming Principal Sam McKinney gets radio homecoming

The content of this article, following the radio interview, has been previously published.

St. Catharines is rather proud of native son Sam McKinney. Though he arrives at UCC from Australia, where he was deputy headmaster and head of senior school at St. Peter’s College in Adelaide, our incoming principal heralds from the Niagara region. An article about him appeared in the St. Catharines Standard on Friday, Feb. 5. McKinney also chatted on “The Larry Fedoruk Show” on St. Catharines’ NewsTalk 610 on January 27, 2016. Check it out:


UCC announces new principal

It is with the greatest of pleasure that I announce the UCC Board of Governors has unanimously approved the recommendation of the Principal Search Committee to appoint Samuel James McKinney as the 19th principal of the College. Mr. McKinney will join us as principal on July 1, 2016, which is fittingly Canada Day.

Mr. McKinney is currently 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 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 program 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.

The Board of Governors would like to thank the entire community for participating in the search process; the Board benefited greatly from the development of the role profile under the strong leadership of the Search Advisory Council and from the insights of faculty, staff, parents, Old Boys and students. In particular, thank you to the Search Committee for their tireless and extensive efforts throughout the process. Finally, we are indebted to the phenomenal work done by Heather Ring and her team at Caldwell Partners.

Please join us in congratulating Sam McKinney, and in welcoming Sam and his family to UCC.

Yours truly,

Russ Higgins ’81
Chair, UCC Board of Governors