The Senior School prepares students to be globally-minded, confident and resilient decision makers who are able to adapt and thrive in complex and changing environments.
Community & Global Partnerships
Providing opportunities to make the world a better place.
Building self-confidence, sportsmanship and commitment.
Develop skills for students to become leaders of tomorrow.
In the Senior School, each student assumes increasing responsibility for the decisions that shape their future. They are guided, mentored and inspired by experienced faculty and staff who ensure that all students are successful at Havergal. Mentoring relationships help Senior School students expand their network and to connect to opportunities close to home and across the globe. As a result, each student acquires the confidence and initiative to find their own way.
Post-secondary planning plays an integral part of our Senior School program, through our Guidance and Teacher Advisor programs. Havergal students graduate as informed and responsive global citizens, ready to take the next step whether that is studying at a university in Canada or abroad or taking a path less travelled. With the arrival of Boarding School students in Grade 9, the Senior School is enriched by different perspectives and worldviews.Our graduates (100%) study at the university of their choice, including prestigious institutions around the globe.
With the largest girls’ independent school campus in the city, Havergal’s 22-acre campus features a natural protected tree-lined ravine, green playing fields and a combination of heritage and modern architecture. Our new double-height Art Studio and outdoor sculpture area provide bright, light-filled spaces to spark creativity. New classrooms are positioned to foster greater collaboration between departments and encourage inspiration and imagination among students.
Meet the Faculty & Staff
Our exceptional faculty and staff are what sets Havergal apart from other schools. They keenly participate in the life of the school as coaches, advisors and mentors, and show our students every day that they care. Meet some of our team members:
Head of the Senior School
Daniela Di Cecco
Director of Performing Arts
Social Sciences Teacher
Learning Support Specialist
Head of the Senior School
Before joining Havergal, Ms. Timusk held a variety of leadership roles at Upper Canada College including the Assistant Head of Operations and Strategic Projects, Director of Service and International Trips, Chair of Mathematics and Senior House Advisor. She brings extensive experience leading programs for Upper School students and faculty and a particular passion for leadership opportunities for women. Ms. Timusk’s positive attitude and ability to see both the big picture and the small details that allow students to find connections impressed the interview panel throughout the process.
As Head of the Senior School, Ms. Timusk is responsible for promoting wellbeing practices, ensuring that each student is known and has access to the diversity of experiences in the Senior School. She oversees the co-curricular programming including the support and mentoring of student leaders and the House program.
Ms. Timusk is keen to begin to learn about Havergal, the student body, faculty and staff who support them. During her tenure at Upper Canada College, she developed the insight that each school is unique and that culture and tradition can be successfully coupled with innovation that serves the school and the students well.
Mr. Caplan joined the HC-X team in September 2020 with eight years of experience in the independent school sector. In addition to being an educator for students in Grades 1 to 12, he also held the position of Technology & Teaching Coach at a local all-girls independent school. He embodies the notion of the professional learner in how he pursues knowledge, what he practises and how he networks. Mr. Caplan’s learning has focused recently on future-readiness, leading to his interest in earning formal certificates in Design Thinking and User-Design. He is currently working toward a Certificate of School Management & Leadership at Harvard and a Masters of Education at OISE/UT.
Through his work as Coaching Mentor for Cohort 21 and co-founder of the CIS Ontario Coaching Collaborative, Mr. Caplan has extensive experience working with faculty to navigate complex change. He believes in building strong relationships to enact positive shifts in culture and launching school-wide initiatives. He is passionate about Integrated Arts programs and is interested in how digital wisdom serves humanity. His thoughtful curiosity and professional coaching inspire many at Havergal.
Dr. Desson is a Havergal Old Girl who graduated with the Class of 1995. She earned her medical degree at the University College Dublin and later completed her residency in Family Medicine at the University of Alberta. Dr. Desson started a family medicine clinic with four other family doctors on Lawrence Ave., where she practises comprehensive primary care medicine to all ages.
She has seen the practice of family medicine change over the last decade. The establishment of new and innovative ways of connecting with patients makes possible the integration of technology into her progressive practice. For example, virtual clinics help Dr. Desson manage the health and wellbeing needs of patients during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. She has thoroughly enjoyed reconnecting with the Havergal community in her role as consulting physician these past six years and notes, “I am constantly impressed with the motivation of the students and faculty as well as the support of the community for students’ wellbeing.”
Havergal is fortunate to have Dr. Desson as its consulting physician as she continues to cultivate and develop relationships with our Boarders and Day students. We are especially thankful for her sound medical counsel and good judgement in helping Havergal navigate the ongoing pandemic health landscape.
Daniela Di Cecco
Dr. Di Cecco joined the Department of Languages at Havergal in fall 2020 and is thrilled to be teaching French to some of the most enthusiastic and curious students she has ever engaged with in her teaching career of more than 20 years. Prior to her arrival at Havergal, she developed and taught a wide range of language, literature and culture courses at the post-secondary level, which included courses on French and Francophone literature for children and young adults with a focus on women’s writing. Her research resulted in books and scholarly articles on novels written by women for adolescent girls and the unique relationship that is established between authors and their younger female readers. In many instances, the novels become a communicative tool between two generations of women through which to transmit messages about the complexity and diversity of girls’ experience.
Dr. Di Cecco’s passion for Girls’ Studies prompted her to transition to secondary school teaching and she has found that mentoring students has been one of the most rewarding aspects of her career. She feels that working at Havergal—a school that prioritizes not only academic excellence, but also the importance of getting to know students—valorizes the role that relationships play in female development and success, which is the perfect fit for her. Throughout her career, Dr. Di Cecco has been heavily involved in international education and has developed and led a variety of study abroad programs. She looks forward to supporting Havergal’s Exchange Program and advancing the international-mindedness of students as they confront the global challenges of our time and prepare to make a difference in the world.
As a lifelong learner, she attended the University of Toronto for her undergraduate studies, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in French Language, Literature and Translation. For her post-graduate studies, she attended the University of British Columbia, where she completed both a Master of Arts in French Literature and a Doctor of Philosophy in French and Francophone studies. Prior to joining Havergal, Dr. Di Cecco taught language and literature in Canada, the United States and Europe and was Associate Professor of French at the University of South Carolina, where she also served as Global Carolina Regional Director for Europe.
Director of Performing Arts
Ms. Goodridge, Director of Performing Arts, joined Havergal College in 2011. She has taught instrumental (band) and vocal music for over 20 years in both single-sex and co-ed independent schools in Toronto, Oakville and Australia. Ms. Goodridge holds a Bachelor of Musical Arts Mus. Ed from Western University and a Masters in Education from the University of Victoria. She has worked with students from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12 and finds joy in helping students find their musical voices. She has a passion for the middle years, and strives to create lessons and programs that inspire and ignite a love of music.
Ms. Goodridge has presented her work on Singing Spirituals at Festival 500 in Newfoundland and at the British Columbia Music Educators’ Association (BCMEA) conference in Vancouver. In October 2016, she presented her work “Igniting the Sleuth – A Research Project that Ignites Student Inquiry, Voice and Creativity” at the international Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE) conference in Austin, Texas.
Ms. Goodridge’s experience in the classroom and as a professional singer is extensive. As a professional singer, she sang with the Nathaniel Dett Chorale, where she was nominated for a Gemini Award for her work in the TV special An Indigo Christmas. Additionally, she is also a JUNO and Much Music Video Award nominee for her work with her brother, Kenny Moran, in the group Oval Emotion. As a teacher, she has a passion for giving back to the community and working with her students to create outreach programs that inspire youth to engage in music. In her role as Director of Arts at Appleby College, she worked with performing arts students to create arts programming for the United Way and Big Brother/Big Sister in the Oakville community.
Mr. Javasky has been teaching science courses at Havergal since 2007. During that time, he has had the privilege of sharing with many students and colleagues the excitement that comes from trying to make sense of the scientific wonders of our world, both big and small.
Together with his colleagues, Mr. Javasky strives to create an authentic scientific learning experience for his students; one that recognizes that science is a collaborative endeavour built on creativity, knowledge, technical skill and effective interpersonal communication. As a member of the Dialogue Learning Team at Havergal, he has been able to explore classroom strategies that enable students to create a community in which they can discuss scientific concepts with their peers in an effort to build a more complete understanding for everyone.
In addition to his teaching role as a member of the Science department, Mr. Javasky is also House Advisor for Frances Ridley House (“Go Frannies!”), coaches Ultimate Frisbee and can be found playing guitar in various staff and student bands.
Mr. Javasky earned a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Bachelor of Education in Math, Science and Technology from York University. He recently completed his Master of Business Administration at McMaster University.
Ms. Nichols joined Havergal in 2018 with extensive teaching experiences in all-boys, co-ed and all-girls independent schools. She taught for five years at Royal St. George’s College, where she was Head of Mathematics. Previously, she taught mathematics at Greenwood College and Trafalgar Castle School.
Ms. Nichols is an unabashed “mathie.” Whether it is exploring new problem-based learning teaching strategies for mathematics with her colleagues and students, or organizing school-wide Pi Day or Math Olympics competitions among independent schools, she brings her passion for co-constructing meaning and a pure love of mathematics to her students and the wider learning community.
In addition to her teaching role, she has also been an avid volleyball coach and has led several overseas experiential and service learning trips. A lifelong learner, Ms. Nichols graduated from the University of Guelph with a degree in Mathematics and History and has recently completed her Masters of Education in Curriculum at OISE.
Social Sciences Teacher
Mr. Menzella joined Havergal in September 2014 as a teacher with over 15 years of experience in the independent school system, including a year of teaching abroad at the Canadian College Italy. His academic background includes a Bachelor of Science from Carleton University, a Master of Arts in Regional Planning and Resource Development from the University of Waterloo, and a Bachelor of Education from Brock University.
Mr. Menzella believes the social sciences are particularly positioned to help students develop a greater understanding of, and an informed concern for the world around them, and to inspire positive action both locally and globally. He strives to achieve this in his geography courses by working to develop innovative and meaningful ways of bringing the world into the classroom, coupled with a genuine and supportive approach to teaching and learning rooted in strong pedagogical foundations and aligned with Havergal’s values of integrity, inquiry, compassion and courage. Role playing for an international summit on Arctic sovereignty, assessing the walkability of urban communities and developing disaster management plans are just a few examples of the authentic learning students engage in.
Stepping out of the classroom to explore, serve, and learn about the ‘real’ world is also important. During his career, Mr. Menzella has organized and led a number of experiential learning opportunities for students such as field studies, service projects, and adventure treks centred around specific environmental and social issues in destinations of global relevance, including the United States, France, Italy, Greece, Costa Rica, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, Nepal and Australia. He always marvels at the inevitable transformation of students into stronger, more independent, confident and culturally sensitive people, further aware of their rights and responsibilities as citizens of the world and abilities to make a difference.
Mr. Menzella is equally passionate about sport, health and fitness, and coaching soccer and ice hockey. You can often find him on the pitch, at the court, or behind the bench supporting our Havergal athletes. His most memorable experience as a coach was being a part of the Hockey team when it successfully defended the prestigious Hewitt Cup.
Learning Support Specialist
Prior to joining Havergal in September 2018, Ms. Palarchio was the board-wide Math Facilitator for the Toronto Catholic District School Board, where she worked with teachers and principals to improve student learning in mathematics. She also has work experience as a School-Based Support Coordinator redesigning school-based processes for special education as well as working as a special education teacher supporting students through the use of the Empower program, PRIME and Leaps and Bounds.
Ms. Palarchio has experience regularly providing professional development to teachers and principals in the areas of mathematics, literacy and special education. She has a Master of Education degree from OISE/UT and her Bachelor of Education degree from Queen’s University.
Built with intention, HC-X–Havergal’s innovation hub–is designed to support students and faculty through new contemporary programs and innovative future-ready learning experiences.
How will my child develop their leadership skills in the Senior School program and what opportunities are available?
Students of all ages should have opportunities to develop their voice, and in doing so, discover and build capacity in their ability to be a leader. In the Senior School, students are given opportunities to build and develop their leadership skills with purposefully-created formal and informal opportunities. Formal leadership opportunities are provided through elected student positions. Grade 12 students can run for Prefect, House Captain and Senior Year President. Opportunities available for all Senior School students include Club Head, Community Partnership Head, Grade Representative, Member of Council for Sports, Arts, Wellness, Sustainability, Admissions, Social and Student Councils.
A formal leadership title is not necessary in order to make a difference and lead and not all Senior School students are interested in holding a formal leadership role. These students are therefore encouraged to get involved with informal and community-based leadership opportunities such as becoming Spirit Week Grade Representatives; engaging in excursions and the Exchange Program; participating in public speaking opportunities; and organically volunteering and supporting other school programming and initiatives.
In the Senior School, students have an hour of dedicated wellbeing programming each day. That time may be spent in Prayers, athletics or arts activities, guidance sessions, advisory groups, clubs and many other opportunities. The aim is to provide balance in students’ lives, attending equally to their cognitive social, emotional, spiritual and physical health. Students explore individual wellness topics in depth, such as stress management, conflict resolution and mindfulness. Students develop self-awareness and a sophisticated wellbeing vocabulary. Knowing themselves and being able to express who they are equips them to become agents in their own lives, increasingly able to guide themselves in their academics, relationships and life goals. Grade 12s also focus on university pathways and applications.
Practising the skills of wellbeing helps our students to engage in a healthy way with present and future possibilities and be prepared for the unexpected. They gain the ability to be strategic–to assess patterns, shift perspectives, weigh options and calculate outcomes. With a reliable framework for making decisions, they are equipped to be proactive throughout life. For our students to thrive in life they need to understand and apply the skills that build health and wellness. With that preparation, they are ready to make a difference as individuals, citizens and leaders.
Senior School students are encouraged to share their perspectives and develop self-direction. Students make increasingly independent choices about their co-curricular clubs and activities, deciding what to pursue and how to balance their commitments. By Grade 11 and 12, their education plan is also largely self-directed, as they customize their course options to meet their personal goals. Students may also complete the Advanced Placement (AP) Capstone program, comprising one year of AP Seminar and one year of AP Research focused on a real-world issue of their choosing. Making responsible decisions increases student agency and is an important part of a Havergal education.
In Grade 9, the focus of Guidance classes is on building community, learning to consider other opinions and voicing opinions respectfully. In Grade 10, students continue to build strategies to add to their academic toolkits. Finally, in Grade 11 and 12, the program focuses on post-secondary investigation and planning. All of this is to ensure students are prepared for what lies before them outside of Havergal, while also feeling empowered to make choices about their futures.
When students graduate from Havergal, they will be ready not only to succeed, but also to make a difference as a leader in their chosen pursuits. Graduates have the academic credentials and the intellectual curiosity to excel at university and beyond, with 100% of them studying at the university of their choice. Our graduates are empowered to chart their own course for the future.
Located in the Upper School, the Boarding School provides unique experiences with opportunities for students to learn, grow and make lifelong friends.