David B. Robertson, Educational Consultant

My Approach

Every success that you will have hinges on the productive and meaningful relationship. That happens to be my strength: inspiring and maintaining great relationships. It’s about active listening, high EQ, reaching and motivating. No two individuals are the same and every situation is different so I need to bring my best to every challenge. Blessed with a significant dose of ‘common sense’, I see every problem as an opportunity.

Experience In the Last Four Decades

  • Close to 40 years of working for some of the leading schools in the UK and Canada including Merchiston Castle School (1979-1983), The Edinburgh Academy (1983- 1986), Brentwood College School (1986-1993), and Shawnigan Lake School (1993-2018) as Deputy Head (7 years) then Headmaster (18 years)
  • Led the successful development of Shawnigan’s Vision, Pathways and Prevailing Culture
  • Spearheaded the Shawnigan fundraising and campaign efforts which raised $75m in the last 18 years
  • Closely involved in the development and dynamics of the Board of Governors
  • President of the Independent Schools of British Columbia for five years
  • CAIS Board member for three years
  • CAIS Faculty member for Leadership Institute for the last 8 years teaching aspiring Heads and new Heads about “Money and Managing Change”
  • Chaired a number of CAIS Accreditation ‘School Improvement’ visits for schools
  • Chair of the Canadian Boarding Collective (CBC) for 5 years (2012-2108)
  • Board of Rugby Canada for 5 years (2007-2012)
  • Maintained familiarity with many independent schools across the continent and around the world
  • Lifelong learner and networker in education, philanthropy and coaching
  • Currently on the Board of UNICEF Canada
  • Deliverer of countless speeches and presentations!
Shawnigan Lake School Parent Open House

More about David B. Robertson

My Advisory Board

Craig Stewart

Executive Director of the Apex Foundation Philanthropy and Fundraising expert

David Hadden

Former Head of Lakefield College School, CAIS Faculty and Strategic Advisor to numerous independent schools

"David is a real leader in the world of independent schools, not only provincially, but also nationally. The wide respect that he has earned from his colleagues arises from his deep understanding and his ability to work alongside of others, motivating all to do things right, and to do the right things."

Hugh Burke
Headmaster, Meadowridge School

"I highly recommend working with David. As an exceptional people person and leader, along with decades of world travel, David brings significant value to any organization that is involved with the education of our youth."

Carl Bradley
Founder-President-Director at The Bradley Family Foundation

“A leader who believes fiercely in character education, “Mr. Robertson” is a respected and beloved figure to a generation of students, alumni, and parents…. He knows the name of every student and staff member on campus and invariably responds personally to day-to-day issues as well as guiding the larger strategic vision of the School. Beyond the School gates, David remains a tireless ambassador, crisscrossing the globe to share Shawnigan’s values and develop relationships with potential students and their families, parents, past parents, alumni, and colleagues in the independent school community. “

Matt Brister
Board Chair of Shawnigan

“Therefore, the judgement of the Headmaster, more than in most schools on the CAIS roster, is the most important factor in the success of the school. Shawnigan has been very fortunate to have a wise, driving, ambitious Headmaster, so the school is in very good shape. The school has improved itself against almost any criterion, and in many cases dramatically. Admissions are strong, the facility is outstanding, and its programs and culture are both healthy with numerous superb elements. It is, and is seen to be, a leader in Canadian boarding.”

Innes Van Nostrand
Chair of CAIS Accreditation Team

“I can’t imagine Shawnigan without you, but I take comfort in knowing that because of your steadfast leadership over the years, you leave behind a solid foundation on which we will continue to grow and evolve. You have instilled in us values that will live on…On any given day a handful of us will be asking ourselves, “What would DBR say/do/want?” and we will respond accordingly”

Cari Bell
English teacher and Director of Professional Development, Shawnigan Lake School

“One of the most striking aspects of DBR’s leadership has been his unapologetically high expectations. I think that most people are unwilling to be demanding in this way to the people around them for fear of appearing unappreciative or worse. In practice, however, I think it speaks to his belief in the potential of those around him that he consistently expects a lot of them. It actually demonstrates his faith in them, but it also takes courage, consistency and clarity of purpose to put into practice. His devotion to the role and his authenticity have allowed this style of leadership to work so well and I, along with generations of Shawnigan staff, students and parents, have benefited immensely”

Jack Connolly ’01,
Lake’s, Music teacher and Professional musician

“I will never forget the impression you left on me. Sometimes, it was your inspirational words in Chapel, other times it was words of encouragement on the rugby field or in the hallways that helped push me harder to better see my potential. Most of all it was your daily leadership with fairness, integrity and humour, as well as your wonderful family. Thank you for the indelible impact you had on my life and for your years of service to this wonderful school.”

Stephen Kennedy ’98 Copeman’s

“Mr. Robertson always had an amazing way of talking to the entire school in chapel. Everyone would hang off his every word. On more than one occasion, he was either explaining how someone had broken the rules or trying to get someone to ‘fess up’ to something. I wouldn’t have had anything to do with it, but I would feel guilty for disappointing him as so many of us would and I’d want to get up and confess to having done it. Then there was the fear of asking him what we were doing at rugby practice that day as we knew if he said that we were “building character” that it meant fitness. I have also gotten myself through many a difficult time in my life with his faithful, “this too shall pass”. Thank you, Mr. Robertson for being such an amazing force and helping shape so many students over your illustrious career."

Dana Gibson ’98 Groves

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