Communication Arts

Communication Arts Faculty
Neil Bryant
Rachel Steele-MacInnis

The art of communications has taken root at the School with ever growing Debate & Model UN participation, a school hosted Model UN, as well as the annual TEDxBrentwood.

Debate & Model UN 10-12Public Speaking 10-12 
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Debate & Model UN 10-12

With several components,  including, debate, Model United Nations, and mock law trials, the program features a breadth of offerings. Students, of all experience levels, receive the support, and opportunities, needed to achieve their best, whether in small-group settings or competing at the national level. All students participate in debate activities, but select areas of specialisation, often in preparation for higher-level competition. Our coaching system provides for leadership within the program, with more experienced debaters leading workshops and organising special events.

Debating in a range of styles, including World Schools, Canadian National, cross-examination and bilingual debate, students compete at the local, regional and provincial levels, with some representing British Columbia at the Canadian National Secondary Schools tournament. All students participate in in-house debates, in preparation for external competition, and have the opportunity to represent their Houses in Inter-House debates, as well as online tournaments against  debaters from other regions of the world. Our carefully structured coaching structure is multi-faceted, with our most experienced debaters stepping into leadership roles and receiving specialised support from university-level debaters.

The Model United Nations component provides the opportunity to debate contemporary and historical issues from a range of international perspectives and delegates learn to find compromise between opposing points of view, prioritizing aspects of greatest importance. Our Island Model United Nations conference, organised by our own students (imun.ca), is a one-day event that offers committee options for first-time and experienced delegates. Students also have the opportunity to participate in select conferences, including ShawMUN (Shawnigan Lake School), VMUN (Vancouver), NHSMUN (not available in 2015-16) and SSUNS (Montreal).   ​

This programme is ideal for students who wish to improve their communication skills, are interested in weighing conflicting truth claims and are eager to craft well-researched and multi-layered arguments. Consisting of complementary streams and designed to meet the needs of students of all ability levels, the programme has something for everyone.

Click here to visit Brentwood's IMUN website

Public Speaking 10-12

This course is designed for students wishing to enhance their formal communication skills. We will focus, specifically, on preparation for, and participation in, a range of speaking exercises. These will include: poetry recitation, interpretive reading, impromptu speaking, persuasive speaking, interview strategies and after dinner speaking. All activities will require thoughtful consideration and implementation of speaking skills and strategies. Students will learn to deliver their ideas with increased confidence and effectiveness. We will focus on projection, enunciation, modulation, pace and tone when speaking in small groups and before audiences. Students will have the opportunity to participate in internal, class-based competitions, as well as external events. 

Grade 9 Communication Arts

All Grade 9’s experience Communication Arts as part of their Art rotation. The course develops an awareness of the importance of oral communication and begins to build the necessary skills and confidence to speak well in public. Various activities derived from drama contribute to an atmosphere of trust and cooperation where students feel safe to speak to the class, learn to listen effectively and express their ideas both physically and vocally. Students practise impromptu and persuasive speeches, oral reading, and an introduction to debate.

Ryan Skardal

B.A., B.Ed. (Brandon University) English Department, Advisory, Cross Country

Originally from Manitoba, Ryan attended Brandon University. There, he studied English literature, wrote for the student newspaper, The Quill, and spoke persuasively and sometimes heckled loudly for the Brandon University Debating Society. When Brandon University offered him a chance to study as an exchange student at Tamkang University in Taiwan, Ryan jumped at the opportunity. Upon returning to Manitoba, Ryan completed his teacher training with the intent to explore new places after graduation. Before coming to Brentwood, teaching took Ryan to Kuwait, Hong Kong, and New Jersey. While in America, Ryan presented at a variety of conferences, including the NCTE Annual Conference, the AP Annual Conference, and the National Writing Project Mid-Winter Conference. In spite of his terribly lacking sense of direction, Ryan is a cheerful -- if often lost -- hiker, runner, and traveler. Pleased to have found a beautiful home with Brentwood College School, Ryan can most likely be found wandering amongst the trees or else through the aisles of a nearby library.

Neil Bryant

B.Sc. (Victoria) Chemistry, Science, Debating, Law

While he is not keen to admit it, Neil is approaching the middle part of his career in teaching. All of it has been at one boarding school or another, and all of them are within 20 kilometres of Mill Bay. Consequently, he is very happy to now be part of the Brentwood faculty, as he has admired the school from outside the gates for years.  After graduating from UVIC with a Biochemistry degree and almost finishing his MA in Special Education from UBC, Neil decided that he would much rather teach chemistry and science rather than merely practice them. Thoroughly absorbed by feeding 2 persnickety cats and raising 2 amazing children, Neil also enjoys road bike racing, rowing and coaching debate all of which get the heart pumping and allow him to eat like a king without looking like a zeppelin. He also is a trial writer for the Science 10 curriculum and exam with the BC Ministry of Education, on the executive for the BC Speech and Debate Society, and sings in a cover band whenever he has a spare evening.

Don Armitage

Don Armitage

Technical Director, Theatre

Don has been working professionally in the performing arts for over 25 years. Currently an instructor and technical director at Brentwood College School in Mill Bay, Don has been safely instructing and facilitating young people's involvement in the performing arts for over fifteen years. As a performer, producer, stage manager, sound and recording engineer, lighting designer and technical director, he has worked with such acts as The Barenaked Ladies, Bruce Cockburn, Colin James and with such productions as "A Midsummer Night's Dream", "Hair", "Les Miserables", "Phantom of the Opera", "Wizard of Oz", and "Beauty and the Beast".

Phil Newns

A.R.C.T., R.M.T.  Head of Music. Musical Theater, Concert Choir, Jazz Band, Vocal Jazz Show Choir, AP Music Theory, Administration

Phil is well known as a jazz pianist, vocalist, bandleader and educator. He studied music at the University of Natal in South Africa and later through the University of Toronto. In 1990, as Canadian Champion, Phil represented Canada in the Yamaha International Organ Festival held in Mexico City that year placing 6th in the world. His extensive professional career credits include: 1991 British Columbia Winter Games score, Festival Producer and Corporate Entertainer, Music Director of many major theatrical productions - most recently The In the Heights, Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables, and Artistic Director / Producer for Choirs in Concert; a children's charity. Phil is also an accomplished arranger for theatre and dance companies. His jazz bands, choirs, and private students achieve top honors in festivals across Canada each year including the annual Nationals - Music Fest Canada. As a professional musician, Phil can be found on weekends playing piano at venues such as the Ocean Point Resort and the Grand Hotel Pacific in Victoria or with his jazz band "The Hot Velvet Jazz Band" at various events and venues.

Susan Quinton

B.A. (U of Winnipeg), B.Ed. (U of Manitoba), M.Ed. (U of Manitoba)

A drama and theatre specialist from Winnipeg, Susan Quinton immigrated to the West Coast in 2003 to teach English and Drama at Brentwood. With an undergraduate degree in English and Dramatic Arts from the University of Winnipeg and a Master's degree in Education from the University of Manitoba, Mrs. Quinton taught and directed theatre for 26 years at the secondary and university levels in Winnipeg. Her love of the dramatic is only surpassed by her love of nature, the game of tennis, and her family and friends she is encouraging to move to British Columbia. Mrs. Quinton and her husband, Jeff, enjoy the natural beauty of the Cowichan Valley and the weather, which allows them to play outside all year round. She does not miss the snow of her beloved prairie province where she still spends her summers on the shores of Lake Winnipeg.

Neil Bryant

B.Sc. (Victoria) Chemistry, Science, Debating, Law

While he is not keen to admit it, Neil is approaching the middle part of his career in teaching. All of it has been at one boarding school or another, and all of them are within 20 kilometres of Mill Bay. Consequently, he is very happy to now be part of the Brentwood faculty, as he has admired the school from outside the gates for years.  After graduating from UVIC with a Biochemistry degree and almost finishing his MA in Special Education from UBC, Neil decided that he would much rather teach chemistry and science rather than merely practice them. Thoroughly absorbed by feeding 2 persnickety cats and raising 2 amazing children, Neil also enjoys road bike racing, rowing and coaching debate all of which get the heart pumping and allow him to eat like a king without looking like a zeppelin. He also is a trial writer for the Science 10 curriculum and exam with the BC Ministry of Education, on the executive for the BC Speech and Debate Society, and sings in a cover band whenever he has a spare evening.

Rachel Steele-MacInnis

Rachel Steele MacInnis

B.A. (UVic), M. Ed. (Sydney) English, Debating

Growing up in Western Newfoundland, Rachel Steele-MacInnis was inspired by the powerful landscapes and extraordinary storytelling. She completed her schooling in Ottawa and continued her cross-country journey when she chose to complete her undergraduate studies in Victoria. Having set her sights on another, somewhat larger, island, she then moved to Melbourne, Australia, which would become her home of the next ten years. Uplifted by the energy in her classroom, Ms. MacInnis is excited by the insights and creativity of the students she guides. She has travelled widely, but has never escaped the spell that was cast when she first arrived on Vancouver Island. As a teacher of English, Ms. MacInnis often finds herself discussing the significance of setting. She feels very fortunate to find herself in this one.

Tristan Clausen

Wind Ensemble, String Ensemble, Beginner Band, Assistant Director Concert Choir

A true Vancouver Islander, Tristan completed a diploma in classical music at VIU and then his Bachelor of Education from the University of Victoria. Both an instrumentalist and vocalist, he has performed in Victoria as a member of the 5Fd RCA Band and the award winning Vancouver Island Chamber Choir. As a Lieutenant in the Canadian Forces, Tristan has directed both concert and marching bands in parades and ceremonies. He began his teaching career at St. Margaret’s School and has moved on the direct concert bands, jazz bands and choirs of all ages around Victoria. Most recently he served as vocal coach and musical director for a 2015 production of Grease. In his teaching, Tristan focuses on instilling in his students the joy of music making and the self-motivation needed to excel.

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