March 1 / 2019

Last Friday, Conor sent a note to The York School community announcing that Valerie Turner will become Principal of our Junior School, effective March 25th, 2019. This letter was met with great enthusiasm.Exciting news indeed as Valerie is well known for her focus on learning, her warm smile and strong engaged relationships with students, staff and the parent community.

It is often said that Valerie embodies the culture of The York School, so the Communications Team recently sat down with her to conduct a thoughtful ‘Proust-esque Questionnaire’.   

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

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I think when everyone finds their peace, wonderful things fall into place. Harmony among our shared humanity would make me perfectly happy.  

2. What is your greatest fear?

I don’t tend to be afraid of anything. I embrace all moments that are inherent in this gift of life. I am very optimistic, sometimes naively so; I believe in the goodness of people. I suppose my greatest fear, then, is people who abuse power for selfish reasons.

3. What is the trait you most deplore in others?


4. Which living person do you most admire?

I think I would have to say my mother. She taught me not to compromise what I believe is the right thing to do, even if it creates challenges and is a more difficult path forward.

5. What is your greatest extravagance?

Art. I love and admire creativity in others and I find that the power of the narrative behind beautiful art inspiring.  

6. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Blind loyalty - it can lead one astray. If someone takes you down the wrong road, you have to be strong enough to say something is not right and act accordingly.  

7. What do you consider the most important virtue?

There are so many noble ones….courage, compassion, respect are all up there. Patience is underdeveloped and is the hardest and, perhaps, the most important to achieve.   

8. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

I used to say “To be perfectly honest……” a lot until I realized that unfaltering honesty is the lens through which I always communicate.

9.  When and where are you happiest?

I generally move through life as a happy person. I think I am most happy when I have the opportunity to walk in nature where I can think and speak out loud. It also makes me happy and hopeful when I watch children play. The way they move, the sound of their voices, their laughter and sheer look of joy on their faces always make me smile.

10. Which talent would you most like to have?

I’d love to be able to sing like a rock star.

11. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

I have had the ability to be consistently generous throughout my life with my time and effort and with whatever level of abundance I have been blessed with.

12. What is your most treasured possession?

I have a Cartier watch I inherited from my favourite uncle. I believe he is my guardian angel. I also cherish my husband’s high school football championship ring, which I wear every day.

13. Who are your favourite writers?

Lucy Maud Montgomery, hands down.   

14. Who is your hero of fiction?

That precocious Anne of Green Gables; I feel like I am a “kindred spirit” and I think I embrace her joie de vivre.  

15. Which historical figure do you most admire?

How many people do you think have been touched by Mother Teresa? She selflessly made so many lives better while inspiring others to be more conscious about the positive impact they can have. I admire people who do good in our world in whatever small way they can.

16. What is the food you most dislike?

Liver - blegh. Anything Italian - yum.