After eight years as Principal, Nathan Siebenga (“Siebs” to most students, but known as “the Bird” in this column) is stretching his wings into a different role encompassing special projects, innovation, and leadership development both inside and beyond HDCH. This reflects Nathan’s growing engagement and reputation far beyond our local Hamilton District Christian community.
It is a great privilege for HDCH to be able to release and share Nathan, with his extraordinary giftedness as a visionary leader, to be a blessing to Christian education beyond our own school, and even beyond our province and country. Nathan has sometimes been described as an “edupreneur” – he has a creative entrepreneurial spirit for Christian education, with a heart and vision too big to be confined to bless only HDCH. There never was a cage around this bird!
But, before we let Nathan take fresh flight into his new role, we wanted to say a little about him in his role these past eight years as Principal at HDCH, as an extraordinary and extraordinarily effective leader of our school community.
Nathan is a seer. He sees what is. He sees with clarity. He sees to the very core of people. He sees what is in the way of their flourishing. He sees right to the heart of the matter. And this perceptiveness is rooted in his fierce, lion-like love of people. He watches, notices, and cares.
Nathan is a visionary. He sees what should be and could be, and he pursues that Kingdom vision with passion and energy, restless and relentless for the Kingdom of Christ in our schools.
Nathan is a prophet. He speaks truth boldly, unselfishly, willing to risk unpopularity for the sake of helping others to see themselves more clearly and to see what could be and what they could be. Nathan is unselfish enough to have the hard conversations, to speak the hard truths to people, caring more for their good than for his personal popularity with them.
Nathan is a poet. His communication of a God-given prophetic vision for exceptional, Christ-centred teaching and learning is anything but prosaic. Rich in metaphor, sometimes mystifying, it connects not just with the head, but with the heart, and with the gut. Nathan is a poet indeed.
It takes a strong leader, with the confidence that only comes from humility, to allow others to shine and flourish. Nathan has always been one to recognize and celebrate others’ gifts, and to give them the freedom to fly. The mark of a true leader is someone who sets the conditions for others to be and do their best. Nathan has consistently challenged, encouraged, supported, and empowered others to be their best, without allowing his own ego to get in the way of their success. His heart for people is bigger than his ego!
Nathan’s driving desire has always been to create an ever-better school for our children’s learning and growth. Although he is not leaving HDCH, he leaves the helm of a school that is in a really good place. The Ministry of Education Inspector who reviewed our school in May was positively gushing in her praise of what she called “an exemplary model of learning” at HDCH. This is thanks in no small part to Nathan’s leadership.
Nathan, the Bird, encourages, allows, and empowers others to fly. And then he rejoices to see them soar on eagle’s wings. So now we will rejoice to see him soar over both this field of HDCH, and the wider plains beyond.
Duncan Todd, Vice Principal | Christy Bloemendal, Vice Principal
Cheryl Webb, Director of Operations