Director of Community Relations

Ruth Ann Penny is Upper Canada College's first director of community relations. This position was created out of a recommendation from a board of governors' governance review and is unique in the independent school sector.

The goal of the director of community relations is to be an agent of continuous improvement. Ruth Ann acts as a confidential and neutral intermediary between the UCC administration and College community to enhance communication with parents and other members of the UCC community, assisting in seeking information and answers to questions and concerns. She also provides periodic reports to the administration that represent concerns brought to her attention. The aim is to help the College in its ongoing work to improve the delivery of services to its community and ultimately provide data that can inform strategic planning.

Office Hours:

Ruth Ann works part-time with scheduled days in the office on Mondays and Tuesdays and flexibility to arrange meetings outside of these times if needed. She can be reached at 416-488-1125, ext. 3808 and


Ruth Ann Penny is a veteran educator who's familiar with the independent school environment. She's the former vice-chair of the Ontario College of Teachers Governing Council, the regulatory body for the province’s teachers, where she focused in the areas of professional accreditation and teacher discipline. Until 2009 she was director of admissions at Branksome Hall, where she also served as principal of the Junior School from 1990 to 1999.

Ruth Ann began her career as a Kindergarten teacher and has taught in both public and private schools across the province in a variety of subject areas and at all levels. She's served as an elementary vice-principal, principal and consultant, a collective bargaining representative for her teacher federation, a Ministry of Education trainer and a system-wide professional development leader in the area of teacher professionalism and leadership development.

Ruth Ann pioneered the role of provincial professional development coordinator for the Conference of Independent Schools of Ontario (CIS) from 1999 to 2002. During this period she also ran her own educational consulting group, Penny and Associates, whose focus was helping families in their search for appropriate school settings for their children. She's written and presented nationally and internationally on issues related to school selection and admission, marketing and internationalism in education.

One of the connecting threads through Ruth Ann’s career has been her focus on the development of strong partnerships across challenging barriers. Particularly in her roles with CIS and Branksome, her job was to open doors and welcome diverse individuals into environments that, while complex, were more supportive and professional than newcomers anticipated. Ruth Ann did similar work at the Ontario College of Teachers and interpreted the teaching profession to the public in the public interest.

Ruth Ann is a keen sailor and sits on the board of governors of the Royal Canadian Yacht Club. She's also a committed yogi. Ruth Ann and her husband Michael have two daughters, both IB Diploma graduates from independent schools.