Alumnae Spotlight – Shaney Crawford | Trafalgar Castle School
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April 05, 2024

Alumnae Spotlight – Shaney Crawford

Melissa Nowakowski

Embrace Trafalgar Castle School’s Magic:

Stay Open to New Opportunities and Possibilities


Shaney Crawford recounted the magic of Trafalgar Castle School during an interview about her time there and her career as the Head of Tsukuba International School in Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan. The International Baccalaureate (IB) World School has 300 students from pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12, is small by design, and is modelled after Shaney’s educational experience at Trafalgar. 

“Trafalgar is magical,” said Shaney. “Some of my favourite memories at Trafalgar are acting in the house plays or School musicals and producing Hello Dolly and Guys and Dolls in Grades 12 and 13. It was so much fun! I also loved to explore the Castle and the different rooms, like the bird’s nest, the roof, and the rooms above the infirmary.”

After graduating from Trafalgar Castle School in 1990, Shaney took a gap year and travelled to England. She worked in a boarding school as a housemother and teaching assistant in the elementary school. The gap year allowed her to experience new adventures before coming back to Canada to attend Queen’s University. 

At university, Shaney earned a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in Language and Linguistics before moving to Japan to teach English in 1995. She intended to stay for a year before coming back home to complete her Bachelor of Education (BEd), but stayed for five years.

“As a young lady, I never dreamt that I would live and work in Japan, but Trafalgar opened my mind to new and wonderful opportunities and life-long friendships with people from around the world,” noted Shaney.

In 2000, Shaney returned to Canada and moved to Toronto to continue her education and establish her career, but life in Japan kept calling her, and she moved back to Japan in 2002. Shaney obtained her Bachelor of Teaching from Charles Sturt University (Australia) and a Master’s in Library and Information Science from the University of Tsukuba (Japan). She worked as a translator and volunteered at Tsukuba International School, but started working full time at the school in 2008 and hasn’t looked back.

“Some advice I would share with Trafalgar students is not to be afraid to take a chance and try new opportunities. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what your career will be or have a life plan to follow,” said Shaney. “Be a life-long learner and try new experiences by doing what makes you happy.”

Shaney is proud of the accomplishments she has achieved throughout her career. She became the Head of School at Tsukuba International School on her 40th birthday and was determined to build a successful IB school that emulates Trafalgar’s magic. “I implemented the house system to build team spirit and still find myself cheering for Farewell – aka Einstein,” noted Shaney. “The best parts of my job are the students and staff. The Grade 2 students are rays of sunshine and visit me every day to talk to my plants and let me know when they need watering. And the teachers are just wonderful – their ability to inspire students to learn is magical.”

Shaney added, “Trafalgar changed my life. I don’t know where I would be if I didn’t attend Trafalgar Castle School from Grades 8 to 13. Before Trafalgar, I was a scared and shy student who felt invisible at public school. Trafalgar changed that for me by opening my eyes to new possibilities. I was fascinated to meet students from around the world. Some of my closest friends at Trafalgar were from countries like Hong Kong and Iran, and I probably never would have had a chance to meet people from those countries, let alone be friends with them, if I hadn’t attended Trafalgar. I participated in athletic teams, was involved in school plays, and was a prefect. My personality changed as my confidence grew, and I took on leadership roles. I kept exploring and trying things that made me happy.” 

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