Paul W Bennett


Paul W. Bennett, Ed.D. (OISE/Toronto) is a Halifax author, professor, and commentator. He is the author of ten books, most recently The State of the System: A Reality Check on Canada’s Schools (2020). He’s an education columnist for Saltwire Network and Brunswick News and a regular contributor to The National Post, The Globe and Mail, and Post Media regional papers across Canada. His book reviews appear regularly in The Literary Review of Canada.

Paul is founding Director of Schoolhouse Institute, and Adjunct Professor of Education at Saint Mary’s University. Over a career spanning four decades in three different provinces, Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia, Dr. Bennett has written or co-authored ten b ooks, sixteen major education policy studies, and dozens of articles in both the popular media and the academic press.

Dr. Bennett is a widely recognized leader and commentator in Canadian education. From 1997 until 2009, Paul served as Headmaster of two of Canada’s leading independent coeducational day schools, Halifax Grammar School and Lower Canada College. Since 20009, he’s devoted his time and energy to the cause of public education reform.  His Blog, Educhatter, was honoured as the Top Education Blog in Canada in 2018 and 2022.

Paul is also a public-spirited and active citizen. He served as Chair of the Board of the Halifax Public Libraries (2010-17) and guided the development and opening of Halifax Central Library. From 2011 to 2016,  he served as President of the Halifax Branch of the Canadian International Council, then as Board Chair at Churchill Academy in Dartmouth (2016-2022).  For the past six years, he’s been National Coordinator of researchED Canada, guiding its development from coast-to-coast.


The Grammar School: Striving for Excellence for Fifty Years in a Public School World. Halifax: Formac Publishers, 2009.

Vanishing Schools, Threatened Communities: The Contested Schoolhouse in Maritime Canada. Halifax: Fernwood Publishers, 2011.

The Last Stand: Schools, Communities and the Future of Rural Nova Scotia. Halifax: Fernwood Publishers, 2013.

Turning Points: 15 Decisive Moments in Nova Scotia History. Lunenburg: MacIntyre Purcell Publishing, May 2019.

The State of the System: A Reality Check on Canada’s Schools. Montreal and Kingston: McGill- Queen’s University Press, September 2020.


Community Leadership Award, Halifax Public Libraries, June 2016, in recognition for his work bringing the Halifax Central Library project to fruition.

Academic Recognition: The State of the System: A Reality Check on Canada’s Schools (MQUP, 2020) was hailed as the most inflential education reform book published in 2020.

Regional Best Seller:  Turning Points: 15 Decisive Moments in Nova Scotia History was the top selling book in Nova Scotia in June and July of 2019.

Honourable Mention: A review of the top Canadian educational history books from 2000 to 2014 singled-out Vanishing Schools Threatened Communities. ” The strength of Vanishing Schools lies in its rich description of schooling throughout the 19th and 20th centuries in the Maritimes….Bennett’s passion for community independence, heritage, and quality education bleed through every page.” (Theodore Christou, Acadiensis, Summer/Autumn, 2014).

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Recommended Experience Levels

The Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia (WFNS) recommends that each workshop’s participants share a level or range of writing / publication experience. This is to ensure that each participant gets value from the workshop⁠ and is presented with information, strategies, and skills that suit their current writing priorities.

To this end, the “Recommended experience level” section of each workshop description refers to the following definitions developed by WFNS:

  • New writers: those with no professional publications (yet!) or a few short professional publications (i.e., poems, stories, or essays in literary magazines, journals, anthologies, or chapbooks).
  • Emerging writers: those with numerous professional publications and/or one book-length publication.
  • Established writers/authors: those with two book-length publications or the equivalent in book-length and short publications.
  • Professional authors: those with more than two book-length publications.

For “intensive” and “masterclass” creative writing workshops, which provide more opportunities for participant-to-participant feedback, the recommended experience level should be followed.

For all other workshops, the recommended experience level is just that—a recommendation—and we encourage potential participants to follow their own judgment when registering.

If you’re uncertain of your experience level with regard to any particular workshop, please feel free to contact us at