9 months ago


Principal’s REPORT

Principal’s REPORT Arriving as a new Principal in a school gives one a singularly unique opportunity to see it with ‘fresh eyes’. Things that may otherwise be taken for granted or overlooked by the veteran are glaringly obvious to the newcomer. Dr Peter Downey Principal OXFORD FALLS GRAMMAR SCHOOL 2017 YEARBOOK Following a few months of rest, exploration and mental preparation in Patagonia and the Antarctic with my wife, I arrived at OFGS in April. The first thing that struck me (aside from awe at the beauteous leafy bushland setting, which lifts one’s spirit on a daily basis) was the incredible warmth of the community. Friendly and kind staff, affable engaged parents, and students who went out of their way to introduce themselves and make me feel welcome. This I have come to realise is a core cultural feature of OFGS. The School is a happy place. I immediately felt at home. I was next inspired and pleased by the genuine centrality of Christian faith which underpins School culture and operations. Beyond just a Christian ethos of noble values and positive relationships, OFGS genuinely challenges its students to engage in faith and follow Jesus. Nowhere is this Christian foundation seen more than every morning when the staff join together for worship and prayer, a wonderful way to start each day. What also quickly became apparent to me was the work ethic and professionalism of an exceptional staff. Hard-working, dedicated, motivated and creative, they show incredible care for our students and devotion to the School and their profession. They are focused on their craft, on improving teaching and learning, and the pursuit of best practice in preparing our children for the 21st and 22nd centuries. They also know how to laugh and have fun. One of the biggest surprises to me was just how busy the School is. The calendar is packed, and there are students and staff on site from early morning into the night on most days, participating in all sorts of activities and events. There is always something on. The Yearbook that you hold in your hands bears testament to the vibrancy of school life over the course of this year. I am indebted to the vast and multi-faceted team of people that collaboratively helped OFGS run on a daily basis throughout 2017: • To the School Board under the passionate leadership of Dr Phil Pringle, Mrs Pam O’Flaherty and Mr Craig Stanmore for their professional governance and clear vision for the School. • To the School Foundation, led by Mr Marc Forestieri, for their ardent support and commitment to volunteerism, generosity and engagement. • To the P&C for providing so many opportunities for our wider community to connect and be involved in School life. Our School is certainly richer for you and I am indebted to the many volunteers who give much to serve others regularly. Particular thanks to outgoing President, Mr Paul O’Brien, for his business acumen and clear leadership. • To the academic, administration and support staff for their professionalism, care and devotion. You make coming to work every day a joy. In particular, thanks to the senior leaders and directors with whom I work closely, and the Executive – Mr Greg Morris, Mrs Juliette Siemsen, Mrs Amy Corrigan and Mrs Rae Doak – for their support, strength and collegiality. • To the students: they are the reason the School exists. They are friendly, engaged, aspirational and polite. Our students help craft the culture of the School; their youthful energy, joy and optimism is infectious and makes our School a happy and vibrant place … and keeps us educators on our toes. A Yearbook is a snapshot of school life over twelve months. I commend to you the pages that follow, which give just a taste of the rich and busy year it has been. I have enjoyed becoming part of this wonderful community, and I am excited about what 2018 may bring as Oxford Falls Grammar School continues to grow and thrive and as we all learn and live for greatness, for excellence, for Christ. Dr Peter Downey Principal 4

Chairman’s REPORT “The task of a modern educator is not to cut down jungles but to irrigate deserts.” C S Lewis wrote these words and even though they are now 75 years old, they resonate well with me when I look at how our team at Oxford Falls Grammar School do what they do, week in week out. Mrs Pam O’Flaherty Chairman OFGS is a thriving community where children are nurtured, challenged, encouraged and supported. And yes, as C S Lewis said, it is not about cutting down but rather building up. It’s about investing, academically and emotionally, in the next generation. It’s about providing an environment that enhances learning and having a team who genuinely care about children as they grow and develop from five-year-olds to young adults. I am pleased that that environment is alive and well at Oxford Falls Grammar School. 2017 was another successful year at OFGS. In Term 2 we warmly welcomed Dr Peter Downey as our new Principal. Dr Downey is a highly respected and exceptional educational leader, with a wealth of experience in Christian education. We are thrilled to have him lead our School. This year saw the appointments of Mrs Rae Doak to Executive Leader and Mrs Juliette Siemsen to Head of Senior School. Both these women have been a vital part of our leadership team for many years and we congratulate them on these senior appointments. and pray they enjoy a happy, healthy and well-earned retirement! I acknowledge and thank our highly competent School Executive led by Dr Downey who, along with Mr Greg Morris, Mrs Rae Doak, Mrs Juliette Siemsen and Mrs Amy Corrigan, form a very strong and stable team, and continue to take our School from strength to strength. I also acknowledge the Directors and Heads of Departments and thank them all for the dedication and expertise they bring to these important roles in our School. I am indebted to our staff, a large and complex team, for their professionalism, talents and enthusiasm in all they do. The contribution they make to OFGS on a daily basis is so appreciated. OFGS is blessed with a wonderful community of parents who volunteer in many areas of school life. I particularly thank Mr Paul O’Brien who has served the School for the last two and a half years as the President of the P&C. We very much appreciate the time he has given to leading a team of parents who so willingly sow into our School. Huge thanks to our many parent volunteers and to our very supportive parent body. To our School Board I say a big thank you. Our President, Pastor Phil Pringle, our Deputy Chairman, Mr Craig Stanmore, and each of our directors are some of the most dedicated people I know. Their genuine love of OFGS and commitment to it is something I value highly and it is truly a privilege to work alongside each of them. I am indebted to them for their time and unwavering dedication to our great School. In that context I thank Pastors Phil and Christine Pringle for birthing our School 33 years ago, and the C3 church community for their continued support. In addition, Board member Mr Marc Forestieri is the Chairman of the OFGS Foundation and I thank him and his Foundation team for the time and commitment they give to our School community. Finally, I thank God for His continued faithfulness to us and for his blessings over 2017. Mrs Pam O’Flaherty Chairman At the end of this school year, two of our long-term staff members retired: Mrs Georgia Judge (who has been with us in the Junior School for 17 years) and Mrs Liz de Guio (who has worked in our TAS Department for 12 years). We thank them sincerely for their many years of service to OFGS OFFICIAL REPORTS CHAIRMAN REPORT Dr Phil Pringle President and Founding Member Mr Craig Stanmore Deputy Chair Mr Marcello Forestieri Director Mr Paul Macken Director Pr Tracey Berry Director Mr Ian Harry Director Mr Clyde Daish Director 5

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