8 Feb, 2018
On Monday 5 February 2018, St Michael’s Grammar School officially welcomed Mrs Terrie Jones as our new Head of the School.
In what was a significant day in the School’s rich history, The Commissioning and Installation of Mrs Terrie Jones as Head of the School took place in All Saints Church and was witnessed by Years 6–12 students, staff, members of our community, and Mrs Jones’s family.
The Most Reverend Dr Philip Freier, Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne, attended and took part in the Service, and the School’s Senior Chaplain, Father Kenyon McKie, along with Mrs Fiona Mead, Chair of the Board, conducted the Commissioning of Mrs Jones.
Whilst the Service officially marked Mrs Jones’ appointment, the School community has already warmly embraced our new Head of the School into her new role, which she commenced on 1 January 2018. As staff and students have returned to the School and it has come alive again, Mrs Jones has spoken at an all staff Eucharist to begin the new year, Year 12 Commencement Eucharist, Year 7 Orientation, Years 8–11 new student orientation, Years 1–5 Welcome Assembly, hosted Appreciative Inquiry workshops as part of all staff professional development and led our new staff induction program, Ziebell.
“I have spoken in the past two weeks to staff, Year 7 and Year 12 and all new students in Years 8-11 and this morning to students in Years 1-5 and my message has been consistent,” Mrs Jones said in her address at the Commissioning Service. “We can only be great by choice – many choices coalescing for the sake of this School and its students, parents and staff. Together we serve the core purpose, the learning and personal development of you, our students but yours is not a passive role. It’s far more exciting and challenging than just being a recipient of others’ labours and service.”
Mrs Jones’s appointment was announced at the end of 2016, allowing for a valuable period of handover in what was a positive and collaborative transition from one Head to another. In the six months prior to her commencement, Mrs Jones had the opportunity of a sabbatical where she visited the Community of the Sisters of the Church in the Solomon Islands and schools across Europe as a participant in the 2017 Sydney Centre for Innovative Learning (SCIL) Vision Tour. She also spent time at the School meeting students, parents and staff, along with new members of our community at a number of Open Mornings, and commenced a Masters of Business Administration and completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors course in December.
“In the past year I have often been asked about when I knew that this was a community where I would fit or belong and my response has been to recount my observations of the School during a two hour tour that took place during and after lunch on a Friday in November 2016,” said Mrs Jones. “I witnessed a positive energy and authentic presence, the lived expression of DR CC, in both students and staff.I saw it in the manner in which two students greeted me and asked if I needed directions, and in the School’s Crossing Supervisor, Terry’s, manner with the students and the way they thanked him sincerely. Similarly, I glimpsed this manifestation of presence as students and staff warmly greeted Head, Mr Simon Gipson, a familiar and welcome sight, but also politely acknowledged me – a stranger in their midst.”
“I was so inspired by the values being enacted and the rigorous learning taking place that I already felt a sense of belonging, excited by the possibility of being a part of the next chapter of the School’s history.”
As has been her consistent message, Mrs Jones highlighted the importance of the School’s rich foundational narrative and strong culture, remarking on the ‘golden threads’ of its stories.
“Tens of thousands of students, staff and parents have passed through the doors of this wonderful school and left an imprint, an imprint shaped according to each of their personal stories and actions. The School has witnessed countless acts, big and small, of faith, hope, learning, kindness and bravery and these have coalesced to produce the strong culture and rich tradition we witness today,” said Mrs Jones.
“Our golden threads include the narrative and rule of the Sisters of the Church, the values of Dignity, Respect, Care and Compassion that we have inherited from them and their choice of patron, our namesake, St Michael, the archangel.”
Founded by the Community of the Sisters of the Church, St Michael’s is part of The Emily Group, named after the order’s founder, Mother Emily Ayckbowm. The Group is a collection of seven Anglican schools that were founded by nuns from the Community of the Sisters of the Church. The schools share the same crest, patron saint and founding narrative, however, they all differ in significant ways and the group is enriched by the diversity of the School’s contexts.
“St Michael’s Grammar School is the sole coeducational school in the Group and as such, has a special role to play in the contemporary context where society has advanced to a point where gender equality seems more achievable than ever before,” said Mrs Jones. “It has to be said as a society we have a long way still to go, but schools like St Michael’s are already showing the world how shared purposeful endeavour should be achieved in a coeducational context.”
In closing, Mrs Jones asked for a collective commitment from our community.
“Our collective commitment must be to uplift each other, hold aloft our values and take comfort in the rewards of seeing this school’s legacy go from strength to strength and the learning, wellbeing and growth of our community buoyed, lifted and inspired by us all. As I have promised today, my aim is to lead, to serve, alongside and with you. Together we will strive to create the conditions in which we all will thrive,” said Mrs Jones.
Fittingly, the Commissioning Service featured performances from the Years 10–12 Chamber Choir, 2018 European Choir Tour and Grigoryan Orchestra, and included Old Michaelians and members of staff in the choir and ensemble. The Parent Community Association also provided the floral arrangements and decorations in All Saints Church.
We would like to thank all those involved in making this special occasion such a memorable one.