Simon Harris, Chair, FMS Board
We’re well into 2018, and I’m pleased to be able to update the FMS community with some very positive news.
Where we are now
Last year was a difficult year for FMS, as the school was facing some significant challenges across the business. It was clear to the Board that we needed some very specific expertise to address these challenges. Finding that expertise was no easy task, but we did, and in July of 2017, the Board appointed Denice Scala as interim CEO.
There was a significant amount of work to be done. To most people, even seasoned principals, the brief - with its deliverables and deadlines - would have been mission impossible. The Board recognised the enormity of the task at hand, but even so, we had full confidence in Denice with her experience, clarity of thinking, and impressive leadership skills.
This was the first phase of our transformation, and Denice has delivered beyond our expectations. Within a very short period of time, FMS has been transformed into an operationally efficient and, importantly, a financially stable school. Our student population is increasing, and community engagement is very strong. For the first time in many years, the school made a profit at year end (school’s year end is calendar year). I’m delighted to report this; it demonstrates that everything we’ve done has had a very positive impact, both on our finances and the overall wellbeing of the school. The Board acknowledges and congratulates Denice on this achievement. It’s a remarkable turnaround, especially within the timeframe.
All that has been achieved to date could not have happened without the continued support of our Deputy Principal, Anthony Milano. As a senior member of the FMS management team, Anthony has been on this journey with us since the beginning and has not taken his eye off the ball. He has remained strong and steadfast through the highs and lows and continues to be an integral part of our management structure. The Board acknowledge Anthony’s significant contribution to FMS and its future success.
Importantly, and without doubt, the bedrock of this school is our teaching staff. With their unfaltering commitment and dedication to the children, FMS and the Montessori philosophy, they are integral to our culture. They are truly exceptional individuals, shaping the lives of our amazing Montessori children. Without this dedication and commitment, FMS would not exist. The school is now focused on building student numbers and resources, and with that, comes peace of mind for all our Montessori teaching staff; their environment and work is now very secure, and in safe hands.
Moving forward into the next phase of development
At a recent Board planning meeting, Denice presented her FMS vision and strategy. The strategy clearly defines and supports FMS into the future. It builds on who we are, and what we offer, and defines how we will grow and remain sustainable, whilst continuing to provide an outstanding Montessori education to our children, both now and into the future. The Board fully supports this strategy, and we will be in a position to share this with the FMS community very soon.
We are now entering an exciting time of growth and development. The hard work, commitment, support and loyalty of our FMS staff and community has enabled the school to secure a bright future that we can all look forward to.