The WIS Board is proud to announce the appointment of a new Head of School – Mr Anthony Baron – who will commence at the end of August 2017.
Following the early departure of Mr Dwight Mott in December 2016, the Board undertook a recruitment process to identify the new Head of School. After careful consideration of the attributes and skills required to lead Woodford and thrive in our unique context in Solomon Islands, the position was advertised internationally and locally from March 2017. Thirty-two applications were received from around the world. From this group, eight applications were shortlisted and five very strong candidates were invited to interview.
Anthony (Tony) Baron was a ‘stand-out’ candidate. He is an experienced international school leader with over 30 years working in international schools in seven countries over four continents. His first Head of School post was over 20 years ago. Since then, he has led schools in introducing and developing international programs, including IB and Cambridge programs, and has vast experience in strengthening the management and financial resilience of schools like Woodford. Tony has an excellent track record in ‘staying the course’ at schools he has led – he was at his most recent school in Angola for eight years and before that had five years at an international school in The Bahamas and four years at an international school in Malawi. Tony is passionate about prioritising the development of both staff and students, giving them the tools necessary to empower them and the space for them to express themselves. He also believes in celebrating the diversity of international schools while maintaining a community school atmosphere. His track record demonstrates his capacity and commitment to follow through on such passions and each school’s strategic priorities. The Board has full confidence in Tony and looks forward to introducing him to students, parents, staff and the Honiara community late in Term Three.
The Board takes this opportunity to extend a special thank you and heartfelt appreciation to Ms Rachel MacKinnon for stepping up into the Acting Head of School role in challenging circumstances following Mr Mott’s sudden departure. Ms Rachel embraced the challenges and worked with enviable determination and passion to ensure Woodford started 2017 without missing a beat. She restructured leadership and streamlined management to better align the school’s structure with its strategic direction and to enable the most productive use of staff and other resources. She stewarded the school from a position of financial uncertainty to one of stability and growing strength. Further, under Ms Rachel’s leadership, the school has strengthened its connections with the broader Honiara community, including a new inter-school sports program and the inaugural Careers Market, both initiated and organised by Woodford. Our engagement with Solomon Island Government ministries and other stakeholders has also strengthened. Student learning has benefitted from the school’s revitalised and modernised systems for class planning and staff development and appraisal, both of which more effectively draw on the expertise of the Woodford Educational Support Team (WEST) and senior staff to ensure continuous improvement in every classroom. Also under Ms Rachel’s leadership, the MAP standardised testing system has been introduced, improved student reports have been developed, ICT systems have been upgraded, safety procedures and business systems have been strengthened and a new library building has been donated to the school, the latter reflecting Ms Rachel’s powers of persuasion and persistence. She has done an outstanding job as Acting Head of School. Ms Rachel will continue as Acting Head of School until the end of a brief handover period with Mr Baron. She will then resume her substantive position as Deputy Head, where her expertise in ‘teaching and learning’ will enable an even greater focus on ensuring Woodford International School students receive high quality, engaging and effective teaching and enriching opportunities to develop and dream, both inside and outside the classroom.
A Welcome Message from Mr Anthony Baron
My name is Anthony Baron and I am delighted to be writing to you all as the newly appointed Head of School at Woodford International School.
Firstly, a big thank you to you the parents and staff for your continued support for the school. It is this support that has clearly been instrumental in in enabling Woodford to reach the position it is at today. It is a privilege to be appointed as the Head of School for such a successful, ambitious and popular school. I am very keen to start work with all members of the Woodford community to build upon the strengths of the school and to secure its position as one of the leading schools in the Pacific region.
As to my own background, I was born in London, U.K and studied Economics at the University of Essex obtaining both BA and MA qualifications. I also gained a PGCE from St. Mary’s College, then part of London University, and a further MA in Educational Planning and Development at the Institute of Education, London University. My first teaching post was at a comprehensive school in Neasden, London and my latest was as Director of Luanda international School, Angola. I served for eight years in this latter role, during which time the school developed into one of Africa’s leading schools, driving the academic and all-round achievement of the school and gaining exceptional reviews from IB, CIS and NEASC visitors. Prior to this role, I have been a Head of School in the Seychelles and The Bahamas and have had other senior roles in Malawi, Bahrain, Cambodia and the U.K. I have, for family reasons, been out of full time education for two years but am back and raring to go.
As you will be aware, the school will be introducing the Cambridge International A Level program and examinations from the beginning of the next school year. This and other initiatives bring with them challenges but also new opportunities, not only for Woodford but also the whole Solomon Island community. Drawing on existing relationships with parents is an integral part of this change and I will meet as many of you as possible at upcoming parent forums, at the school gate or in my office to listen to your thoughts and ideas and to see how we might best report details of progress in the months ahead.
The clear and distinctive strategic plan will guide my team with regards to what happens in the classroom, in extra-curricular activities and in pastoral care within the school. Our Mission at WIS is to “build a community of learners that builds on each child's strengths, draws from our diverse local context and a rich international curriculum, to develop globally ready learners equipped to shape their future and achieve their dreams”. To fulfill the Mission will involve high expectations of students and teachers; excellence in academic work; excellence and a high degree of participation in extra-curricular pursuits; high quality pastoral care; a genuine focus on the individual; and the development of leadership skills and lifelong learning. Underpinning all of this is the essential partnership between parents and teachers. I will work hard at establishing strong bonds within the school communities and across the School. The opportunities afforded by the “all through” nature of Woodford are considerable for both younger and older students.
Above all though, I aim to ensure our students feel happy, secure and valued. The community is key to this and I am so looking forward to discovering the country with the cleanest air in the world and its wonderful beaches. And most of all, I look forward to meeting the students, teachers and parents of Woodford, as well as the broader Honiara and Solomon Islands community.
Woodford International School
PARENTS, TEACHERS and FRIENDS ASSOCIATION (PTFA)
NOTICE OF ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
Monday 19th June 2017, 6:00 pm
The WIS PTFA Annual General Meeting will be held from 6:00 pm on Monday, 19th June 2017 in the WIS hall. All parents, teachers and friends of Woodford International School are warmly invited and encouraged to attend.
Light refreshments will be available from 5:30 pm – come early and meet your current PTFA committee, the school leadership team, as well as other parents, teacher and friends of Woodford!
To encourage and facilitate parents’ attendance at the meeting, free childcare will be provided for the duration of the meeting.
What is the PTFA?
The PTFA provides a structure for parents to become involved in, and enhance, the WIS community experience, as well as to support the school’s Mission and Vision. WIS believes that a vibrant PTFA contributes to the health of the school. The school’s 2017-2021 Strategic Plan commits the school to re-establishing the WIS Parents Teachers and Friends Association (PTFA), with a mandate to encourage parents’ and friends’ involvement in the life of the school.
In line with this commitment, an interim PTFA committee was established in March of this year to work towards full re-establishment of the PTFA (following a few years in which the PTFA was inactive). The PTFA exists as an entity subject to the full legal and policy framework of WIS and its Mission, by-laws and activities align with and support the school’s Vision, Values, Mission and Strategic Policies.
Why should you get involved?
Joining the PTFA Committee is an opportunity for parents, teachers and friends of the school to:
What happens at the AGM?
The AGM must run in accordance with the PTFA by-laws (available on the WIS website or in hardcopy from the front desk of the main admin building). Key provisions of the by-laws follow.
b) Treasurer’s Report;
c) Election of PTFA office bearers (President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary)
d) Election of PTFA general committee Members
How to get involved – nominate!
If you are interested in getting involved as an office bearer of the PTFA, please fill in the attached nomination form, get it signed by two other parents or teachers (one ‘proposer’ and one ‘seconder’) and submit it to the sealed box (marked PTFA) at the front counter of the admin building.
Alternatively, you can submit a brief email to PTFAnominations@wis.edu.sb identifying the position you wish to nominate for, your proposer and seconder (and their connections to the school eg “parent of Billy in year 9”) and include them in the cc: line of your email.
To be valid, nominations must be received by 6:00 pm on Thursday, 15 June 2017.
All nominations for office bearer positions will be advised to PTFA members (all WIS parents and teachers) by email and will be published on noticeboards around the school.
Nominations for general committee members will be taken orally at the meeting. If you are interested in joining the committee, please arrange a seconder in advance of the meeting.
Solomon Islands students will participate for the first in a global robotics competition in Washington DC July this year.
A team of four students from the Woodford International School will compete with students from more than 160 nations in the event.
Solomon Islands was the only team from the Pacific apart from Australia and New Zealand.
The competition will engage high school students with different levels of robotic designs and promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics or STEM education.
The Solomon team’s mentor Rakesh Pandey said the event will be a fantastic opportunity for the young students to celebrate sciences, mathematics, innovate creations and solutions at the same time.
He expected the competition to be very tough but hoped ‘Team Solomons’ will make an impact with their designs.
“Some of them are in extremely advanced stage. We are hopeful that if we do not win we will make sure that there is an impact, we’ll leave an impact there,” he said.
“We are hoping that we won’t come down doing nothing. We are hopeful that people will recognise the Solomon Islands team.”
WOODFORD International School in partnership with the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SICCI) will host a Careers Market initiative, a programme designed to exhibit post-school training and employment options for students.
A joint statement from both organisations says the Careers Market is the first of its kind with preparations underway for the programme to be held on 31st May, 2017 at the school’s sports ground.
The programme will include an exhibition of businesses from the Chamber, with stall displays set up around the field and presentations made by key speakers.
The theme for the Careers Market is “Inspiring and empowering students to shape their future and achieve their dreams”.
“The Careers Market has been initiated to provide much needed information on post school training and employment options as well as information in support services available for our community,” says Alex Haro, the school’s Director of Community & Wellbeing.
“The primary audiences for the event are Secondary Schools in Honiara, parents and guardians and students from Forms 5 to 7.
“There may also be interested students from upper Primary and Middle Schools as well as employers and community members,” he adds.
The event however is also open for the general public’s attendance.
SICCI Membership & Services Officer, Neil Nuia says the Chamber sees the importance of empowering students and young people with the business community.
“The Chamber plays a role in ensuring successful entrepreneurship is pursued and reached by every means possible – including education for our children who are our future leaders,” says Nuia.
Nuia is responsible in overseeing all SICCI events and works in co-organising the Careers Market with Woodford International School.
Among other education institutes, Woodford is a member of SICCI.
Following its election at the AGM on 30 March, the new Woodford Board of Management has been busy inducting new members, arranging itself into sub-committees and working groups, and establishing its priorities for the year ahead.
The Board has a diverse range of professional and cultural backgrounds (see end of message) that will ensure a wide range of perspectives are brought to issues as we work to continually strengthen our school and school community. On Saturday 29 April, Board members retreated to the Heritage Park Hotel for a full day ‘induction’ and ‘handover’ from the previous Board. Morning sessions focused on Board members’ individual and collective duties and responsibilities as Board members and the distinction between the roles of the Board, the Head of School and the PTFA. In the afternoon, we took a ‘deep dive’ into the 2017-21 Strategic Plan and Woodford’s current strategic challenges, including a detailed examination of the school’s financial situation. The Board greatly appreciated the insights of Dennison MacKinnon (an esteemed retired international educator and father of Ms Rachel) and our former Deputy Chair, Bronwyn Norris, and former Financial Controller, Dennis Lee, whose presentations helped to develop a common understanding of our strategic context (and which demonstrated the enormous commitment to the school of both Bronwyn and Dennis as incredibly engaged and active Board members over the last two years). Thanks to Dennison, Bronwyn and Dennis for their contributions and to the Heritage Park Hotel for providing their very comfortable and convenient conference facilities for the day at no cost to the school.
The new Board is currently focused on three key priorities:
(i) work to broaden and strengthen the school’s revenue base;
(ii) appointment of a substantive Head of School; and
(iii) consideration of a proposal from the Acting Head of School to introduce Year 12 and the internationally-recognised Cambridge “A-levels” program to Woodford in 2018.
Revenue and debts
The Board recognises that many families make significant sacrifices to send their children to Woodford and that further fee increases may push a Woodford education out of some of these families’ reach. The Board and school leadership team are developing options to broaden and strengthen our revenue base but generating new sources of income and adjusting our income model will take time.
In the meantime, we appeal to all families with outstanding debts to the school (including for Term Two fees) to please repay your debts immediately. Credit cards and many debit cards are now accepted. If you are not in a position to do so, please contact Acting Head of School Rachel MacKinnon (email@example.com) or Accounts Manager Margaret Tetepe (firstname.lastname@example.org) to arrange a (short-term) payment plan. School policy is that interest is to be charged on outstanding debts – this policy will be implemented with respect to any debts that are outstanding beyond 15 May 2017.
Appointment of a permanent Head of School (HoS)
The Board has full confidence in Ms Rachel as Acting HoS but is committed to a competitive selection process to ensure the Woodford community gets the best possible candidate to lead it over the next three or more years. The HoS position has been advertised locally and internationally and we have already received several strong applications. The Board’s HoS Recruitment sub-committee will begin shortlisting candidates for interview this week. We will keep you updated as the process progresses.
Proposal for Woodford to offer “Year 12” (Solomon Islands “Form 7”) and the Cambridge “A Levels program from 2018.
The WIS 2017-21 Strategic Plan commits the school to introducing Year 12 (and a suitable internationally recognised school leavers’ qualification) by 2021. The Board’s Strategy Committee is currently working through a proposal from the Acting Head of School to introduce Year 12 and the internationally-recognised Cambridge “A-levels” program to Woodford in 2018. The Acting Head of School’s proposal followed a submission to the Board from a group of parents of current Year 11 students, which was received earlier this year. The Board recognises the strong desire of many in the school community to see Year 12 at Woodford as soon as possible. We will weigh a range of considerations in deciding whether devoting resources to introducing Year 12 in 2018 best supports the school’s continued development and sustainability. We will update the school community as soon as a decision is made.
Another exciting development around Woodford this year has been the preliminary re-establishment of the Woodford Parents Teachers and Friends Association (PTFA) after a hiatus of a few years. Led by parent Lei Prasad, the group has been planning ways to support the school and bring the Woodford community together over the next year or so, including through coffee mornings, sports days, community service activities and other special events. The interim PTFA is reviewing the association’s mission and current by-laws and developing ideas on how the PTFA can work to support the school to develop an ever more vibrant, energised and mutually supportive Woodford community. The interim PTFA will bring its proposals to a full Annual General Meeting (AGM) in the coming months. Being on the PTFA – and/or joining in its activities – is a great way to get involved with the school and to meet other parents, teachers and friends. We encourage all members of the WIS community to get involved!
As always, the WIS Board welcomes your comments and suggestions – please do not hesitate to contact us on email@example.com, or any one of us in person – we would love to hear from you.
Your 2017-18 WIS Board
Emily Follett (Chair of the Board)
Australian. Diplomat and lawyer.
Joined the Board in March 2016. Chair since October 2016.
Sub-committees: Strategy, Audit, HoS Recruitment.
Francis Bakale (Deputy Chair)
Solomon Islander. Health Safety Wellbeing, Employee
Relations and Business Continuity Planning Coordinator (Telekom)
Joined the Board in March 2017.
Sub-committees: Audit, HoS Recruitment.
Janendra (Jay) Prasad (Financial Controller)
Fijian. Chartered Professional Electrical Engineer.
Joined the Board in March 2017.
Sub-committees: Strategy (Chair), Audit, HoS Recruitment.
Grace Hilly (Secretary)
Solomon Islander. Country Focal Officer, Secretariat of the
Pacific Community, RRRT. Woodford ALUMNI.
Joined the Board in March 2017.
Sub-commitees: Policy, HoS Recruitment.
Papua New Guinean. Certified Accountant, Financial Controller (GPPOL).
Joined the Board in March 2016.
Sub-committees: Audit (Chair), HoS Recruitment.
Joined the Board in March 2017.
Sub-committees: Policy (Chair), HoS Recruitment.
Australian. Health Policy and Planning Specialist.
Joined the Board in February 2017.
Sub-committees: HoS Recruitment (Chair), Policy, Strategy.
Panagiota (Pana) Kouri
Greek. Academic and Development Adviser (Infrastructure).
Joined the Board in March 2017.
Sub-committees: Policy, HoS Recruitment.
Solomon Islander. WIS Teacher (Prep).
Joined the Board in March 2017
Solomon Islander. WIS Secondary Teacher and ALUMNI.
Joined the Board in March 2017.
Sub-committees: Policy, Strategy.
Welsh/Scottish. Acting Head of School.
Joined the Board in December 2016 (ex officio)
Sub-committees: Audit, Policy, Strategy.
Samoan. Mother of three. PTFA President.
Joined the Board in November 2016.
Sub-committees: HoS Recruitment.
What's the Latest?
By Jeremiah Tomadek
Last week Friday on the 28th of April, as grey clouds loomed over Honiara threatening to burst open with rain, Woodford's hockey team travelled to KGVI (King George the sixth) to play their first match of the year. They were to face Vura, one of the heavy weight teams in the league.
As we arrived everyone looked calm, despite the fact that this was their first match of the year and they had not trained since the closing of the league last year. Luckily, the match was delayed for a further twenty minutes so the coach used that extra time to fit in some short fitness drills and plays to practice.
The game kicked off to an electrifying start as the Falcons gained possession of the ball early in the first half. The majority of the first half consisted of more than a few close calls of Woodford scoring. Woodford's goal shooter had a go at Vura's net a couple of times. Unfortunately, they failed to actually score a goal in the first half. By the time the second half began, the boys were already in a state of fatigue. The Vura boys used this to their advantage and shot the ball between the legs of Woodford's keeper to score one goal. The Falcon's did not give up and made an effort to come back, getting close to scoring on some occasions, however Vura's defense was too strong. Plus lets not forget the fact that our boys were exhausted which is understandable as they haven't been training.
Even though we lost, coach Lei stated that this game was merely a test match for the boys to determine their fitness and playing levels and the aim really, was just to have fun. There will be another match this week Friday so be sure to tune in for the results and outcomes.
On Monday, 13th of March it was the Commonwealth Day Schools Debate, celebrated by student and teacher representatives from seven various schools in Honiara, and held at the National Parliament, Paul Tovua Complex.
Our school's privileged debaters were Shawntellah Maiap and Ryan Prasad from Year 10 (IGCSE 2) and the seven flag bearers were Berni Guan, Tannisha Tran, Mikaella and Moriel Villanueva, Megha Thakar, Irina Mypana and Lorraine Nieng.
The day's program commenced with the entrance of the hosts through a human walkway of students waving the flags of Commonwealth countries. We stood for the National Anthem and opening prayer led by students, and took our seats as the hosts began their remarks. A photo-shoot followed, and then the main event for the day. The topic was "Equality Means Equal Number of Women in Parliament". Ryan and Shawntellah represented were in different teams: affirmative and negative. The debate was very formal and structured, each limited to five minutes and judged/scored out of 400. All candidates did an outstanding job with their speeches.
We congratulate Ryan for winning second best individual prize, as well as Shawntellah who did exceptionally well! Lastly, we were treated to a tour of the Parliament House and served a light lunch, then transported back to school. The event was hosted by the National Parliament and the British High Commissioner's Office.
By: Mikaella Villanueva
Photo credits: Moriel Villanueva
Thanks to everyone who was able to attend the PTFA morning tea and information session last week.
Announcement: PTFA Meeting and Election of Executive Committee
The PTFA is being called together for the first meeting of 2017. In this meeting the PTFA membership (everyone in the Woodford Community and beyond) will be asked to elect a President, Secretary and Treasurer. There will also be some discussion about the form and function of the PTFA going forward and consideration of potential activities for 2017.
Venue: Woodford International School Campus
Time and Date: 9:15 am (after assembly) Friday, 24 March 2017
For those who cannot make the PTFA, but want to find out more and participate in the discussion, please connect with us: