Mark Turner, Head of School

There is a sense, quite literally, that the term here at SMUS is drawing to a close with a final crescendo. Many of you will have witnessed at first hand the extraordinary spectacle that was this year’s SMUSical, Something Rotten! A production of this quality and on this scale, takes remarkable investment in time, energy, student talent, and of course leadership from inspirational faculty. SMUS alumnus, Morgan McLeod, was inducted into theatre under the legendary ‘father of SMUS musicals’, Colin Skinner. Morgan McLeod has not only continued the tradition but raised the bar. I know Morgan would wish me to specifically mention Guillén, Musical Director, Christina Banman, Choral Director, and Arabella Martin, Choreographer. The stage crew also did a phenomenal job with the set created by Brad Ingimundson and Peter Leggatt, a standout feature of the show. As the strains of Welcome to the Renaissance quieten away, and the blossoms along the main school drive start to open, we can reflect on another busy and successful term.

Looking back to the start of the year, some of the highlights have been:

  • Celebrations with the Admissions Team on a record January, the month when we received more applications than any other in the school’s history.
  • Sharing with the Advancement Team the smartly refurbished rowing training facility at the Derby campus, proof of what can be achieved through the power of participation.
  • The Middle School Science Fair. A festival of intellectual curiosity.
  • Some extraordinary athletic performances from numerous teams, with a season perhaps symbolized by the Senior Girls Basketball team that lost agonizingly in extra time in the Provincial Finals for the second year! There is the poem that says, ‘If you can meet with triumph and disaster. And treat those two imposters just the same’. Our girls have certainly done that and learned a great deal about resilience along the way.
  • A long and well-deserved standing ovation at the end of the Senior School Large Ensembles Concert.

The end of term also provides an appropriate opportunity for me to thank the countless volunteers who provide such crucial continued support to our school. I am most grateful to the Parents’ Auxiliary for all they do, particularly their new initiative to target funds directly to student clubs and councils. They have also graciously hosted social events and a memorable Quiz Night.

Thank you also to the SMUSAA (Alumni Association), which has been active in arranging a series of speaker presentations to enrich and broaden quality debate. Along with Advancement staff, they have enjoyed reconnecting with alumni from Montreal to Seattle with further events planned for Tokyo, Seoul, and Hong Kong.

Just last week our Board of Governors, all busy individuals who volunteer vast amounts of time in the school’s interest, met to move forward the school’s strategic objectives in line with our 2030 Floreat plan. We are making good progress toward expanding the opportunities to develop science and technology. We are continuing with the investment in our capital infrastructure so successfully demonstrated by the opening of the Trottier-Morgan Annex in the Junior School, and now moving on with a similar expansion at the Middle School due to commence in June.

The Board also reported that they are making good progress with the identification of my successor for 2025. I can report that the Board of Governors are on schedule with the process of whittling down a large field of candidates reflecting the school’s international reputation, with a view to identifying the most suitable candidate by the end of this school year 2024, to facilitate a smooth and comprehensive handover.

For my part, I am most grateful for the opportunity of a sabbatical which will start April 1 and run through to the end of June. Whilst Elizabeth and I are away from school, I am delighted to know that we are all in safe hands. Eliot Anderson will be Acting Head of School for next term.

After some long overdue time with our family in the UK and some restorative travel, I am very much looking forward to returning in September with batteries recharged and expectations high for a final year. During my absence, all Head of School matters should continue to be sent to [email protected].

For now, very best wishes to you all for a successful spring term and conclusion to the school year.