Dear Branksome Community,
The launch of our 2022-23 academic year brings an inspiring sense of anticipation that marks every new school year and fuels the journey ahead. As we set goals, we confidently look forward to the year, knowing it will bring growth and learning, not only for ourselves but for all of us at Branksome Hall.
Personally, I have never been more compelled to embrace this sentiment. Following many thoughtful conversations with the Board of Governors, I am excited today to share news with you that will ensure continued success for our school, over the next two years and beyond. As I enter my 25th year as Principal, I have made the decision to transition out of the role. Together, with the Board, we have mapped out a two-year plan for leadership succession, which will allow me to move forward with confidence and anticipation for the future of Branksome Hall. To this end, the Board of Governors will immediately commence the search for the new Principal, whose tenure will begin on July 1, 2024.
The opportunity to announce my plans with a two-year window was important for me and the school to ensure a strong and stable leadership transition. I shall pass the torch to Branksome Hall’s 8th Principal, who will inherit a school that believes strongly in thoughtful succession planning and influential leadership. Under the capable guidance of Mona Malone, the Chair of the Branksome Hall Board of Governors, the search for the new Principal has the goal of a June 2023 announcement, followed by a one-year transition for the newly appointed Principal.
It will come as no surprise to the Branksome community that there is a lot to do in the next two years. Continued emphasis on IB excellence, social-emotional learning (SEL), diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and innovation will propel our school to deliver what is most essential for our students. Our focus on campus renewal will not be interrupted. Our new Innovation Centre and Studio Theatre (iCAST) project is underway, and we are confident that the opening of this new building in 2024–25 will set the stage for the next phase of Branksome’s impact on the world of education.
In addition, our updated school strategy was approved by the Board in June 2022 and execution of this refreshed strategy begins this year. The Canadian Accredited Independent Schools (CAIS) Accreditation team will be visiting the school in the last week of January and early February 2023, and IB Accreditation occurs at the same time, with both of these authorizing associations giving us feedback that will inform our strategic plan going forward.
Two years may seem like a long transition. Yet, when one considers the impact of leadership change on a venerable institution such as Branksome Hall, it is merely a moment in time. Our school was founded in 1903 by Margaret Scott, followed by Edith M. Read, who served as Headmistress for 48 years. Since that time, only six women have proudly served this remarkable school. As Branksome’s 7th Principal, I am committed to leaving the school in a position of strength and readiness for the next Principal, and I am proud to have followed in the footsteps of these wise, fearless and dedicated women.
There is still much to be done in the time ahead so my goodbyes, expressions of gratitude and best wishes to all of you are yet to come. I ask that, for now, you simply join me in sharing the excitement and anticipation of new leadership for Branksome Hall.
It is with deep commitment to serve and see our great school continue to thrive and make a difference in the lives of our students that I wish each of you a joyous and successful year ahead.
Karen L. Jurjevich