Special Announcement – Principal Retirement Notice

Announcement from our Board Chair – Cathy Jeffkins

The Board of Bacchus Marsh Grammar (BMG) wishes to announce to its community that our esteemed Principal of 26 years’ service, Mr Andrew Neal, has advised the Board that he will be retiring from his role of BMG Principal at the end of the 2025 school year.

This announcement is being made at this time, in accordance with BMG’s constitution, to advise our BMG community of the steps that the Board is taking to ensure that an appropriate person and leader is identified and appointed to the Principal role in the future, and to advise that Andrew Neal will play a key part in ensuring the successful transition and support for the new BMG Principal during this period.

There will be opportunity in the future for the entire BMG community to appropriately acknowledge and celebrate Andrew’s service and legacy to BMG. The Board wishes to convey its heartfelt thanks to Andrew for his enormous contribution and leadership to BMG over the past 26 years as BMG’s Principal, to his service to education generally over the past 38 years, and to highlight some of Andrew’s many achievements.

Andrew commenced as Principal of BMG in 1998, which at the time had an enrolment of just 300 students at its sole Maddingley Campus. With his insight, leadership, courage and passion for education and BMG, and also accompanied by a wonderful team of people, Andrew has lead BMG to now provide education to 3,600 students per year and lead 500 staff across two main campuses, Maddingley and the recently (2019) established ELC-12 Woodlea Campus at Aintree, as well as the development of its outdoor curriculum campus at Staughton Vale.

Where does one start in detailing the significant impact Andrew has on education and the legacy he will leave from his tenure at BMG? Growing from a small rural school to become one of Australia’s largest schools, the massive capital infrastructure development to enable its growth with state-of-the-art facilities, the establishment of an Early Learning Centre and, importantly, innovative and impactful curriculum programs which have substantially improved student academic and welfare outcomes, sees BMG as one of Australia’s most respected and highly regarded outer metropolitan schools. Andrew has achieved all this with a strong focus on the care and development of every student, and to ensure that each student’s experience at BMG is productive and enriched by their participation in our BMG community.

Andrew is a fierce advocate for independent schooling and has successfully lobbied over many years for the retention of Conveyance Allowances. Andrew is a revered and sought after media spokesperson and lobbyist for fair Government funding and other related issues that impact on independent schools throughout Victoria. Andrew has served on many boards and commitees, including having chaired and served as Treasurer for Ecumenical Schools Australia (ESA) , as well as being a board member of the Centre for Strategic Education (CSE) and formerly Uniting Care and Insight Education for the Visually Impaired. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

Andrew’s staunch loyalty to his staff and connection with our students and families are hallmarks of a successful and much-admired leader and educator.

BMG’s vast size and complexity makes it important that a period of transition and succession planning occurs. To ensure a successful and supported transition, the Board has determined that a new Principal will be appointed for the commencement of 2025 while Andrew moves into the interim role of BMG’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in his final year. Andrew will con􀆟nue to lead BMG throughout this period with his role having a business and commercial focus, as well as lending his support and mentorship to the new Principal.

It is anticipated that the new Principal search will commence in early 2024 with the aim to select the Principal elect during 2024 and with an operational start in early 2025. The timeline may vary depending upon BMG and the successful candidate’s requirements. BMG has appointed external expertise in the form of Diana Taylor from Diana Taylor Legal Consulting and executive recruitment agent ANZUK, to lead and support BMG in the search for our next Principal.

We will have plenty of time to celebrate Andrew’s achievements over coming months, and our school will come together at the appropriate time to warmly acknowledge what has been Andrew Neal’s extraordinary years of service, wisdom, excellence, growth, innovation and advocacy for BMG and the wider BMG and education communities.

The BMG Board will continue to keep the BMG community up to date at the relevant time with further announcements regarding the Principal recruitment process in 2024.

On behalf of the BMG Board, thank you for your support as BMG enters this next phase of its service and education for our community, and our sincere thanks and gratitude to our Principal, Andrew Neal.

Kind regards

Cathy Jeffkins
Board Chair – Bacchus Marsh Grammar

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