I sit here at my desk, the day after the Annual General Meeting of the Jewish Federation of Ottawa, reflecting on all the things that come with the end of June, and thinking about transitions; I’ve spent the first part of this week walking and running outside in the first summer weather, looking at social media posts with pictures of the OJCS graduating class enjoying a special trip together (likely their last meaningful experience as a class, other than their upcoming graduation ceremony), reading our former Board Chair’s first Ottawa Jewish Bulletin column as Chair of the JFO Board, and reading our Head of School’s blog from last week about faculty assignments for the next school year and all the planning to come while I think about my daughters, who are preparing to enter grade 2, junior kindergarten, and senior preschool, respectively. It’s impossible to think about transitioning INTO something without thinking about what came before, and with that lens in mind, I’m going to write a bit about what the Board has done this year AND what’s to come (this is a very general outline; if you’re planning on attending our OJCS AGM at the end of September, you will get a much richer report of Board activities over the past year).
We’re very proud of the school that the OJCS is becoming and of the strides that have been already made in this regard; while our administration and faculty deserve the vast majority of the credit for all of this change we as a Board are also proud of the behind-the-scenes work we’ve done to increase our reputation and to develop revenue streams that will carry us forward. As the faculty and administration are innovating at an incredible pace to bring the OJCS to the cutting edge of education in Ottawa, we as a Board have been working on our own ‘prototypes’ for development and fundraising to keep pace with our changing donor landscape and our increasing enrolment (!). It is very exciting for us to note that next year, 3 of the lower school grades will have 2 classes!! This is in stark contrast to last year, when NO grades had a high enough enrolment to necessitate 2 classes, and even this year, when there was only 1 grade in this situation.
As with all transitions, there are some goodbyes that must occur, and for us this meant saying farewell to our Board Chair, Michael Polowin, who submitted his resignation from the OJCS Board of Directors prior to assuming the role of Chair of the JFO Board of Directors yesterday evening. Although goodbyes are always difficult, we as a Board are very excited to start on our next path, as we are led by our new Board Chair, Leila Ages. Although her new position will have to be ratified at our AGM in September, she will start as interim Chair; assuming the membership agrees with our decision for her to take the reins, we are confident that over the next 2 years under her leadership we can look forward to even greater innovation and improvement of our Board’s guidance of the school.
In the spirit of continuous improvement and transitions, I am also pleased to inform you that this year’s OJCS AGM, as mentioned previously, will include a ‘state of the school’-type address outlining the work that has been done this year by our Board of Directors and our successes as well as the ongoing work being done to enhance the school. Once the date is confirmed and publicized, I encourage you all to mark it in your calendars and plan to attend. In the meantime, enjoy the summer!!