Vale Miss Anne Smith

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our former Head of Junior School, Miss Anne Smith over the weekend. Anne was Head of the Junior School from 1979 to 2001 and Vice Principal from 1992 to 2001.

With a strong sense of the school community, she fostered mutually supportive relationships with school families to provide a safe and positive environment for every child in the Junior School.

Anne effectively led her team of teachers and support staff, fostering high standards of professionalism across the Junior School. As an exemplar to staff, she was seen as a supportive colleague while maintaining a strong and sensitive leadership role.

Anne was an expert practitioner in primary year’s education, fully conversant with curriculum practice and pastoral programs. She possessed a range of outstanding leadership skills, together with highly developed interpersonal skills and outstanding organisation and negotiation skills.

Anne was a valued member of the School Council, joining as the nominee of the Toorak Uniting Church after an appropriate period of absence between her retirement from the School executive and her appointment to Council.

Anne Smith knew her parents, her girls and her staff. She selected staff who loved to teach and who nurtured whatever skill a child had and, at the same time, offered a range of other areas to her as well. She knew how important self-esteem is for the growing girl and that even a shy girl gains confidence as she participates in School sport, attends a School camp, or plays in a music group before Assembly. She was renowned for catching up with and listening to parents and students at the front gates before and after School each day.

Indeed, parents describe Anne Smith’s style of leadership as MBWA – Management By Walking About.  They always appreciated the fact that she was so accessible.

In 1987, Anne took up the role of Chair of the Junior School Heads Association Victorian Branch. The accolade was well deserved. She ran a fine Junior School in Barbreck which was cheerful, friendly, lively and imaginative.

In 2017 an announcement was made by the School that Anne would serve the School again as Patron of the Her Future Begins Here campaign to construct a new Junior School. In accepting her new position, Anne commented: “It is an honour to be invited to be Patron of this important campaign. St Catherine’s has always been forward looking and is the right time historically and educationally to make this important decision and move.”

The School Crests on the Barbreck entrance gates were generously donated by Anne. Following the Junior School redevelopment in 2018, the driveway leading up to the Barbreck entrance was named the Anne Smith Avenue, in her honour.

Anne was an outstanding educator who has left a strong legacy at St Catherine’s School.

Possessing warmth and charisma, many people in our School Community will have fond recollections of Anne and she will be greatly missed.

The Funeral Service for Anne Smith will be held at Toorak Uniting Church on Friday 1 March at 10.00am. The Service will also be live-streamed – please see link below:

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