Message from VWS Board of Trustees
The AGM was held on October 25, 2017 and 38 Full Members attended. To start our Principal Lorna Fortin gave an update on some initiatives and highlights at the High School, and Treasurer Geoff Woodfield presented our financial results for the 2016/2017 financial year. We finished the year with an operating surplus and have since paid off the remainder of our mortgage debt, so we are now for the first time in a long time debt-free. The Members also approved a new Constitution and set of By-Laws for the Vancouver Waldorf School Society, which cleans up and modernizes our governing documents. An important change is that now all our Honorary Members have the same rights as Full Members, including voting rights, which makes sense given that Honorary Membership is meant to recognize contribution to the VWS well over and above what is expected of Members for an extended period of time. We thank all our Honorary Members (and future Honorary Members!) for everything they have done in the past and continue to do for the VWS. Finally, Eric Doherty, Rebeka Eriksson, Eric Lee and Geoff Woodfield were all re-appointed to the Board of Trustees, so the Board continues to consist of Walter Daroshin, Eric Doherty, Rebeka Eriksson, Phil Fertey, Lorna Fortin, Chloe Gow-Jarrett, Eric Lee, Blanka Ponec, Jennifer Williams and Geoff Woodfield.
The Board then held its regular meeting on November 8. In addition to the regular management updates (Business Manager Susan Connon-Wilby reported we continue to track our budget and forecast a small year-end surplus, and our Pedagogical Manager Malcolm Nash updated us on the regular comings and goings at the School), our Community & Resource Development Manager Mary Henley spent a good deal of time updating the board on some of her initial impressions and intentions since she joined the team, and some of her plans for new projects and campaigns. She reports that there is a positive atmosphere at the VWS, and some recently-launched projects include New Family Connect, which puts families that are new to the VWS in touch with current families to offer support and answer any questions they may have. We had planned to approve the 2017/2018 Strategic Plan, but this was deferred pending some further required input.
One additional item of business we discussed was what we call the “VWS Future Home Project”. A group of parents, faculty and board reps have been meeting informally for the past six months to explore options for building a new school. When Christof Weichert visited VWS in October, he thoughtfully reflected upon our need for a more suitable facility that properly reflects our rich history, the strength of our diverse community, and that comfortably houses our entire student body. As much as we all cherish our school, I’m sure we can agree that the Grade School has outgrown our current site and that our two campuses would ideally be merged into one school offering a complete Parent & Tot to Grade 12 program. Though the thought of embarking on capital campaign to support a new building and possibly relocating to a new North Shore site may elicit feelings of uncertainty and provoke many questions, we assure you that your input is sought and welcomed. Decisions will only be made after thoughtful community consultation and our goal is 100% transparency through this process. It’s an exciting project, but also a big job and we will be looking to you for your thoughts.
Eric Doherty, VWSS Board Chair