I look for a number of qualities in a school - high expectations of pupils and parents; a good level of discipline; teachers who are enthusiastic about their subjects; Boarding Supervisors and Admin Staff who are dedicated to the task of ensuring their pupils are happy and successful; the best quality facilities; care and concern for every individual; real pathways to university and professional development. It is my job to ensure that you find all these qualities here at TKIS.

The original TKIS set an extremely high standard. This provides a great advantage for us, because it means that we can be confident about the basic facilities and learning environment provided by the school. It's now up to us, the current and future staff and families of the school, to build on that tradition and to share the pride of all who have been and who will be associated with the school.

It is my personal objective to establish TKIS as a flagship school for the research and development of 'optimal learning', 'pastoral care' and 'post-secondary pathways'. We can never gamble with the futures of our students, so our Year 11 and 12 students are offered direct pathways that articulate into degree and professional programs. 

Our Primary School is dedicated to providing a firm basis on which to build strong academic foundations in numeracy and literacy. We are committed to the re-establishment of mental arithmetic and phonics in the primary school classrooms. This 'getting back to the basics' approach is something that sets our primary education apart from most others.

Our Graduate College offers a wide range of 'real' new-economy options...from Business, Sports Management, Technology and Design and we hope to have other faculties like Education and Health available by 2008 or 2009.

There are only a handful of schools in the world who can claim to be 'great schools'. With its small class sizes, dedicated staff, 'optimal learning environment', 'best practice' processes and its unique 'total education pathway', I see no reason why TKIS can't be such a school.

As such, I have already begun the process of establishing initial relationships with some of the great universities of the world. I also hope to see the school quickly re-offer its well-respected and globally recognised IB (International Baccalaureate) Program. Though our prime focus must always be 'local' I also see it as imperative for the future of our students to ensure that the school takes its place on the global stage and maintains its international relationships.

The new Board of TKIS have dedicated themselves to assessing every aspect of education, to determine 'best outcomes' and to ensure a 'student-focused' approach. Sometimes doing things 'better' means doing them differently. In such cases, I will endeavour to clearly communicate to parents WHY we have adopted such changes and I hope you will see that in every case, it is because the change will contribute positively to the outcomes, results, potentials and futures of our children.

Apart from teaching in secondary schools, the bulk of my most recent academic practice has been as a lecturer and administrator at University level and I have many years experience as a manager, business-owner and employer in the commercial world. This has given me a unique perspective 'from all sides' of education and has I believe, allowed me to gain an insight into the critical determinants of satisfaction and service quality for schooling. From this perspective, I believe that there is still great room for improvement in education in this country. 

Though it's easy to point the finger and blame our current schools for the lowering of academic standards, poor discipline and an apparent short-sighted focus directed at simply teaching students how to pass exams...I firmly believe that the vast majority of school teachers and administrators in this country are dedicated professionals who are doing an exceptional job under the circumstances.

Perhaps it's time to 'change the circumstances'?

Here at TKIS we have a unique opportunity to do just that - to build a school that is the envy of others - by taking only the best that traditional education has to offer (old world values of honour, respect, dedication, discipline and a commitment to the core academic principles of literacy, numeracy, history and scientific discovery) and setting these values firmly in the twenty-first century...within an environment of cutting edge technology, cultural diversity, commercial competitiveness and direct pathways into further education and career training.

For a school like TKIS to successfully achieve this objective, I see two short term challenges... 

Challenge 1 :: To firstly increase the expectations of students and to support these higher expectations with better resources; improved learning structures, more effective processes and an environment in which students truly believe they're meant to obtain more from their secondary schooling than just a good tertiary entrance score.

Challenge 2 :: To secondly increase the expectations of teachers and to support these higher expectations with quality resources and facilities; a learning atmosphere free of student discipline and morale problems; a work environment that values and rewards teachers' dedication, innovation, commitment to excellence and world-class academic research and a management team that will move mountains to support improved learning outcomes and professional development.

Successful education is a partnership between the school and the family, so overcoming such challenges will require support from the entire community and as Principal of your school, I believe that one of my most important roles is to facilitate the kind of family involvement and community support that can 'change circumstances' and in so doing produce students who have self-confidence, self-esteem, self-reliance and self-belief...students who are equipped to deal with the demands and competitive pressures of adulthood, employment, society and respectful human relationships...students who have developed the 'habit' of being the best that they can be and of finding success on whatever journey their individual skills and talents take them.

This is your school...and I'm very proud to be part of it.

Geoff Mills