The future for Anglican Schools
The growing Anglican Schools Corporation has a new chairman of its board, with Tony Willis handing over the baton to Philip Bell OAM at the beginning of last month. Mr Willis has served as chairman for the past 8½ years.
In talking of Mr Bell as the right person for the role, the corporation’s CEO, Ross Smith, points to “Philip’s experience as chair of Abbotsleigh, his commitment to the Christian gospel, and – it’s clear to me already, even in this short period of time – his focus on strategic growth of the organisation”.
Meeting the needs of our communities
Regarding the corporation’s growth, Mr Smith adds that it “has been reasonably consistent over time but if you went back 20 years, there’d only be a few schools. Now we have 19 schools and campuses, 14,500 students and more than 2000 staff.
“What those numbers really illustrate is the extent of the resources we have stewardship over. So the challenge for our board [which now includes Bishop Chris Edwards and investment banker Andrew Leithhead] is how do we deploy those resources strategically and intentionally to meet the gospel needs of the communities served by our schools?”
Mr Bell is well aware of the strategic importance of his new role and is enthusiastic about the opportunities the corporation’s schools have to guide and nurture students.
He lists three ideals for any child growing up today: a loving and supportive family environment, a “broad education that challenges them, encourages them and helps them to develop their abilities” and being introduced to the God of the Bible and developing a relationship with Jesus.
“Anglican schools can do two of these things, and they do this every day, and have an influence on the first one,” he says.
“When I look at those things I see the real impetus for what we do – we’re developing the next generation, the Christian leaders for the future. We model that through our Christian staff and also through what we do. Developing leaders – but servant leaders.”
He adds that he, together with other members of the corporation’s board, are “custodians” of their roles.
“Many people have gone before us and, God willing, many people will come after us. It’s our responsibility at this time to be the best we can be… to help grow the kingdom.”
Mr Bell has been a member of the corporation’s board before – from 1987 to 1999, serving as deputy chairman from 1992-99 – as well as spending 10 years as chairman of the Abbotsleigh school council, and some years on the board of the Association of Independent Schools NSW.
With a background in business, he has also served on a range of other corporate and not-for-profit boards, including the Crusader Union and Robert Menzies College, and he is currently the chairman of the Archbishop’s New Churches for New Communities board.