I started high school in 1981 in Year 7 at the brand new Hawthorn East campus of Bialik College. The principal of the school was David Goldsmith. At some stage between 1981 and 1982 the school council unexpectedly terminated the employment of David Goldsmith. This was a shock to everyone and to the best of my knowledge no explanation was given for the decision. Abraham Feiglin was installed as the interim principal before a permanent replacement could be found in Michael Pincus.
Three years ago, in late 2008, Bialik College employed Joseph Gerassi as the replacement for long-standing school principal Genia Janover. Genia Janover announced her resignation in 2007 after 20 years of service to the school as principal, having started in 1988. This week, on August 24 2011, almost three years after starting, Joseph Gerassi’s employment was suddenly(*) terminated amidst a cloud of mystery. No explanation has been given by the school council for their decision, although they will be holding an information meeting with the school community on September 1 to explain their decision and discuss relevant issues.
I’m not drawing any comparison between the sacking of the two Bialik College principals David Goldsmith and Joseph Gerassi, each 30 years apart. Nor am I placing any judgement upon the decision made by the school council for their recent decision. However what is most ironic for me about this most recent situation is that Graham Goldsmith, the President of the school council that made the unanimous decision to terminate Joseph Gerassi’s employment, is the son of sacked Bialik College principal David Goldsmith.
While I’m writing this missive, a journey down memory lane in some regards, I’m reminded that Graham Goldsmith was one of my scout leaders at 3rd Doncaster West. I have fond memories of that time.
I have always looked at Bialik College as one of the leading schools in Victoria, and perhaps Australia, setting a high standard in academic excellence. I wish all associated with the school the best for the future and hope that the right leadership for the school can be found promptly.
* As a postscript to this piece, I wish to clarify my use of the word ‘suddenly’. My intention was to avoid bias or emotion in writing this piece, but simply present the facts as they appeared. I was initially contacted by several people who commented on the apparent suddenness of this situation. I understand that these decisions are not made lightly and there will have been careful consideration leading up to them. It is not the purpose of this piece to present, investigate or question the underlying issues of this situation.