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Ivanhoe Girls' Grammar School Appoints New Principal

Ms Narelle Umbers has been appointed as the 13th Principal of Ivanhoe Girls’ Grammar School following an extensive national and international search process. She will officially commence her appointment on 16 January 2023, for an initial term of five years. Ms Narelle Umbers will replace Dr Deborah Priest who retires in early 2023 after five years of wonderful service to the School.

In announcing this important decision for the School’s future, Mrs Karen Frost, Chair of the Board said “I wish to advise that the Selection Panel, supported by expert consultant, Odgers Berndtson, met with several extremely accomplished and professional educators as part of the process, and were unanimous in their decision.”

Ms Narelle Umbers is currently the Interim Principal at Korowa Anglican Girls’ School (2022) after returning to Australia from New Zealand where she was Principal at Samuel Marsden Collegiate School in Wellington, New Zealand from 2018 - 2021. Prior to her first Principal role in New Zealand, Ms Umbers was Deputy Principal – Learning and Development at Peninsula Grammar from 2014 to 2017.

However, Ms Umbers is not new to the Ivanhoe Girls’ community, having taught Mathematics at the School between 2003 and 2013 where she held numerous leadership positions as Year Level Coordinator, Acting Head of Mathematics, Acting Head of Curriculum (Years 10-12) and VCE Coordinator and Coordinator of the House System. She is also the mother of a past student.

Prior to moving into education, Ms Umbers held numerous roles in information technology within the financial services industry including senior management roles with a project delivery focus.

Ms Umbers is a highly experienced educator who has extensive experience in leadership positions in independent schools for girls, along with experience in co-educational environments. Ms Umbers holds a Master of Education (Educational Management), Melb Uni; Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and Investment, Securities Institute of Australia; Graduate Diploma in Computer Education, Melb Uni; Graduate Diploma in Education (Mathematics), Melb College of Advanced Education; and a Bachelor of Science (Major: Mathematics), Melb Uni. She also holds several memberships to professional industry bodies.

Mrs Frost said, “Ms Umbers is a passionate educator with impressive and well-rounded leadership expertise in both an educational and commercial context. She has a strong interest in the wellbeing of staff and students as a key element in supporting excellent outcomes. Already possessing a deep understanding of the School, she understands the importance of balancing our core values with the need for innovation to maintain an exemplary educational offering. Engaging and approachable, with a genuine and evident warmth and enthusiasm, Ms Umbers understands and identifies with the Ivanhoe Girls’ Grammar School purpose and culture.”

On her appointment, Ms Umbers said, “It will be both an honour and a privilege to lead the Ivanhoe Girls’ community. It is one that I have valued being part of over many years, with my own daughter a past student of the School. I know from personal experience that Ivanhoe Girls’ has a culture of warmth, inclusiveness, and care for the individual, along with a rich history of developing strong and passionate young people who are service-oriented and believe they can change the world. “

“My role as Principal will be to build on the legacy of the 12 inspiring leaders who have been before me, holding true to the School’s values whilst continuing the story of innovation. I believe that honouring the past, leading in the present and anticipating the future ensures the cutting-edge education that our students deserve in this complex and rapidly changing world. I am excited to be taking on this role and look forward to getting to know our students, staff and parent community as we commence our journey together at the beginning of 2023.” Ms Umbers said.