Mount Saint Agnes Academy (MSA) has navigated the first few months of the school year under a new leadership team, with Principal Anna Faria-Machado at the helm.
Mrs. Machado initially joined MSA as a Grade Six teacher in September 1999 and has since taught at several levels within the school. She was promoted to Assistant Principal Designate in 2018 and Principal Designate in 2020.
Working closely with outgoing Principal, Sue Moench, she spent the last year learning the role to ensure a seamless transition.
“It is an honour to have this opportunity to lead a school with such a rich tradition of Catholic education with student wellbeing and growth at the heart of its mission,” stated Mrs. Machado.
“Along with the teachers and staff, I will strive to continue the legacy of success established at MSA, while preparing the school to enter its next chapter. It is our commitment to provide our students with a premier education forming the foundation for a lifetime of success.”
Mrs. Machado is supported by Deputy Principal Kim Raymond and Assistant Principal Christopher Tannock. Mrs. Raymond, who joined MSA as a PE and Health teacher in 2011, was promoted to Assistant Principal Designate in 2018. Mr. Tannock joined MSA as a Social Studies teacher in 2013 and was promoted to Assistant Principal Designate in 2019.
Under this new leadership team, MSA is already experiencing innovation. It is in the beginning stages of its three-year plan, which builds on the existing foundation of the school while leading it into the future. Recognising the importance of technology in our everyday lives, MSA is introducing a 1-to-1 laptop programme to shift instruction towards more student-centred learning, emphasising inquiry and increasing student engagement.
This will prepare students to be the innovators, entrepreneurs, and digital leaders of tomorrow. The leadership team is also currently exploring options for new courses to offer as part of its internationally acclaimed Alberta curriculum.
New initiatives have already been introduced. Middle school students are expanding their learning with a Passion Projects course, which allows them to choose an area of interest and produce a project that reflects their individual learning styles. Taking advantage of the book-to-movie trend, some classes are embarking upon a “Read It, Watch It” course, which invites students to read a text and then critically assess the film adaptation.
“Our plan aims to facilitate inquiry and wonder,” stated Mrs. Machado. “At MSA, we foster empathetic relationships between the students and the teachers that allow learning to occur at all levels.”
With the island experiencing a severe COVID wave at the beginning of the school year, the first few months have been challenging for many schools, but MSA has been able to persevere.
Some COVID pivots have been conspicuous, such as the absence of the famous MSA bazaar fundraiser. Others, like the introduction of more string instruments to replace woodwind instruments, have been more subtle.
“I cannot say enough about the excellence of our staff,” stated Mrs. Machado. “The children have also been so resilient; they are flexible and adaptable to the protocols that allow us to keep the core parts of our school operating safely in the face of COVID challenges.”
Despite COVID, MSA was able to hold virtual information sessions recently for prospective families to learn more about the school. “We were pleased to welcome a number of families to show them the MSA difference,” stated Mrs. Machado. “I can say wholeheartedly that MSA is truly a unique, family-oriented school with a nurturing environment.”
To learn more about MSA, please visit msa.bm or call 292-4134.
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