School Council

School Council

School Council Minutes

The School Council is the governing body of the school. The primary purpose of the School Council is to help the school to provide the best possible education for all its students. The School Council is accountable to the ESF, the parents and the community. It works to develop effective working relationships between staff, parents, ESF management, other schools and the wider community. The School Council meets regularly throughout the academic year.

The members of the School Council for the academic year 2023-24 are:

  • Linda Csellak, Council Chair
  • Anna Smakowska, Principal (Ex-officio)
  • Vivian Cheung, Chief Financial Officer (Ex-officio)
  • Sudesh Thevasenabathy, Community Representative
  • Nigel R Merritt, Community Representative
  • Michelle McEwan, Parent Representative
  • Marie-Claire Slama, PTA Representative
  • Nasreen Irani, Non-Teaching Staff Representative
  • Karen Carmody, Teacher Representative
  • Pamela Garz, Teacher Representative

Linda Csellak, Council Chair

Linda recently capped a career as an equity mutual fund manager in both Asia and the US. She has lived in Hong Kong for twenty-five years and worked for Manulife, Credit Agricole, as well as several smaller firms. In these roles, she has most enjoyed empowering investment teams to perform at their maximum potential.

Linda has served on the boards of several Hong Kong NGOs in the governance and finance sectors and has seen these organizations flourish from their struggling early days. Having now transitioned to an advisory capacity, she enjoys mentoring and coaching, from high school students to start-up companies. She is passionate about education, mental health, and environmental sustainability.

Nigel R Merritt, Community Representative

Nigel arrived in Hong Kong (from London) with his young family in 1994 to pursue a career in Business Consultancy, albeit he had been a frequent visitor to Hong Kong since the early 80’s.

Nigel specialises in SME company reorganisation and restructuring, offering advice to a wide range of businesses, either as a Consultant, or as a member of the Board. He also oversees and participates – as CEO – in the running of a family Property Portfolio in London.

Married with 3 children – 2 living in Hong Kong and 1 in London – Nigel has been seconded to various overseas businesses in his career and developed extensive experience and contacts at all levels of business in various countries in the world, ranging from Europe to the Middle East, Scandinavia to North and South America.

He sits on the Football Development Board of the Indochinastarfish Foundation (Charity) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and was co-writer of the Foundation’s 5 Year Strategic Development Plan.

Closer to home, Nigel is a member of and committee participant at the Hong Kong Football Club where he developed and runs the Club’s community soccer initiative – the HKFC Crusaders – that offers a weekly soccer session to various disadvantaged children and adults – Club and non Club members – who have a passion/interest for football, many of which have either graduated from JCSRS or are still students here.

Nigel is honoured to be asked to join the School Council and looks forward to “adding value” during his tenure.

Michelle McEwan, Parent Representative

Michelle’s daughter Katy is in Sapphire Class at JCSRS and she also has a son studying at Sha Tin College. She is from Scotland and has been living in Hong Kong since 2006. During her first 11 years here she worked for a local NGO supporting children from children’s homes and from disadvantaged family backgrounds with English and Mandarin.

In 2015 Michelle studied for her teaching qualification and has been working as a Learning Support Teacher since 2017 – a job which she loves. She is looking forward to her time on the School Council supporting the school as we continue to develop in the best interests of our children.

Karen Carmody, Teacher Representative

Karen moved to Hong Kong in 2006 to work as a speech and language therapist for a private practice serving international schools and clients in a clinical setting. She moved to JCSRS as a speech and language therapist in 2008 and began teacher training a few years later.

In 2014 she took a position at Bradbury School as a learning support teacher before returning to JCSRS to take up a leadership role. She is currently the lead teacher for curriculum and is passionate about teaching and learning, supporting student communication and staff development.

Pamela Garz, Teacher Representative

Pamela arrived in Hong Kong in August 2022. She has lived, studied and taught on four continents, with a career in education that spans well over 30 years. From an initial mainstream setting she made her way into Special Needs and holds Master Degrees in both Autism and Behavioural Management. She has lectured in both these fields and also held the position of an Associate and an Advisor for the National Special Educational Support Services in Ireland, a role which afforded her the opportunity to visit schools across the country and advocate for students with additional needs.

She believes the beauty of teaching internationally is adding to your own toolbox of skills and best practice, as one navigates the diversity of cultures and traditions. A successful educator never loses the joy of learning, while always nurturing positive relationships with students, their families and colleagues. By cultivating partnerships we create a strong union of support for the student.

Pamela has two grown-up children, whom she believes to be her biggest achievement and reward. Her engineer husband is currently creating a sustainable, off-grid home for their retirement years, while she continues her adventures, doing the work she loves.