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 2020-21 are:

  • Linda Csellak, Council Chair
  • Anna Smakowska, Principal (Ex-officio)
  • Vivian Cheung, Chief Financial Officer (ESF)
  • Sudesh Thevasenabathy, Community Representative
  • Nigel R Merritt, Community Representative
  • Michelle McEwan, Parent Representative
  • Marie-Claire Slama, PTA Representative
  • Cheryl Lam, Non-Teaching Staff Representative
  • Karen Carmody, Teacher Representative
  • Holly Manning, 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.

Cheryl Lam, Non-Teaching Staff Representative

Cheryl is a licensed Speech and Language Pathologist in both Canada and Hong Kong. She has been a therapist at Jockey Club Sarah School since 2015. She is a part of the communications committee, supports the vocational training and acts as the school’s first aid officer.

After completing a Bachelors of Science degree in Psychology and Linguistics at the University of Toronto, Cheryl went on to pursue a Masters degree in Speech Pathology Studies at the University of Queensland. She has worked in private settings for children and adults with speech and communication difficulties prior to joining our school and has experience in assessments, intervention, and complex communication impairments relating to acquired brain injury, genetic disorders and autistic spectrum disorder.

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.

Holly Manning, Teacher Representative

Holly moved to Hong Kong in 2015 where she worked as a Learning Support Teacher in King George V school for two years before moving to JCSRS in 2017. She is the Ruby Class teacher, Expressive Arts coordinator and the APTESFS representative.

Prior to moving to Hong Kong Holly trained as a primary school teacher and worked in a special needs school in Essex for two years. She has a BSc degree in Sports Education and Master of Education in Inclusion and Special Educational Needs. Holly is passionate about Lego-Based Therapy and is a trainer for this, training other staff members in the ESF community.