Farewell to our Director of Languages

IGS Principal Shauna Colnan has announced that our much loved Director of Languages Rosalba Genua-Petrovic is leaving us after 33 years of dedicated service to the School.

“Rosalba, who has been on Long Service Leave this semester, has decided to resign at the end of this term, to spend more time with her family and friends and to get more involved in helping drive the success of her husband’s thriving business,” said Shauna.

“And what a time to make this momentous decision, at the very top of her game, with a large flourishing department, extraordinary academic results, the Global Learning Centre for the Teaching and Learning of Languages up and running, an amazing global language exchange program which is reopening this year after two pandemic years, and most importantly, with the abiding love and appreciation of languages running deep and wide at IGS!

“Rosalba is a much-loved member of our community. She joined IGS 33 years ago as a very young teacher of Italian, when IGS was only five years old! She has been absolutely instrumental in the formation of our school and of our unique languages program, taking it all from strength to strength in the most astonishing ways. It’s a tough gig and she’s done it with vision, drive, skill, integrity, wisdom, effectiveness and graciousness.

“We look forward to thanking Rosalba at special staff events later this term, and again at International Day in October, when our students and our school community can farewell Rosalba in grand celebratory style.

In Semester 2 we will seek a suitably qualified and inspiring educational leader to forge the next chapter as Director of Languages at IGS. Very big shoes to fill. That’s for sure.”

When Rosalba joined IGS in 1989 as a young Italian teacher after backpacking around Europe, the growing School was just five years old and was based in the Elizabeth Arden cosmetics factory in Riley Street Surry Hills.
“It looked like a school in a factory, but it felt like something was really germinating, quite exciting, a genome of something big to come,” Rosalba said.

“We had a bunch of great and fun kids and families, which made coming to work everyday enjoyable.”
Rosalba taught Italian to early learners as well as a group of Year 12 students, before settling in to teaching Primary School and High School students, and then she taught parents and carers.
Over the years, as the School grew, Rosalba took on more and more responsibilities, becoming a coordinator of High School languages, then Head of Department, then Director of Languages, 14 years ago.

The role included organising International Day, already a strong tradition.

“I really loved the outcome,” she said. “For me International Day was a fun and festive event, with the strong intent of students learning, developing and enhancing their intercultural skills and learning about the wider world. I really did enjoy that.”

Rosalba expanded the School’s exchange program from three schools in France, Italy, Germany and Noumea, to two schools each in France and Japan, as well as schools in Germany, Italy, Spain and China. But most of all, I feel priviliged to have been part of a school that has allowed students to excel in languages and take with them the gift of being plurilingual.”
“It’s been immensely rewarding and fulfilling teaching at IGS,” she said. “It has a fantastic and enviable exchange program, which is fitting as IGS is the top languages school in Australia.
“We had wonderful HSC results last year and for a long time before that.”

Rosalba listed many highlights of her 33 years at the School.
“I’ve met wonderful families and students along the way. The kids have been fun, and of course have also kept me feeling young. They’ve always been lovely to be around and have taught me so much.”

“I’ve loved working with the wonderful staff. I’ve made great professional and personal friends at the School and overseas.”

She is grateful for the many skills she has developed in her time at IGS and the professional development she has received.
Rosalba said she was immensely grateful for the many opportunities the School has given her to grow beyond her comfort zone.

“I feel privileged for having worked with my IGS colleagues. This is a good time to step back. It’s time to give something else a go. I’m ready for a new and different challenge”.

Rosalba remains committed to the power of languages to help people of all backgrounds understand each other.
“I’ve met people who regret not studying a language harder, but I’ve never met anyone who regretted learning another language and learning about other cultures.

When Rosalba’s daughter Ana Sofia (who later went on to become IGS 2019 Dux) was a young child, she described the School as “a friend”.
“IGS is like a big friend to the kids. They can be themselves.”

Principal Shauna Colnan shared with staff this morning wonderful news about Ana-Sofia:

“Not surprisingly Ana-Sofia’s trail continues to blaze at university where she’s winning coveted academic awards, and in the workforce, and she has now secured an internship at Peggy Guggenheim Collection on the Grand Canal in Venice, one of the most important museums of European and American art of the twentieth century.”

Grazie Mille Rosalba! You will be missed!

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