More than 2,000 students and staff of Knox Grammar School farewelled Headmaster Mr John Weeks at a special celebration on Thursday. Mr Weeks is retiring as Headmaster after almost 15 years at Knox and more than 40 years in education.
Prior to commencing at Knox, Mr Weeks was the founding Head of Hunter Valley Grammar School (1989-1996) and the fifth Head of The Illawarra Grammar School (1997-2003).
In his time as the seventh Headmaster of Knox, Mr Weeks has overseen a transformation in Knox’s pastoral care, teaching and learning program and facilities.
“Knox has flourished under John’s leadership and has been transformed into a contemporary school, in which the academic, physical and spiritual wellbeing of the students are at the centre of everything we do,” said Mr Peter Roach, Chairman of School Council.
“Since commencing as Headmaster in 2004, Mr Weeks has been a truly visionary leader of Knox. He has transformed Knox from a great school to be a global leader in education,” said Mr Roach.
“One of the achievements that I am most proud of is the introduction of Positive Psychology at Knox in 2009,” said Mr Weeks.
“We were one of the first Australian schools to implement a comprehensive whole of school Positive Psychology program. This program has greatly improved the wellbeing and mental health of our students and staff and transformed the culture of the School,” he said.
In 2015, Mr Weeks led and represented the School at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, of which Knox Grammar School was a case study for its past handling of child sexual abuse.
Knox has implemented world-leading child protection policies and practices, including comprehensive training and awareness programs for staff, students and parents. The School will shortly offer child protection training for parents in partnership with leading Australian child protection organisation, Bravehearts.
A key focus of Mr Weeks’ time at Knox has been the development of a teaching excellence program.
“Without doubt, teacher quality has the greatest school-related influence on student learning,” he said. “At Knox, we have invested heavily in programs to give teachers the opportunity to research, collaborate, critique and reflect on their teaching practice, for the benefit of the students they teach.”
In 2017, Year 12 students achieved outstanding results in the HSC, with Knox ranked 19th in NSW, placing it among the top non-selective schools in the state.
Mr Weeks has also overseen the physical transformation of Knox over the last 15 years, including the construction of the Great Hall and Aquatic Centre, the Knox Senior Secondary Academy, the Knox Boarding Centre and Knox Performing Arts Centre.
“Throughout this time I have been blessed to be assisted by Knox’s No.1 supporter and my ‘secret weapon’, my wife Denise,” said Mr Weeks. “Denise has been an incredible supporter of Knox Grammar and its community.”
“The boys here at Knox are remarkable; they are full of energy, are inquisitive, courageous and undoubtedly will be those great leaders of the next generation,” said Mr Weeks. “I am so proud to be their Headmaster and I will miss them dearly. I wish them every success as they grow into manhood.”
Mr Scott James has been appointed as Knox Grammar School’s eighth Headmaster and will be commence in the role at the start of Term 2. Prior to starting at Knox as Deputy Headmaster 7-12 in 2009, Mr James served in a range of leadership roles at The King’s School, The Illawarra Grammar School and MLC Burwood.