Shimon Waronker leaves Yeshivah-Beth Rivkah
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Principal stranded

Shimon Waronker leaves Yeshivah-Beth Rivkah

'Despite our numerous attempts to obtain the necessary exemption, he has so far been unable to return to Melbourne due to government restrictions'.

Yeshivah College and (inset) Dr Shimon Waronker.
Yeshivah College and (inset) Dr Shimon Waronker.

YESHIVAH–Beth Rivkah Colleges (YBRC) has announced it is in the process of recruiting a new principal as its current headmaster has been unable to return to Australia from the United States.

In a letter to parents and staff on Thursday, the school said Dr Shimon Waronker had travelled to the US at the end of last year to attend his daughter’s wedding but coronavirus travel restrictions have left him stranded stateside.

“Despite our numerous attempts to obtain the necessary exemption, he has so far been unable to return to Melbourne,” the letter stated.

“The board and Dr Waronker have continued to work closely together and have come to a joint decision for Dr Waronker to end his role as Yeshivah-Beth Rivkah Colleges principal, effective immediately.”

Noting this is “a very difficult decision for all involved”, the school said it had become “increasingly clear that the chance of restrictions being changed this year is extremely unlikely, and that leading the school from the other side of the world is, despite best efforts, not workable or in the best interests of students, parents and staff”.

The letter thanked the principal “for all that he’s achieved in his time leading the school, not least of all his unwavering leadership through last year and all of the challenges it threw at the school community”.

“We wish him, Malka, and their family all the very best in their future endeavours and look forward to hearing of their success and happiness back home.”

YBRC said it is beginning the process of recruiting a new principal and will update the community “as soon as this is finalised”.

Barbara Belfer, head of pre-schools, who recently held the position of co-principal prior to Waronker’s appointment, will become interim principal and “has vast experience as an educator and mentor”, the college stated.

Families were advised that in the interim, the heads of each campus will continue to be responsible for day-to-day management.

A former US Army military intelligence officer who worked as an educator in a number of New York schools, Waronker joined YBRC at the start of the 2020 academic year.

Under his leadership, Beth Rivkah continued its premium academic record, with the school placing sixth in the state’s Victoria’s VCE rankings last year. Yeshivah, meanwhile, came in 59th place.

The AJN attempted to contact Waronker in the US for comment but was unable to reach him.

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