Phoenix Park, 318 Tanglin Road
www.avondalegs.com.sg or call +65 6258 8544
Andrew Coote’s other passions are his family and education. With his wife Caitlin, who is a health planner, and their two young daughters Rachael (3½) and Mahalia (almost 2), Andrew took the leap of faith into expat life in January this year. It’s their first experience of living abroad as a family, and they’re relishing Singapore already.
He describes the move to Singapore as “a gift in life” for his daughters – a chance to live in a different country at a young and adaptable age. Andrew’s own experiences of doing charity work in Kenyan and Zimbabwean orphanages in the 80s and a stint in a Thai school had a profound effect on this educator and advocate for children. So what magic wand was waved to convince the Head of the Junior School at Sydney’s prestigious Ravenswood School for Girls to accept a position at a small, nascent primary school temporarily sited in the Toa Payoh heartland?
There was no sleight of hand at all, insists Andrew. “I was a former colleague of the previous principal, Martin Tait.” The two senior educators used to work at the same school in Sydney, and Martin felt that Andrew was the perfect fit to take over stewardship of the school when he retired.
In January this year, Avondale Grammar School moved into its new digs at the charming and historical Phoenix Park compound on Tanglin Road. Enrolments are a healthy 150-strong for this boutique school, with students ranging in age from three to 12 years (Kindergarten to Grade 6); enrolment is expected to reach capacity in 2012. Upon his arrival, Andrew became an instant admirer of both black-and-white colonial architecture and Singapore’s impressive modern history under Lee Kuan Yew, so he must be delighted about the school’s location.
It’s going to be a busy year ahead for Andrew Coote. As well as continuing to build Avondale Grammar School’s reputation for providing a well-rounded education, he hopes to enjoy some travel in the region with his family, and he dreams of a 50th birthday bash in Europe next year. And perhaps a decrepit Harley Davidson with a huge red bow on it, to lovingly and painstakingly restore.
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