Long-serving TIGS School Council chair Roger Summerill has retired from the role he has held for 21 years.
The Illawarra Grammar School principal Judi Nealy described Mr Summerill as becoming a stalwart of the school after being elected to the council 23 years ago in July 1997.
She said he was appointed chair in 1999 and has always provided amazing support to all teachers and staff.
"He has served our school community with dedication and care. He is extremely well connected in the Illawarra and his media and leadership expertise have been most helpful to our School. Roger is a wonderful advocate for independent schooling, parent choice and TIGS particularly.
Ms Nealy said his encouragement and support were invaluable during her first year as principal.
Mr Summerill is being succeeded as chair by someone he approached about becoming involved in the TIGS Council eight years ago.
Professor Tony Okely, director of research at Early Start at the University of Wollongong, said his predecessor had left a significant legacy and had provided support to four school principals
Prof Okely said he was a fantastic mentor with a great focus on succession planning who has helped prepare him to take over the role during the last 18 months.
"Roger has personified what it means to be servant-hearted and committed to our school community. At a stage of life where it could have been easy to say "I have done enough" he chose to give up time pursuing hobbies, travel and other interests to serve our school".
Mr Summerill said stepped down as chair in February but remained on the school council until the end of June which meant he was able to help with the challenges presented by COVID-19.
He originally took up a position on the TIGS Council soon after moving to Wollongong from Nowra, where he was the station manager of 2ST and POWER FM, to become station manager of WAVE FM.
"There was a vacancy on the TIGS Council and Peter Kell asked me if I would allow myself to have my name put forward," Mr Summerill said.
"Within a year Peter took on a new role at Anglicare in Sydney and I suddenly discovered I was the new chair and have been every since. I had decided five or six years ago I would step down but the headmaster at the time asked me to stay on".
Mr Summerill was appointed to the TIGS Council by the synod of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney and his term as chair expired twice but on each occasion he was encouraged to stay. The second time by Ms Nealy as the incoming principal. His experience provided her with invaluable support in her new role.
Mr Summerill said everyone on the TIGS Council was there because they wanted the school to be the best it can be.
Three of his grand-children have attended the school. He said TIGS helped so many children go on to make great contributions because as students they felt included and were encouraged to be christian and caring.
"I am so proud of the alumni. So many have done wonderful things".
Mr Summerill recently became involved in Warrigal and is a member of the Anglican Media Council Board. He is writing a book about the people he worked with in radio and is open to more opportunities to contribute to the community. He said it was a privilege to become involved with TIGS after four years teaching at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School.
"Education has always been important to me. And I am very blessed to have Anne as my wife. She has been there all the time supporting me all the way through my career".
Former Wollongong High School of Performing Arts student among IWIB winners
Teagan McKeen has been able to combine her passion with a career.
In announcing Ms McKeen as IWIB Young Business Woman of the Year judge Terry Widdicombe, of IMB Bank, described her as an innovative and professional leader who is respected by competitors and involved in many community initiatives.
Since establishing The Dance Affinity in 2017 student numbers have steadily increased and staff numbers have grown to 14.
"It has recently taken on additional commercial space to cope with business growth. Teagan has kept trading in an industry sector that has really struggled under COVID-19 restrictions," Mr Widdicombe said.
Ms McKeen, 28, said she always loved dance and managed to turn her passion into a career with the encouragement of many people, including her father Gareth McKeen. She said work had just started on the expansion of the dance studio when COVID hit. But the business will survive thanks to Wollongong being such a supportive community.
"While we were losing customers we were building this third dance room and paying for the construction. It was quite difficult but I am so thankful for the support I have around me and our lovely students".
Jennifer Gray showed why she was in so much demand as an entertainer prior to COVID-19 when she sang at the IWIB Awards at Villa D'Oro.
She said she doesn't expect much cruise ship work for a while. And spoke about the support a family can give someone with a career they are so passionate about. She said husband Tim Gray encouraged her to keep doing what she loves after starting a family.
"That was quite daunting for me. Especially leaving three young kids at home to be cared for by grandparents and primarily my husband. He was behind me and saying you can do this, knowing how much my career meant to me".
Movers and Shakers is a new weekly feature of people doing significant work in or for the Illawarra community
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