The Headmaster I know

There are many qualities I admire about Roy Kelley but none more so than his compassion, strength and humility.

From offering personal support to a family in crisis, to leading by example in relation to creating an inclusive School community, or simply phoning an Old Melburnian to wish them luck on a significant occasion, Roy has always found the time to bring a humanness and kindness to his role.

Holding extremely high standards, Roy asked for only the best from every staff member at the School. He set clear expectations and took the time to recognise individuals and groups when these were met. He was prepared to make tough decisions when necessary and always had logical, well thought through reasoning underpinning each one.

Yet, if a staff member was experiencing a personal crisis, then caring for that person became the priority. While the staff member may not necessarily have known it, Roy was vigilant about their welfare, and provided direct instruction to other staff members to ensure appropriate support was in place.

Roy very much enjoyed meeting Old Melburnians and hearing stories from the School’s past. He particularly relished catching up with Old Melburnians who had attended school under his Headmastership, always interested in their journey beyond the gates.

However, in the end, when all is said and done, what has always been most important to Roy are the students. From their first day at Melbourne Grammar, he wanted students to feel welcome and safe at the School, to feel appropriately challenged academically and, importantly, to feel a strong sense of moral purpose.

Roy has a genuine fondness for young people, and it shows. He wants them to do well and he wants them to feel comfortable with who they are while, at the same time, he wants them to ‘reach for the stars’. His immense respect and regard for each individual student has been evident in every interaction he has had with them, even in more challenging moments.

Roy Kelley is an exemplary educator and organisational leader, but it may be his most human qualities that we will remember most.

On behalf of all the staff of the School, I wish Roy the very best in his retirement.

Andrew Boyd Director of Advancement and Admissions, Former Head of Grimwade House

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