The imminent departure of the principal of the Greek Community of Melbourne’s language programs has been unwelcome news for those involved in Greek language education circles.

The Community’s efforts directed towards the Greek government to facilitate an extension of Mr Tzimpragos’s tenure unfortunately did not bear fruit. He leaves behind a successful legacy where the Community expanded its programs and campuses, made a conscious effort to improve its teaching staff and professional development, and also modernize its curriculum.

The role of the new incoming principal has been offered to Maria Bakalidou. Orestiada-born Maria came to Australia with her family in 2012, as part of the wave of migrants fleeing the Greek economic crisis of the last decade. Maria graduated in philology from the Aristoteleio University of Thessaloniki and has been employed in the Greek Community’s language schools since 2013 in various capacities. She was instrumental in the setting up of two new campuses to meet the needs of recently arrived students from Greece. Her other roles include overseeing the new outer suburb campuses and also being the VCE coordinator. Working very closely with Mano all these years has allowed her to appreciate the challenges, opportunities and prospects of the Community’s diverse language programs.

Ms Bakalidou will take over the role in early July and we are hopeful that her energy, passion and enthusiasm for Greek language learning will allow the Community’s programs to continue to prosper in years ahead.