What follows is an abbreviated chronicle of the most turbulent week in recent I.S.M. history. Please email us with corrections or additions at info@ismstakeholders.com


Monday, May 29, 2006. At the Annual General Meeting of the members of I.S.M., Superintendent David Toze delivers a speech that receives a standing ovation from the parents present. In his speech, Mr. Toze says

"This last year, despite the presence of serious, committed and thoughtful Trustees, the Board has arrived at a situation where, in certain ways, it is simply not functioning as it ought. Not through lack of effort; not through lack of time, not through lack of desire but through lack of synergy and lack of understanding of what is its role."

(Read full text of Mr. Toze's Speech at the AGM)

At the same meeting, three new Trustees are elected: Martin Lahm, Hans-Peter Brunner, and Tom Navasero. These three join the 7 other Trustees whose terms had not expired: Jingdong Hua, Christopher Rowan, Rowina Tan-Saban, Burke Fishburn, Gigi Bocanegra, James Concepcion and Leonardo de Mesa. Gigi Bocanegra is elected Board President in the organizational meeting that follows.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006. Following a Board meeting held on May 30, David Toze decides to rescind his contract with the school. He informs the new Board (Toze letter to Board) and the rest of I.S.M. community of his decision (Toze letter to Faculty).

Monday, August 7, 2006. First day of classes as School year 2006-2007 begins.

Friday, August 25, 2006. Trustee Burke Fishburn resigns saying that "It has become clear to me that certain Trustees will continue to pursue personal campaigns and vendettas through the Board. It was evident in recent elections that certain Trustees were elected by openly abusing the proxy voting system, and these Trustees have continued and will continue to act as representatives of a pernicious minority who do not, I believe, represent or promote the best interests of the wider ISM community." (Mr. Fishburn's letter of resignation)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006. The ISMstakeholders.com website is created to provide an alternative means of providing information to the I.S.M community.

The school's Administrators (the Assistant Superintendent, the Principals and the Assistant Principals) send a letter to the Board to make known their unwillingness to work with specific Trustees. The letter states that "we have built a school culture where we ask not only our students but our faculty to be reflective about their practice, celebrate the things that work well, and develop constructive and supportive strategies to inform improvement. We, as Administrators, do not feel this sentiment from some members of the current Board of Trustees, who are quickly destroying faculty morale and undermining administrators and teachers." (Administrators' letter to Board)

That evening, the Board meets but does not discuss the letter of the school Administrators.

Trustee Rowina Tan-Saban resigns saying that "I am acutely concerned that the current Board lacks a constructive partnership with the Leadership Team of the school, is unwilling to communicate openly to members, failing to honor campaign commitments for open, transparent communication with all ISM stakeholders, and in the case of some trustees, is hostile to administrators and teachers." (Ms. Tan-Saban's letter of resignation)

Thursday, August 31, 2006. A number of parents write letters to the Board requesting for copies of Mr. Fishburn's resignation letter and of the letter of the Administrators to the Board.

Friday, September 1, 2006. The Board announces the resignation of Mr. Fishburn and Mrs. Tan-Saban but defers releasing copies of their resignation letters. (Board letter on Tan-Saban and Fishburn resignations)

A message signed by 116 faculty members and staff is sent to the Board President and copied to Parents. The message expresses concern over the resignation of the two Trustees and the withdrawal of the Leadership team from the EDUCOM. The letter invites the Board and the Parents to a meeting with the faculty and staff. The meeting is set for Thursday, September 7. (Faculty Letter to Board)

Monday, September 4, 2006. The Board terminates Mr. Toze's employment and announces that Stephen Dare, Assistant Superintendent, has accepted the responsibilities of the Superintendent. (Board Letter on Termination of Mr. Toze) Mr. Toze is escorted out of his office and out of the school.

Over 200 parents descend at the Fine Arts Theater and demand an explanation from Martin Lahm, who happens to be the only Board member present, on the reasons for Mr. Toze's termination. A petition signed by about 240 parents is circulated, demanding a meeting between the Board and the Parents.

The faculty and staff invite the Board to a meeting the next day, Tuesday, September 5, instead of waiting for the meeting on Thursday, September 7.

That evening, over 200 parents meet at the Manila Polo Club seeking answers to the firing of David Toze. Many of the parents agree that steps should be taken to remove the Trustees and to reconstitute the Board. A goal to collect 800 proxies, representing over 2/3 of the members of I.S.M. is set.

Tuesday, September 5, 2006. Stephen Dare writes the Faculty to announce that, contrary to the announcement of the Board, he has declined the responsibilities of the Superintendent and will continue to act as the Assistant Superintendent. (Dare's email)

The Board writes the community to announce that Stephen Dare has not accepted the responsibilities of the Superintendent (Board email on Dare), contradicting its own email of the previous day.

At 11:30 a.m., the Board writes Parents to announce that there is no meeting between the Faculty, Parents and the Board at 3:00 pm. (Board email on Tue non-meeting)

The ISMstakeholders group makes arrangements for temporary office space at the FBDC Boardroom, Bonifacio Technology Center, Fort Bonifacio, about 1 km from the school.

At 2:19 p.m., President Gigi Bocanegra sends an email to the faculty. The email says that the Board will not meet with the Faculty as a large group but prefers to meet in smaller groups. (Bocanegra email to faculty)

At 3:00 p.m., over 400 parents and 200 faculty and staff meet at the Little Theater. No Trustees are present to address the meeting. At the meeting, it is revealed that a number of email accounts of teachers have been locked or passwords changed upon the instructions of a Trustee. After 30 minutes, the teachers and staff ask to be allowed to meet by themselves. Parents depart the Little Theater.

Parents converge at the HS Gym where they wait patiently for the result of the faculty/staff meeting. President Gigi Bocanegra appears at the door and is offered an opportunity to address the parents. She declines and walks away.

At 4:30 p.m., the teachers and staff finish their meeting and walk to the HS Gym where they announce they will not work until the Board resigns or the requisite numbers of proxies are collected that would allow a recall of the Board. The statement released by 199 teachers and staff state that the action is "to highlight and to state publicly that we no longer hold any confidence in the current board at ISM." (Statement of teachers/staff)

That evening, Trustee Christopher Rowan, who is away from the Philippines, sends his resignation letter. In it, he says that "At this very critical time, I sense a reluctance on the part of the Board to engage with the parents, leadership team, and faculty, except at a time and in a format of our choosing. So far, we had one trustee at an emergency meeting on Monday afternoon, we chose not to participate in a faculty meeting on Tuesday afternoon, and we seem to be trying to over-manage the scheduling and configuration of other meetings, delaying a real engagement with the parents and faculty." (Rowan resignation letter)

Wednesday, September 6, 2006. School is closed as teachers and staff do not report to work.

Parent, teacher and staff volunteers arrive at the ISMstakeholders office to help in making calls and collecting proxies.

At about 1:40 p.m., Trustees Jingdong Hua and James Concepcion send in their resignations. (Hua resignation and Concepcion resignation).

The Leadership Team (Assistant Superintendent, HS Principal, MS Principal, ES Principal, HS Asstant Principal, MS Assistant Principal, and ES Assistant Principal) and the Director of Operations and Security state that they are "lodging a vote of no-confidence in remaining Board members. We do not have confidence that the remaining Board Members are able to effectively participate in the governance of this school. They demand the resignations of the remaining Board members. (Statement of Leadership Team)

At 3:00 p.m., faculty and staff hold a meeting at the Hotel Intercontinental and decide to continue their work stoppage for a second day. (2nd statement from faculty/staff)

At 6:30 p.m., a group of Sustaining members (List of complete Sustaining Members) meet to discuss the crisis. They agree to propose a list of names for an interim Board. Their proposal is refined overnight.

At 7:00 p.m., parents, faculty and staff meet at the Manila Polo Club as the issues are discussed. More proxies are collected that evening.

At 8:35 p.m., the Board sends an email to all parents. It announces the resignations of Trustees Rowan, Concepcion and Hua and discusses the actions of the teachers and staff. (Board letter on Rowan, etc.)

Even later that evening, Martin Lahm sends his resignation (Lahm resignation), leaving Bocanegra, Navasero, Brunner and De Mesa as the remaining Trustees.

Thursday, September 7, 2006. School is closed for a second day as teachers and staff do not report for work.

More parent, teacher and staff volunteers arrive at the ISMstakeholders office to help in making calls. By that afternoon, over 800 proxies are collected.

At 10:00 a.m., President Bocanegra and Trustees Navasero and De Mesa meet with some parents and teachers at the Fine Arts Theater.

At 11:30 a.m., President Bocanegra meets with parents from the ADB at the ADB offices. Stephen Dare and Parent Fred Uytengsu also are present at this meeting with the ADB parents.

At 5:00 p.m., faculty and staff meet at the Fine Arts Theater.

President Bocanegra and Trustees Navasero, De Mesa, and Brunner (with Mr. Navasero signing on behalf of Mr. Brunner who is out of the country) sign a note addressed to Steve Dare to "indicate in writing (their) resignation. Formal letter to follow." (Note from 4 Trustees)

At 7:00 p.m., parents, faculty and staff meet at the Manila Golf Club where it is announced that over 800 proxies had been collected, that the remaining Trustees had agreed to resign and that school will reopen the next day. Mr. Paul Jones, Charge' d' Affaires of the Embassy of the United States of America and an ISM parent, reads the proposal of the Sustaining Members. (Proposal of Sustaining Members)

Stephen Dare, Assistant Superintendent, officially announces that classes will resume the next day (Dare email).

Friday, September 8, 2006. Classes resume.

Mr. Navasero appears at Board office in the morning. However, no formal letters of resignation are received from Mrs. Bocanegra or Messrs. Navasero, Brunner or De Mesa by the end of the day.

By the evening, 816 letters are submitted to and received by the Corporate Secretary. The letters request the Corporate Secretary to call for a meeting of the members of I.S.M. for the purpose of recalling all the Trustees and/or electing new Trustees. The By-Laws require that a meeting for the recall of Trustees needs to be requested in writing by a majority of the members -- this condition is easily met.

Saturday, September 9, 2006. Formal resignation letters are received by email from Mr. Brunner at 7:14 a.m., Mr. De Mesa at 7:53 p.m., Mr. Navasero at 8:16 p.m., and Mrs. Bocanegra at 10:07 p.m. (Resignation letters of Brunner, De Mesa, Navasero, and Bocanegra)

Monday, September 11, 2006. The Corporate Secretary issues a notice of a meeting of the members of I.S.M. on the basis of a letter request signed by the requisite number of members. The meeting is set for Monday, September 18, 2006. The agenda includes the removal of Trustees and/or declaration of vacancies on the Board and the election of Trustees. (Notice of Meeting)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006. On behalf of many I.S.M. parents, sustaining members and ex-Trustees, ISMstakeholders submits a total of 886 proxies to the corporate office. The website however continues to encourage all parents to attend the meeting in person.

Friday, September 15, 2006. Nominations for the Board of Trustees close at 4:00 pm. The list of candidates are announced. Only the 10 candidates nominated in the proposal of the Sustaining members are on the official list.

Monday, September 18, 2006. The Special Meeting of the Members of I.S.M. is held. Over 619 members attend in person and another 342 proxies are recognized. The total attendance of 961 represents 79.8% of all the members. Two (2) official representatives of the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission are in attendance to observe the proceedings. At the meeting, all 10 nominees of the Sustaining members are elected to the Board of Trustees. See results.