Sister Magda

About the Sr. Magda Primary School




The Sister Magda Primary School was founded in August 1978. Mr. Wim Scheerder was the founding principal. The school started out with 160 students, divided over 6 classes. The teaching staff apart from Mr. Scheerder consisted of 5 full time teachers and 4 part time teachers.

The school was named after Sister Magda, a Dominican nun who spends 9 years of her life teaching in the Windward Islands.
In 1991 Mrs. Bernadine van Veen-Richardson took over as principal of the Sister Magda school.
In the school year 1993-1994 it was decided to start with Dutch as the Language of Instruction from grade 1. This decision was taken on the initiative of parents and was sanctioned by our School board.

During the hurricane years 1995-1999 Sister Magda School was severely damaged on more than one occasion. After rebuilding twice it was decided to replace the old buildings that were damaged during the different hurricanes with two new buildings. Nine new classrooms were constructed together with the administration building and the multi purpose room. In the beginning of the new millennium Foundation Based Education was introduced to the island of Sint Maarten and to the Sister Magda School .

In 2003 Mr. Han Schrijvers, long time teacher of the school, was appointed the new school manager. He was faced with the task to lead the Sister Magda School to compliance with the principles of Foundation Based Education.
Recognized in the draft law for F.B.E. as a school in which the Dutch would be the language of instruction, Sister Magda School extended with two kindergarten classes. Soon the need for two more kindergarten classes emerged and together with the R.C. School board an ambitious plan was put together to prepare the school for the challenges ahead.

An extension was made to the school with six new class rooms, one more still had to follow. New materials were introduced and teachers were retrained in the principles of F.B.E.
In 2011 the latest extension of the school took place with the construction of the covered playground, a spacious kitchen and on the first floor the last classroom complemented with a resource center and two offices for the Student Care Coordinators. The school truly became fully equipped for the 380 students enrolled each academic year.

In 2013 Mrs. Jacqueline Holiday took over from Mr. Han Schrijvers as school manager of the Sister Magda School.

In 2016  Mrs. Holiday was replaced by a management team under the direction of Mrs. Janneke Vonk.

At present the school employs 16 full time class teachers, 5 classroom assistants, 2 subject teachers, 2 full time Student Care Coordinators and I cycle coordinator together with the school manager. The non teaching staff consists of one full time administrator and a part time handyman.
The Early Stimulation department of the school employs two full time group leaders whereas the afternoon school is led by volunteer teachers and classroom assistants.
Together with the cleaning company, they maintain the highest standards of Education possible, made visible in the yearly score of 75% of the students of the groups eight leaving for a form of academic secondary education.


Who was Sister Magda?

Sister Magda was born in Amsterdam, on July 27, 1911. She graduated as a teacher in 1929. She joined the congregation of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena in Voorschoten, in the year 1930. 
She took her vows as a religious sister on April 30, 1932.

In November 1936 she sailed to St. Maarten, where she arrived after a voyage of almost a month. She did not stay for long on St. Maarten and in April 1937 she went to Aruba, where she worked for ten years. 
On September 1, 1947, she became the principal of the St. Joseph ULO on St. Maarten.

In August 1953 she was appointed head of the St. Filomena College (MULO) again in Aruba. 
In August 1960 she came back to St. Maarten to become principal of the St Jospeh College (MULO). 
From here she travelled - for the first time by plane- to Holland, for long leave. During this vacation she underwent surgery.

She went to Aruba on sickleave in May 1963. She stayed in Aruba as principal of the H. Hart College (primaryschool).
She travelled to Holland once more - for health reasons - in September 1965. She would not return to her beloved islands in the Caribbean anymore.

On December 5, 1966, she died in Voorschoten. Almost 29 years she spent in the Netherlands Antilles; for over nine years she did her dedicated work in St. Maarten.