Belinda’s story

What inspired you to become a principal and what was your journey to get there?

I've always had a passion for supporting young people to have positive experiences both at school and in the community, to explore their potential, interests and passions. I became a year level coordinator early in my teaching career, before moving into the role of Assistant Principal for 7 years. This increased my passion for supporting our young people to have positive learning experiences at school and enable our school community to work effective together. I feel privileged to be Principal of my school. We are a senior college of over 900 year 11 and 12 students in Mildura. The College provides fantastic opportunities to our regional students to engage in a broad number of subject areas as we provide extensive VCE and VET Courses as well as the Vocational Major and VPC programs.

What aspect of being a leader do you find most rewarding?

Supporting all members of our school community. Helping people work more effectively together and supporting great outcomes for our students. Working with senior students in their final 2 years of school I also love seeing young people come into their own and set of on the next steps in their lives.

What’s worked for you in leading improvement in your context?

Always adjusting to the climate and needs of staff and students. Particularly during and post-COVID, it has been important to adjust to the needs of the school community. Although it is important to have a clear vision and goal, we need to ensure we can get there together.

What are some of the ways you inspire a positive learning culture within your school?

We have a strong focus on being an inclusive and supportive environment. This means we value all destinations for students post-school equally and create an environment where everybody feels included and valued. We recognise that everybody can contribute in different ways and how we respect and support each other to achieve success is what's important.

What opportunities do you see to enhance the quality of teaching and learning?

I have a passion for ensuring that teachers can link their curriculum to the real world. This helps to ensure young people see how their passions in senior subject areas link to industry. It also helps them to see the variety of pathways in the higher education space. We invest in bringing industry into the classroom and taking the classroom to industry, exposing our young people to the opportunities that are in our regional area.

Do you have advice for others who are on the path to become a principal?

Learn about all the different parts of your school. Recognise that all of these parts contribute to the success of the operation, culture and the experience for students and teachers. There is no end point to continuous improvement. Learning to enjoy the journey and the successes along the way is important.