What inspired you to become a principal and what was your journey to get there?
As my career developed, I realised I could have a more significant impact on a school and its community by becoming a principal. I started as a classroom teacher at Sarah Redfern, honed my teaching at Homebush Boys, took a head teacher’s role
at Westfields Sports, and experienced life as a deputy principal and relieving principal at Belmore Boys. At each leadership step, I had wonderful colleagues to mentor, guide and encourage me, and my level of enjoyment seemed to grow with each.
In 2015 I was fortunate to be selected as the substantive principal of Endeavour Sports High School. I can honestly say that I love my job and my school.
What aspect of being a leader do you find most rewarding?
That’s easy to answer: supporting staff to do their jobs well so that students succeed. I love the idea of servant leadership, and I get much satisfaction out of seeing others achieve and derive enjoyment from initiatives that I have led.
What’s worked for you in leading improvement in your context?
I’ve been able to build strong relationships, based on mutual respect, with the members of my community. Developing a clear vision, implementing it using strategies with proven success, and gaining staff support have been fundamental. I would
also say that celebrating our success and showing gratitude have also been essential.
What are some of the ways you inspire a positive learning culture within your school?
Although Endeavour is a designated sports high school, we make learning our number one priority. We emphasise the ‘student’ in student athlete and have a mantra that a sporting career can be over in a heartbeat, but an education is for
life. The overwhelming majority of what we do happens in the classroom, and most of our energy and focus goes into supporting and enhancing teaching and learning.
What opportunities do you see to enhance the quality of teaching and learning?
There are some constants in quality teaching and learning that will always stand the test of time; however, I firmly believe that we must constantly evaluate what we do. It requires an open mind to the possibility that I/we may be wrong and that we
will make mistakes. The famous economist John Maynard Keyes is reported to have once said, “When my information changes, I change my mind. What do you do?” Technology, particularly AI, a changing economy, and moving demographics, and
shifting community priorities will always present opportunities and challenges.
Do you have advice for others who are on the path to become a principal?
It is the most enjoyable and challenging job in education. No two days are the same, and you learn to manage the most extraordinary things with equanimity. It’s critical to build a good team around you and ensure that they are well-supported,
and that support will be reciprocated.