While my first two weeks at Greater Shepparton Secondary College have been eventful (to say the least!), I can confidently say that I have never felt more welcomed by a school community. The staff and students of the Wanganui campus have been as supportive and friendly as one could ask for, and have made the process of moving from a small school in a small town, to quite the opposite situation, as easy as possible.
I spoke to our staff at Wanganui on Friday last week about our need to recognise and acknowledge the trials that our students have had to go through this year, and on Monday we reminded those same students that, even though they were probably getting sick of being told what a difficult and challenging year it has been, that they should nonetheless take care of their own health and mental wellbeing, and seek support if its needed. I’ve met with a lot of the wellbeing and student support staff here at the College already, and I am confident that they will provide the best support to those students who are finding the events of 2020, and of course the last few days as well, difficult to manage.
Since arriving here at the Wanganui campus, I have begun learning about the students of the College, their learning and social needs, and how our staff are addressing those needs.
I come from a school that, while much smaller, has a similar range of diverse learning needs.
Although the scope may be different, the fundamental truth remains – and that is that we have a moral imperative as educators in the public-school system to ensure that we close the gap and provide the best learning opportunities for all students.
My position as an educator, perhaps shaped by my context in a school faced with immense disadvantage, has always revolved around being responsive to those diverse needs and to always aim to create and maintain responsive schools that students deserve, and parents and carers can expect.
I began my teaching career in 1999 at Edenhope College. Over many years of teaching VCE English, VCE Business Management, VCE History and a range of secondary humanities subjects and levels, I became principal of the same school in 2016.
I also have a passion for historical study and research. As a teacher I have had extensive experience teaching and managing student needs at the highest levels, and have had experience delivering HTAV revision lectures for VCE Ancient History. As a leading teacher (from 2011), managing senior students from years 10 to 12, I developed a strong sense of how best to support and meet the varied needs of 21st century students.
I have become, over the past few years, a strong advocate for the teaching of 21st century skills, such as problem solving, communicating, working in teams, and thinking skills. Our students have educational needs that are constantly evolving, and their futures, perhaps more so than our own, are most unpredictable. They are beginning their adult lives in a world that is perhaps more uncertain, with constantly shifting goalposts, than at perhaps any other time in history. As an educator I am committed to preparing our students for the world of the future, not simply for the world of the present.
I am committed to public education. The gift of the love of learning is the greatest gift we can give our children. It is the most important gift I can give to my five children at home, and to every child in classrooms in which I have taught.
Thank you again for those students and staff who have already made me feel so very welcomed. As one of the Executive Team at Greater Shepparton Secondary College, I am extremely excited to play my part in fostering this love of learning in a new and wider community.
Wanganui Campus Principal