18 June 2021
I have always liked going somewhere to examine or discover new things. You never know what is around the corner and who you may connect with during those moments of discovery, which may lead you in a completely new direction or even foster long-lasting friendships.
I did not imagine when I was a student at school that such a trip would be the launch pad to becoming an educator. My favourite subject at school was Design and Technology, and I was blessed to have been educated by a deeply passionate and inspiring educator, Dean Newton, who was an expert at his craft.
As a teacher and mentor he always challenged me to reach my aspirations and excel in both life and Design and Technology. I remember when I asked him a question in Year 8, ’What do I need to do to become a technology teacher?’, a few simple words that shaped my path forever. It was from that moment that I witnessed in greater detail his dedicated approach and love for this subject, and my passion for Design and Technology truly took hold. His outstanding teaching capabilities helped me to become the first female to gain a Merit in Woodcarving/Furniture Design. This was a significant moment not only in my life but in his too.
My interest continued, and following high school I began a teaching degree in this field. It was later during my teaching career at Woodcroft College that we would meet again. I was privileged to now be working with and teaching alongside Dean, his career drawing to a close while mine was only just beginning.
Throughout my time at school, university and work I have been fortunate to travel extensively—from facilitating demonstration classes in China; teaching Mechanics to high school students to become a service crew for one of South Australia’s leading women’s rally drivers, Denise Collins, while competing on the Australian Rally Circuit; travelling both nationally and internationally with softball and lacrosse (player, official and/or spectator); serving on committees representing Middle schooling in Australia; volunteering for community organisations; and hosting and mentoring teachers from around the globe, providing experiences not only for themselves but also for the students that I teach.
Time spent at Brighton High School; teaching in the Engineering Pathway Programs both at Hamilton Secondary School and Edward John Eyre High School, Whyalla; running workshops in China for emerging educators on what constitutes a collaborative classroom and the strategies that align with this practice; and throughout this leading the Middle Schools at Woodcroft College and Seymour College, all contributed and shaped the leader I have become. When I entered the teaching profession, leadership was not at the forefront of my career; this evolved over time. I have always thrived on improving myself and honing my management skills both in and out of the classroom.
As mentioned previously I was inspired by a teacher and entered the profession because of this, but I also attribute my leadership qualifications to the principals I have served, Middle Management personnel, those who have been on committees with me, and finally those I have worked with and met from around the world. I have observed, listened and modelled my leadership on their attributes, traits and approaches, and have aligned these together with my own dispositions, values and moral stance. No matter who enters your life, you can learn something from each of them. This is a lesson many young people need to take hold of as they navigate this complex, changing and dynamic world.
My coaching experience, spanning more than 30 years, also provides me with challenges. I continue to adapt trainings to cater to the young people I oversee, manage and support, to nurture their skills to cope with their conflicting demands (home, life and of course social media!). This continued presence and involvement in coaching keeps me informed, provides perspective and releases me from the hustle and bustle of my working life.
I am honoured to be leading at Pembroke, a School that not only allows me to explore possibilities in leadership, teaching and self, but a community that also provides the same for its students.
Pembroke’s authenticity and values resonated strongly with me. Although only a term has passed I feel that my time here has been much longer. The generous spirit and warmth felt from staff, students and parents has assisted my transition into the School. Discovering the Pembroke community and all that it has to offer will keep me curious and occupied for years to come.
Head of Middle School