What school did you teach at prior to Newhaven?
I have most recently been at Melbourne Grammar School in South Yarra where the two roles I held were deputy headmaster/head of senior school and director of staff.
Prior to that I had a long career at Xavier College in Kew.
I am very grateful to both schools and had some wonderful experiences, opportunities and mentors. What did you learn in your last role that you will bring with you to this role?
What I learnt most was the importance of creating a culture of excellence through inspiring young people.
Students perform best when they are in an environment where they are encouraged and have the confidence to fulfil their true potential.
I also learnt the important place of building positive relationships in a successful school – relationships between students, staff, parents, families and the community.
Do you have a connection to Phillip Island and what do you love about the area?
I have been coming here for holidays my entire life. Firstly, at the Shire Caravan Park in Cowes and then my family bought our holiday house in Ventnor which my parents made their permanent home over 20 years ago.
My father, Frank, who was also a school principal, passed away in 2012 and we had a great celebration of his life at St Philips Anglican Church.
My mother, Norma, has a wonderful friendship group here and lives a busy and happy life.
I have many great memories of Phillip Island and am thrilled to be relocating here permanently.
I love the natural environment and sense of warmth in the community – it is such a welcoming and friendly place.
What is your vision for the school as a whole?
To create a culture of excellence.
This would be done by developing a rich and diverse academic programme, as well as pastoral care that encourages each young person’s unique gifts and talents to flourish.
And whilst we will have high expectations, school needs to be fun.
It is my hope that students can find the time to laugh each day as they learn about themselves and their place in the world.
Newhaven has made extraordinary strides in recent years.
The buildings are unparalleled and with the construction of the performing arts wing well underway, the facilities are only getting better.
The school has a very exciting future.
What is your philosophy on education?
Education is about the head, the heart and the hands.
The head focuses on the mind as we challenge and inspire each young person to grow their intellectual capacity.
The heart is their ethical and spiritual self.
Each student needs to understand their responsibility to our world as global citizens through respect and empathy for others and the environment.
And the hands are all about doing, which is so important in the development of young people – creating, playing, building and experiencing.
Students grow through kinesthetic activities in areas such as the visual and performing arts, playing sport and experiences in nature.
Do you see the curriculum expanding in any way?
Newhaven offers a wonderful array of subjects.
My focus will be on deepening the quality of the teaching and learning programme and ensure every young person has a truly holistic education.
Our improved facilities will continue to see us refine what we offer and how we do it, with the chance to do more.
I will be ensuring that all of our children and early adolescents experience a broad range of learning areas before specializing in the senior years.
How will you continue the school’s reputation for excellent VCE results?
As a school we were very pleased with our 2020 VCE results but not surprised.
That cohort of students had been prepared for many years prior to Year 12.
Success in Year 12 begins at the very start of their schooling by inspiring a love of learning and instilling the right habits for each student to fulfil their potential.
As a school we want to continue to set high expectations for everyone, staff and students alike, and create an academic culture where each individual can achieve their best.
Do you think it’s important to engage the wider community with the school community and how will you go about doing that?
In order for Newhaven to achieve its potential we want to be a welcoming place where students, staff, families and the broader community work together, side-by-side.
We want to have an open door to our community through community partnerships, sharing of facilities, employment initiatives and environmental opportunities, as well as the provision of pathways for young people beyond school.
It is my hope that all our students who are educated at Newhaven leave with confidence, a sense of purpose, and a feeling of positivity about their future lives.
To do that requires the efforts of not just the school but the broader community.