Home' Independence : Independence Vol 35 No 1 May 2010 Contents 48 Independence Vol 35 No 1 May 10
Dr Judith Hancock was Headmistress
of Brisbane Girls’ Grammar School
from 1977 to 2001 and Administrator
of Rockhampton Girls Grammar
School from 2002 to 2003.
• Your role as Head of an independent
school – of any school – should really
be a vocation, not just a job. That
implies that you should be modelling
the values you adhere to whether
you’re at home or at school. You are a
role model for young people and staff,
so be careful. But always ensure you’ve
got balance between home and school
and that you’ve got time for fun. Don’t
forget to laugh!
• Appreciate you’re human and therefore
never perfect but that you are in
a public space. Accept you’ve got
weaknesses, that you’re not perfect and
that you’re not invincible. But don’t
wear your heart on your sleeve.
• Before you accept the role as Head of
any school be absolutely sure that your
philosophy is in line with that of the
governing body and hence the school.
Don’t go in thinking, I don’t like this
and I don’t like that and I’ll change
it. Because you won’t. You must be
on the same page philosophically;
it can’t be a token fit. Having been
on many interviewing panels for
Heads in the past 10 years I don’t
believe many people who apply for
Headship have a philosophy about
education. When asked why they
believe they should be Head of the
school, too many candidates say,
‘Oh I’m ready for a Headship’ or
offer some other facile response. The
point is rather, why do you believe
you should be the next Head of this
school – not any school, but this
school. The person who can’t answer
that question from a strongly held
philosophical position is not a leader.
want done, but I need You to show
me and then I’m prepared to be Your
voice and Your hands in this place
and in that role’. I wasn’t looking to
shirk responsibility, but I found that
to pray in that way increased my
confidence generally, for instance,
when employing – or choosing not to
employ – staff.
John Moody AM
AHISA National Chair
Dr Judith Hancock AM
AHISA National Chair
Dr Gordon Donaldson
AHISA National Chair
Be an enabler rather than
a disabler. The Head is
an umbrella providing
cover and shelter under
which others can grow,
but the Head can disable
so much through lack of
encouragement. You have
a prime responsibility
to enable initiatives and
enable young staff to
grow in self-confidence.
John Moody was Co-Principal of
Pembroke School, Kensington Park, SA
when it formed from the amalgamation
of King’s College and Girton Girls’ School
in 1974, until 1979. He was Headmaster
of Guildford Grammar School, Perth, WA
from 1979 to 1996.
• As Socrates is supposed to have said,
you’ve got to know yourself. You’ve
got to be honest with yourself and
say, well, I’ve got these strengths
but I’ve also got these weaknesses.
Unless you make that sort of self
audit you’re not going to make
the right choices of those people,
particularly very senior people, who
are on your leadership team. You’ve
got to make sure that they have
qualities that are not your strengths.
• Know and attend to your students,
your staff and your parents in that
order. If a student, member of staff
and a parent are all asking to see you,
choose to see the student first. Students
are what it’s all about.
• You’ve got to delegate and that
means you must have chosen wisely
in the first instance. Delegation is
important. You can’t handle everything
– which isn’t to say you don’t have
your finger on the pulse! – and it’s
professionally enriching for those
who have delegated responsibilities.
Dr Gordon Donaldson was Principal of
Scotch College, Hawthorn, Vic from 1983
• A new Head must work hard to
develop and maintain a strong
relationship with the Chair of the
school board – a relationship firmly
based on honesty and trust. Make
sure there is regular and frequent
communication with the Chair.
Try to make sure the Chair is never
taken by surprise, that is, the Chair
must know of a situation, especially
a negative one, before it becomes
public knowledge. The relationship
is of critical importance and is worth
all the effort you put into it.
• Have confidence in delegation. Learn
to delegate effectively and efficiently.
• Appoint the very best staff you can
find, and believe in your students.
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