There are some things that you get to be a part of in life that are truly special. As a new teacher embarking on their career, you hope that the principal of your school will support you in every way possible and that they have a passion for education that is both evident and infectious. So it is with mixed feelings that I begin today knowing that yesterday was the last day I worked under the leadership of someone who truly believes in the good that comes from public education. That person is Mrs Cecily Blake, retiring Principal of Stromlo High School.
I look back over the last 7 years and I realise that the successes I’ve had so far in my career have come about not just as a result of my hard work and desire to improve the lives of the students I teach, but also because I’ve worked for a Principal that has been supportive of my desires to not only develop as an educator, but also to innovate and experiment with new ways of teaching in my classroom. I’ve been encouraged to improve and enhance the curriculum I’ve taught; been given opportunities to work with staff from within my school, across the ACT and around Australia to develop my pedagogical and content knowledge; and supported in my career advancement as I’ve moved between jobs and considered applying for others.
I’ve seen the school continue to improve and the educational opportunities for our students grow and evolve as new initiatives and programs have been introduced and championed. Thousands of students have been given a great start to young adulthood because the decisions being made have had their best interests at their very core, and they’ve been provided with the guidance and support structures they’ve needed to succeed.
I’ve watched as new resources, teaching aids and technologies have been funded and implemented to keep the learning environment as interesting and modern as is possible in a building that lacks the design features needed for a 21st century education. As professional learning opportunities have been identified and targeted for staff, and financial assistance and time was given to those who want to succeed and grow as teachers.
None of this has been as smooth as my post might seem to suggest – there have been ups and downs, obstacles to overcome and major challenges along the way – but there is no doubt in my mind that Cecily leaves Stromlo knowing that it is a better place now than it was when she arrived, for the staff, students and the local community.
Cecily – you will be missed by many in our community, but you leave behind a legacy of innovation and excellence in education that everyone will continue to uphold and deliver on well into the future. I’m looking forward to the challenges next year will bring knowing that you’ve done all you can to help ensure our success in your absence. Enjoy your retirement – I hope that when the time comes for me to hang up my hat, I too can boast of a successful career that has had a positive impact on the lives of many.