Home' Aurora : Aurora April 2014 Contents 19
www.mn.catholic.org.au Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle
SCHOOL LEADERSHIP IS ABOUT
THE HEART AND MIND
OF A CHILD
Principal of Holy Name Primary School,
For ster, Mark Mowbray, has been awarded
the John Laing Memorial Award by Principals
Australia Institute. He is cur rently Acting
Principal at St Joseph's, Taree; Commissioner,
NSW Catholic Education Commission;
Primary Chair, NSW Association of Catholic
School Principals; Vice President, Australian
Catholic Primary Principals Association and
a member of the National Executive Council,
Australian Primar y Principals Association.
Aurora invited Mark to share some thoughts
on effective school leader ship. The principles
of leader ship, of cour se, have much
In recent year s education has become
more and more prominent on the national
agenda. The key role of leader ship in
schools has also been at the centre of
inter national discussion. Interestingly, these
discussions occur when there is a real
shor tage of people wanting to take on this
role in schools.
We all know the value of a great education,
and acknowledge the impor tance of
quality teaching and lear ning. However,
a quality education is more likely to be
realised when the school's leader ship
team, in par ticular, the principal, provides
I have been a teacher for 34 year s and a
principal for the pa st 24. I am passionate
about education, about Catholic education
and about the cr ucial role of the
I was for tunate enough eight years
ago to attend
in Cape Town. It
was an amazing
educational, social and
The aftermath of
apartheid was still
raw; the relationship
between black and
white still ver y unstable.
Tutu was a keynote speaker.
He described a dream that God
has. It is a dream of "a world where
ugliness and squalor and pover ty, its
war and hostility, its greed and harsh
competitiveness, are changed into their
glorious counterpar ts, when there will
be more laughter, joy and peace, where
ther e will be justice and goodness
Archbishop Tutu saw education as the
means to this dream becoming a reality.
He charged the 2000 principals present
with that awesome responsibility.
Sixteen year-old Malala Yousafzai shar ed
a similar goal for education when she
addressed the United Nations last year,
just nine months after being shot by the
Taliban for speaking up for the rights of
girls to be educated.
She was lauded as "an icon
of courage and hope"
when she shared her
belief that "one child,
one teacher, one book,
one pen can change
Ben Jensen from
the Grattan Institute
has 'strong leader ship'
as the key element in
lifting schools to be great.
He knows the complexity,
the diver sity and the enor mity
of the role of School Principal and the
impor tance of having quality leadership in
every school in Australia .
The Principals Austr alia Institute has
developed a framework for thinking
and oper ating as a school leader built
around five foundational statements. The
first statement is the key, "Leader ship
star ts from within." You have to know
who you are, what you stand for, and
what you believe in. As a leader in a
Catholic school your faith life is immensely
impor tant. It provides the path to
Seven years ago I par ticipated in my first
real cross-sectional professional lear ning,
the "Leading Austr alia's Schools" cour se.
Since then I have enjoyed working with
principals at local, state and national level.
As par t of a Masters of Inter national
Education Policy, I was for tunate also to
work with principals in Sweden, Germany
Each oppor tunity gives me the privilege of
working with other principals who really
want to make a difference -- within our
profession, and within education across
My time as a principal and my work in
a multitude of forums around Austr alia
has taught me that school leader ship
is about the hear t and mind of a child.
It is not about politicising; it is about
transfor ming teaching and learning. It is
not about high stakes testing; it is about
suppor ting the needs of families and
streng thening communities. It is not about
centralised control; it's about creativity,
professionalism and trust.
Or a s Nelson Mandela said, "It's about
making every home, every shack or rickety
structur e a centre of lear ning."
"It's about making
every home, every
shack or rickety
structure a centre
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