The Year of Thriving Together
Earlier in the year I sent a short video message encouraging students to balance their ‘to do’ list with their ‘to be’ list.
Our ‘to do’ list never seems to diminish. We are distracted like never before and it can be our default to just write our list and tick it off. I encouraged our students, and our community, to pause and think about doing less – and being more.
Understanding ourselves and truly knowing others is where we find true fulfilment and I’m optimistic this mindset is becoming a cornerstone of our Caulfield Grammar School community. It is why we say that student achievement and the pursuit of excellence will always be of utmost importance to us at Caulfield Grammar School – but it is not why we exist.
We exist to enable young people to find their pathway, to be connected, to fuel their passions and to bring their true authentic selves to school each day. Because of how our students have ‘been’ throughout this year, there is a unique sense of connectedness that I haven’t felt before. I thank them for this.
At the start of each year, I enjoy time away with my family. I set aside time to be alone and write down statements to focus my leadership for the year ahead. Some guiding guard rails that I refer to regularly to help keep me balanced. My ‘to be’ list, in fact.
Some remain year on year, others come and go depending on where I believe I need to focus my leadership. Some from this year included:
- asking the right questions
- owning my time
- making 12 decisions a year – not 12 decisions a day
- trusting above all else. If I lose trust – address it
- being interested
- staying humble … and smiling!
At the top of the list and I think it’ll be at the top of the list every year was:
- don’t become an irrelevant leader in a blue suit.
Why was this at the top of my list?
Because regardless of the size, scale and complexity of our large multi-campus School, I fundamentally believe our students need to know their Principal cares and makes decisions with them at the core. Remaining focussed on what matters in schools has never been more important than during this year. Schools have many competing priorities and demands and there is a risk you can lose sight of your core purpose, especially during times of adversity. Our students’ resilience and optimism has been a great barometer throughout the year and at all times decisions have been made with them at the centre.
Our students have shown they have inner drive and fortitude; they can and will do great things. The vulnerability they’ve felt in 2020 will be their strength in 2021 and beyond. The remarkable courage to continually show up, and the kindness, compassion and care they provided to each other inspires me and our School community for what lies ahead.
Every Principal in Australia will thank their staff at end of year celebrations and appropriately so. I remain unapologetically biased that Caulfield Grammar School has the most outstanding group of professionals. Professionals who truly care about our students and our School.
The spotlight has been on our profession like never before and what a wonderful opportunity this was for people to gain a true appreciation of the positive impact educators have on the lives of young people. I thank each and every member of staff at Caulfield Grammar School for their contribution, sacrifice, and willingness to smile along the way.
As the year concludes, we farewell members of staff who have enriched our School with their professionalism, enthusiasm and commitment. Paul Runting, Deputy Principal – Head of Wheelers Hill Campus will, after 15 years, step away from this position where he is looking forward to taking a break from the intense commitment that his role demands and to spending quality time with his family. Paul has been an exemplary leader in our School and I am very grateful to him for the outstanding contribution he has made and wish him all the very best.
I also thank and acknowledge the following long serving members of staff who have, or will be, concluding their employment at our School: Lynne Davies, Lin Thomson, Bronwyn Spain, John Hesse, Carolyn Rowland, Chris Bowen, Janine Evans, Peter Fry and Roger Creed.
Our Caulfield Grammar community shone brightly throughout 2020. I sincerely thank our students, our staff, our families, our alumni and our Foundation supporters for your continued trust and passion for our School.
Labora ut Requiescas
Ashleigh Martin – Principal