Hi. My name is Sharon and I’m the Principal of the Royal Far West School. Schools are busy environments, and I am always amazed at how much needs to be achieved in a school day. As a leader, I feel proud to explain to people that I am the Principal of such a hardworking and dedicated team whose members support country students from rural and remote areas across NSW, particularly as I understand how the power of a school like ours can make a positive difference in a child’s life.
As a Principal, I constantly look for ways to connect people together. To be an effective leader, being organised, focused and informed are some of the keys to success. Being an effective Principal is hard work and is also time-consuming, therefore I must be efficient in practices such as prioritising, scheduling, and organisation. I am fortunate to have a trustworthy team who make the demands of the job easier by assisting with tasks.
How long have you been here? Have you seen any changes in the sorts of issues children have during this time?
I began my role as Relieving Principal in June this year, and unfortunately during that time I have not met any students face-to-face, because of COVID-19, and have only met them via case conference or video conference. I look forward to the time when families and students return to the Royal Far West School here at Manly.
What led you to work here?
Before stepping over to the Royal Far West School, I was the Deputy Principal at Stewart House School. Like many people, I always wondered about the similarities and differences of these two unique schools. There are many differences, however the common factor in any school, be it Stewart House School, Royal Far West School or any other school, is the positive impact that school can provide on a student’s learning.
I believe every child has the right to the health, education and developmental care that will help them unlock their potential, and Royal Far West and Stewart House certainly address these criteria.
Describe your typical day
Beginning my day early, I walk my two dogs Olive and Poppy (Gordon Setters) and I will often answer emails from home before arriving at work at 8am. My drive to work allows me to listen and sing to my favourite playlist. Once in the CCK building my day generally begins with a meeting with staff on site and/or over a Zoom meeting, or with other Principals in the local area or with schools where our students are being supported. I have an alarm set in my phone at 10am as a reminder to submit the daily absences of staff to the department, and I am not sure what happens after this alarm, as the next thing I know the lights are dimming in my office at the end of the day!
I immerse myself in all aspects of the school day, checking in with staff and monitoring daily activities to be completed, as well as any emerging issues. No day is the same as the one before. Just when I think I have a clear plan, a curve ball can be thrown my way. I have learnt to expect the unexpected and always be prepared to deal with whatever situations arise whilst maintaining a focus on ways to improve.
Remaining calm in difficult situations, thinking before acting, and considering the needs of the school is always at the forefront of my mind.
What’s the best thing about working with families from rural and remote Australia?
Providing enriching educational opportunities has always been an important part of my teaching portfolio and I have dedicated my 30+ years in education to greater educational engagement and positive experiences for students. I love knowing the school is providing this support to families and students from rural and remote areas.
What do you think makes this school, and RFW unique?
The team at the Royal Far West School supports parents, carers, schools and students, ensuring enriched educational outcomes are making a difference for students. This year has been a challenge with families not coming to Manly, however the support has continued across country NSW this year, despite major challenges. It has reinforced the significant role teachers play in the lives of children and students, their families and communities.
The best teachers teach from the heart, not from the book. The staff at Royal Far West School have the biggest hearts!
Find out more about the Royal Far West School.
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