From the Interim Principal - November 2019

From the Interim Principal - November 2019

From the Interim Principal – November 2019

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Our Graduating Seniors

The School celebrated the Seniors of 2019 on Friday 15 November with a final assembly filled with fun and good humour as year groups paid tribute to the girls’ journey through St Hilda’s. A highlight every year is the ‘Chicken Dance’ performed by Year 1 alongside the graduating students who have been at St Hilda’s since the beginning of their schooling. Poetry (Dr Seuss style), music, (drawing on the works of Elton John), drama (providing insight into the memorable moments across 13 years at St Hilda’s), film and photography visually represented years of sports carnivals, camps, market days, dance classes, the Formal and more, and celebrated a truly remarkable group of young women.

On the evening of Graduation, School Captain Emily Dougherty spoke beautifully, reminding her cohort of their many achievements. She reminded us, with her signature wry sense of humour, of the importance of girls working together to achieve the extraordinary. Guest speaker, Megan Sandeman, 2014 School Captain, likewise spoke of the enduring influence of the School’s motto, Non Nobis Solum, on the lives of St Hilda’s girls. Megan drew comparisons with the great female leaders of the late 20th and early 21st century, who have lived not for themselves alone.

The School is indeed very fortunate to have a history of being led by remarkable young women. During the Reflection Service, which precedes Graduation, we listened to Year 12 students recall their time at school and express their gratitude to friends and family. I was reminded of the wonderfully engaging women I had met the previous Saturday at the Old Girls’ Reunion. Former Brisbane Lord Mayor, Sallyanne Atkinson, well known for her vision in transforming the landscape of the city to make the most of its river frontage, was among those who had returned to celebrate decades of friendship and reminisce about boarding experiences and shared memories. Friendship and shared experiences can sustain us through life’s challenges, and I believe our 2019 graduates will, like those who have gone before them for 107 Years, reap the benefits of this long-standing feature of girls’ education.

Special Programs

As our Seniors departed, the rest of the School returned to examination blocks, followed by Special Programs. I would like to commend the enrichment program coordinated by Mrs Jacka, Mrs Sanburg and Mrs Brodar along with our creative teaching staff, which has enabled students to deepen their experience and understanding in the core subjects – Mathematics, Science, and English. This program also empowered girls to discover more about themselves with sessions including specially designed STEM activities, leadership programs, self-defence classes, Rangoli design and creation, a Renaissance Festival, and for Year 7, Learn to Row mornings. We have appreciated the feedback parents have taken the time to provide to staff. It is wonderful to hear that girls have formed new interests following these enrichment days.

2019 Speech Day

Parents will have received their invitation to join us for our 2019 Speech Day on Thursday 28 November commencing at 9.30am in the Sports Complex. We look forward to honouring the girls’ academic achievements and enjoying the music capably directed by Miss Kelly. We hope that Speech Day provides students with the chance to celebrate their belonging to the St Hilda’s community at the final culminating event of the school year.

2020 Academic Year

It gives me great pleasure to announce that Mr David Goodburn has been appointed Head of Learning and Teaching and will be leading a reinvigorated team. Mr Tim Crowe, Assistant Head of Learning and Teaching will now lead Data  Analytics and Student Performance in his role, and Miss Rachel Horner has accepted the second Assistant Head of Learning and Teaching position, with responsibilities for Administration, the daily organisation of the School, and the Co-curricular program. I look forward to introducing you to the Learning and Teaching team who will be supporting Heads of Faculty and teaching staff, at our return-to-school information evenings for parents on Wednesday 29 January for Senior School, and Thursday 30 January for Middle School. Each evening will commence with an opportunity to meet new parents and welcome returning families with drinks outside the Bev Philben Room at 6pm.

David Goodburn has over 32 years’ experience in education having taught in Queensland and New South Wales. He is currently the Head of English at Somerset College where he has served for 20 years. David holds a Master of Arts in English and Education, a Diploma of Education and a Bachelor of Arts. David is an outstanding educator with a focus on inspired teaching, curriculum development and implementation, and authentic leadership. He has the ability to encourage students to build their character through effective pastoral care and is known for his positive professional relationships with students, parents and staff. David will take forward our curriculum review, pedagogical practice, and professional learning with an emphasis on a growth model of coaching and mentoring.

In other staff news, we will be welcoming to the English Faculty Dr Jill Magerison, also formerly of Somerset College. Mrs Nathalie Newton-Walters, formerly of St Andrews Anglican College, and Miss Hannah Calcino from St Margaret’s School will be joining our Humanities Faculty.

I spoke with Mrs Karen McNamee last week. Many have made enquires and it is good to report that Karen is slowly managing her recovery and has expressed her desire to return to the Math classroom full time next year. We are most grateful for her leadership of our Year 9 cohorts for 11 years and the contribution she has made to the girls’ growing sense of independence and maturity at this stage of their schooling. Karen’s math tutorials of an afternoon are well attended by students from every year level who have developed a real sense of self agency through Karen’s pedagogic approach. Mrs Jill Moore, Head of Sport, is also making some progress with her health and is hoping to return to St Hilda’s during 2020. Jill’s ability to develop a strong team approach has enabled Mrs Mel Lilley to very capably lead Sport throughout 2019; we are most appreciative of Mel’s commitment and pleased to announce that she will continue in the acting role during 2020 and work alongside Jill when she returns. Mr Jake McLean will also continue with us, ably supporting St Hilda’s sport administration team.

Mrs Julie-Anne Johnston leaves us to begin a new stage in her teaching career after 12 years of dedication to St Hilda’s girls. Mrs Amanda Jansen will also be leaving us after 8 years of commitment to students in her work in Humanities and English. We wish both all the very best as they undertake this next stage in their careers and thank them for the many years of generous service they have given to our community, not only in the classroom, but with all the various roles that teachers support with house, debating, camps and co-curricular activities.

Richard Ham has announced his retirement. Richard’s support of our Music program and as an accompanist in Chapel, for choirs and music examinations has been greatly appreciated by St Hilda’s staff and students for 19 years. His appearances at the Gala Concert will be missed.

Mrs Susan Sanburg commences her year’s Long Service Leave at the end of this school year. We will miss Susan but wish her a most enjoyable year filled with rest and relaxation. Mrs Sheri Upasiri has been working closely with Middle School this term and will assume the acting position at the commencement of 2020.

Musical 2020

We are thrilled to be producing the musical Matilda, with performances scheduled at HOTA on the 1st and 2nd of May 2020. Auditions will be held early in the new year and I encourage all families to save this date on their calendar. It promises to be a superb production with our students having the opportunity to sing, perform and play the memorable music and script developed by Australian Tim Minchin, based on Roald Dahl’s classic novel.

Thank You to the St Hilda’s Community

In this final newsletter of the year, I would like to thank you for your generous support and the confidence you have shown in me since I accepted leadership of the School in July. It is a privilege to serve families who aspire for their daughters to experience a breadth of opportunities, to develop their interests and curiosity, and to embrace challenges that come with this drive. I have appreciated many opportunities to meet with individual families and learn from our conversations what is important to you and your daughters.

Staff at St Hilda’s have shown absolute dedication and commitment to our academic programs throughout the year. They have mapped out new programs and assessment practices to align with the new Senior syllabus. This has ensured that learning experiences in each year level develop the skills students now require to succeed with external testing.

As the year comes to a close, I am eager to participate in sessions St Hilda’s staff will present following their voluntary involvement in Stage 2 of our Strategic Plan review. In 2020, I look forward to inviting students, parents and our wider St Hilda’s community to participate in Stage 3 of our Strategic Plan. Dates for forums and other avenues for dialogue and feedback will be announced in the new year.

I expressed my appreciation at the Principal’s and OGA Cocktail Party to our support groups for their great contribution to the life of the School, and I would also like to extend my thanks to the St Hilda’s staff and School Council who continue to serve our community every day with such vigour and devotion.

I wish you in advance all the very best as we move into December and ask that you keep all those who have endured loss and suffered from the prevailing drought, and recent fires in your thoughts and prayers.

Ms Wendy Lauman
Interim Principal

Love, Compassion, Forgiveness, Hope, Grace