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Back to school for two stand-out principals

Two NSW principals have won the opportunity to learn from the best after being selected for this year’s prestigious Public Education Foundation Harvard Scholarships.

Ann Caro from Lithgow High School and Jesmond Zammit from Gorokan Public School will travel to the Harvard Graduate School of Education in the United States to undertake a professional education program tailor-made for principals to further strengthen their leadership.

Ann Caro was recognised for her career-long commitment to working in areas of high disadvantage and improving outcomes for students in these settings, as demonstrated by the establishment of a wellbeing centre at Lithgow High School last year.

The centre hosts providers of onsite mental health and other social support for students, and has so far delivered more than 800 sessions.

“I am proud of our coordinated approach to ensuring opportunities for everyone,” said Ann.

“My strategy is based on the belief schools must ameliorate disadvantage by providing students with resources that advantaged students have due to cultural, social and economic capital.”

At Gorokan Public School, the introduction of an explicit and systematic approach towards professional learning for teachers over the past few years has focused on providing educational equity in a complex and challenging social context.

“The challenge for me as the principal is to ensure staff have the skills, knowledge, resources and resilience in order to best support and engage their students to maximise their learning potential and wellbeing,” Jesmond said.

“The school has also dedicated a major part of its school plan to support student wellbeing and works closely with external agencies to address the ongoing needs of students and their families.”

NSW Department of Education Secretary Mark Scott said it was wonderful to see two outstanding NSW public school principals recognised by this prestigious award.

“Being a school leader is a challenging, testing and demanding role, but there is no more important work in our society as the decisions of our principals affect thousands of young people’s lives,” he said.

“This award not only recognises the work Ann and Jesmond have already done, but opens the door for them to build on, and share more widely, their leadership insights.”

Each Principals Scholarship is valued at approximately $16,000 and includes program tuition for one of two Harvard Graduate School of Education programs.

The Harvard Club of Australia Education Scholarships were established by the Public Education Foundation in 2013 offering principals around Australia the opportunity to ‘reflect, focus and recharge’ through professional leadership programs.

NSW Department of Education

This story was written by the NSW Department of Education. School News shares it with permission.

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