Interview with FED Alumni – Ros Kay

Interview with Ros Kay, Principal of Rosalie Primary School  

Name 3 valuable things from the EDvance program?

1. The Edvance Program gave relevant access to current research and best practice. It was delivered by presenters who were already highly successful in the education field or their chosen field and who already had the proven high level leadership skills.

2. Provision of an exceptional mentor was extremely valuable as she was matched well to my needs and the needs of my school. An excellent relationship was formed which consolidated the climate of trust needed to work effectively as partners.

3. The collegiality that was established between the Principals in the cohort was valuable and the realisation that regardless of working in a private school or government school we all faced similar challenges.

What is something from EDvance that you’ve applied in your school?

I established a full understanding of the sound processes required to guide the whole staff through a sustainable cycle of reviewing, planning and implementation of key elements such as moral purpose, vision, policies, curriculum and school plans.

What is something you wish you had known earlier in your career?

The importance of extending your network to include Principal’s from your neighbouring schools. The feeling of isolation as a new Principal was not a healthy one to have. The expectation I had, that as a Principal, ‘you should know everything’ was unrealistic and created unnecessary self-pressures.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received about being a principal?

Keep a constant check on your work and life balance and prioritise well. Accept that change reform is not a quick process but will happen over time. The urgency to get things done in the shortest amount of time at the expense of your family life needs to be constantly questioned.

What is the latest topic on your mind?

Like all schools, the implementation of the new Technologies curriculum presents both challenges and opportunities for Rosalie Primary School. As a community we are currently trying to work our way through the following three questions:

1. How do students learn, and under what conditions do you believe they learn best?

2. What does digital richness now make possible for modern learners, and what are the implications for contemporary teaching and learning?

3. What building blocks are necessary for a modern learning environment that allows our learners to leverage and amplify the opportunities now afforded to them in this digitally rich world?

How does your current school differ from your previous school – have challenges changed?

My current school is in a high socio economic area with exceptionally high academic and non-academic results. Expectations to continually improve are constant and articulated well by a very educated and supportive community. The challenge to meet these expectations is continually reviewed as we seek more innovative and creative ways to do so. The physical presence around the school and the long hours at many school events has increased enormously, resulting in physically being tired all the time. This is compared to the mental and emotional strain of the challenges that I had when in a low socio economic school.

What habit or saying from your Mentor has stuck with you?

As I reached each milestone, no matter how big or small, I received constant but subtle verbal encouragement. This reinforced that I was progressing and achieving the expected levels and ultimately resulted in a growth of personal confidence in my own leadership abilities and a willingness to become more of a risk taker in decision making.

Click here to read the recent article on Ros’ school in The Australian.