New principal ready to rebuild
ABIGAIL Graham has had an “awesome” start to her time at Korumburra Secondary College.
“I have found the students friendly and staff supportive,” she told The Star.
“Being new I have had to ask lots of question but I have found people to be really open and welcoming.”
Ms Graham has taken on the top job at the college from interim principal Terry Harrington.
Already the new principal is focusing on what she aims to bring to the college.
“I think you have to cater in schools for the inner and the outer self,” she said.
“Ultimately you want the students to be happy at school and feel like they have choices in what they do; feel like they are connected with other people; their teachers and friends and feel like they are empowered in where they want to go and their future.
“That is what I want to bring.”
Despite the college facing some challenges in past years, Mrs Graham has a positive outlook.
“I think every school faces challenges – it is a bit like anyone’s personal life story,” she said.
“You can’t have a life story without having challenges and I suppose all the schools I have worked in have had those.
“I have experience with schools in terms of creating their desired future, and working with the teachers and the students to enact that.
“Every place has strength also. It is easy to look at a place and say what it hasn’t got, but you need to look at what a place has got and work from that strength.”
Mrs Graham said student presentation and respect are big strengths she can already see at the school.
“The kids all come looking fantastic. That shows a fair bit of care from the families, and how they put effort and resources into getting their kids to school prepared,” she said.
“In assembly, the students all came in and sat down in their appropriate places and were ready to listen – a very attentive group of students. I think their attitude towards the school is a strength.”
Mrs Graham was an English immigrant who came to Australia during her secondary school years.
She studied chemistry and mathematics at Melbourne University and then a Diploma of Education at Monash University.
“I then went and worked for the Department of Education in some of the regional initiatives so I was a cluster educator,” she said.
“In that time I was awarded the Lindsay Thomas Fellowship Award which meant I had some money to spend on my personal development, and so I looked at a whole lot of schools performing well overseas.
“After that I decided to commit to a school based leadership role, so I went to Traralgon College and worked as the campus principal there for nearly three years.
“There I learnt a lot about applying what I had learnt into the school context. From there I felt I was ready to take on a principal role.”
Mrs Graham is looking forward to working closely with the staff at Korumburra.
“I think we have a very dedicated group of staff and I think they want to work together with me and the school community, and create a vibrant and contemporary learning organisation,” she said.
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