Spotlight On: Farewell

16 June 2023


This article first appeared in Queenwood Weekly News on Friday 16 June 2023.

Today’s newsletter has for me a certain symbolism, as the last I shall write at Queenwood. The last few weeks have been full of ‘lasts’, and quite a few people have asked me how it feels. The answer is that most of the time it feels no different because I don’t really believe that I’m going. It feels like I’ll be here forever… and yet every now and then something cuts through. and the reality kicks in that this precious time is coming to a close. In that sense, my experience is exactly like that of the Year 12s, who know that their daily pattern of life is about to change dramatically – and yet it is also an ordinary day.

The reality is that it is people who give our lives meaning, and it is people who are giving this time its poignancy. Girls whom I watched entering their Kindergarten classroom for the first time are now striding down the corridors of the Senior School (and towering over me). Girls crippled by shyness, who couldn’t make eye contact on arrival, have become public speakers and Assembly presenters, while girls who were thoughtless and stroppy have become disciplined and self-aware. One of the best things about teaching is sharing in a quasi-parental sense of pride and wonder at who and what our children can become.
Since my appointment in 2014, it has been a privilege to walk alongside our families as their little girls grow into young women. There have been moments of deep sadness – inescapably – but far more frequent moments of celebration and pride. There’s also the humour. There are too many stories to tell about hilarious moments at school, but with some regularity one ends up struggling to breathe for laughter. What a job!

I cannot, in these few paragraphs, capture the richness of these nine years as Principal. The girls are a constant source of joy. I have worked with outstanding people of great integrity from across our wide school community and I am grateful for my outstanding colleagues. Queenwood is unusually blessed in its governance and I pay tribute to the Council of Governors and the three exceptional Chairs under whom I have worked. I particularly acknowledge the contribution of the Queenwood Parents’ Association and those who have generously offered their advice, expertise, practical assistance and moral support, even during complicated periods.

It has been an honour to lead the School over the last nine years, and I leave it in good hands now, with Mrs Belinda Moore as Acting Principal and then, in January, our new Principal Mrs Marise McConaghy. As the School grows ever stronger under their leadership, I will be watching your daughters’ progress from afar and cheering them on with great affection. There are great things to come!