While 2020 has most certainly been a memorable year for schools – and not so much in a good way – some principals have found that the COVID-19 pandemic has offered some positive opportunities.
For St Rita’s College principal Dale Morrow, the first half of this year has been marked by the opening of a new state-of-the-art learning precinct, the launch of a successful Learning at Home program and now a prestigious leadership award.
Last week, Morrow has named an Australian Council for Educational Leaders (ACEL) Fellowships recipient in acknowledgement of her exceptional educational leadership.
The accolade recognises Morrow’s achievements throughout her career – particularly her support of teachers and humanitarian causes.
To ensure that her own professional wisdom is spread far and wide, Morrow regularly visits classrooms and spends time mentoring leaders, and on several occasions has worked in Cambodia with the Marist organisation to support victims of mine blasts.
She has also remodelled a number of curricular, pastoral, cocurricular and cultural aspects of St Rita’s College, with teachers from regional and country schools often visiting to witness her work in action.
“There are many wonderful and talented educational leaders in our schools all facing a myriad of challenges as they form generations of young people in their care,” Morrow told The Educator.
She said that in her opinion, effective educational leadership flows from three main beliefs.
“The first of these is a belief in the power of education to transform our world and our lives,” Morrow said.
“The second is the belief that one must be prepared to be reflective, adaptive and nimble about educational approaches in order to continually meet the needs of students who are living in a world that is experiencing unprecedented amounts of social change”.
Morrow said the third belief has to do with the moral purpose of education.
“I think all leaders need to be clear about the ‘why’, because without a clear moral purpose education becomes a commodity”.