Darren Cox, Principal, St. Philip's Christian College, Cessnock
St Philip’s has come a long way in the six years Darren Cox has been principal, growing from a small campus at South Cessnock to more than 1,100 students from kindergarten to Year 12 on a 100-acre campus at Nulkaba. Cox has helped change the trajectory of students’ academic futures; they now value learning. When St Philip’s first opened in Cessnock, 70% of its students were below minimum standards in education. This has significantly improved in recent years, and students are now achieving at 80% or above.
Developing an engaged school culture is critical for Cox, who says the school “works hard to identify and recognise individual student strengths”. The same philosophy flows through to staff development: “We take a strengths-based approach and put a lot of time into nurturing and developing our staff,” Cox says.