Promoted to the prime position
Christopher Oneill will take the helm of Numbulwar School, stepping-up from assistant principal to become a first-time principal.
During the six-month appointment he will substitute for the on leave principal and gain valuable experience as the head of a school.
The former senior teacher at Lake Evella and Numbulwar schools said he had “been thinking about moving to the next level for a while”.
“It’s good to practice the role in an environment in which I’m comfortable,” he said. “As the principal I want to continue strengthening the links between the school and parents, and improve our connections with the community.
“We are already doing this — with increasing success over the years — and people have always given me some freedom to enhance relationships with parents.
“I believe a leadership role in a remote school allows change to be quickly recognised, including the relative success of new initiatives. But the challenges are the impact of isolation on the turnover of quality staff, and on the standard of services.”
Predominately an English and music teacher, the Deakin University graduate accepted a 10-week contract at a faraway Territory school that became a stay of five years.
“I came from Melbourne and I didn’t think I’d stick at remote schools long-term, but the attractions are the shortcut to engagement through music, and the cultural aspects,” he said.
“I’ve mainly been a music teacher, because when you show an interest in teaching music in schools up here, people see how kids become engaged and it becomes a focus for principals.
“I’m enthusiastic about fine tuning the development of literacy, which the kids are getting more interested in again.
“Also, I’d like to help students to become confident communicators in English and Wubuy — the traditional language of the school.
“The predominant language is Kriol, but as a language revitalisation school we are keen to rejuvenate Wubuy.”
Students will embark on several large-scale music-related trips during Christopher’s tenure, including The BEAT Festival in September.