Connecting with the community and prioritising student needs underpin the way Grant Stephensen leads Beaudesert High, where he is four months into his role as Acting Principal.
He brings with him more than 20 years of experience in education, mostly at sporting schools, and a deep belief in the role sport can play in engaging students.
“I’ve played sport ever since I could walk, and I started rugby league when I was five years old playing with the under 7s, running around with no shoes on in the red dirt,” he said.
“Sport went a long way to keeping me engaged at school. I know the benefits sport can have on a student’s self-esteem, giving them connection and pride beyond their schoolwork.”
Mr Stephensen said listening to students was key to engagement.
“As with all change, there’s excitement about what’s next and so many new ideas. I can hear a very strong student voice advocating to me about what they want and need around the school. The three big ones are sport, the arts and agricultural sciences,” he said.
He said he was in it for the long haul, and he could see plenty of room for growth at Beaudesert High.
“I don’t think you should apply for a job like this unless it’s a long-term prospect. A school is a community asset so if you’re going to come in and work with the community you’ve got to invest heavily. Luckily, I’ve got a very supportive family and a wife who’s allowing me the time and effort to do a quality job here,” he said.
Canungra has a long association with Beaudesert State High School, being one of the major feeder schools.
Areas to the west of Canungra such as Birnam, Biddaddaba and Boyland are currently in the Beaudesert State High School catchment area however students outside the catchment area who have an interest in attending Beaudesert State High School are encouraged to apply for enrolment.