From the Principal

To go boldly…

At Reverend Tracey Gracey’s Commissioning on Tuesday of last week, the whole school and the Anglican Diocese of Adelaide joined to give thanks for the many gifts that our new Chaplain brings to Pulteney.  Such an event has not occurred in any Adelaide Anglican School before; of course, at Pulteney, we are entirely comfortable blazing a trail!  We sang a new hymn, Go Make a Difference, that prompted my thinking as an educator, parent and global citizen about the differences that I wish to see in our world.  It is too easy for us to focus just on the here and now (although, sometimes, we do need to do this).  If we want our children to have big, hairy, audacious dreams, then we need to be daring adventurers ourselves.

Adventurers of our School’s recent past, it was a pleasure to welcome back past Board Chair Dr Jill Maxwell, past Principal Mr Graham Lange and Old Scholar, and one of our first female student leaders at the School, Anne Cumpston, to the recent celebration that marked 20 years of coeducation at Pulteney.  An event attended by past and current Staff and Board members, Old Scholars and past parents, it was moving to hear the compelling vision and resolve that drove Pulteney’s transformation.  This group of people had big, audacious goals and they set on a course of action that would impact positively on thousands of people (and will continue to do so for thousands more!).  Anne Cumpston’s address was simply inspirational – she is the embodiment of all that we would hope for in every Pulteney student – a strong, engaging, motivated, fulfilled and daring servant leader, making a difference in the wider world.

Last week I was invited to cook breakfast for the residents of the St Vincent de Paul Society SA Women’s Crisis Centre.  The centre is a 20-room facility that is staffed 24 hours, every day of the year. It is a unique model in crisis intervention; it ensures women have support, safety and peace of mind for sound decision making within a calm, child friendly environment.  Centre manager Penny Ogden’s passion is tangible.  Her commitment and sheer determination come through when she speaks about not only the practicalities of the support provided to women and children seeking shelter in extreme circumstances, but about social justice in general.  She is an advocate, first and foremost.  And she has big dreams.

This week, all of our staff joined together to share their exciting projects that address specific areas of need or passion to improve the school experience.  Staff have begun with clarifying their “why” – identifying their purpose – and are now prototyping strategies that challenge “the way we’ve always done things around here”.  Projects span a wide range of areas, including the ways in which we manage email as a staff and within our community; how we can provide better support of individual student needs; how we can embed entrepreneurial thinking in curriculum, just to name a few.  The energy in the room while teams were sharing was excellent.  I believe very strongly that this energy comes from our growing culture that embraces agility, challenges the status quo and the fixed mindset, and prompts individuals and groups to find simple and effective solutions for the greatest positive impact.  We look forward to sharing their progress with you.

These four recent experiences are palpable examples of the ways in which each of us connected to Pulteney can “go boldly” to innovate, serve and make a difference through challenging ourselves and each other with big dreams. If we want this for our students, then we need to model it ourselves.

Anne Dunstan