NEW Somerville Secondary College principal Sarah Burns is no stranger to secondary school leadership on the Mornington Peninsula.
For 24 years she held senior positions at Frankston High School and Mornington Secondary College, where she spent nine years as principal in a period she describes as a “most enjoyable and rewarding time leading the school through a significant improvement journey”.
For the past five years she has been a senior education improvement leader for the South Eastern Victoria Region working with 31 schools.
However, she said her “passion in education” was at the school level with the school community as a “leader, coach and mentor to achieve exceptional outcomes for all students”.
“Living locally, I have had an ongoing interest in Somerville Secondary College, watching and continually inquiring around the future direction, and I was genuinely excited when the principal position was advertised,” Ms Burns, who was appointed principal on 15 April, said.
“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead Somerville Secondary College to an exciting future, a role that I consider a privilege to have.”
Ms Burns said the college, geographically, had the opportunity to play a pivotal role as a hub within the community. “[We] have a responsibility to build a strong connection to the local community which I intend to develop and strengthen,” she said.
“My vision is to lead a school committed to providing students opportunities to contribute to, and understand, the concepts of community development, leadership and engagement through working partnerships with sporting and community groups and the wider society.”
She wants the school “committed to the pursuit of excellence across a diverse curriculum, in and outside the classroom, [which] thrives on the search for knowledge, inquisitiveness, refection and a desire for students to ask questions and seek answers”.
Up until the middle of last year Ms Burns was a board member of School Sport Victoria – the past two-and-a-half years as president. For the past seven years she has been a board member, and is currently chair, of the Victorian Olympic Education Advisory Group.
Ms Burns said excellence in education had many forms. “It is achieved when students are in a safe, welcoming environment, one that values diversity and, at all times, requires respect and courtesy in personal behaviour,” she said.
“My vision is for Somerville to continue to grow as a school that inspires the active engagement of students and strong student agency inclusive of all students and strives to meet their needs and challenges them to excel in whatever their endeavours.”