STUDENTS and staff at Welshpool and District Primary School welcomed their new principal, Gabbi Boyd at the start of Term 3, following the retirement of former principal Geoff Cooling at the end of last term.
Gabbi is no stranger to the school, having taught at the school for the past nine years.
“So far, it’s been a smooth transition from teacher to principal,” Gabbi said at the end of her first week in her new role.
“It is much easier to take on this role in a school you are very familiar with. I’ve had to hit the ground running,” Gabbi said.
“The great thing about the transition into the role of principal is that I know the routine and the structure. I’ve been fortunate enough to have spent some time doing leadership training. Geoff identified that I was an aspiring leader and he allowed me to do that training.
“It was a way of supporting Geoff in a small school. You have to step up.
The transition, she said, has been a lot more fluid and easier for the students as there hasn’t been a new person come in who has to learn the whole routine.
“For our students, families and staff it’s been quite a fluid transition, which is great, especially at the start of a new term, which is always a very busy time.
“We needed the changeover to be as smooth as possible and this way we can just get with teaching our kids – providing them with the education that they need.
“They really respond well to change. Prep 1 / 2 is not just my class. We teach all the children across all areas. They know that in the course of a day they may have two or three teachers. They are open to change and very flexible
“The children have a respect for whoever comes into the school as they know that person is there to help them.
“We are so lucky to have a fabulous school council , a great parent group, the kids are brilliant, the staff are brilliant…..you couldn’t ask for a better school. It is a community , not just a school in a town. We have great support from the community,” Gabbi said.
The new principal explained that the students at Welshpool PS are very supportive of each other and their willingness to mix with others children of any age provides so many opportunities to do plenty of cross-age activities.
“With only 24 students, we have the facilities and space to do these things. They are happy to try new things and find ways of making it work if things don’t go to plan immediately,” said Gabbi of these attributes which are sure to serve these children well throughout their lives.
“There will be challenges ahead as we have supportive staff, school council and parents. We can work through whatever challenges come up,” she said.
NSW trained, Gabbi taught initially at a Sydney school of some 600 students, initially grew to 800. Leaving Sydney to become a Rugby League Development Officer, Gabbi developed Rugby League programs and put these into practice in schools.
She carried on this role in country NSW, and then transferred to Melbourne Storm and has lived in Victoria ever since.
Many different experiences have led Gabbi along the journey to principal – a role which she is relishing.