“I grew up in the Adelaide Hills in a place called Cherry Gardens, which is a beautiful part of the world. A lot of my existence was semi-rural because it was a small hobby farm type situation. For me that was a really nice place to grow up; there was no public transport or anything there so you still had to find your own way to school. We had a small little farm of sheep and different animals, that sort of thing.
I had a really deep relationship with my grandfather, he was someone who saw the world in a very positive way and was just a wonderful role model for me. He was someone who worked extremely hard but knew how to find a balance and prioritise the things that are really important, the things in life that money can’t buy. Erin and I had a home at the Clare Valley, but as with lots of country locations, there are often not many options with work. We were looking through jobs; and all of a sudden, we found one on Kangaroo Island. We liked the idea of living on an island and being based here.
Yeah it was very much like it was the right thing to do by the time we got here. Over we came, we haven’t regretted it for one minute, it’s been really special. It’s often hard to explain to people how this place is special. But it really is.
Before I started the job, I came here for an afternoon together with students.
It was so funny because obviously the kids had been prepped that I was coming. I was walking around and every window had kids faces pressed up against it. It was the most surreal feeling. It was hilarious. You could see teachers trying to get kids back into their lessons. It just made me laugh and laugh that I could come and that the kids would get so excited. I have never seen kids get so excited for a principal before in my life. Why would they be?
Kids at schools don’t always connect with adults, but it’s one of the lovely things here to see how well the teachers and kids, as well as the other adults in the environment, connect and it is a broader community reflection as well. Everyone is friends, and in many times family as well. Seeing those kids pressing their faces on the glass was one of the most hilarious things and it didn’t matter where I was walking, along the spine or out to the secondary class rooms at Parndana Campus, it was the same. I’ll never forget that. Never had that experience at another school and never will again.”