7 Questions with Ps Ron Woolley
Name: Ps Ron Woolley
Current title: Director, Associated Christian Schools; Councillor, Christian Heritage College
BSc Grad Dip Ed (University of Newcastle); taught for NSW Education Department for 16.5 years; Headmaster of Citipointe Christian College 1985-2017; retirement 2018 - present
1. What have you found most challenging as a Christian school leader?
Since schools are largely about people, school leaders need to value and recognise the diversity this brings, and manage the inevitable differences of opinion in day-to-day issues. Management Christianly is critical.
2. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Nothing prepares a day better than morning devotional time - for prayer, reading the Scriptures, discerning God’s voice. A school leader may have an agenda for the day, which mostly can be adhered to, but inevitably the unexpected will arise. In a school, the urgent is usually unavoidable, and failure to give the urgent matter attention will often allow it to become a problem.
3. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
Recognising how diverse humanity is means a leader must make allowance for different perspectives, different thoughts, different insights. Recognition of diversity enriches an organisation, so long as the integrity of its Christian mission is not impaired.
4. What one book has had the most profound impact on your Christian school leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
The Bible stands tall above every other, with a text full of enriching stories of how people coped with ordinary human issues, some crises, and how God dealt with people and situations.
Chris Lowney’s Heroic Leadership draws not only on the Bible, but 500 years of Jesuit tradition to explore the topic of leadership - for Christian leaders, it is without parallel, regardless of denomination. Chris Lowney exemplifies heroic leadership himself (Jesuit-trained, a JP Morgan banker, now Chair of the largest Catholic hospital organisation in the US).
5. How do you find and keep great Christian teachers?
Great Christian teachers are hard to find and frequently can’t be kept, since God has given humanity free-will - something Christians value and use frequently. However, Christian workers all need a sense of God’s calling - an aspect of formation - and so must follow their sense of calling.
6. What's most important as a Christian school leader for developing a culture of wellbeing in your staff and students?
Holistic formation of staff and students should preoccupy a Christian school leader’s thoughts, so the culture-building that takes place is of a kind that is pleasing to the Lord. This ultimately will be in the best interests of everyone.
7. If you had to pick just one story, what would be the most meaningful story from your time as a Christian school leader so far?
Reading an obituary of my former English and History master from when I was a schoolboy, when he had a dramatic impact on my developmental years and academic formation, I was fascinated to discover his early background had been highly adverse. Rescued by an adoptive family, he proved to be highly intelligent, yet his career centred on service to others.
Christian education is essentially education for the common good, not only of individuals but society as a whole.