7 Questions with Em Cassin
Name: Em Cassin
Current title: Business Manager
Current organisation: Georges River Grammar
I have been working in schools for over 20 years after starting work in a wonderful small Christian School When my youngest was 4 years old. This school ignited a desire in me to purposefully dedicate my working life to the education of young people, including my own children. I greatly believe in affordable choices of education and have felt honoured to be part of independent schooling for these years.
1. What have you found most challenging as a Christian school leader?
Being a Christian leader has challenges that are far more difficult to traverse. There is a greater expectation and you are held to account both as a Christian and a Leader. Integrity, fairness and consideration for all views and opinions is so very important.
2. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Family First! I try to always consider the needs of my family before all other things. This can be challenging when you have a busy work life, but they are the ones who keep you motivated, and strengthen you.
I wake early each day, and during the week I arrive at work early, and find the mornings provide a time where I can focus my day. I like to walk as many days as I can and spend time just with my husband as it centers me. I listen to podcasts during my trip to work and sing my lungs out when I feel stressed. I have tried to have a work life balance, but because I am passionate about education and my community, my work and my life seem to intermingle. I try to limit my screen time, whilst still being responsive. I put my phone on sleep mode at about 8pm each night to ensure I focus on other things.
3. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
It is so important to value perspective. Everyone considers requests and changes differently and it is imperative to not discount others and how they feel about decisions that impact them.
4. What's one book apart from the Bible that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
John C Maxwell, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership!
I studied this book with a team of leaders who I really respect. It allowed us all to be vulnerable and use the chapters to grow personally.
Know your strengths, develop your weaknesses, work on being dispensable by empowering others so you become indispensable! Improvement = change so be a change agent. Celebrate the victories.
5. How do you find and keep great Christian teachers?
You find Christians who are teachers. You believe in them, strengthen them, allow them to try new things in a safe environment. Allow them to fail and encourage them to get up again. And you develop them for the next challenge that comes their way. We are called to help people be the best they can be.
6. What's most important as a Christian school leader for developing a culture of wellbeing in your staff and students?
Communication is key to culture, as well as allowing staff to feel valued and belong. School culture can be difficult to change, and teachers are the heartbeat of student development - it becomes a knock on effect. Happy teachers, great culture, engaged students, cohesive community.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a Christian school leader so far?
Through a series of events, changes in structure, and prayer I was able to assist a staff member bring her mum to live in Australia and was honoured to be part of the solution on how she was able to find the funds to do so. I was then able to provide some casual work for that mum when she did arrive. It is very rewarding to be able to impact a family so significantly in a positive way.