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7 Questions with Greg Mattiske
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7 Questions with Greg Mattiske
Name: Greg Mattiske
Current title: Principal
Current organization: Suncoast Christian College
Greg is married with 3 adult children and lives on the Sunshine Coast. Growing up in South Australia, he undertook university studies in Adelaide before commencing his career as an English teacher in Launceston. Moving to Queensland, he taught on the Gold Coast before relocating to the Sunshine Coast with his young family. Greg has been at the same school since 1997 and is privileged to now lead the school community.
1. What have you found most challenging as a Christian school leader?
As a fairly new Principal, the biggest challenge is being across all the things that I need to be across. There is so much to be learned about school governance, financial operations, risk management and HR, in addition to developing principal leadership attributes and abilities. A constant challenge of course is making sure I am always leading in the midst of so many operational as well as strategic tasks, demands and deadlines.
2. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Typically I wake at 5:30am, share breakfast with my wife, check the day's schedule and then leave for work by 7.30am. I scan email before heading to daily devotions at 8am, which is priority time with staff. The day then runs with set appointments, including built-in time for particular tasks. I also teach a senior class by choice. I address any important or urgent matters from the previous day or new day before getting into my planned work. I keep a very flexible approach to the day in making a priority to be available to the executive team as needed and to be ready to respond to important matters as they occur. I power through some tasks after 3pm (if there are no after school meetings) when things quieten down. I head to the gym by 5pm for some exercise 3-4 days a week and aim to be home by 6.00pm. I throw on a record and enjoy cooking dinner some nights which helps me unwind. Some nights I will then do another hour or so of work before heading to bed by 9pm to read before lights out at 10pm.
3. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
There are so many actually. Certainly, right up there would be the importance of being guided daily by the mission, vision and values of the school and those I have set for myself as principal. Along with this is the value of keeping a focus on strategic goals and work each week and not allowing myself to be consumed with busyness. I've learned the great value in being of consistent character, perhaps best expressed by demonstrating love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. There's no way around it - to be this kind of leader takes discipline and surrender of self. Therefore, building my spiritual life by nurturing my relationship with God and yielding to Christ's Lordship are imperatives.
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?
I have been inspired and encouraged by John C Maxwell's books on leadership because of the practical wisdom and Biblical model of leadership he shares. In my first year as Principal, I took time each week to read and reflect on one chapter of Leadership Gold. It really helped set and reset my leadership compass each week and shape my view of what kind of leader I aspire to be.
5. How do you find and keep great Christian teachers?
We find new employees through recommendations from our staff, pre-service teacher school experience programs and advertising of course. We also hope to attract and keep great Christian teachers perhaps firstly by creating a great staff culture and school environment in which to work. We work hard at building and maintaining a beautiful and authentic Christian community at Suncoast. We strive to create a healthy culture for staff in which they can thrive and be truly effective for the mission rather than just cope. This includes taking time for their spiritual nurture and setting clear boundaries around work expectations, wellbeing and practising Biblical rest.
6. What's most important as a Christian school leader for developing a culture of wellbeing in your staff and students?
There are many important things here! Modelling and being open about the management of my own wellbeing is important, as is making sure as the leader that I set fair, reasonable and clear expectations for how we do life at Suncoast. It's also vital the way each leader in the organisation treats and responds to the people they lead. I guess all these things relate back to building culture - as the leader I must speak to it always, put things in place to encourage its healthy development and take steps to address unhealthy beliefs, attitudes and behaviours and nip them in the bud.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a Christian school leader so far?
The graduation of our senior students is one of those rare and precious occasions when staff see and hear about the fruit of their labours from parents and students themselves. It gives me great joy each year to hear the stories of hope, growth and personal triumph in our school, see the way staff are moved by this and to know I have played a part in building such a community. A tearful grandmother of a young man, with whom we'd walked a long, arduous and ultimately successful journey, clutched my arm at the formal one year and said, "Greg, I know you've got your school motto, but I've got one for you...at Suncoast, we'll help you to your feet and teach you to walk." This has kept me going for years!