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7 Questions with Keturah Jones
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7 Questions with Keturah Jones
Name: Keturah Jones
Current title: Deputy Principal
Current organisation: Brindabella Christian College
I’m the Deputy Principal at Brindabella Christian College in Canberra, Australia. I trained as a Secondary English and Visual Arts teacher and have had a long career teaching in Christian schools. Before moving into my current position, I was the Coordinator of Pastoral Care at Nowra Anglican College. I recently completed a Master of Applied Leadership in Positive Education. I love seeing young lives transformed through quality Christian education, and my greatest joy is seeing students flourishing in all aspects of their lives. My husband is also a teacher and my daughters, aged 20 and 14, are both studying. My family and I go to Fusion City Church.
1. What have you found most challenging as a Christian school leader?
The most challenging thing for me has been learning how to correct staff gently, keeping Galatians 6:1 in mind. The other challenge for me is finding the time to read the large number of emails I receive each day!
2. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
When I wake up, I get straight into the shower and listen to worship music while I’m getting ready for work. When the weather’s good, I walk to work and grab a coffee from the Café. Most of my workday I’m in meetings and interviews. I’m intentional about getting out of the office so I can spend time with parents and staff. When I get home from work, I like to go for a walk with my husband. I then either cook dinner or respond to emails while my husband’s cooking dinner. Before bed, I love to read and write in my prayer journal.
3. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
Avoid gossip and politics. Don’t listen to rumours or allow them to unsettle you, but quietly observe and look to God for His perspective and direction.
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 has honestly taught me all the principles I need to live and grow as a Christian school leader. When I was completing my Master of Applied Leadership in Positive Education, I kept thinking that all the research in Positive Leadership and Positive Organisational Scholarship relates to what the Bible has been teaching for centuries.
5. How do you find and keep great Christian teachers?
I believe that you can attract great Christian teachers to your school by modelling Jesus Christ in the way you lead and interact with your staff and the broader community. Organisational culture is often communicated via ‘word of mouth’ to others, so I believe it’s important to have a strong sense of community, shared vision, a culture of trust and opportunities to be creative and to challenge oneself within your school. Teachers will remain if they feel a strong sense of belonging, meaning and purpose, and if the can see that working with you enables them to fulfil their higher purpose, which is to prepare students for their eternal lives, not just their earthly lives.
6. What's most important as a Christian school leader for developing a culture of wellbeing in your staff and students?
I think that Christian school leaders develop a culture of wellbeing in their staff and students by knowing and genuinely caring for their staff and students, responding to staff and students with empathy and understanding, appreciating and praising staff and students, trusting staff and students and being trusted by them, creating opportunities for staff and students to learn about how to maintain their wellbeing, and creating community-building opportunities. I also believe that leaders need to model positive wellbeing practices to their staff and students, which means exercise, healthy diet and good sleep, with no late emails!
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?
When I was a trainee teacher, my supervising teacher heard me express my fears of leaving my young daughter behind for the weekend so I could attend the Katoomba Women’s Convention. For some strange reason, I was worried that I might die in a car accident. Instead of thinking I was a strange woman, he took the time to genuinely listen and explained to me that because we believe in a loving God, He wouldn’t allow that to happen. And even if it did happen, God would look after my daughter because He is a loving God. That conversation left a lasting impression on me. As a Christian school leader, I want to include the same ‘spiritual dimension’ to my conversations so that I point staff and students back to Christ.