7 Questions with Lynne Doneley
Name: Lynne Doneley
Current title: Executive Officer
Current organisation: Associated Christian Schools
1. What have you found most challenging as a Christian school leader?
Schools are communities of people so as a Christian school leaders the challenge is to build relationships with the diverse culture of people within our school communities, manage the difference of opinions and views whilst adding value to the cultural tapestry of the school.
2. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
The best start to the day and end to the day is with God, so I bookend every day with devotional time. I do some sort of exercise every morning as well as good coffee. The nature of my roles with ACS, CHC, ISQ and Board Chair of Gulf CC are quite diverse, so my days are always varied and different so for me it is critical to be well organised.
3. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
Accepting that God is in control and we just have to be available and willing to serve where He wants us to be; He will equip us for the task.
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?
Definitely the Bible has had the most impact on me because it is full of everyday people and their trials and traumas in life and how God responded.
Like Ron, Chris Lowney’s Heroic Leadership really impacted me because Chris uses the Bible and 500 years of Jesuit tradition to delve into leadership. Chris Lowney exemplifies heroic leadership himself (Jesuit-trained, a JP Morgan banker, now Chair of the largest Catholic hospital organisation in the US). Two other books that have impacted me are “To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy & Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World” by James Davison Hunter. In the book Hunter poses answers to the question of how Christians might, in the 21st century, live in ways that have integrity with their traditions and are more truly transformative? Other books that impacted me are James K A Smith’s “You are What you Love” and “Pope Francis - why He leads the way he leads”by Chris Lowney.
5. How do you find and keep great Christian teachers?
Great Christian teachers are called by God, especially when they are called to remote places like Normanton. A mix of culture, formation and calling as well as targeted professional development, as well as making sure these teachers are valued and nurtured in a holistic way.
6. What's most important as a Christian school leader for developing a culture of wellbeing in your staff and students?
Understanding the school culture and ensuring it is aligned to the vision and mission of the school is a key part of the process. Spiritual Formation of staff and students should be a priority, ensuring that it is derived from a Christian worldview.
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?
The most impacting story is one from when my husband died nearly five years ago. In the days just after his passing, people shared their memories of Greg and the one that impacted me the most was the one from a single mum in our church, who commented “He meant more to me than he should have”. Elaborating on this comment, she revealed that Greg always sought out the lost, lonely, those who were struggling with life and got alongside them and ministered to him in his special way. This story was a reminder to me about the importance of where our focus should be as a Christian school leader.