7 Questions with Yvonne Harvey

Name: Yvonne Harvey

Current title: Principal of Melton

Current organisation: Heathdale Christian College

I grew up in England and moved to Australia when I was 28. I have been in education for 22 years. I am married with two teenage boys.

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1. What have you found most challenging as a Christian school leader?

Changing from 20 years of state education into a private Christian school has been an amazing journey. Everything is different. The most challenging part has been accepting that it is ok to talk about God and praise Him from the rooftops if I want to.

2. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

I get up at 6 and leave for work at 7. The days are varied, meetings, visits to classrooms, encouraging staff, meetings with parents and of course lots of emails and teaching and learning to always keep improving. Every day we meet for devotions at 8.10 it is a highlight of my day focusing on God – I also spend some time during the day with God, I love praising Him for what He is doing at school.

3. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?

Be careful and be kind. Most people want to do the right thing and there is ALWAYS a reason when things go wrong. Don’t judge in advance as you never know what is really going on.

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?

Max Lucado – Anxious for nothing is a great read. Schools are busy places and as a Principal you often feel there are large mountains to climb and some days you have to juggle a lot of balls. However by prayer and supplication and thanksgiving our requests can be made known to God and His peace will surround us. With practical and Biblical advice Lucado gives wisdom in how to lead without worry.

5. How do you find and keep great Christian teachers?

If people are valued and know you will do everything in your power to set them up for success and satisfaction in their career they will come, and they will stay.

6. What's most important as a Christian school leader for developing a culture of wellbeing in your staff and students?

Giving time, really listen without judgement, respond to the need and find a way to get a win win. Protect your staff and have their back. Pray with them and ask for forgiveness when you get it wrong.

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?

This is only my 3rd year as a Principal in a Christian school. In my first year I fell ill. I was terrified I would lose the job of my dreams as I certainly hadn’t built up a lot of sick leave. There wasn’t a day that went by where I didn’t know how much I was valued by my school and that my boss was praying for me and trusting that I would get better. He didn’t lose faith in me despite not knowing me very well. I got better praise God and will always remember how that made me feel and hope to pass that trust on to my staff.