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7 Questions with Andrew Johnson
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7 Questions with Andrew Johnson
Name: Andrew Johnson
Current title: Principal
Current organisation: Redlands College
Andrew is Principal of Redlands College, a P-12 Christian school of 1380 students at Wellington Point. Prior to this role, he was the Queensland Executive Officer of Christian Schools Australia, and the Principal of Heights College in Rockhampton. Andrew has both Business and Education degrees and was awarded his Doctorate through Lipscomb University in Nashville, USA. Andrew is committed to faith formation and the flourishing of students across the spectrum of their abilities, as they undertake learning journeys within school communities. Andrew has been married to Danielle for 25 years and they have 3 children, Laura, Harrison and William.
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader in the education sector?
Ensuring the education we provide continues to be relevant within our changing societal context and embracing the unique opportunity we have to engage in formation as well as education.
2. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
My normal routine is to arrive at work at 5.30am and start with prayer and scripture reading. I make a list of the key tasks for the day and then clear the email inbox to no more than 10 outstanding emails. From 7.45am-8.30am I seek to be in the College grounds, greeting staff, students and parents. Key meetings for the day are scheduled between 8.30am-10.30am, and I seek to be in the College grounds again from 10.30am-11.00am. Between 11.00am and 3.00pm is a focus time for strategic activities, College planning and engagement with key tasks. During this time I seek to be in the College grounds for a short period of time between 1.00pm-1.30pm. From 3.00pm-3.30pm I am in the College grounds again. From 3.30pm-5.00pm are staff department meetings or finalisation of tasks for the day. I seek to leave by 5.00pm, and will return to school about 1-2 nights a week for Board meetings or College events.
3. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
The importance of life-long learning. As a leader of a learning institution, it is essential to engage in the learning process by regularly seeking to learn something new, to develop an understanding and empathy of just how difficult learning can be. In my context this has involved learning to ride a unicycle, learn the saxophone and starting to learn a new language.
4. What's one book 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 aim to read at least 30 new books each year, as an intentional way of engaging with thought leaders and current research. Paul Browning's recent book - "Principled: 10 leadership practices for building trust" - has been invaluable, as Paul (a school principal) draws on his doctoral research, as well as his experiences in a school setting, to provide an effective integration of theory and practise which can be easily applied in other school settings.
5. How do you find and keep great leaders in the education sector?
We seek to employ staff who have an active Christian faith, are competent in their roles and fit the culture of the College community. We seek to ensure deep engagement by staff in their roles by implementing Daniel Pink's concepts of mastery, purpose and autonomy.
6. What's most important as a leader in the education sector for developing a culture of wellbeing in your staff and students?
Our focus on wellbeing incorporates an awareness of our purpose as unique individuals participating in God's mission of redemption, our focus on relationships as essential to navigate the issues that will arise at different times and an understanding of the rhythms of life (particularly in a school context) where we engage in work, rest, and re-creation into the image of God.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader in the education sector so far?
The importance of encouragement - I have seen outstanding examples of students who have great capacity, but self-doubt about their ability. When staff (teaching and non-teaching) speak into their lives with encouragement and reassurance, these students can be transformed in their view of themselves and their subsequent achievements.