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Thank you to the 1,400 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 questions!
I hope reading

7 Questions with Ekbal Sayed-Rich

helps you in your leadership.



Jonno White

7 Questions with Ekbal Sayed-Rich

Name: Ekbal Sayed-Rich

Current title: Deputy Principal

Current organisation: Department of Education

Educational leaders transform education through daily practice.
At the centre of my thinking is always the children whom I serve. It is through education that they can realise what freedom in life really is and they too can help others in their communities. I have been teaching and leading for 27 years , the last 7 as a senior executive. I am currently finishing my last year of study for a Masters in Education degree at Wollongong University.

7 Questions with Ekbal Sayed-Rich

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader in the education sector?

The rapid changes in policy and the limited time for implementation. Also, leading teachers who are working beyond capacity.

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

Work, family, great judicial training, work at night, study.

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

As a leader despite the constant pressures to conform to the politics of the day, it is crucial to stay firm to your beliefs and ethics. Why you are doing what you are doing and the benefits in learning for the students whom you serve.

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?

Covey's work is timeless and applies well to education. I read research papers on leadership more than books. Leadership has a profound impact on educational learning outcomes for students. Collaboration is the key.

5. How do you find and keep great leaders in the education sector?

We target these leaders through leadership programs in partnership with academic partners such as our local University. We have a shadowing program for aspiring leaders and plan for succession.

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

Creating a culture which supports wellbeing. We do that especially well for students. Well-being for staff is a shared responsibility but also a challenge. Staff are overloaded and we implement ways to work more efficiently and remove unnecessary administrative tasks. It is an ongoing challenge.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader in the education sector so far?

Teachers have the greatest power in their hands. Children will remember their teachers forever. When an adult bumps into a teacher in the street and tells them they made a difference to their lives the impact is profound. I once had a student thank me for being her second mother as she was kicked out of home during her HSC. Educators are not just teachers. They are the building blocks to our society. The care and nurture are children and contribute deeply to their development into resilient adults.

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