Name: Bronwyn Carruthers
Title: Deputy Principal Curriculum (Secondary)
Organisation: Emmanuel Christian Community School
I finished school in 1977 and studied Medical Technology at Curtin University. I worked as a Medical Microbiologist for 7 years and then studied a Graduate Diploma in Education. I have taught Science and in particular Chemistry and Human Biology for more than 30 Years. I have worked in both the public and private sectors, and have held a variety of positions in both Pastoral care and Curriculum including Year Coordinator, Head of House, Year 12 Academic Mentor, Staff Development officer, Curriculum Manager and now Deputy Principal Curriculum of a growing Christian School.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Bronwyn's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
Knowing my boundaries - the paradox between being micromanaged and left alone without any guidance to make up the job as I go along.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
In most cases I was asked to consider and apply for leadership by someone else in leadership above me. I was not looking for leadership but felt the feelings of dissatisfaction and almost boredom in the role I had. In each instance, I was approached by a leader to apply for a position I did not know was available.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Work days begin at 6am with Bible reading, and preparation for the day. This is often interrupted by staff calling in sick or needing carers leave and for this I have to provide relief covers.
The school day begins with a staff meeting for devotion/prayer at 8am.
After this, I will take stock of the day ahead, checking my emails and calendar.
Meetings, teaching classes and various tasks consume the rest of the day which usually finishes around 5pm.
At least another hour of working occurs at home after dinner and family time. This includes informing staff of relief covers for the next day and preparing for meetings, presentations or lessons.
I try to have some spiritual input before bed such as teaching or worship.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
Having difficult conversations are important and not to be avoided. Preparation for these conversation includes having firm objectives, making notes and committing it to prayer.
5. 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?
There are several books that have provided me with insights into aspects of leadership. But the only book that has had a profound impact on my leadership is the Bible. The accounts of many leaders, good and bad, has provided me with insight, character building and understanding of what really matters. The ultimate leader was Jesus - who had the right balance of preparation, time in communication with those He led, mentoring, discipling, resourcing, serving, empowering and helping them grow and flourish.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
Your role as a leader is serving those you lead. Serving means that you work to provide an environment where they flourish. Happy employees produce happy clients which produces profit. In an education setting, happy teachers produce happy students who learn well and have happy parents!
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
Establishing traditions and ceremonies has been part of my role as a Deputy Principal of a new Secondary School. Education of students culminates each year in graduation and achievements of students. It has been my joy to institute the graduation ceremony for our Year 12 students. Hours of planning and effort by my team has resulted in a beautiful and memorable occasion for students and families with a unique flavour for our own community. The feedback received from families and staff has been so positive. However, the most meaningful was provided by a presenter who had been to many graduation ceremonies at many schools for many years, and stated that our little community school had the best graduation ceremony of all. Students were honoured and appreciated and sent with a blessing into the next phase of their lives. But most of all, God was honoured all the way through.