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7 Questions on Leadership with Gareth Allman

Name: Gareth Allman

Title: Principal

Organisation: Peninsula International School Australia

I have 23 years’ distinguished experience as a Principal and Head of School across a number of high calibre independent and international schools in four countries. I currently serve as Principal at Peninsula International School Australia, Malaysia Campus, and as Campus Principal for Peninsula Private School.

I have read for a degree in education and have successfully completed a bespoke course for school leaders through the Business Faculty of the University of Witwatersrand.

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Gareth's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

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

Managing parental expectations around multi-culturalism in a school. It is ironic that one particular nationality will not want too many students of that same nationality in the same school.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

My father, a former school principal, inspired me to strive to similar heights. I was appointed as a principal at the tender of age of 29! My reflections are that my energy and enthusiasm got me that position whereas later on in my career, my experience and aggregated wisdom now counts in my favour.

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

I strive to keep work and home environments distinctly different. This is essential for work-life balance. I am generally the first one in the school. I do not believe that it is essential for the principal to be the last one out.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

Never to make assumptions. Never assume that everyone understands exactly what is expected.

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?

Good to Great by Jim Collins. Wonderful practical examples how large international corporates transformed themselves into phenomenally successful companies - more often than not due to wise and visionary leadership.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

Work on school culture and strategy with equal fervour - do not place one above the other. They are both incredibly important and symbiotic.

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

Getting our school community to rally behind a fund raising project that resulted in the parents being able to provide the necessary overseas brain surgery for their daughter.

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