Next year I will be replaced by Mr Mark Ash from Queensland. We are very pleased and excited by his acceptance of our offer to take on the role as Principal of Charlton. I believe, with the Board, that Mark will be the best person to lead the school forward. You will have received an email letter from Rod Gray, the Board Chair, along with a fact sheet about Mark and his family. If you did not receive that, please check that we have your correct email address.

I have a little list of criteria for successful leaders which I have developed during my time at Charlton.

Character: A leader of a Christian organisation will have a strong Faith foundation with integrity as the cornerstone of his or her life; a person who is both strong and humble; someone who is reliable and is not petty-minded. For Charlton the maintenance of our Christian community is essential.

Capacity: Having the experience and ability to take their department forward on the continuing journey of improvement. For Charlton, this means having the capability to lead Charlton into its educational future. This is as much about character as about competence. A leader will be able to be stretched by the ‘bigness’ of the role without crumbling under the pressure.

Confidence: Self-belief is an imperative in leadership. A person who is a leader must stand in his or her leadership with an understanding that like Jesus we are called to serve others as we lead them into the future that God has planned for them. Confidence does not preclude humility; they are both essential to success.

Competence: A leader must be able to do what is required of them with proficiency. A leader must be able to administrate, but not at the expense of relationship. For Charlton this means that the leader must be able to take on the responsibility of accepting the accountability requirements of government departments, while simultaneously making the time to build friendships with staff, students and parents.

Curiosity: Leaders should be lifelong learners. You cannot lead an organisation forward unless you are a learner yourself. There is so much change in the area of education, that a Principal must be up to date with new thinking and expectations, capable of taking his or her staff with them on a learning journey.

Communication: This is such an important part of leading. For a good leader communication takes many forms and has many ’receivers’. Written communication via email, letter and now many social media formats; spoken communication both formal and informal; multimedia presentations including online portals. A leader must be a very gifted communicator, especially at the level of a Principal.

There are so many other aspects of leadership which don’t start with ‘C’.

  • Wisdom which comes from God.
  • Engagement
  • Insight and self-understanding
  • Determination/Grit
  • Community liaison
  • The Fruit of the Spirit: Love. Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control

Not one person (including me) has every single one of these traits that I have listed, but I’m convinced that Mark Ash has enough of these to continue to build on the strong foundation which will be here when he arrives.

Mrs Sue Skuthorpe

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