Celebrating school Principals who make a difference

Friday 3 August marks Principals' Day, an opportunity to celebrate the wonderful contribution that principals make to schools and the community.

Golden Square Primary School principal, board member and state councillor for the Victorian Principals Association Barry Goode has been a principal for close to 22 years.

He says he understands the challenges that come with being a school principal.

'But with those challenges also comes significant rewards and deep levels of pride,' Barry says. 

Former school principal and education consultant Lyn Watts has a catchphrase when she works with schools that has resonated with Barry:

'Only the brave should teach'.

'I believe this phrase is equally applicable to those who take on the challenge of becoming a principal or school leader,' Barry says.

Barry says he remembers a former colleague once saying that a principal's job description was being the 'minister for everything'. 

Barry understood the impact of his job when a former student came to visit his office last year.

He remembers that the student had a 'challenging upbringing'.

'After appearing at my office door, he said: 'I just wanted to pop in and say hello. I know I was a bit of a handful at school, but I wanted to let you know I am not like that anymore.''

'In fact, he was proud to tell me that he had been selected to go on a trip overseas with his secondary school and was doing really well academically. He said, "I just wanted to let you know that I am going OK and thank you for not giving up on me."'

'"Wow! There's my job in a nutshell," I thought,' says Barry.

From teacher to principal

After growing up working on the family farm, Barry began his career in education as a teacher nearly 30 years ago, before becoming a principal.

'The prospect of becoming a principal was the furthest thing from my mind,' Barry says.

Barry says that today, the pathway to becoming a principal is a lot different now, with opportunities for mentoring and on-the-job exposure.

'Teachers and principals have the capacity to inspire students and assist colleagues to aspire to become a leader,' Barry says. 

'Being a principal cannot be just a job: it has to be a vocation and a passion. Otherwise, you cannot and will not have longevity.' 

'This Friday, take some time to reflect on what you do and to be proud of your efforts,' Barry says.

'You really do make a difference.'

For more information on celebrating Principals' Day, see Principals' Day 2018

Interested in becoming a teacher or a Principal one day? Find out how to become a teacher.