Fast tracked, emphasized, illuminated - a look into the Menzies School Leader Fellowship Program

20-Aug-2019

Menzies School Leader Fellow, Georgia Heffernan, Deputy Principal of Catholic Ladies College, Eltham, takes a look back on the last 6 months of the Fellowship - sharing her key moments, aspirations and insights. 

I know how cliché this sounds, but has it really only been six months? My personal and professional growth since the beginning of the Menzies School Leader Fellowship Program has the surely been fast tracked, emphasized, illuminated, call it what you want but it has been quite overwhelming, in a good way!

Twelve months ago, as a beginning leader new to the role of Deputy Principal Learning and Teaching, I was quickly and eagerly drawn in to the busyness, excitement and challenges of the role. ‘Complex’ doesn’t even seem to do justice to the day’s events. Meetings with teachers, learning walks, parent meetings, students needing support, teaching my wonderful drama students, delivering presentations, parent teacher interviews, planning professional development to improve learning. These events can honestly be the script that makes up one calendar day!

My role was stimulating, challenging and exhausting. So what has been the impact of the Menzies School Leader Fellowship Program? Well during our very first official day, the ‘Accelerated Planning Day’ I had several epiphanies, some tears, laughter and a very sore brain. It was a thoroughly engaging and totally exhausting day that certainly accelerated my motivations. Having clarified my vision through sensitive, evidence based and thoughtful feedback I was on fire. How will I, how must I achieve these goals that now appeared, clearly and enticingly before me. Not small goals I’ll have you know! Life affirming, system wide, scary goals that I had never dreamt of achieving.

‘To transform teacher practice’. ‘To empower young women to be leaders in a world of change!’ You get the picture?

Having been gently and positively re-affirmed throughout this process I left the day feeling ‘confused’. Wonderfully, somehow the next step was a process of reflection which moved me quickly to a place of clarity and then transformed into action! With a wonderfully supportive Principal guiding me I have been able to refine my focus, take risks and put all of my efforts into achieving these worthy goals, practically and purposefully.

On the heels of this experience came the Lectica testing process. Wow! Mind blowing, challenging stuff that has further propelled, not just my desire and motivation, but has equipped me with a way forward. Through deep exploration and assessment of my leadership capacity I am now beginning my first Virtual Cycle of Learning or VCoL. Skyping with Clint Fuchs from California at 6.30 am is not my idea of a fun start to the day. I’m not a morning person. But I have to admit, Clint left me feeling known, empowered and ready for the next challenge. Having defined my ‘growth edge’ I am enthusiastically embracing the challenges of improving my collaborative decision making expertise. I am already deeply indebted to the wonderful collaborative team at EY, the Menzies foundation, the University of Melbourne. Soon I will meet with Angela, our personal leadership coach. Pinch me someone, I must be dreaming. I’m so very grateful for this unparalleled opportunity and look forward to what mind bending, transformative experiences await.

Learn more about the Menzies School Leader Fellowship Program