Marina’s ‘principal’ focus is students
She was informed that she had been selected as the college’s new acting principal on December 22 and was feeling at home in the college principal’s office less than six weeks later.
Originally from the Mornington Peninsula, Ms Walsh has accepted a 12-month position at Kyabram – replacing Todd Woodfine, who is now at Rushworth P-12 College.
She has been a leader in developing leadership principles for students with the education department and ensuring students have a strong voice in the school community.
“My number one priority is listening to students to help them develop roles for them in the school environment,” she said.
She said her previous appointments have included developing students into college and community ambassadors, promoting the school and providing leadership by providing insight into school activities for parents and visitors.
She has spent the last four years at Mordiallic College, a 7th to 12th grade school with 1300 students
She arrives in Kyabram with a school population of 950 and a multi-million project to be completed by September.
The welfare and administration of the college is a primary focus, but one that aligns well with the college leader.
“At Mordiallic, I have just gone through the entire process from a conceptual plan to the finished construction of a two-story, 14-classroom 7th & 8th grade learning center.
“It was opened last year by the Prime Minister in his second term,” she said
Ms Walsh will meet with the school board for the first time in mid-February.
She is the youngest of three siblings and, in keeping with the Kyabram flavor, has a strong interest in sports.
“As a student, I was always involved with sports, especially netball,” she said.
Her husband Steve has not fully relocated to Kyabram, but his arrival will be complete this weekend.
The couple will take a little time to find the country’s location, having only traveled once between Christmas and New Year’s before Marina settled into the role.
Mrs. Walsh said it was good for everyone at the college to know that she was here for at least a year.
“It (the 12-month appointment) provides stability within the leadership team,” she said.
“I look forward to working with Louise (Mellington, Headteacher), Billy (Barnes, Headteacher) and Jan (Prior, Executive Secretary),” she said.
She said she also looks forward to working with the leadership team and employees in general to hear their ideas and develop their capacity.
The Ballarat University graduate spent seven years at Sale College, where several of her leadership skills were developed.
“This was my third year out of college and becoming a leading teacher. I developed a lot of skills there because there were a lot of opportunities,” she said.
She said her mantra at Kyabram is to provide the best teachers, the best programs and the best opportunities.
On the first day of school on Monday, the new principal took the opportunity to be on the school grounds in the midst of the student body.
Ms. Walsh said that in the coming weeks she will expand her knowledge of the city and engage with groups other than the college community.
“I also look forward to meeting people outside of school,” she says.
However, she remains strongly connected to the Mornington Peninsula – where her mother still lives, close to her two brothers.
“My father passed away in December and it was an important consideration in accepting the appointment that my mother is doing well,” she said.
The opportunity was too good to turn down, however, as she explained that there aren’t many “senior” main jobs.
“Compared to the amount of people who work in education, these positions don’t come around that often,” she said.
Ms Walsh said she was particularly excited about working in a pre-12th grade school, which she considers a privilege to see a student’s learning for all those years.