Principal's News Term 1 Week 6

Wednesday, 06 Mar 2024
Rodham Building

I am delighted to share with you the exciting news that our new mathematics building has been officially inaugurated! On Tuesday 5 March, we had the honour of hosting The Venerable Peter Shayler-Webb, Archdeacon for the Southern Region, and Mr. David Ford, our esteemed College Chair, for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

This state-of-the-art facility has been named the Rodham Building in honour of Mr. Scott Rodham, an integral member of our college community. Mr. Rodham, currently serving as our Alumni and Archivist Officer, has contributed significantly to our institution over the past three decades. From his foundational role as Head of Secondary in 1995 to his diverse responsibilities as Head of House, Head of Mathematics, Head of Pastoral Care, and College Registrar, his dedication to education and student welfare has been unwavering.

Mr. Rodham's journey as an educator began in 1966 in public schools before he joined our college. His extensive experience has enriched the lives of countless students and colleagues alike. Moreover, his support has been pivotal in orchestrating milestone events such as our 20th, 25th, and 30th anniversary celebrations.

The Rodham Building, the first of two structures planned for this area, comprises four interconnected classrooms, a withdrawal meeting room, a staff room, and a storage facility. This modern facility will serve as the new hub for our esteemed mathematics faculty. Additionally, a fly-over roof will soon grace the building, enhancing its architectural appeal. This final touch will be installed during the upcoming end-of-term 1 school holidays. The second building in this area is currently being designed and will go to tender in the coming months. This building will be known as the Integrated Learning Centre. More information on this building will be shared in early term 3.

During these holidays, we are also embarking on several other significant projects. Firstly, we are expanding our commitment to sustainability with the installation of an additional 116kW of solar panels on the Branson Centre and surrounding buildings. This initiative aims to reduce our carbon footprint and electricity consumption, thereby lowering associated costs.

Furthermore, we are enhancing our science facilities by refurbishing a classroom into another fully equipped science laboratory (S6). This project will commence during the holidays and extend into the first week of Term 2. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to our dedicated college staff and contractors for their tireless efforts in meeting these timelines despite the demanding nature of our school calendar.

Sabbatical Leave

Earlier this year, I announced to the community that I would be taking some time off for a sabbatical. I am writing to inform you that the time for this leave has now arrived. My sabbatical will encompass a diverse range of enriching experiences aimed at further enhancing my leadership skills and personal growth.

During my time away, I will be engaged in four key elements: study, school visits, conferences, and a pilgrimage. I am excited to inform you that I will be undertaking a course at Oxford University on Strategic Leadership, which I believe will greatly benefit our school community upon my return. Additionally, I will be visiting several Round Square schools, and also attending a Round Square Heads Forum in Christchurch, New Zealand, where I have been invited to facilitate a session. I will also be embarking on the Camino pilgrimage.

For those unfamiliar, the Camino de Santiago, or the Way of St. James, is an ancient pilgrimage trail with deep historical and spiritual significance. Pilgrims journey along this 500 mile path to reach the revered cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, where the remains of the Apostle Saint James the Great are said to be buried.

I am scheduled to return to the college in mid-June, refreshed and invigorated by these experiences. In my absence, I am grateful to announce that capable members of our staff will be stepping into key roles to ensure the smooth continuation of school operations. Mr. Simon Doyle will serve as the Acting Principal, while Mrs. Sue O’Connor will take on the responsibilities of Head of Secondary. Mr. Terry Close will act as the Acting Director of Student Wellbeing, and Mrs. Erin Powell will assume the role of Acting Year 9 Coordinator. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to these individuals for their willingness to take on these additional responsibilities.

From a Human Resources perspective, I view this sabbatical not only as an opportunity for personal and professional growth but also as a chance to further develop the skills and expertise of our college staff, contributing to the ongoing success of our educational community. As always, I am deeply appreciative of your continued support and understanding. I have full confidence in the capable hands that will guide the college in my absence, and I look forward to returning with renewed energy and insights to continue our collective journey towards excellence in education.

Celebrating 10 Years of Women in Leadership in the Anglican Church of Australia

Last Sunday, I had the privilege of participating in a remarkable service held at the Cathedral in Grafton. This occasion marked the significant milestone of 10 years since women began serving as Diocesan Bishops in the Grafton Diocese and the Anglican Church of Australia. 

Our esteemed guest, Bishop Sarah Macneil, graced us with her presence. Many of you may recall Bishop Sarah as our former bishop prior to Bishop Murray. In commemoration of this momentous event, Dean Naomi and Bishop Murray consecrated a Canonry Stall named the “Macneil Stall”—the inaugural Stall in the Anglican Church of Australia dedicated to an Australian woman.

Primary Leaders Growth

On the 1st of March, our Primary School leaders participated in a student conference at the Cathedral in Grafton alongside primary years student leaders from our sister schools: Clarence Valley Anglican School, Lindisfarne Anglican Grammar School, Emmanuel Anglican College, and St Columba’s Anglican School. During the event, the collective explored Anglican identity, servant leadership, and the potency of creative prayer. Bishop Murray graciously imparted the rich history of our Diocese to the group. The day concluded with a beautiful liturgy featuring Bible stories, songs, and prayers. A heartfelt appreciation goes out from the college to all the school chaplains, including our own Rev. Lisa and Rev. Nic, as well as to Dean Naomi who instigated what I hope will become an annual event for our primary school leaders.

Nick Johnstone

A message from our Acting Principal

As we embark on another exciting term at Bishop Druitt College, I have some important updates and announcements to share with our beloved community. From staff changes to upcoming events and student achievements, there's much to celebrate and anticipate in the coming weeks.

Staff Updates and Appreciation

Firstly, I would like to extend my best wishes to Mr. Johnstone as he embarks on his travels, study, and well-deserved sabbatical. I thank him for his dedication and leadership and wish him all the best in his endeavours.

During Mr. Johnstone's absence, I am excited to step into the role of Acting Principal. I am truly grateful for the support and warmth extended by our wonderful community thus far.

Additionally commencing now until 16 June 2024, we have some staff changes to announce:

I appreciate their willingness to step into these roles and continue to uphold the values and standards of Bishop Druitt College.

Spotlight on Talented Staff

In the next issue of our local Focus magazine, some of our talented and inspiring staff members will be featured. Keep an eye out for profiles on Janine Ryan, Nicole Matthews, and Zara Baldwin. It is a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the incredible individuals shaping our community.

Recent Events and Initiatives

The recent Kindergarten Teddy Bear's Picnic and Adventure Playground playdate was a resounding success. We extend our gratitude to the dedicated staff members, including Mrs. Fisher, Mrs. Johnstone, Mrs. Nightingale, and Mr. James, for their efforts in organising fun activities.

At Bishop Druitt College, we emphasise the importance of service learning, and Year 12 students have commenced their focus on the World's Greatest Shave initiative this term. Additionally, our involvement with the Disabled Surfing Association (DSA) final event at Coffs Harbour Jetty highlights our commitment to community engagement and making a positive difference.

Last week our primary student leadership team completed a Leader's Day at the Grafton Cathedral and this initiative should extend to high school leaders later in the year. The 2024 musical The Little Mermaid directed by Mrs Caesar is well underway. We thank families for costume and set work and coming in on weekends, an exciting performance in the making. Kokoda Challenge 2024 training walks are in action and thank you to Mrs Martin and Mr Chapman so far the adventures. We wish Year 11 well on their outdoor education program this week with Mrs Gudgeon and the Tutor team. Cambodia 2024 immersion organisation has commenced and the Heron Island field trip is only a few weeks away. The BDC Advantage includes these wonderful opportunities beyond the classroom.

Upcoming Easter Events

I warmly invite all members of our community to join us for our upcoming Easter events:

Easter Service:
Thursday, March 28th, 9 am in the Branson Centre.
Grandparents and Special Friends Day:
Thursday, March 28th, starting at 11:15 am.
These events provide meaningful opportunities for reflection, celebration, and togetherness as we approach the Easter season.

We have completed the third Sunday of Lent, and the preparation for Easter included the Gospel reading from John 2:13 “Jesus went up to Jerusalem, and in the Temple he found people selling cattle and sheep and pigeons”. This is an early part of the ministry of Jesus and one of the few times where he demonstrates such disappointment and perhaps it is more to bring the purpose of the temple back to the forefront of local people. Please consider asking your children about the focus in their Chapel service or Godly Play over these next few weeks.

About me

For those who may be new to the college or unfamiliar with me, I would like to offer a brief introduction. I have been a part of Bishop Druitt College since 2018, initially serving as the Head of Secondary. My wife, Kellie, is the Head of Sport at BDC, and together we have two children, Lucas and Mackenzie, who are both pursuing their passions in technology and travel, respectively. Our son Lucas has almost completed his degree in ICT (yes thankfully he solves all our phone and tech problems) at the University of Newcastle and our daughter Mackenzie is travelling and enjoying the winter Alps in Canada (where she has experienced -30!).

Looking Ahead

As we move forward into the remainder of the term, I am excited to continue meeting and welcoming new families into our vibrant community. I encourage everyone to explore the various opportunities and experiences offered at Bishop Druitt College, both inside and outside the classroom.

Thank you for your ongoing support and enthusiasm. Together, we will make the remainder of this term memorable and rewarding for all.

Wishing you a wonderful month ahead. Take a visit to The Bishop's Blend and grab a delicious coffee and treat - located behind the Dance Studio. Open 8am - 9:30am weekdays during term. 

Simon Doyle
Acting Principal

Colour Run 

Please make sure you register your child/children for this fun event as we need 500 registrations to run it. There will be a sausage sizzle and cake stall on the day as well.

Register here -