It may come as a surprise that Tracey Gray, who has been in the education profession for the last 20 years, did not like going to school when she was growing up.
“I didn’t enjoy school, I spent most of my time sitting outside the principal’s office,” the new principal at the Sapphire Coast Anglican College said.
“But I’ve got the belief that you’re either part of the problem or be the change you want to see.
“I wanted to change education to be a positive experience for all kids and I didn’t want any student to feel how I did at school.”
Even about 4000kms away on the other side of Australia she heard about the strong values and community of SCAC.
Leaving Western Australia’s largest independent school St Stephen’s, where she was the acting head of campus, she drove across the country to take over as principal at the college in Bega this year, her first employment in such a position.
Part of the reason she made the move was as SCAC’s values resonated with her.
“I felt it was a reflection of who I am and I want to build community, that’s something dear to my heart,” Ms Gray said.
“It was seeing the community in action and thinking yes, I can add value here.”
Her vision for the college involves four pillars that she hopes to instill in students.
The pillars include instilling a sense of belonging, making sure they know they are capable of completing tasks, fostering independence and encouraging generosity towards others.
“If we foster and grow those four elements… then I think we raise children that become very positive adults,” Ms Gray said.
She is not the only new face at the school this year. Rebecca Milliss and Clinton Meredith are new teachers while Reverend Tim Narraway is the new chaplain.
Mr Meredith had been to SCAC before on placement.
“It’s this little village, it’s this community of people, students and teachers, and it’s a pretty nice place to come and work,” he said.
After growing up in Bega, Ms Milliss returned to the area five years ago.
“It’s just a great place to bring up kids, a great area to live really,” she said.
Rev Narraway said chaplains were filling more of an important role.
“For me it’s about bridging the gap between people and their identity with God, and creating and atmosphere that is welcoming and inclusive. That creates a safe place for them and God,” he said.