Inspirational Principals: Redlands


Dr Peter Lennox, principal, Redlands

What made you want to enter teaching?

From a very early age I loved learning and was fortunate to have a great school experience with many inspiring teachers. Teaching allowed me to continue to learn in the subject fields that I had particularly enjoyed and to share those subjects with new learners.


What do you like most about working in a school?

The students and simply being in a place of continuous learning. One day is never the same as the last and one can constantly exercise one’s brain and one’s heart in solving challenges, as well as serve as a model of continual learning for our girls, boys and staff.


What are some of the changes to education that you have witnessed in your time as principal?

* The broadening of the curriculum; the huge improvement in how teaching is practiced; and the broadening of scope from a focus largely upon content learning to include an holistic care and regard for each individual student. I believe that the modern pedagogy and the capacity to take that holistic approach to the teacher role has truly made teaching today a profession that combines both science and art.

* The shift away from teacher-driven rote learning and passive students to active students who are engaged in their learning and can apply their knowledge to solving real-life problems.

* A culture of seeing learning as an exciting life-long journey in a world where complexity keeps growing; a world in which humans are challenged to deal with that complexity in ways that call upon them to accept responsibility to be caretakers of the planet, and socially responsible beings in a society where the common good and care for others should ideally be the goal.


What is the most rewarding part of your job?

  • Selecting, motivating and supporting the highest-quality teachers who have a passion for their role and who inspire their students to learn and to enjoy their learning.
  • Participating in a small way in the continual improvement of education to where it needs to be for a world future that is lit by kindness, a spirit of humanity and caring for others.
  • Helping to develop leaders who will play their role in the constant improvement of best-quality education.


What are some special achievements of your staff, students and the school that you are most proud of?

  • Staff: Their increasing willingness and determination to keep learning how to be inspiring teachers and to show how much they really care about the children.
  • Students: They display such verve and energy when given the chance to show how well they can do things for which they have a passion, and they continue to exceed adult expectations thanks to the faith and trust shown towards them. That applies to students of all ages.
  • Redlands is a school with courage and vision to keep moving forward. We prepare our students to be ready to play their part as leaders and active team members, and participate in the world that will be their future responsibility.


What hopes do you have for the future of your school?

  • That it continue to have the courage and foresight to challenge outdated ways and thinking that have become less relevant in a fast-changing world, and to look to the future while still cherishing the knowledge and values that continue to have importance in the world.
  • That it becomes a national and even international beacon of educational enlightenment and a model for young girls and boys learning together.


What is your motto for running a successful school?

It’s not a motto, but a belief. Children are born as explorers of the world around them. That is a consequence of having that wondrous asset, the human brain, which is so remarkably powerful. It is the responsibility of parents and teachers not to take that inquiring mind away from them or dull it, but rather to encourage it to shine as they build the knowledge, skills, competencies and personal attitudes that will serve them throughout their lives, making them continually meaningful.

The two schools which I have been blessed to lead as head have mottos which I think work in perfect harmony when placed together:

  • Redlands motto “Let Your Light Shine” has great social and personal significance in its original context of the Christian gospel, and in the many other ways which it can be applied in the context of a modern school.
  • Brisbane Grammar’s motto: “Nil sine labore”, which reminds us that “nothing comes without effort” (although I would modify it slightly to “nil boni sine labore” — “nothing that is good comes without effort”. The ultimate reward for any teacher, I believe, is to see and hear how the lives of students unfold and sometimes to be told that you made a difference for the good in how that happened.

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