Mr Stuart Meade is the fourth Principal of Matthew Flinders Anglican College, having previous experience as Head of Hale School in WA, and Deputy Head at Cranbrook School and Newcastle Grammar School in NSW. He brings a wealth of knowledge in leadership, curriculum and planning, having been a board member of the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia.
You have an extensive career in education, notably in leadership roles. Tell us about your career development?
I was motivated to become a teacher by two outstanding but very different teachers I had at school. After the completion of my tertiary studies, I spent a year working in a NSW government school teaching Economics and Geography, before being appointed to a similar position at Cranbrook School in Sydney. From there I was offered a position as Deputy Head at Newcastle Grammar School before returning to Cranbrook as Deputy Head then to Hale School in Perth as Headmaster in 2003. Along the way, I have been on various education committees and boards, most recently Treasurer and board member of the Association of Heads of Independent Schools in Australia and a member of the WA Principals’ Forum advisory panel to the WA government.
What are the main challenges in your role as a Principal?
The role of Principal is a very diverse role these days, with so many demands being placed on the way schools educate young people. Governments, tertiary institutions, community groups, parents, and students themselves have expectations on what the curriculum should include and the way teachers should teach. Making the dollars stretch to provide the best possible education for the students at the school is also a challenge. An enjoyable challenge is to provide an education which will enable all students to enter the wider community when they leave school as responsible citizens who know their place in the world and what they need to do to make it an even better place – an idealistic and aspirational goal, no doubt.
What is your vision for education?
The more I read about education in the future, the more I think we are over-thinking things. My vision for education (at Matthew Flinders) is to provide students with a set of skills which will enable them to move to the next stage of their lives with confidence and the ability to work in professions or jobs that may not yet have been developed. Education must be challenging, engaging, exciting and relevant … and there should be some fun in there too.
What motivates you?
I love seeing people ‘having a go’. It does not matter what they are doing, whether they are winning or not, so long as they are doing their best, challenging themselves and striving to achieve something. The Theodore Roosevelt quote about being “the man who is actually in the arena……” resonates with me.