From starting a new school “against all the odds”, to building it into one of the most innovative in the state, Dr Lyn Bishop’s story is a fascinating and inspiring one.
“Some people might see February 1997 as the birth of Sheldon College.However, I believe Sheldon College had its beginnings some fifty-five years ago when my father walked out on us. From that day my mother began the task of laying the blueprint for emotional resilience in my brother and me,” Dr Bishop writes at the very beginning her statement on the school’s website about the college’s history. Dr Bishop writes of her fierce determination to become a teacher from four years of age, despite significant health-related setbacks. You can read more about Dr Bishop’s story, and the development of Sheldon College, here: http://sheldoncollege.com/ourjourney
Today, Sheldon College, which is in a semi-rural setting in Brisbane’s Bayside, is often in the news for keeping students at the forefront of technological, entrepreneurial and innovative change.
The college has a Learning and Innovation for a New Queensland (LINQ) Precinct which fosters student creativity. The precinct houses a Business Enterprise Centre, a Design Technology workshop and flexible laboratories for computer-aided design and drafting, prototyping and robotics. It also has a creative production facility, which features an interactive and collaborative space with operable walls, a forecourt and breakout areas, a large-group lecture and exposition space, and a video wall for group presentations and virtual video collaborations.
This year ArtScapes – a centre designed to facilitate the creative process of students working in digital engineering, media composition and the “STEAM-preneurs” program – was opened
Sheldon College also has a dedicated Mixed Reality Lab and a Learning Galaxy, which houses a large, interactive touchscreen and a flexible space dedicated to Art displays and various classroom teaching and learning configurations.
Academically, the school’s students are often among the top performers for Overall Position results statewide and the college also hosts the Australian School of the Arts, with students excelling in the areas of drama and music.
The standards Dr Bishop sets are impeccably high. Staff wear a uniform and are expected to adhere to the same high standards required of students in dress and appearance, and in individual scholarship.
Dr Bishop’s inspirational efforts and hard work were acknowledged this month with an OAM in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for her service to Queensland education.
Dr Bishop says she has “a fundamental belief in providing a first-class educational experience for children that would see them equipped to become worthwhile and contributing citizens in a dynamic and ever-changing global community”.
“I am very humbled to receive this award but I accept this on behalf of the large number of outstanding, dedicated and committed educators who have worked alongside me in the realisation of our vision to establish a school that would leave a legacy for children in the Redland Shire,” Dr Bishop says.
The OAM follows an extensive line of acknowledgements and awards for Dr Bishop, including the Australian Institute of Management Professional Manager of the Year in 1999, which was the first time the award was ever given to a person in the field of education. Sheldon College Board Chair Chris Wigan says the school community is very proud of Dr Bishop’s achievements. “Dr Bishop is an outstanding leader and educator who has overcome many obstacles over the years in order for Sheldon College to continue to deliver excellent educational outcomes for every student,” Mr Wigan says.
“The legacy of Dr Bishop’s vision, values and service to education will live on for generations to come and Sheldon College will continue to transform the lives of students through first-class teaching and learning.”
Dr Bishop's service to education includes:
Founder, and Principal – Sheldon College since 1997
Ambassador, Queensland Education Leadership Institute, since 2011
Department of Education and Training Queensland: Acting Director, Quality Assurance, 1994-1995
Deputy Executive Director, Metropolitan East Region, 1992-1993
Principal, Alexandra Hills State High School, 1987-1991
Deputy Principal, Merrimac State High School, Coorparoo State High School, Camp Hill State High School, 1981-1984
Senior Mistress, Balmoral State High School, 1976-1980
Teacher, Mount Gravatt State School, Charleville School of the Air, Cavendish Road State High School, 1969-1975
Vice-President, Queensland Principals' Association, 1990-1991
Awards and recognition include: Ambassador, Queensland Education Leadership Institute, 2014; recipient, Outstanding Alumni Award, Faculty of Education, Queensland University of Technology, 2013; recipient, Centenary Medal; recipient, Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur of the Year Awards for a Social, Community or Not-for-Profit Enterprise, 2002; recipient, Queensland and Australian Entrepreneur of the Year for a Social, Community or Not-for-Profit Enterprise, 2002.
Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM), 2018.