EXCELLENT LEADERSHIP IN TEACHING AND LEARNING
Kiri Griffiths, Head of Department – English and Humanities at Loganlea State high School is a force to be reckoned with. Her love for the Logan community and a ‘high expectations, no excuses’ attitude have driven critical forces in what is an exceptional leadership story.
In the classroom, Kiri is an educator who consistently practises excellence. Her students are engaged and challenged because she expects the best from them. Kiri utilises a number of research-based practices, including opportunities for collaborative work, AVID Organisation strategies and Collins Writing, in her work with students. Since she became Head of Department in 2015, literacy at Loganlea has improved dramatically, and it’s thanks to Kiri’s efforts that that has been the case.
As Kiri’s Principal, Mr Brenton Farleigh, explains, “Kiri is an exceptional leader who has built a strong English and Humanities team that are working hard to improve outcomes for students. She is a highly respected member of the school’s leadership team, raising the bar for what a high expectation culture really is.”
Outside the classroom, Kiri is a tireless leader. Having grown up in Logan, Kiri's passion has always been raising the public profile and improving the reputation of Logan youth. Developing the Signature Academic program in 2014 with just 12 students, within two years, Kiri achieved a 200 per cent increase in applications and subsequent enrolments. Within five years, the program had expanded from 12 students to 76 students. In the first five years of the program, Loganlea State High School went from less than 10 students sitting the QCS Test to over 20 students. Over 90 per cent of students sitting the QCS test in 2017, 2018 and 2019 were previous Signature students and from 2016 to 2019 at least 50 per cent of the successful school captaincy candidates were Signature students.
In 2018, Kiri submitted a project proposal for the inaugural national Schools Plus funding grants. The project was entitled "Uplift Logan" and its purpose was to take the academic success of the Signature Students beyond Logan and expose them to experiences and mentors that would develop them personally and academically in the future. The heart of the project, however, was to allow the students to see their context as an opportunity and not a barrier.
Kiri was successful in being awarded one of the inaugural grants of $75 000 to spend over three years. Phase One of Uplift Logan focused on data collection and student readiness. Phase One also involved a community data collection from a cross-section of teachers, students and community members within and beyond Logan. This data collection highlighted that the community and beyond all agreed on one key point : the media generally portray Logan youth in a negative light despite them having a lot to offer their community.
Despite COVID-19 preventing Phase Two of Uplift Logan going ahead, Kiri did not allow this to stop the project itself from continuing. Kiri led a side project called "Lean on Loganlea" – an online community leadership project. Through this program, 51 members of the local community were nominated for a "Lean on Loganlea" award of recognition and each of those 51 nominees received a card containing messages from the students, as well as gifts. This project taught the students that even in difficult circumstances, they can all still be leaders and reach out to offer support.
Kiri is clearly exceptional and an asset to the Logan community.
Congratulations on being shortlisted for the TEACHX Excellent Leadership in Teaching and Learning Award.