OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO TEACHING
Tens of thousands of Gold Coast students’ lives have been touched by an inspirational Deputy Principal, affectionately known as “Stubbsie”, who is a finalist in state awards.
Helensvale State High School (HSHS) Deputy Principal (DP) Sharyn Stubbs has helped successfully lead one of Queensland’s biggest schools for over 20 years. She has also been a key driver of the Northern Collegiate, a group of Gold Coast school leaders who share ideas and resources to give students superior opportunities.
Top academic results, an exciting “Australian Business Week” for students, an inspirational student leader program, a strong transition into external exams, and even the sewing of award-winning costumes for school musicals, are just some of the marks of this DP’s legacy.
Ms Stubbs’ tireless, deeply committed, warm, strategic, and dynamic approach is one of the reasons she is a finalist for this year’s Queensland College of Teachers TEACHX Outstanding Contribution to Teaching Award.
Ms Stubbs started the Gold Coast’s “Australian Business Week” (ABW) – a fast-paced competition in which students from different schools work together to create a business with a marketing framework, a website and a television advertisement, which they then pitch to judges.
“And all of that comes together in a culmination of the final day with a dinner in the evening … and there are prizes that are announced: the best overall team, the best website, the best trade display etc.,” Ms Stubbs said.
She is a founding member of the Northern Collegiate (NC), which now includes DPs and Heads of Department from seven Gold Coast state high schools. The NC pools resources and ideas to provide students with shared opportunities, including the ABW, vocational education and training, and a multi-year level student school leadership program.
“One of the things I am most proud of is the school leadership program: the majority of school leaders have always come from the Northern Collegiate. So, we have been able to grow students in their leadership, their confidence, in their ability to publicly speak,” she said.
At HSHS, Ms Stubbs’ leadership of the Senior School team, in particular the changes to external exams, has been described as “strategic, precise and compassionate”. As a former Victorian, the DP was able to draw on her experience of external exams there to lead HSHS students and staff through a successful transition.
Despite her enormous workload, she has played an important part in HSHS school musicals, working late into many nights sewing costumes, including award-winning ones for Beauty and the Beast in 2017. The “softy at heart” said she preferred to work behind the scenes.
“I love being involved in such positive experiences for students,” Ms Stubbs said.
“Part of being a big school (is that) we have had a huge influence on so many students and it is lovely to hear those stories when people come back, young men and women come back and talk to us about what it meant to be part of Helensvale, and that is the part I really love more than anything,” she said.
“People always ask me why I stay at the same school – I wouldn't go anywhere else. It's a dynamic school that has grown, morphed, and had ups and downs, and I don't think my life here has ever, ever been dull – so I love being at Helensvale.”
The TEACHX Awards winners will be announced on 28 October, the eve of World Teachers’ Day in Australia. Finalists receive $500, and winners $5000, for professional development.