After 50 years of service to the education sector, Robyn Bell draws to a conclusion her 15-year headship of Cannon Hill Anglican College, as the College reaches the end of our 30th year. In the 2018 yearbook Chrysalis and the Summer 2018 issue of Pax et Bonum, due to mail to families this week, the College pays tribute to one of ‘Queensland’s Top 50 Best and Brightest’ (QWeekend, December 2015).
Energising. Inspiring. Compassionate. The list could go on. From the beginning, Robyn’s collaborative leadership and ability to influence and implement educational change has supported an optimistic and bold strategic plan; a plan to build the future success and reputation of CHAC – literally, with an extensive building and development program across 15 years, and philosophically through escalating the capability of students and staff to achieve outstanding personal and professional performance.
Robyn served on the Board of AHISA and actively mentored and aspired leaders and Principals across the country, while maintaining dynamic professional association with various organisations. Closer to home, the resourcing of ongoing professional learning for CHAC staff included the establishment of a Centre for Professional Practice and Innovation in the Research Centre. CHAC is now one of four independent schools in Queensland recognised as a Centre of Excellence for Pre-service Teacher Education.
Such innovative vision and values-driven leadership is possible only through personal growth. Robyn has undertaken continuous learning shaped by international study programs, summits and conferences in Stockholm, Helsinki, Lund, Copenhagen, Singapore, Boston and Toronto. These included The Future of Learning at Harvard Graduate School of Education and The Stockholm Summit for Top Level Leaders in School Education.
It is hardly surprising, therefore, that Robyn was made a Fellow of Australian Council for Educational Leaders, in recognition of an outstanding contribution over time to the improvement of student and organisational outcomes. And the evidence is clear: in 2018, The Courier-Mail listed CHAC as one of the top 30 OP achievers in Queensland; in 2017, we made The Courier-Mail‘s list of Queensland most innovative schools and were reported by Quest Newspapers as ranking in the State’s top 10 for NAPLAN results; in 2015, The Australian listed CHAC in the top 50 best independent coeducational schools in Australia.
When Mrs Bell took the helm of CHAC in 2004, there were 830 students across Years 4 to 12. An Auditorium, the Tuggerah, a Chapel and centres for Science and Junior Secondary were mere visions; the ‘little people’ and a Primary offering from Prep – in state-of-the-art facilities – were pipe dreams; and an Enterprise Centre – let alone a café – were, at that stage, beyond imagination.
Move forward fifteen years and CHAC is one of Queensland’s top schools. Accolades for staff and our 1187 students are the norm, and the College’s reputation has spread nationally and even internationally. But perhaps the most outstanding legacy of Mrs Bell is not bricks and mortar, but the nurturing of our most valuable yet intangible asset – the CHAC culture.
In the College’s history published in 2014 – With Courage and Compassion – A celebration of the first 25 years – Mrs Bell reflected on her appointment.
When I was appointed as the fourth Principal of CHAC from 1 January 2004, the College was just commencing its 16th year. It was time to create a compelling vision for its future; to drive educational excellence; and to ensure that a vibrant, respectful and compassionate culture would become the hallmark of its ‘way of being’.
Without a doubt, our College community can celebrate the realisation of a vision set in motion fifteen years ago.
Thank you, Mrs Bell.