NEW PRINCIPAL: ‘It’s a privilege to grow up rurally’
ST MARY'S Catholic College in Kingaroy has welcomed their new principal with open arms and plenty of morning tea invitations.
Ms Carmel O'Brien has over 20 years' experience in the Australian education system, and said she was excited for the next chapter of her life and career in the South Burnett.
"I've been here two weeks and a few days now and I already feel so welcomed and at home," Ms O'Brien said.
"I grew up in a small town in Victoria that could easily be mistaken for Kingaroy, it was so similar. Swan Hill on the Murray River.
"Very hot in summer and very cold in winter. Just like Kingaroy.
"It's exciting to be living and working in a small town again."
Ms O'Brien said a standout for her so far had been the staff and community at St Mary's.
"It's a beautiful community and the teachers have a real focus on excellence in education," she said.
"Before this I was at St Tersea's Catholic College at Noosaville, where I was the deputy principal for six years.
"I've always worked in Catholic education in schools with all grade levels, in Victoria and Queensland. I've always found the schools to be welcoming and community minded.
"It's a big change from Noosa but I'm already feeling like I made the right decision, just by working with the staff here for less than a week."
Ms O'Brien said she was beyond excited to be back in a rural town, doing what she loved most.
"I'm very passionate about education in regional areas," she said.
"I think it's such a privilege for children to get to grow up in the country.
"I see it as my job to ensure that they are in no way disadvantaged by their location and that they are still achieving excellence.
"I'm really passionate about providing opportunities for every student in this country school.
"I want them to all be excellent in their educational pursuits and dream big and set goals that I can help them achieve.
"I don't think we should compromise anything just because we are a fair distance from the nearest city."
Ms O'Brien said she believed, if anything, there were more opportunities in rural areas.
"They have the advantage of knowing everyone.
"They know their local police, hospital staff, vets, even the people who work at their local newspaper.
"They have so many connections and this will come in useful as they start to map out their careers."
Ms O'Brien said going to work never felt like work.
"Education is a privilege, and I'm so lucky to be apart of that."