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Claire Smith’s passion for education has taken her all the way from launching her own school to heading up Calrossy School Junior School and at every stage she has been “blown away” by her students.

In your own words, how would you describe Calrossy - Calrossy is one of the most beautiful schools I have worked in. The combination of beautiful students, trusting and committed parents, and a dedicated and passionate staff team makes it a pleasure to lead. Every day is different and every day the students continue to amaze me with the way they approach learning, each other, and the world in which they live. Our students embrace opportunities to learn, grow and serve and it is a privilege to be educating the next generation who are going to do incredible things with their lives. How many years have you been in your current role? I have been a head of junior school for the last eight years, the last five have been at Calrossy. What has been your most memorable experience as head of junior school at Calrossy? A student once told me, “every day is a great day!” and I wholeheartedly agree. There are no defining moments because when you work with children they continue to blow you away from one day to the next. Before being head of junior school at Calrossy where were you living and working? Before Calrossy I lived and worked in a small town outside of Canberra. I started a school with a team of incredibly passionate educators. It is one of the most rewarding things I have done, which still brings me joy - starting from scratch, creating a culture, building a unique environment, and putting research into action was really fulfilling but also all-consuming and exhausting! I moved to Tamworth to get some sleep! What prompted the tree change and what has the change of scenery been like? I had my tree change many years ago - probably before it was even a thing! I grew up in Sydney, so it has always been home, but when I graduated there was an abundance of teachers (imagine that!). We were encouraged to get out of Sydney if we wanted to secure a teaching job, so I did, and it was the best decision I have ever made. I love the pace of life, I love the way country people approach life, I love how people interact with each other and I love that I now call Tamworth home. What is it that you think helped you the most to make a career as a woman? What’s the biggest factor that has helped you be successful? I am passionate about what I do, and I have chosen education because it is something I love. That makes going to work every day a joy. I am certain that being true to my purpose and holding fast to what I believe in has helped my journey to where I am today. You are undoubtedly busy, how do you take care of yourself and maintain mental health? Let’s be honest about this … I’m not a green smoothie, yoga-going, gym junkie who practices mindfulness. I’m about what works at the time and in the moment. I do what works for me, not what everyone tells me I should be doing - that just makes me more stressed! I leave work early one afternoon a week, get up early, go to bed early, love reading, and enjoy time at home. My husband is also amazing and he keeps me very in touch with reality when I get a little bit lost in the chaos! What's one thing every woman should know about being successful in her career and life? Love what you do. Do, or did you have a woman leader as a mentor or are there specific women who inspired you and why? My grandmother will always hold a special place in my heart; she lived to be 100 years old. She was a strong and courageous woman, confident, graceful, beautiful, and loving. She lived a life of service always placing the needs of others before her own. She left a legacy of love behind her. I can only hope to be half the woman she was. What’s on the horizon for Calrossy Junior School in 2023? So much! At Calrossy this year, it is the Year of Hope. We are hopeful for good things to come. When we talk about hope with the students and families, we focus on the positive things that we can look forward to in the future. This helps us to carry on when persevering, or when we make a mistake and if things don’t go to plan. So what are we looking forward to the weeks of well-being, house days, school camps, carnivals, excursions, new school friends, new school buildings, discos, and don’t forget a year filled with learning that is purposeful, relevant, and authentic.

Location: TAMWORTH | NSW


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