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From golfing pro to school leader - Julia Boland’s path has given her quite the perspective on gender roadblocks. And when it comes to her advice for the next generation of female leaders, she recommends identifying & articulating your values, and stand firmly on those along with your faith as you lead.

In your own words, how would you describe Calrossy -

Calrossy is a beautiful school that provides students with opportunities to pursue their interests and develop their strengths.

How many years have you been in your current role?

2023 is my second year.

What would you say makes Calrossy unique?

Calrossy is more than a school, it’s a community of people that genuinely seek to learn in partnership. From a practical perspective this is driven by an exceptionally gifted and passionate staff who go the extra mile to provide our students with seemingly limitless opportunities to grow.

What has been your most memorable experience as head of senior secondary?

Perhaps it’s skirting the question because my immediate response is not to point to a singular moment, but rather the culture on the senior secondary campus which has been developed by staff and students as they learn in partnership.

As a female leader, what has been the most significant barrier in your career? Have you been confronted with gender-related roadblocks in your career?

Prior to teaching, I was a professional golfer on the LPGA Tour. The golf industry is extremely male-dominated and often overtly sexist. My experience as an educator is (as a whole) very different. I think the nature of the industry is that it draws professionals who believe in the value of all people regardless of gender. One of the cool things about Calrossy is our diamond model whereby we are co-educational but in Years 7-9 students learn in single-sex classrooms. My perception is that this has removed some of the barriers to subjects that in other contexts are considered “boys” or “girls” subjects. It also seems to avoid the decline that many schools see in female participation in PDHPE during these years.

How do you balance work and life?

I think both male and female teachers as a whole are extremely capable professionals who are well-versed in managing conflicting priorities.

What advice would you give to the next generation of women leaders?

I recently listened to an interview with Peggy O’Neil, former president of Richmond ALF club and the first female president of any AFL club. During this interview, she acknowledged that part of the pressure that she felt as a leader was because she “represented women” and if she failed it was an indication that women “failed”. This made me appreciate the education sector, which has many examples of great women leaders so I acknowledge that my advice comes from a place of privilege. As a leader, I seek to be someone who recognises and develops the strengths of those around me and hopefully this is founded in people being and feeling valued.

Do, or did you have a woman leader as a mentor or are there specific women who inspired you and why?

Yes. When I was a deputy principal in a state school in Queensland I had a principal who was a very strategic and competent leader. She inspired me, and challenged me but all the time made me feel supported.

What’s on the horizon for senior secondary at Calrossy in 2023?

We are looking forward to building on the momentum of the success of last year.

Location: TAMWORTH | NSW


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