A Logan high school has become a state leader in teaching excellence and has broken down barriers and created opportunities for its students under a transformational principal.
Five years after Andrew Peach started as the Executive Principal at Marsden State High School (MSHS), students are travelling overseas to NASA and Europe, 100 per cent of its Year 12 pupils are achieving their Queensland Certificate of Education, students are participating in innovative employment programs, and are working with international educational leaders who come to the school to share their expertise.
Wellbeing is a school focus, with mental health stigma being tackled, and invaluable partnerships with universities, community organisations, sporting clubs and employers have been set up.
This year the MSHS rugby league team, which benefits from partnerships with the Brisbane Broncos and Souths Logan Magpies through the school’s Rugby League Excellence Program, made the Queensland final for the NRL National Schoolboy Cup.
Not surprisingly, the student population is growing exponentially along with the school’s reputation. Next year MSHS is expected to have more than 2700 students – a growth of over 1000 pupils in just six years.
Andrew, who was awarded a Harvard Scholarship in 2014, has also introduced one of the state’s most lauded teaching excellence programs, with a focus on beginning teachers, mentoring and professional development, including international study tours for staff.
Amidst all of that Andrew taught a Year 9 English class for a full year—one of the few Executive Principals across the state to take on a classroom teaching role—and undertakes the role of a sports trainer in the school’s rugby league team to increase his engagement with students.
MSHS Deputy Principal Michael Smith says Andrew’s approach has been to focus on successful development of staff and performance systems.
“As Executive Principal of Marsden State High School Andrew has led an outstanding learning program for preservice, beginning teachers and aspiring leaders,” Michael says.
“Marsden SHS has come to be recognised as one of Queensland’s leaders in staff development. Approximately 200 preservice teachers study at Marsden State High School each year in a structured and successful learning program guided by engaged mentors in a supportive environment,” he says.
“Marsden SHS is one of Queensland’s leading schools for the permanent appointment of staff, reflecting Andrew’s commitment to supporting staff and implementing programs to develop teaching practice. Our staff retention rate of 94% is the envy of many.
“Andrew has created an environment where Marsden State High School is now a school of choice for teachers, supporting superior opportunities for both staff and students built on a culture of high expectations.”
As a result, over 30 Queensland schools have engaged with MSHS to further develop their own staff support processes. Schools interstate work with Andrew in student leadership fields and the AVID program, which builds the capacity of low socio-economic students to help them achieve success. Education Queensland International also regularly requests Andrew to present to visiting groups.
The school’s accomplishments led to it being named as one of only two finalists in the Department of Education’s 2018 Showcase Awards for State School of the Year.
School staff from across Logan have also benefited from Andrew’s initiatives.
“Andrew leads our Aspiring Leaders program which has been at full capacity since its introduction in 2015, with Marsden staff, and staff from local primary and secondary schools, benefiting greatly from Andrew’s leadership experience, with 39 of the attendees now in formal leadership positions,” Michael says.
Outside of his role at the school Andrew is also the Chair of the Queensland School Sport Rugby League and Former Origin Greats Indigenous Education Advisory committees, and a member of the University of Queensland Bachelor of Arts Advisory Board, the AVID Principal Group, the Griffith University Teacher Education Industry Advisory Group and various Australian and Business and Community Network Advisory committees.
Congratulations Andrew on your nomination.