A deep belief that every student is capable of successful learning sees Jane Sleeman prioritising and inspiring positive, caring relationships between staff, students and parents, in turn nurturing a strong, collegial culture based on trust.
As Gold Coast-based Queensland Academies Health Sciences (QAHS) campus principal, Mrs Sleeman embodies the qualities of a thoughtful leader and innovator, one who motivates those she interacts with while capitalising on effective networking.
Having taught across a range of secondary subjects – including Japanese, Art, Science, Health and Physical Education, Design and Visual Communication – Mrs Sleeman brought to her current leadership role important qualities that continue to enhance the school’s International Baccalaureate curriculum.
Across her career, Mrs Sleeman has fostered innovation while providing unique opportunities and enrichment activities for students interested in a future in the health sciences, research, science or academia.
Consequently, the bonds created during their time at QAHS have seen a strong cohort of alumni returning to the school as mentors, tutors, motivational speakers, leadership coaches and School Council members.
Her Deputy Principal, Vanessa Rebgetz, says that, under Mrs Sleeman’s leadership, “QAHS has forged new frontiers for state schooling”. In terms of achievements, this has led to:
“Jane has forged collaborative partnerships with Griffith University in the Gold Coast’s Health and Knowledge Precinct,” Ms Rebgetz says. These partnerships have enabled 720 students to gain valuable course credits towards their internationally recognised IB subjects and via the academic courses offered in the QAHS-Griffith University partnership.
Before coming to QAHS, Mrs Sleeman was one of the first Advisory Visiting Teachers in Behaviour Management (Gold Coast District) to lead and facilitate innovative programs for students at risk of exclusion.
As the region’s Learning Manager, Mrs Sleeman implemented professional development strategies focused on learning priorities, and facilitated and influenced curriculum and pedagogical innovations to meet QSE-2010, ETRF and QCAR performance targets.
She provided tactical advice to Executive Directors of Schools and Principals and became a critical friend to a number of schools working on their curriculum design and implementation while building professional learning communities.
Ms Rebgetz says that, in this role, Mrs Sleeman left “a huge legacy within the Region” by helping to form projects for the Gold Coast Secondary Principals Alliance and the Annual Teachers’ Gala that celebrates the excellence of nominated teachers from all high schools on the Gold Coast.
It is easy to see why Mrs Sleeman continues to be a role model and mentor and has significantly shaped the teaching careers of others. But there is evidence that she has been an example throughout her career.
One of her heads of department, Alita Blackmur, recalls first encountering Mrs Sleeman when she (Alita) was a Year 8 student, back in 1990, at the then new Helensvale State High School.
“Jane has been so much more than just my teacher,” Ms Blackmur says. “I have now come full circle where I am currently honoured to have her as my Principal at QAHS in (my) role of Head of Department Global Learners, as well as work alongside her as Chairperson of the school council.”
Congratulations Jane on your nomination.