Public schools welcome new principals for 2024

Across NSW, 77 new principals have started meeting students, staff and families to kick off the 2024 school year. Linda Doherty and Luke Horton report.

Students and teachers in a classroom holding pot plants. Students and teachers in a classroom holding pot plants.
Image: New Eumungerie Public School principal Lisa Lunn (in purple) with some of her students.

In just over a year Lisa Lunn has gone from a school of 560 students to one with 12 students attending the alma mater of their parents and grandparents.

Mrs Lunn started as teaching principal of Eumungerie Public School yesterday after relieving in the position in 2023. Before that she was at Dubbo South Public School for 12 years as a teacher and assistant principal.

“It’s a very different context, and both big schools and small schools have their advantages and challenges,” Mrs Lunn said.

“The best thing about Eumungerie Public School is how well you can get to know the students and their families.

“I was welcomed and made to feel part of the community from my first day.”

Eumungerie Public School, on Wiradjuri Country 40 kilometres north of Dubbo and 30 kilometres south of Gilgandra, was established in 1904.

Like many rural and remote schools, Mrs Lunn said she looked for opportunities to expand the horizons of the students – from creating a kitchen garden to cook from, to visits to sheep trials, excursions to Canberra, sporting days, swim schools, and movies and Ten Pin Bowling in Dubbo.

“We provide a lot of real-world, hands-on learning here,” she said.

“We’re fortunate that the community is really invested in the school and a lot of our students have parents and grandparents who went to school here.”

A man in front of a building. A man in front of a building.
Image: New Cherrybrook Technology High School principal Matt Townsend.

Cherrybrook connections

Cherrybrook Technology High School has welcomed Matt Townsend as its new principal.

Mr Townsend will lead one of the state’s largest schools, having served as Deputy Principal for the past decade.

The school welcomed 325 new Year 7 students on Thursday, along with returning students in years 11 and 12. It is anticipated that there will be more than 2070 students enrolled this year.

Mr Townsend came to Cherrybrook Tech in 2001 after working in the west and south-west of Sydney.

In the initial stages of his career, he taught TAS (Technological and Applied Studies) subjects, including Design and Technology, Industrial Technology and Engineering Studies.

The school will soon open a recently completed STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) building, which Mr Townsend has collaborated on planning and construction in the past three years.

The building features science laboratories along with design spaces. Science and STEM subjects have been hugely popular among the student body, and this new resource will provide staff and students with wonderful new facilities.

“Cherrybrook Technology High School has a proud history of being a successful school, and I want to continue that legacy. Our core focus is on teaching and learning, with explicit teaching and staff professional development critical to our academic success,” Mr Townsend said.

“We’re also focused on accessing the best technologies and resources. It’s a strong lever to support our students to achieve their very best across all domains.”

For more than 20 years, Mr Townsend has developed strong relationships with staff, students, and the wider school community.

“We are a very large school, but I’m lucky in that I have strong systems and structures in place and a great staff and school community around me to support our students to achieve their goals,” he said.

An old photo of a horse drawn carriage. An old photo of a horse drawn carriage.
Image: Students from historic Largs Public School dressed up for an event in 1915. The school has welcomed new principal Leanne Jarlett in 2024.

Historic Largs welcomes new leader

Largs Public on Wonnarua Country in the Hunter region has welcomed first-time principal Leanne Jarlett to the school.

Ms Jarlett has been a teacher for more than 20 years. Her most recent position was relieving principal of Tarro Public School.

She said she was looking forward to the challenge of working in one of the country’s oldest schools, established in 1849.

“It’s an honour to be able to lead at a school with such history and to be a part of that history,” Ms Jarlett said.

“Even though a lot has changed over the years, what I really love about Largs is that it’s still very much a country school.”

Ms Jarlett has a passion for literacy and numeracy, as well as early childhood education.

She said she looked forward to leading the school into its next chapter.

“Community connection is the biggest thing. Bringing the community together for the best interests of the students,” Ms Jarlett said.

“It takes a village to raise a child and I want that village around me.”

Largs Public has just under 160 students, six teachers and two assistant principals.

Principals guide and nurture

This year there are 77 principals taking up new positions across NSW – 41 leading schools in regional, rural and remote areas and 36 starting at Sydney metropolitan area schools.

The Minister for Education and Early Learning, Prue Car, said public school principals play an essential role in guiding their schools and nurturing student learning.

“The new principals will bring plenty of energy, expertise and new ideas to the roles and I know that they can’t wait to get started,” Ms Car said.

“I am confident these new principals will lead with dignity and kindness, setting our students up with the knowledge and skills they need to thrive.”   

Research shows that effective school leaders have a substantial impact on student results. The role of principal also includes leading staff improvement and fostering community engagement.  

NSW Department of Education Secretary Murat Dizdar said public schools this year would welcome around 800,000 students.

“Our school principals are the driving force behind creating a positive and inclusive learning environment that empowers teachers and inspires students to reach their full potential,” he said.

“This will be another big term and I’m excited about we will achieve together for our learners.”

  • Back to school
  • News
Return to top of page Back to top