Senior Leader Community Engagement Profile
Simon Taylor, Senior Leader Community Engagement, Hillvue Public School, Tamworth
Simon is a Kamilaroi man, born and bred in Quirindi, now living in Tamworth.
Simon started in his current position as Senior Leader Community Engagement at Hillvue Public School in November 2013. The job involves liaising with teachers about the needs of individual students, working with students on projects involving heritage and culture, linking the school with services that support students, networking with the community to make sure they are aware of the services available to help them, and taking a key role in school planning and activities as a senior member of the school executive.
Simon said one of the things that attracted him to the job was that it gave him the chance to work with students, but in a way that is much more flexible than a teacher can. He works with Hillvue students in lots of ways – on building their social/interactive skills, on projects such as the community garden, and on strengthening the cultural and linguistic heritage of the school and its community.
Simon says that because of the nature of his position he feels lucky enough to leave the school grounds and go into the community, to talk with students’ parents and carers about how things are going and what services are available to support them.
‘We’ve got to switch on the community just as much as the school’, Simon says. ‘We need to let families know where they can get help’.
Simon worked in a range of different jobs before he became the Senior Leader, Community Engagement at Hillvue – including working in environmental conservation, as a Business Manager with the local Aboriginal Lands Council and with the Police Citizens’ Youth Club. Add to this Simon’s awesome reputation as an all-round sportsman, his interpersonal skills and his Certificate lV in Train the Trainer, and you have someone well equipped to do the job.
Simon has been involved with lots of initiatives with participating students, parents, community members, and staff since he started in this position.
An initiative he’s particularly proud of because ‘it built people up with confidence’ is the joint training Simon arranged with TAFE to help parents learn about educational values and to give them the confidence to support their children’s literacy and numeracy.
Simon said: ‘The class was run at school for parents. It was no big deal except we asked parents what they would like to learn about. They told us and we arranged it.’ Parents told Simon: ‘If I don’t understand the work I can’t help my kid’.