Nicole Heazlewood, Principal, Tacoma Public School

Portrait of Nicole Heazlewood

For Tacoma Public School Principal Nicole Heazlewood, taking part in the Aspiring Principals Leadership Program helped her adjust from her role as a deputy principal in a large school to that of principal at a school with just over 200 students.

She said one of the key takeaways from the program for her was the focus on the moral purpose of public education.

“It really reignited my sense of moral leadership. I knew what kind of leader I was… but it wasn’t until I met (SLI Director) Joanne Jarvis and listened to her and some of the other presenters that I was like ‘oh my gosh this is what I’m all about’” she said.

“It was really amazing to know that the things that I was doing and I believed in and I held really close to my heart were actually research-based. It just took me to that whole next level of really knowing that I was on the right path and having the courage to really make decisions that were student-centred.”

Nicole said she also appreciated the session from Dr Matthew White during the program, and the concept that “you cannot have academic success without student wellbeing.”

She has shared the work of APLP presenters such as Viviane Robinson with her colleagues in her new school. Together she and her staff are using the ideas and themes covered in the program, including the SLI Leadership for Learning Frameworks, to help deliver student-centred school planning and strategies.

She said she would describe the APLP as “highest quality professional learning delivered by exceptional researchers and facilitators.”

“It was a gift of time for me. It was a gift that took me out of my school to really allow me to deeply reflect on myself and how I wanted to move forward as a leader,” she said.

“It’s strengthened me as a leader.”

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