Tara bids farewell to prin­ci­pal

Chinchilla News - - LOCAL LEARNING -

SHARON Barker, Tara’s long­est-serv­ing prin­ci­pal since 1975, stepped down on Wed­nes­day af­ter five years of pow­er­ful im­prove­ments at the school.

She came to Tara Shire State Col­lege in May 2009 to fill in for a fort­night for prin­ci­pal Fayleen Gray but, when Ms Gray did not re­turn, she agreed to stay for 18 months.

In 2011 she for­malised the po­si­tion and se­cured more fund­ing sub­mis­sions and laid down a new ethos.

In the past five years, read­ing stan­dards and maths skills have im­proved steadily, thanks to pro­grams im­ple­mented un­der Ms Barker’s watch, like Saxon Maths, the Tara Al­ter­na­tive Learn­ing Cen­tre, Max­imis­ing Achieve­ment Pro­gram and Road­blocks.

Ms Barker be­gan to take a place in the school his­tory by chang­ing the ethos from Sus­tain­ing Ru­ral Fu­tures to Be­lieve, Achieve, Suc­ceed and splash­ing the new motto across the en­trance.

When Josh Arnold vis­ited in 2013 to record Tara Shines with the stu­dents, Ms Barker was overwhelmed by the re­sult, de­scrib­ing it as the high­light of her time at the school.

At TSSC it was rare to see prin­ci­pals last more than one or two years and hav­ing Ms Barker com­mit to the re­gion for so long saw the school max­imise the ben­e­fits of the Build­ing the Ed­u­ca­tion Revo­lu­tion move­ment.

Since 2009, Tara’s 390-stu­dent co­hort has come to en­joy a new sport hall, sci­ence fa­cil­i­ties, a minia­ture soc­cer pitch and new play­ground.

The school now stands as one of the best im­proved and most pro­gres­sive in­sti­tu­tions in the Western Downs.

“One of the things about com­ing to Tara is that when you make a com­mit­ment to the com­mu­nity and stay, they sup­port you,” Ms Barker said.

“The rea­son I stayed was the people – the chil­dren and the staff.

“You don’t stay for build­ings.”

Ms Barker will re­turn to Toowoomba this week.

PHOTO: ALASDAIR YOUNG

END OF AN ERA: Tara prin­ci­pal Sharon Barker stepped down from the role to re­turn to Toowoomba on Wed­nes­day.

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