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