The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - NEWS - EMMALINE MMALINE STIG STIGWOOD

YOUNG prin­ci­pal Zoe Ste­wart is what ev­ery school sys­tem in Queens­land needs.

The 31-year-old is in her first year as leader of St Pa­trick’s School in Mitchell, with plans to stay on for many more years. She also teaches technology and health and man­ages two other teach­ers at her 25-pupil school.

“I am young and fresh so I have a long way to go, but I can see that af­ter a cer­tain amount of time, the red tape can bog you down from the real job,” she said. “I love that I am able to be in the class­room as well as deal­ing with other is­sues as prin­ci­pal, like cur­ricu­lum and plan­ning.”

As the youngest prin­ci­pal in the Toowoomba Catholic Diocese and a mother of three, Mrs Ste­wart ar­rives at work by 7am to run the break­fast club be­fore switch­ing to teach­ing then deal­ing with par­ents and friends and en­rol­ment is­sues.

“Ev­ery­thing I do, there’s pa­per­work in­volved. I can’t get away from it, but with the sup­port I have from the diocese, it means I can do the pa­per­work and still have time and en­ergy to help the kids,” she said.

Af­ter 22 years at the top, re­tir­ing prin­ci­pal of Marian Catholic School in Townsville, Karen Pearce, has seen a rise in pa­per­work, which she man­aged by work­ing 60hour weeks and dur­ing hol­i­days so she could still have pupil con­tact dur­ing class time.

“I went into the role of prin­ci­pal be­cause of the kids and I love it, but if you want to keep that pas­sion, what you do dur­ing the day is talk to par­ents, the com­mu­nity and be in class,” she said.

“So, when do you do all this pa­per­work? In your time at night or on the week­ends.”

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