Lee Illing­worth has not been able to stop smil­ing since ar­riv­ing in Pem­ber­ton

Manjimup-Bridgetown Times - - Front Page - Holly Thomp­son

Pem­ber­ton District High School has wel­comed new prin­ci­pal Lee Illing­worth.

Ms Illing­worth pre­vi­ously worked as an as­so­ciate prin­ci­pal in big Perth schools in By­ford, Ross­my­one and Safety Bay be­fore mov­ing to Pem­ber­ton, with this role be­ing her first in a district high school.

“The new role is re­ally fun,” she said.

“I’m re­ally en­joy­ing it here be­cause the school is quite small, ob­vi­ously, and it means I get to be in­volved in all as­pects of how the school op­er­ates.

“But the role is not dis­sim­i­lar to what I’ve done pre­vi­ously, so I’m re­ally en­joy­ing it and en­joy­ing be­ing in a district high school for the first time,” she said.

Al­though Ms Illing­worth en­joyed teach­ing in Perth, she said she liked hav­ing chil­dren from kin­der­garten to Year 10 in her school, in­stead of the Year 7 to 12 struc­ture she was used to.

Watch­ing the stu­dents grow and learn from such a young age and be­ing a part of school projects for the younger chil­dren was some­thing Ms Illing­worth had loved do­ing in her new role.

One such project is the school’s kitchen gar­den, run by stu­dents from kin­der­garten to Year 6.

“They love get­ting their hands into the gar­den and it’s a re­ally spe­cial part of what this school has to of­fer that the stu­dents, par­ents and the com­mu­nity re­ally benefit from,” she said.

“It fits in beau­ti­fully with this part of the world, which has such a strong agri­cul­ture fo­cus.”

Work­ing with the com­mu­nity and teach­ing the stu­dents about the lo­cal area is some­thing she said she in­tended to main­tain through­out her time as prin­ci­pal.

“I think the thing that makes me proud­est to be prin­ci­pal here at Pem­ber­ton is see­ing the real sense of com­mu­nity that’s here,” she said. “All the stu­dents know each other and they all look af­ter each other, and it’s just such a lovely, warm and pos­i­tive school to be work­ing in,” she said.

“As a per­son quite new to this school com­mu­nity, I’ve been blown away by how wel­com­ing ev­ery­one has been.”

Ms Illing­worth has also loved work­ing in a smaller school be­cause of the amount of time she can spend with the stu­dents.

“Ed­u­ca­tion works best when ev­ery­one is com­mu­ni­cat­ing re­ally well to­gether and in a district high school, that’s even eas­ier to achieve be­cause the num­bers are a bit smaller, so I’m re­ally lov­ing that fact,” she said. “I’ve found that I’m much more able to get out and visit class­rooms and visit stu­dents and get to know the dif­fer­ent peo­ple in the school and see them day to day.”

Al­though Ms Illing­worth has been in the role for a term now, she still could not be­lieve she man­aged to get the job. “I feel very, very for­tu­nate to be here,” she said. “I pinch my­self ev­ery day when I’m com­ing to work and get­ting to see the faces of these stu­dents and work with these amaz­ing teach­ers. It re­ally is a won­der­ful school and I’m very for­tu­nate to be here.”

Her plans for the school are to con­tinue the sense of be­long­ing and com­mu­nity en­gage­ment, which she felt al­ready ex­isted be­fore she ar­rived.

I pinch my­self ev­ery day when I’m com­ing to work . . . it re­ally is a won­der­ful school. Lee Illing­worth

Pic­ture: Holly Thomp­son

Pem­ber­ton District High School prin­ci­pal Lee Illing­worth in the school kitchen gar­den.

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