Lithgow Public School’s new relieving principal, Mark Davies, said he was attracted to work in Lithgow because of the town’s sense of community.
After two weeks on the job, he hasn’t been disappointed.
“The kids have been so welcoming, I go out into the playground and they just want to have a chat and say hello,” he said.
“They want to know who I am and I want to know who they are.
“I really value the sense of community that is part of the towns west of the Great Dividing Range.”
Having served as principal at Cullen Bullen Public School for three years, Mr Davies is definitely not a stranger to the area.
“My grandparents lived in Lithgow and I ride a motorbike, so I know all of the hills beyond us,” he said.
“It’s a very familiar place for me to come to.”
Mr Davies has moved from a deputy principal role at Sydney’s Oran Park Public School (where he oversaw more than a thousand students) to act as relieving principal until the end of the year, replacing former principal Vicki O’Rourke.
He said it was “more than likely” he would then apply for the permanent principal role.
“I have ten years experience in executive principal roles and I have worked for twenty years as a teacher overall. I think good principals have to be classroom teachers first and foremost,” he said.
Having stepped in as relieving principal at the beginning of Term 2, Mr Davies said he had already noticed many positives about Lithgow Public School.
“The strength of the school is the absolute commitment the staff have to improve the outcomes for kids, every single one of them without exception has got that at the centre of what they do.”
A high performing school, he said, necessarily values the input of the surrounding community and parents.
“Above all a high performing school achieves good results. But those results are not just academic, they are social and emotional.
“So that we have good, balanced kids that are resilient, and that can bounce back when they are challenged.”
Mr Davies said his first priority will be getting to know the school’s students and their parents.
“I want to build a team that has, at its core, the value of achieving the best results for kids that we can,” he said.
“But the kids are part of that team, and the community is part of that team too.”