FOR the past seven years educator, Michael West, has been nurturing the growth of the district’s fastest growing school.
With senior teaching experience at Browns Plains, Stretton and at Forest Lake, Michael was handed the unique opportunity in 2016 to set the groundwork for the yet to be opened Bellbird Park State Secondary College.
With 12 months to prepare he stood proudly at the school gates on Alesana Drive as the first students arrived on Monday, January 23, 2017.
The school has flourished since that day and now six years on he looks over more than 1800 students and 150 teachers.
The care and guidance he has shown in progressing Bellbird Park to become a first class education centre hasn’t gone unrecognised and on Friday night he will be honoured at the Australian Education Awards night in Sydney as one of the best principals in the country.
He has been named as one of the eight finalists for the title of Australian Principal of the Year.
Michael said opening the school was by far the single biggest achievement of his career.
“It was a unique opportunity to open a brand new school and to create a high-performing culture of success in a complex and multicultural community,” he said.
“I have prioritised building a cohesive team that is intellectually aligned and committed to the vision and values of the school.
“Bellbird Park is built on the underlying principles of trust, commitment, collective action, accountability and results,” he said.
Success is a clear attribute at Bellbird Park, and the inaugural Year 12 students who graduated in 2022 all received their Queensland Certificate of Education.
Every First Nations graduate also received their QCE and transitioned into a meaningful pathway post-year 12.
Monitoring student progress is a high priority for Michael.
He frequently invites school leaders to rigorously evaluate the quality of instruction, to challenge the status quo and to diagnose program effectiveness.
“The best schools in Australia are not those with the highest NAPLAN or ATAR scores. The best schools are those that enable their students to make the greatest progress in learning,” he says.
“In 2023, our explicit improvement agenda is to increase the number of students receiving a C or better in all subjects across all year levels,” he says.
It is not the first time Michael has been recognised as a leader in education.
In 2022 Michael was a finalist in the Queensland College of Teachers Excellent Leadership in Teaching and Learning awards.
“My successful career in leadership has not come about by being the smartest person in the room, but by working the hardest with a high level of resilience and persistence – the price that all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile,” he said.