Barriers have been smashed and opportunities have soared for students at a Logan school which has become a Queensland leader in teaching excellence thanks to the winner of a prestigious state teaching award.
Marsden State High School (MSHS) students are travelling to NASA and across Europe, are being connected with international academic experts, national sporting icons and local employers, and have some of the most outstanding teachers in the state to help them excel.
There are no limits to achieving for students or staff under Executive Principal Andrew Peach, who has won the 2019 Queensland College of Teachers Excellent Leadership in Teaching and Learning TEACHX Award. Four out of the 30 TEACHX Awards finalists from across the state this year were from MSHS.
Mr Peach said everything came back to relationships.
“I think it’s all about people. Marsden was an excellent school when I came here. It’s about building on top of what’s here at Marsden, and keeping on pushing … we are in control of our destiny,” he said.
Ensuring staff feel valued and are provided with exceptional professional development opportunities is a crucial starting point for Mr Peach.
When he came to MSHS he ensured students had the same opportunities as their peers state-wide, and he set up an extensive teacher mentoring and professional development program, which has been recognised nationally as outstanding. It includes an overnight retreat in Brisbane’s CBD for first-year teachers, in-house fortnightly PD for all staff, extensive mentoring and recognition of teachers, and international and national learning opportunities.
After many years of high staff turnover before Mr Peach arrived, the school’s teacher retention rate is now 94 per cent.
“We’ve got good people knocking on our door saying they want to work here,” Mr Peach said.
The former HPE teacher and current Queensland School Sport Rugby League president is a relentless supporter of his staff, who run countless programs dedicated to student success. He uses his connections, such as those made through a 2014 Harvard Club of Australia Education Scholarship, to benefit students.
“School pride has increased because there’s so many great staff that are leading great things across the school,” Mr Peach said.
That pride, the school’s snowballing reputation and student success academically, as well as in wellbeing and sports, has sparked a massive spike in the school population—almost 1000 extra pupils since Mr Peach arrived five years ago. His passion and energy for the school and the local community remain endless.
“In education you don’t or you shouldn’t peak. It doesn’t matter how far you go, there’s always things you can improve on,” Mr Peach said.
“I can make sure that my school here in Logan is providing the best opportunities available for kids.”
The winners of the TEACHX Awards were announced on Thursday 24 October 2019, on the eve of World Teachers’ Day in Australia. Mr Peach also received $5000 for professional development.