KRIS Carey relishes challenges. After starting her professional life with BHP as an industrial chemist and later becoming a principal metallurgist, Mrs Carey was a mother of two when she enrolled to study teaching.
“I love working with kids, staff and the community – I love being around people,” Mrs Carey said.
“The more I spend time being a teacher the more I realise it’s very analytical and there’s lots of problem solving, so it ties in with my science and maths background. It’s challenging every day.”
Mrs Carey took up her first principal position last week, as head of Dudley Public School. “It’s been a dream of mine,” she said.
“I feel very very privileged to be in this position I am in and the care I need to take for other people’s children. It’s a huge responsibility, but it also excites me.”
Mrs Carey said Dudley students had a record of – and opportunities to pursue – excellence in academia, sports and creative arts.
“I want us to maintain that level of excellence and ensure we continue to grow and build those new skills of creative and critical thinking, so when they step into high school they’re confident and capable learners.”
Education news: University of Newcastle degrees are in high demand
Mrs Carey attended Kotara South Public and Kotara High before studying science at the University of Newcastle.
She was living in South Australia when she decided on her career change. She completed the practical component of her degree in Victorian schools, before taking her first teaching position in Albury in 2005.
She moved as assistant principal to Wirreanda Public in 2013 and was relieving principal at Swansea Public for most of last year, before accepting the position at Dudley.
“I felt like one of new students starting – I sort of knew what to expect, but there’s so many new faces and names to learn and finding out where everything is,” she said.
“But it’s been a great week. It’s such a beautiful school and the programs and teaching and learning happening in the classrooms is fantastic, plus the kids are so well mannered. It’s such an easy place to be.”
Other first-time principals include Mark Cridland at Hinton Public and Stephen Morgan at Cessnock Public.