Joanne Bednall (Bower)

1968 Collegian

Joanne Bednall (Bower): centre

I am not from a family of teachers. It was my teachers at MLC, led by the Principal Walter Shepherd, who provided the inspiration that saw me become one.

The example of Christian faith he provided, along with the high expectations he had of his students, the endless support he afforded us and his obvious pleasure when we succeeded, led me into teaching.

After school I completed a science degree at UWA, and then a Diploma of Education and later a Bachelor of Education.

I have worked at schools in Perth, Edinburgh, Adelaide and Hobart, and as a consultant.

My most significant achievement has been my last 14 years as Principal of Tranby College in Baldivis, WA.

When I joined it was half way through its second year of operation and had around 220 students from Kindergarten to Year 9.

I had no experience as a Principal and no recent experience of the Uniting Church.

I embarked on a steep learning curve guided by Lillian Hadley, wife of former MLC principal Geoff Hadley, who at that time was Chair of the Tranby College Council. Her legacy lives on at Tranby.

Today the school is well established with 1100 students from Kindergarten to Year 12 and has a growing reputation as a school that nurtures individual potential and provides opportunities for students to be their best.

Operating in an outer suburb in which many families struggle financially, the Board acknowledges the challenge of providing high quality education whilst keeping the school accessible, which includes keeping fees and charges as low as possible.

Through local groups such as the Kwinana Industries Council and the Rockingham Education Training Advisory Committee, I have been involved in a range of initiatives that increase the educational opportunities available to local youth.

I am also on the board of the Association of Independent Schools of WA.

My advice to others is to be clear about your goals. Challenge yourself. Be prepared to make mistakes. Seek out mentors. Learn from your mistakes. Never stop learning.

On MLC: Fond memories include sport and debating teams, the Heather Lamont Festival and fellowship camps at Point Perron. MLC taught me that doing your best is important and that one way of doing this is to help others to do their best as well.