Arriving at the Carrington Primary School you will notice many bees around the grounds. Not the kind that will sting you though – the kind that will encourage you. “Our mantra here is to be a learner, be safe, be respectful and be kind,” Meredith tells us. The happy little hive here have embraced the bee as their mascot.
“Its lovely, the students often make and bring me little bee gifts. The students with the most bee cards at the end of the month gets to have morning tea with the principal,” she continues.
Meredith Lindsay has been the Principal of Carrington Primary School since 2013 and her focus here is on providing a broad spectrum of education.
Meredith grew up in Kurri Kurri and briefly lived interstate as well as in Sydney, eventually returning to Newcastle with her husband and three children because, “It’s just too nice of a place not to live here!”
Always a high achiever, Meredith was drawn to management early in life – starting her career with Drake Employment in Sydney, it wasn’t long before she was the Manager of her team at only twenty years old.
Returning to Newcastle Meredith worked with Park Royal Hotels and after what she calls, “brutal training in service and management,” she was promoted to Manager there within three years also.
After her children were born, Meredith decided to attend University to gain her Teaching degree. She would take her small children along to uni with her and they would sit diligently throughout lectures, which turned out wonderfully for both Meredith and her studious children, “My youngest daughter could read and write by four years old and coincidentally she is at uni now!”
When asked about her transition from teacher to principal she replies, “ It was through a lot of hard work and dedication.”
Meredith’s goal through her Principalship is to affect positive change and enrich the children’s learning experience with music, art and entertainment. “High engagement in activities means the kids love to come to school,” explains Meredith. “I want to expose them to these things because you don’t know what you like until you are exposed to it.”
Meredith has programs for students to regulate their own behaviour and learning – the children have personal learning goals which promotes self driven learning.
“I have built my Principalship on kids respecting themselves, the community, the environment and their goals,” she adds.
Since her appointment, Carrington Public School has achieved their best NAPLAN results to date and the growth rate in Grades 3 to 5 has been well above state average.
“21st Century learning is about critical thinking and problem solving,” Meredith tells us. “ I have an open door policy for all staff and students – but I urge them not to come to me with a problem, but with a solution.”
The school embraces such programs as a Chess Club – with which they are about to represent the school at semi-finals; Coding Club for young IT enthusiasts; craft; didgeridoo lessons; yoga and stretch classes for all interested students at lunch times and a student managed vegetable garden and chicken run.
Giving is a strong value that Meredith and the school also work towards and part of that is to raise money, “We are raising money this week with the Art Exhibition on Thursday night. I want to show the children that you can make a difference through giving, though art and through music. That way they understand that they have the power within them.”
When we asked Meredith what she does to relax and have fun, she smiles, “I am an academic at heart and I really do learn for fun. I guess I am most happy with a cup of tea and a research paper.”
A keen interest in health, nutrition and food science is another of Meredith’s passions. “I am quite known around the staff to always encourage everyone to eat their fresh fruit and veggies,” Meredith laughs as we discuss the school’s Swap It healthy eating program.
“I really do love the community here at Carrington, we really are just like a little village and I don’t think I have ever met a more supportive and inclusive community.”