Gunnedah Public School will play host to a Canadian in the first two weeks of the new term.
Deputy principal of Gunnedah Public, Will Dowe, will be sharing his expertise with Julie Chouinard, a school leader from Castor Valley Elementary School in the Ontario province.
Mr Dowe is taking part in a professional shadowing program that aims to ensure innovative classroom practice from around the world can be shared and adapted for Australian schools.
The program is run by Leading Educators Around the Planet Pty Ltd (LEAP), which pairs principals and other school executives in Australia, North America and the British Isles.
Mr Dowe signed up to the program early in the year and was matched up with Ms Chouinard in late March. They have been exchanging emails and photos of their families in the lead-up to her visit. Mr Dowe’s French-speaking background was a factor in their pairing.
The deputy will be meeting up with Ms Chouinard in Sydney this where they will do some sight-seeing before he brings her back to Gunnedah where she will stay with his family on their farm.
Ms Chouinard will visit Gunnedah Public on Monday to meet the staff, and on Tuesday, she will meet the students. She will sit-in on classes, interact with students and visit other schools during her time here.
Mr Dowe said he was looking forward to the collegial benefits of sharing his role with another school leader.
“It’s to get to know what people of a similar level do in another country,” he said.
“An expert from outside the school’s daily routine, but who has faced similar challenges themselves, is an invaluable feedback source – they can really help you stand back from the day-to-day tasks and see the bigger picture, something that’s hugely beneficial personally, for the school, and for the school community.”
Mr Dowe will get his share of adventure next year when he heads north to Canada for two weeks to complete the second half of the exchange at Ms Chouinard’s school.
Mr Dowe was working at Gunnedah South Public School when Emma Jeffery took part in the LEAP program, hosting Canadian principal, Marguerite Campbell, from Morse Street Public School.
Ms Campbell stayed with Ms Jeffery’s family and spent her days at Gunnedah South, taking in the everyday running of the school and exploring Gunnedah and the area.
Just two months later, Ms Jeffery flew to Toronto, Canada, to stay with Ms Campbell and experience the way Canadian schools operate.
“I could see the benefits of what Emma was doing,” Mr Dowe said.
NSW Public Schools director, Wollemi Network, Mark Young, and three others from the New England have participated in LEAP.
The Department of Education said school leaders involved in LEAP fund their own participation.