26 August 2021

I’m a fan of taking a calculated risk. I let older children climb trees… to a safe height, if they test the branch first and have three points of contact at all times; they are allowed to make cubbies using sticks… as long as they hold them low and don’t wave them around; they can crawl under bushes to make fairy gardens… but must look where they put their hands; they can do handstands, cartwheels and roll down the bank; and they can run as fast as they like… just not in public thoroughfares.

I want them to try lots of things from chess to long jump; from making a story book to playing the drums; from making robots to camping with their year group.  I believe that every child should be supported and encouraged to stand up in assembly and speak in front of 500 people from the age of 5.  Because public speaking paralyses many adults and is such an important skill to learn.

So now I’m going to put my money where my mouth is and try something new myself. Next year I’m going into partnership with my husband in his online publishing company. It’s been growing exponentially over the last couple of years as everyone’s buying and reading online these days.

He’s been keen for me to work with him permanently for a while now, and I was going to play safe, take a bit of leave and test it out. But in my heart I know I will love it, so have decided to do the ‘right thing’ and make a clean break so that the Education Department has chance to advertise for a new principal for the start of 2022, without a year of acting appointments.

I have lots of accrued leave to use up which I will need to do in term 4. My deputy, Dave Carder has agreed to run the school for a term. That makes my last day at Richmond the final day of this term.

So that’s it. I’m feeling both very excited for the new opportunity and seriously sad and even anxious about leaving a place and so many people that I love and that I have worked with for so long; staff, children and community alike. I couldn’t have wished for a better group of people.

After 31 years working full time in schools, I know how incredibly rewarding and how downright difficult it can be. I started out teaching English Literature in Rockingham (those first students of mine are now pushing 50 years old!). I’ve managed pastoral care as a deputy at the high school in Northam; headed departments and worked in the admin at schools in Balga and in Mirrabooka and helped to open a brand-new middle school in Kinross.  All such different environments.

There have been many highs and lows, seeing amazing strength and witnessing gut-wrenching tragedy, celebrating success and negotiating adversity, and we all know it’s the people who make it all worthwhile. So, thank you to all in my school communities currently and in years gone by. I completely appreciate how lucky I have been to be on this journey, ending here at this beautiful school and am not making this decision lightly.

But we get one life. And none of us is getting younger. I can see an opportunity to try something else, a bit exciting, a bit daring and to be honest a bit scary. And as I always tell the children to do, I’m going to try it.

There’s still four weeks to go, but I have just made this decision and wanted to tell you directly from me before the rumours begin… 😉

My best wishes to everyone, I will miss your gorgeous children every day.

Lisa Dentith