In an announcement that has filled the Claremont College community with immense pride, Mr Doug Thomas, our 19th Principal, has been crowned Primary School Principal of the Year (Non-Government) and named an Excellence Awardee for Australian School Principal of the Year at the 2023 Australian Education Awards. This achievement is not only a testament to Mr Thomas' dedication and unwavering commitment but also reflects the excellence that resonates throughout the College.
The Australian Education Awards honour schools and leaders for their outstanding achievements and transformative work that makes a profound difference in the lives of young people across Australia. Mr Thomas' recognition on this stage is a tribute to his exceptional contributions to education, not only for his work at Claremont College but also his contribution to education on a broader national and international level.
The judging panel for the awards were presented with six areas of Mr Thomas’ work and contribution over the past 12 months. His journey of excellence spans across:
Nurturing Community Bonds
His dedication to fostering a nurturing environment at Claremont College is evident through the establishment of supportive relationships with students, parents, and families within the school community. This compassionate approach has undoubtedly contributed to the holistic growth of each student.
Pioneering Teaching Innovation
At the heart of educational excellence lies innovation. Mr Thomas' leadership has created an innovative collaborative teaching model, where educators from all sectors (local, interstate and overseas), visit Claremont to observe and learn from their practices and enrich their teaching methodologies.
Championing Air Quality and Safety
His partnership with a University of New South Wales (UNSW) research project focused on measuring and improving air quality in classrooms exemplifies his commitment to the health and safety of students and teachers. This contribution is set to play a vital role in shaping future policies to ensure the health and safety of educational environments nationwide.
Embracing Indigenous Education
The journey to reconciliation and understanding takes courage and humility. In October 2022, Mr Thomas delivered an apology at an Indigenous Recognition ceremony, held at Kamay, Botany Bay to acknowledge the First Nations Peoples and the historic trauma committed by educational institutions, particularly church-based schools. This act of reconciliation underscores his commitment to fostering an inclusive and empathetic learning environment.
Collaborative Solutions for Teacher Shortage
Education thrives when leaders collaborate to solve complex challenges. Mr Thomas’ involvement in the AISNSW Growing and Nurturing Educators (GANE) Committee, demonstrates his dedication to exploring complex issues and delivering a potential solution relating to the current teacher shortage.
Global Humanitarian Endeavours
Mr Thomas' commitment to education transcends borders, being the Founder and Australian Director of the international charity, Project Help India. In 2022, he participated in humanitarian aid and community development projects including opening two new school centres in Northern India for 150 slum and marginalised children (aged 4 to 15). This dedication reflects his belief in education's power to transform lives.
As we celebrate this remarkable achievement, we must also recognise that this award does not only reflect his individual efforts, but the collective dedication of the Claremont College community. His inspiring work and unwavering commitment have shaped the lives of students, staff, and families alike. His journey is inspiring and serves as a reminder that education is a lifelong pursuit that extends far beyond the classroom.