WARRACKNABEAL son and Horsham College principal, Robert Pyers, took home top honours at the recent Victorian Education Excellence Awards in the ‘Outstanding Secondary Principal’ category. This award is recognition of talented principals who have demonstrated leadership excellence in a Victorian government secondary school.

Rob is a resident of Dimboola and former Principal of the Dimboola Memorial Secondary College.

As a winner, Robert Pyers has made a significant contribution to improving staff and student achievement, engagement and wellbeing, raising the quality of teaching; and improved the overall performance of his school.

Robert has turned around declining student numbers and community confidence in the college. This has happened through his vision, and by demonstrating trust, care and
high expectations for everyone at school.

Following the presentation, Robert said it was an honour being nominated for which he
is extremely humble.

“I know one person does not make a school. It is the students, the staff and the school community working together which achieves success,” he said.

“The award is truly a reflection of the entire Horsham College community’s work and effort over the past five years and I am eternally grateful for the privilege of being your
colleague and Principal,” he said.

Robert paid tribute to his own teachers at Warracknabeal
Primary School and the Secondary College.

“I am and will always be a proud graduate and it is the inspiration you provided which made me want to become a teacher and try to inspire and make a difference,” he said.

He paid a special tribute to his parents, Bev and Malcolm, thanking them for their understanding that education can change lives and make a difference.

“Your belief in providing Pauline and I with an education without want and
with so much support has I hope been rewarded in some small way,” he said.

“Teaching is the greatest profession, and I was reminded recently by one of my Year 10’s that the smallest of conversation or act of kindness can change a perception perhaps provide a pathway to a different life,”

Mr Pyers said.Robert believes that empowering and valuing staff professionalism is critical for a school. The right model of leadership and support can
deliver exceptional student outcomes. He established a distributive leadership structure and professional learning communities. This has created a collegial climate at Horsham College, which staff have embraced. The school’s curriculum development, teaching practices and student learning outcomes have transformed.

The school has introduced a whole-school literacy and numeracy plan. Staff have a sense of collective responsibility for student progress and achievement.

The plan is based on common assessments and an instructional teaching model. Robert has initiated strong collaborative practices. This has led to effective new evidence-based teaching and learning strategies.

Robert said the Framework for Improving Student Outcomes (FISO) has guided the college’s transformation. FISO remains a critical tool in planning, monitoring and celebrating its progress.

Under Robert’s leadership, Horsham College has achieved significant gains in numeracy,
literacy and VCE results.