New position strikes chord with principal

Emily SharpSound Telegraph

What started out as a passion for teaching students music has turned into a life calling for Gilmore College’s new principal Rohan Smith.

After being GC’s acting principal for the past year, Rohan was officially handed the title in July and couldn’t be happier to be leading Kwinana’s public high school.

“I had to win the position and I was absolutely wrapped to be given the opportunity to keep working here because in the year that I’ve been here, I feel like I’ve connected to the staff and students,” he said.

“We’ve started some pretty big initiatives and I wanted to keep them going so I was ecstatic.”

As a five-year-old, Rohan discovered music and soon after began learning the piano, before moving onto the trombone, guitar and bass guitar, which he touts as his passion outside of the school.

Starting off as a music teacher for Melville Senior High School, he stayed for 12 years before moving to Tom Price SHS and on to Rockingham SHS where he was the deputy principal.

“When the opportunity came to act as deputy for a term at Melville, I took it to see what it was like and I really enjoyed that side of it,” he said.

“I got to meet lots of kids I hadn’t seen through teaching music — it was almost a life-changing and broadening experience so from there that’s why I went up north to follow that.”

Now comfortably seated in the principal’s chair, Rohan has big plans for GC and believes that as Kwinana’s public high school it should hold a special place in the community. “Trying to replicate the idea that the school is the centre of the community is certainly something I’m wanting to bring,” he said.

“People of the community should be proud (of GC) and speak positively about it, but also work with us when things aren’t going well and find solutions to problems.

“I want to speak positively about the school to the community and I would like the parents to share the vision I have — students have a right to good-quality public education.”

Rohan’s plans for the school include improving teachers’ ability to work together through learning groups he has already set up, as well as starting a positive behaviour schools initiative.

“A number of the Kwinana primary schools have PBS, so it was a logical progression for us to implement it into high school so that it follows the kids through,” he said

“It’s an initiative to enhance the school’s culture and have kids take pride in their local high school.”

Admitting to always being busy, Rohan said he always had worked as a teacher, deputy and now principal.

“You get here, you get started and before you know it, it’s time to go home,” he said.

“The days are full of great interactions, positives, challenges — it’s a fantastic job.

“You need to be connected to the kids and I think they really appreciate that and I enjoy it to.

“I’m committed to this school community and making a difference here.”

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