Educating ‘brilliant’ young people – Australia Day honours

January 25, 2022 BY

Long-serving leader: David Shepherd has been principal of Ballarat Clarendon College for 25 years. Photo: EDWINA WILLIAMS

DAVID Shepherd always wanted to be a teacher, like his mother.

Entering the profession, he spent 13 years teaching at Wesley College, and was deputy principal of Scotch College, Adelaide.

In 1997, Mr Shepherd was appointed principal of Ballarat Clarendon College, a school of 580 students, and his family moved to Ballarat.

Now entering his 26th year as BCC’s leader, with 1830 students, and for his service to secondary education, he’s been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia this Australia Day.

“I’ve been blessed, really. I’ve had such a wonderful time in the profession,” he said.

“There’s nothing more exciting and uplifting than dealing with young people, they’re brilliant. They’re the highest priority.

“You wake up every day and have a new challenge. You’ve always got new kids coming along. There’s always work to be done.”

Although “humbled and honoured,” Mr Shepherd said his medal is an award for the broader BCC community.

“This reflects everybody that I work with. If we work together to help young people grow into the best versions of themselves then everybody gets recognition.

“The colleagues I’ve worked with over 25 years are spectacular, they work hard, care about the young people, and they’re good to work with,” he said.

A member of the Victorian Branch of the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia, Mr Shepherd said regional Victoria offers quality education as good as anywhere else.

“I’m pretty determined that we can do it as well as anybody, and the fact that you mightn’t be in a capital city doesn’t mean that you can’t be in a high-performing organisation.

“I want to try and give the kids from this part of Victoria the opportunity to do whatever they want, and we’ve managed to do that,” he said.

A supporter of the Ballarat Foundation and Ballarat International Foto Biennale, Mr Shepherd sees importance in showing young people that each person has a responsibility to be a “good community citizen.”

Under his leadership, BCC was awarded Non-Government Secondary School of the Year at the 2019 Australian Education Awards.

Mr Shepherd has previously received the Principals Australia Institute John Laing Professional Development Award, and Australian College of Educators’ Senior Educator of the Year.