SHE Oaks local, Stephen Higgs has received a Medal of the Order of Australia for his service to education over 45 years.
Appointed in 1995, Mr Higgs was the Headmaster of Ballarat Grammar School for 21 years and is “delighted” by his Queen’s Birthday Honour.
“I had no hint of anything like this coming along and wasn’t expecting it. It’s a really uplifting surprise,” he said.
“It’s marvellous because it must be, in many respects, a recognition of what we achieved at Ballarat Grammar, and looking back on that, we were reaching out to the community in different ways.”
In Mr Higgs’s time leading Ballarat Grammar, boarding enrolments doubled, a campus in Melbourne’s CBD was established, now used by 31 schools, and a farm campus at Mount Rowan became reality.
A cutting-edge sustainability centre was built, and relationships with Ballarat’s refugee population, and broader communities in East Timor, Thailand, The Kimberley, Northern Territory and beyond were formed.
“All of that broadening of our reach into the community was terrific, but it wasn’t something that I did, it was something that we as a school did together with a fantastic group of staff,” Mr Higgs said.
“It became a very lively place at Grammar. The staff were very keen to take up these opportunities, so the award is very much an acknowledgement of that and a great accolade for many.”
Mr Higgs began his career at Melbourne Grammar before spending time teaching in the United Kingdom and Zimbabwe. Currently he’s the Executive General Manager of the Victorian Ecumenical System of Schools.
His past awards include the John Laing Professional Development Award from the Association of Heads of Independent Schools, Victorian Branch in 2013, a National Excellence in Teaching Award in 2012, and a Senior Educator Award from the Australian College of Educators (Ballarat) in 2014.