Esperance Primary School principal to become a fellow at Harvard

Harvard Bound: Esperance Primary School principal Gareth Palmer will head to Boston at the start of July for the Leadership and Evolving Vision program. Photo: Jake Dietsch.
Harvard Bound: Esperance Primary School principal Gareth Palmer will head to Boston at the start of July for the Leadership and Evolving Vision program. Photo: Jake Dietsch.

A local primary school principal is headed to one of the world's most prestigious universities to boost leadership skills throughout Esperance.

Esperance Primary School principal Gareth Palmer will fly to Boston at the start of July to complete the week-long Leadership and Evolving Vision course at Harvard University.

The Department of Education funded course will see 20 principals across WA become fellows of the university and greatly enhance their ability to lead within their school and across the education system.

"These opportunities don't come along very often, in terms of developing this level of leadership," Mr Palmer said.

"It's a world-recognised evidence-based leadership program, which brings together the best learning of what effective leadership looks like in schools."

Mr Palmer said this year would be the last time the department funded the program for WA educators, so he jumped at the opportunity.

The principal said he would use the knowledge gained from the course to develop leadership in less experienced principals.

"A big drive from the department is for this to be an opportunity to develop our leadership so we can pass that on. Things like your ability to relate to people and build relationships," he said.

Mr Palmer said his course would benefit all schools in the Esperance area.

"My learning will certainly be shared, in terms of that best practice, with every single person in this region," he said.

Mr Palmer went back to university in 2000 to transfer from a career in industrial relations to education.

"I was interested in what was happening with boys in education. I thought they really needed some role models, especially in the primary area," he said.

Mr Palmer has always taught regionally and believes that was one of the reasons he was selected for the fellowship program.

"They were looking for people who had experienced a diversity of contexts," he said.

"I had worked in the Pilbara, Christmas Island, the South West and now in Esperance. At Esperance Primary, I couldn't ask to be in a better school in terms of the staff, community and kids we have."