Sharon Reiss-Stone and Kerry Elliott

Principal and Former joint principal Sussex Heights Primary School

We both have young families, and thought it would be perfect if we could share the job of principal so we could be at home part-time - but we weren’t sure if it was doable.  The AEU gave us the support and professional learning we needed to put it into action.

Sharon and I worked together at a previous school for about ten years, as leading teachers and assistant principals, before becoming the co-principals at Sussex Heights Primary in 2013. Having returned from family leave, we were conflicted by the competing desires to continue our careers and be at home with our young children. While we were keen to apply for principal positions, we wanted to work part-time. We saw colleagues around us successfully applying for principal positions and thought, “Why not us?” and “Why not part-time?”

Attending the AEU’s annual Flexible Work Options seminar, we heard stories from teachers and leaders who worked part-time in schools and talked about their flexible work arrangements. The event was timely: we made a conscious decision to begin our journey in applying for a part-time principal position. The AEU provided a great starting point, assisting us through a network of contacts and support, as we debated the best way to proceed. We hope to now reciprocate the support we received, to help others in the same way. We just know that together, we can achieve more than if we were doing the job by ourselves, full-time.

The AEU is also there to provide us with an informed perspective, and that helps us to make better decisions for ourselves and for our school.

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