School shows Howe it is done
Nestled in a grove of Kentia palms and only minutes drive from the Tasman Sea lies the most remote school in the Department of Education and Communities network.
Lord Howe Island Central School, set in a pristine tropical environment, is home to a small but dynamic and vibrant community of 33 students from Kindergarten to Year 11, two teachers and a principal.
"When I tell people that I am the principal of the most remote school they often envisage red dirt and endless plains and Lord Howe Island is the greatest imaginable contrast to that sight," Julian Mostert, principal of Lord Howe Island Central School said.
Lord Howe Island located 600km east of Port Macquarie is home to 350 permanent residents. The island has been a World Heritage-listed site since 1982 and is home to some of the world's most unique flora and fauna.
Mr Mostert has been the principal of the 134-year-old school since 2008 and the opportunity to live and work in a small community unlike no other was the draw card in applying for the role.
Staff are employed at the school on a temporary contract for a period of three years with the possibility of extension.
"After leaving behind a big school on the Central Coast for a taste of what a remote community school feels like, I can say that I am irreversibly improved as an educator and as a dad because of my time on Lord Howe," Mr Mostert said.
From holding the school's swimming carnival in a pristine blue lagoon to taking students on an excursion to climb Mount Gower, being the principal of Lord Howe Island Central School has provided Mr Mostert with many unique experiences.
"The affinity people in remote areas have with their environment, their dependence on each other and their genuine commitment to supporting the school to be a focal point for the community is incredible," Mr Mostert said.
The school caters for students from Kindergarten to Year 12 and also hosts a year-round prior-to-school transition program school. There is also a Distance Education Centre to support high school students who wish to remain on the island to complete their secondary education.
"The demands of supporting students all the way through from prior to Kindergarten and right up to the HSC with a handful of staff means that every person throws out their job description and we all do whatever needs doing," said Mr Mostert.
The applications for the position of principal for 2013 recently closed.
Photo: Supplied by Lord Howe Island Central School