Meet Our Members

Renee Howard

Springsure State School

Renee Howard is Principal of Springsure State School, a Prep to Year 10 in the Central Highlands with over 210 students. The school has a long history in the farming community – 2020 marked its 150th anniversary, although celebrations were postponed in response to restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Renee has been an educator for “well over 20 years” and was appointed to the school in 2009. She describes the town as an “amazing community“; she has married and started a family there – it is now her home.

When we interviewed Renee, as our featured member in the December 2020 issue of “The Queensland Principal”, we asked what advice she would give to a school leader beginning their career.

“You may not feel overly comfortable because you don’t know the person at the school up the road, but don’t be afraid to get on the phone and introduce yourself and make contact. There’s often a lot of wisdom there. I would also encourage beginning principals to join QASSP so they will instantly have a network of colleagues who can support them. I joined QASSP very early on in my career. I think it’s really important for beginning principals to belong to an association that gives them a collegial network.” 

QASSP Member Brian Marsden

Brian Marsden

Deputy Principal
Oakleigh State School

Brian Marsden has been a deputy principal at Oakleigh State School and a member of QASSP for 11 years. He's also a long-time chair of the QASSP Middle Leaders Subcommittee. Brian trained as a secondary school English, film and television teacher; a shortage of jobs when he graduated saw him engage in a range of short-term contracts and teaching overseas before securing permanency teaching in special education. Brian started his leadership journey in acting positions. He views these experiences as valuable for the opportunity they provided to see the work of the school leader through “different lenses”.

Oakleigh State School has a reputation for work in the design thinking and inquiry space. When Brian was our featured member in the September 2020 issue of our journal, we asked why he thought this work was important.

“Our work in this space started a while ago. We undertook tours to schools in Melbourne and Sydney and were impressed with the way that design thinking could enable an inquiry cycle to come to its fruition. We worked on that with our teachers doing practitioner inquiry. We then worked with students doing design cycles themselves, and now it’s part of our way of working. I think it’s the “problem finding” that initially intrigued us – understanding what the problem really was. We find as teachers we often want to jump to the solution, but sometimes we don’t know what the problem is, so that was a good catalyst for us."

QASSP Member James Watt
James Watt

Jones Hill State School

James Watt is Principal at Jones Hill State School in Gympie. He has degrees in economics and education. His leadership journey has taken him from Ravenswood to the Torres Strait – he was principal on Thursday Island when Tagai State College was established. James was the subject of the Member Q&A feature in the March 2021 edition of our journal. We asked about his experience serving on a QASSP branch executive.

“I was President of Gympie Branch for three years; I only stepped down from that role in the last year. Someone came to me very early on in my career and asked whether I was in QASSP. I didn’t know what QASSP was, so he explained it and that I needed to be part of it. At the start I read the journal and the newsletters that came through, but I didn’t really understand the work QASSP undertook. When I arrived to Gympie Branch, I saw that it operated really well. Becoming a branch president was interesting; I saw the professionalism and the advocacy work done by Management Committee. I probably need to step up to be part of that group, to have genuine conversations with the people who make the decisions.”