Mabel Park State High School is one of the largest high schools in Logan with over 1800 students and 250 staff all based in the grounds at Slacks Creek.
In late April, the school had a new Executive Principal start, and his plans are to be at the school for many years to come.
Trent Cowley has spent the most part of 20 years of his education career in Logan City. He spent 10 years at Woodridge State High School as a teacher, head of department and deputy principal.
He spent one year at Marsden State High School as their associate principal and for the last three years he was principal at Kingston State School.
During his time at Kingston State School, Mr Cowley was nominated and has since become a finalist in the 2023 Australian Education Awards for Primary School Principal of The Year – Government.
Mr Cowley has a passion for teaching and learning, loves that Mabel Park has many sporting and art opportunities and is passionate about the way the school celebrates culture.
- What is your greatest accomplishment? Two things: First – having past students become teachers, teaching alongside them and hearing that it was me and my teaching that inspired them to become teachers in the first place. Second – seeing the success and growth Kingston State School had over three years – total change in culture at the school – very proud to have been a part of effecting that change and improvement.
- What motivates you? Our students. Many of our students come from challenging backgrounds and homelives and it is this knowledge that motivates me to ensure we do our absolute best each and every day. It is my goal for our teachers to have well planned, engaging lessons, so that students love coming to class and love learning alongside their teachers and peers.
- What are your greatest Strengths? My ability to form strong relationships with students, staff, parents and the wider community. I will take the time to get to know you as an individual and I will listen to you – I want to make people feel valued and heard.
- What makes you unique? I think that I am myself at school. I pride myself on being the same person with students and staff inside school as well as being the same person outside of school. I treat everyone equally, and whilst this should be an expectation everywhere in life, sadly, it isn’t.
- Describe your leadership style? Relational. I get the best out of people by building relationships with them. I build trust and invest in people and work alongside people to get the best out of them.
- What do you think is the most important thing for a student? To build resilience. When we become resilient, we can get through most things in life. To compliment this it is crucial to have compassion and be respectful.
- How do you build a positive school culture? By building trust first and foremost. The work on building the relationships. Working alongside staff as well as leading by example. Being consultative is important, however, it is crucial to be decisive at the same time. Have clear communication and explain why decisions have been made. If we get this right, it helps to improve school culture.
- What’s your approach to student discipline? Firm and fair. Having clear boundaries. Understand where the students are coming from and treating each student as an individual, not just a number. There is a story behind every student and the decisions they have made. Let’s work with the student to understand them and find out what has led to poor decisions.
- What inspired you to become a school principle? I love teaching. I love making a difference to the lives of our students. I decided to become a Principal so that I could effect some more change in schools. As Principal, we guide the entire ship, through our leadership, we can influence the entire school and the direction we head. If we get it right we can impact on potentially thousands of lives, hopefully for the better!
- What are the biggest challenges facing you being a principle of today? The challenges we face with staffing. We need the best possible teachers in front of our students to provide well planned, engaging lessons, there is a teacher shortage, and we need exceptional people moving into the profession. It is tough to recruit – especially in “tougher” Logan schools, they are the most rewarding, but recruitment is tough.
- What’s the best piece of advice you can give to students? Be kind. Seek to understand where others are coming from. Listen to others and do not just react. If we take the time to listen, and truly understand someone, we can offer sound advice, or even just gain an appreciation as to why people are behaving a certain way. Be brave, step outside of your comfort zone and have the courage to try new things and embark on adventures, there is an exciting world out there, just waiting to be explored!