On Principal
The CEO Magazine - ANZ|June 2021
When law student Tim Watson entered the education sector 29 years ago, he could never have imagined he’d end up at the helm of one of sydney’s top christian schools. The principal has imbued northern beaches christian school with the mantra ‘love learning’ and it’s driving results like never before.
Michael Wayne

NAME:

Tim Watson

COMPANY:

Northern Beaches Christian School

POSITION:

Principal

LOCATION:

Sydney, Australia

Tim Watson never wanted to be a teacher. Despite an aptitude for the role, his parents were teachers and he understood the challenges of raising a family on a teacher’s pay. Instead, he pursued law studies and even considered the Christian ministry, but he found he could never outrun the siren song of education. “My brother put it pretty nicely,” he says. “He said, ‘I reckon you prefer to argue with school kids rather than the judge.’ I’m adept when it comes to putting across a point of view, so he wasn’t wrong.”

Tim’s first step into a larger world came when he started working in outdoor education. “Then I moved into the classroom,” he says, adding that he stayed at Redlands, a Christian grammar school on Sydney’s Lower North Shore, for the next seven years. “I realised the satisfaction and value in the work is much more significant than what you get paid for.”

From there, he spent four years at Abbotsleigh School and then 10 years at Roseville College as Deputy Principal (both are Anglican schools for girls). “There’s a multiplier effect,” he says of the shift from classroom to office. “You go from being a classroom teacher to head of department, and all of a sudden you get to have an impact through half a dozen of the staff. Then you get to be deputy and you have an impact through even more staff.”

Although he missed the day-to-day in-class depth of relationship with pupils, Tim found great satisfaction in the richer responsibilities. “It’s a way to position people to do their jobs really well,” he shares. “And you think, ‘Wow, I’m having a bigger impact here.’”

Today, Tim is Principal at Northern Beaches Christian School (NBCS), an independent non-denominational Christian K–12 campus in Sydney’s north. Now in its 40th year, NBCS was established from a need to create an exceptional Christian school in the area. Its 1,100-plus students work and play in state-of-the-art facilities that feature custom-made ergonomic furniture, campus-wide wi-fi-and floor-to-ceiling whiteboard walls, all within a series of multi-level sustainable buildings equipped with solar panels and a rainwater recycling system.

“It’s a school I’d known by reputation for a long time,” he reveals. “I had family and friends who had kids here, and I had peers who worked here, so it’s always nice to have a point of cultural connection.”

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