Captains of Education Part 7: Carmel Baker
Principal of Robina State School

Well it’s been awhile, but we received such great feedback on last year’s ‘Captains of Education’ series, we decided to continue our insideR chats to these local education game changers.  Feel free to suggest the leader we speak to next month!

When Principal, Carmel Baker arrived at Robina State School just over two years ago, she brought with her a focus on teaching students for a fast-changing future.

At a time when emotional intelligence, lateral thinking and digital smarts are more important to students than algebra, historical dates and scientific formulae, Ms Baker and her teaching team are preparing Robina’s young people for the world ahead of them.

“Maximising students’ opportunities and minimising their future obstacles in life has been my core focus,” she said.

“Our children are growing up in a very different world than when I was young, and it will be different again by the time they join the workforce and start having their own families.

“It’s important we keep with the times with our curriculum – particularly at primary school age, when we are setting the foundations for the people our children are, and will become.

“While academia, the arts and sport are all important areas of focus in Robina State School’s curriculum, equally as important are being resilient, good-humoured, flexible and emotionally mature.

“All these values – and others – are the hallmarks of our successful students and it’s these traits we look to foster.”

Ms Baker said her past experience working at schools in far-flung parts of Australia made her appreciate how fortunate students were to be living and learning in Robina.

Prior to arriving at Robina State School, a life-long career as an educator has seen Ms Baker work in rural and remote Queensland schools, including indigenous communities, and large urban schools, as well as being a Reading Recovery Teacher, Deputy Principal and Principal.

“Students and families who live in Robina come for the choice of lifestyle this area affords them – this part of the Gold Coast really has everything to offer,” she said.

“Educationally, this choice extends to a range of primary and secondary schools, universities and colleges – each with their own areas of focus, and each experiencing different success with their students and communities.

“I consider myself fortunate to be able to work in an area that has one of the highest clusters of educational institutions on the Gold Coast, catering for students from a wide range of cultural, ethnic, religious and social backgrounds.

“Living locally for several years, I’ve seen the growth of the area and the proliferation of services.

“Robina still has a green belt to the west, as well as a vibrant commercial area to the east and north, and it’s this combination that I feel makes the area so desirable to live and work in.

“This area, more than most, provides something to suit everyone.”

Ms Baker said instilling students with a sense of Robina’s community was critical to the school’s ethos.

“Engaging our students and their families in the local community is central to everything we do,” she said.

“Robina and the surrounding area is an industry hub, so we make sure our students engage with local businesses as much as possible, including retail, technology, sporting, health and a range of other service providers.

“The energy these experiences provide to our students in terms of future possibilities and opportunities is priceless.

“Our students also learn the importance of being part of a community by getting involved in events such as Clean Up Australia Day, Anzac Day and community service in aged care centres.”

Ms Baker said Robina State School’s students had achieved regional success across several areas – with students achieving in the top group of state schools for NAPLAN results, winning the inaugural ‘STEAM Cup’ for the South East Queensland region, taking out the Sumo Robotics Championship, and being the most awarded primary school in the Gold Coast Eisteddfod.

“At Robina State School, we have opportunities to work closely with our surrounding high schools allowing our students to share in exciting programs including science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics,” she said.

“Since arriving at this wonderful school, I’ve been able to continue to work closely with teaching staff and students in developing programs and activities that will provide them with strong learning foundations to follow their dreams in the wonderful secondary schools also available in the area.

“Robina State School remains not just a learning hub for the district but also a school prepared to innovate and embrace future directions.

“I look forward to being part of that for years to come.”


insideR’s Captains of Education Series

Be sure to check out our previous issues of insideR where we spoke to:

Brisbane’s Courier Mail recently explored the benefits of new developments, such at Robina’s VUE Terrace Homes, being based in education hubs – Read more here.

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