25 Sep

The St Peter’s Woodlands community gathered together to farewell our much loved Principal, Christopher Prance.

By Simon Theel, Deputy Principal

Today we farewell our Principal, Christopher Prance, after a 17 year tenure at St Peter’s Woodlands.

Over the past weeks, many people within our community, including staff, children and parents have come together for various events to recognise the exceptional work Chris has achieved throughout his time in leadership and to farewell him as he embarks on a new chapter.

In Week 9 a staff afternoon tea was held in Chris’ honour and on the weekend the community gathered under the newly refurbished Plaza for a wonderful afternoon of music, food and drinks.

A final send off was fittingly given by the students at his final Chapel Service this week, including a guard of honour by the staff and children. It was a beautiful sight to behold.

Leaving a Legacy for the Future of St Peter’s Woodlands
Chris first began his tenure at St Peter’s Woodlands in 2004, dedicating himself to many years of exceptional service and leadership. It’s difficult to summarise the many significant contributions Chris has made at St Peter’s Woodlands in leading the school forward; here are a few highlights:

  • Chris led the growth of the school from 400 students to approximately 800.
  • He led the school to become an accredited IBO PYP school.
  • He introduced the Learning Support team of teachers and classroom ESOs and oversaw the successful Learning Support program.
  • He worked to establish a Middle School curriculum for emerging adolescents, creating 21st Century learning spaces to accommodate young adolescent with purpose designed Design & Technology Centre and a Multi-Media studio.
  • He established long day education through our Early Learning Centre, with 150 enrolments and a qualified early childhood teacher in each of the rooms.
  • He worked together with the Old Scholars from St Peter’s Glenelg Parish School and Woodlands Church of England Girls School to form the St Peter’s Woodlands Old Scholars Association.
  • He has championed the development of major infrastructure upgrades in all parts of St Peter’s Woodlands.
  • He worked collaboratively with many PFA committees to achieve wonderful opportunities and resources for our students.
  • The St Peter’s Woodlands Foundation was established under his leadership.

Chris will be remembered not just for the things he has accomplished as the Principal of St Peter’s Woodlands; also for his strategic thinking, care, transparency, and always advocating and putting the children first.

“…he has shown every child his commitment to their learning” – SPW student

He has encouraged his colleagues and helped shape each of their careers, as well as worked to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere that is so apparent at St Peter’s Woodlands.

Chris has not only made significant contributions at St Peter’s Woodlands, but also to education more broadly, which includes all of his roles beyond the school gates;

  • President of IPSHA (Independent Primary School Heads of Australia)
  • Chairman of Anglican Heads of South Australia
  • South Australian representative on the National Management Committee of Anglican Schools Australia
  • Convener of the 2016 National Anglican Schools Australia Conference in Adelaide
  • Board member of AISSA

His involvement in these areas have served us all, enriching us with the knowledge and experience he has gained from these roles.

The Next Chapter
Chris’ career in education has spanned over 43 years, of which 31 years were as Principal in Department of Education and Independent schools across the country. We are very grateful for the 17 years that were spent here at St Peter’s Woodlands.

“Chris was appointed as the second Principal of St Peter’s Woodlands in 2004. Throughout his tenure as Principal, he has demonstrated outstanding leadership and commitment to the reputation and educational environment for which St Peter’s Woodlands has become renowned. He will leave his position having confirmed St Peter’s Woodlands as one of the leading independent Primary schools in Australia.” – Tammie Pribanic, Chair of School Council

As we farewell Chris from St Peter’s Woodlands, I am pleased to share exciting news for the next chapter in his journey. Chris has accepted a newly created position of Head of Educational Services at the Association of Independent Schools in South Australia (AISSA) which is due to commence in 2021. He will be involved in providing strategic leadership to AISSA’s expert team of Senior Educational Consultants. We look forward to hearing stories of the many wonderful things he achieves in this next season.

On behalf of us all at St Peter’s Woodlands we wish Chris, and his wife Judi, the very best. We know we will continue to benefit from the incredible legacy he has built here at St Peter’s Woodlands.

Article by Simon Theel, Deputy Principal and Acting Head of HR