A North East school leader is excited to continue his learning at a university known throughout the world.
Yarrawonga College P-12 principal Damien Keel has been chosen to attend a leadership program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in mid-2022.
He is one of three recipients Australia-wide of $16,000 principals scholarships presented by not-for-profit group Public Education Foundation, Teachers Mutual Bank and the Harvard Club of Australia.
"I'm absolutely over the moon, rapt to be involved," Mr Keel told The Border Mail.
"The university itself is something to behold, so I'm really looking forward to being within the walls of Harvard but also accessing world-leading information."
An educator for 26 years, Mr Keel joined Yarrawonga College P-12 15 years ago and became principal in 2016.
He has undertaken further study throughout his career, including a Graduate Diploma of Educational Administration and a Master of Education Leadership - Rural Contexts.
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Grateful to receive a scholarship, Mr Keel said lifelong development remained a key focus.
"It demonstrates to your community the importance of learning," he said.
"If your principal is wanting students to learn, the principal should be learning at the same time about how to improve teaching/learning and leadership of a school.
"It's taking pride in education, taking pride and valuing education because it really is so important, it opens up a world of opportunities."
Katoomba High School's Jenny Boyall and Catherine O'Dea, of Christies Beach Primary School in South Australia, won the other two principals scholarships, which are designed to strengthen the skills of educational leaders.
Teachers Mutual Bank Limited's chief marketing officer Nichole Banks said principals played a vital role in steering schools and had demonstrated admirable leadership during recent difficult times.
"Damien Keel is a dedicated educator who focuses on the overall picture of students' learning and wellbeing needs," she said.
"We look forward to seeing what Damien brings back to his community from the Harvard experience."
Mr Keel said while the past year had been challenging for schools, the fourth transition to remote and flexible learning showed how much progress had been made.
"Everybody seemed to move into that mode of teaching and learning, not with ease but with more confidence," he said.
"(It) demonstrates the capacity of teachers to be agile in their response and put things in place that can work and that are obviously sustainable."
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