Tue, February 12, 2019

The following article was featured in the recently launched redlandscommunitynews.com.au on 12 February 2019. To read it in full click here
Authors: Andrea Macleod and Paula Shearer 

REDLANDS Coast has been built through the tenacity and generosity of its most dedicated citizens.

Some have played an integral role in business or development, while others have built the future through the education of the city’s children.

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So as Quest Community News announces our arrival on the Redlands Coast, we think it’s a good opportunity to say thanks to some of the people who have helped shaped the city. In today’s instalment of the Redlands Coast Power 30 list we honour those who work in education.

Sheldon College founder and principal/CEO, Dr Lyn Bishop OAM, has an extraordinarily long list of achievements.

Leading what has been recognised as one of state’s most-progressive independent schools, she was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in 2018 for her service to education in Queensland.

Her recognition includes: being named a Queensland Education Leadership Institute ambassador; a Queensland University of Technology Outstanding Alumni Award; Centenary Medal recipient; Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur of the Year Award and, Queensland and Australian Entrepreneur of the Year.

Starting her career in the late 1960s as a teacher, she has served in numerous education leadership roles, including Metropolitan East Region deputy executive director; Queensland Principal’s Association vice president and, Department of Education and Training Queensland acting director (quality assurance).

But it was her love of working directly with children that saw her walk away from department roles, armed with a vision to create a progressive independent college in the Redlands.

The journey, which has seen Dr Bishop take the college from 110 students in 1997 to today’s population of 1450, has not been an easy one.

Approvals and red tape delays meant the school buildings and grounds at Taylor Rd, Sheldon, were not ready for that first day of school.

Dr Lyn Bishop OAM at Students from Sheldon College

But in typical Dr Bishop fashion, that was not a hurdle to getting on with business.

Approaching the equestrian and events centre down the road, she managed to operate classes from there for a few months until the site was ready.

It’s Sheldon College legend that teachers and parents alike would turn up early every Monday morning and set up classrooms at the equestrian centre, only to return on Friday afternoons to pack them down so functions could be held at the venue on weekends.

It’s that sort of tenacity that is behind every success, and the team of supporters including teachers, staff, parents and community members, that Dr Bishop has built.

Today Sheldon College operates every level of education, from a childcare centre to kindergarten and prep through to year 12.

The grounds include two swimming pools, an Olympic standard running track (which was used by Commonwealth Games international athletes last year for training) and a state-of-the art technology centre with film and television studios and robotic labs.

The focus is equally on academics, sport and the arts, with extension programs that see senior students participating in university courses while still at school.

Innovation abounds, to the point that even if you would like to become an airline pilot – then Sheldon College can cater for you.

But above and beyond all of these achievements, Dr Bishop is exceptionally well loved by her students.

She turns up at every school event. At musical performances she can be heard chuckling in the audience; at the bush dance she’s there selling raffle tickets and during school camps you can be sure she will drop in to visit.

One of her most heartfelt philosophies is that “the home and school working together are two of the most profound influences on earth”.

And that, surely, is something to be proud of.