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2010 Bill Kennedy Medal – Jim McAlpine

Jim McAlpine being presented with the 2010 Bill Kennedy Medal by Brian Ralph as Bill approves.

As an outstanding educational leader at school, local, regional, state and national level Jim McAlpine has given distinguished service to the NSW Secondary Principals’ Council over an extensive period of time. He has made a significant contribution to the Council in a way that has invigorated the Council and supported NSW government secondary and central school principals across the state. Jim McAlpine is a very worthy recipient of the Bill Kennedy Medal.

Jim was a school based principal for more than twenty years, first at Tumut High School (1990-2000), then at Moss Vale High School (2001-2009) and then became the full-time President of the NSWSPC. He was elected to the Executive of the NSWSPC in 1998, served as a Deputy President from 2003-2006 and was then elected President of the Council in June 2006. In addition, Jim has served on the Executive of the Australian Secondary Principals’ Association (ASPA) and is actively involved in a range of other educational leadership roles.

As a member of the NSWSPC Executive between 1998 and 2003, Jim was a significant player in a range of Council initiatives including the NSWSPC Alternative Structures paper, development of protocols for multi-campus colleges and selective schools, Council’s submission to the Vinson Inquiry and aspects of the Department’s ‘Building the Future’ paper.

As a Deputy President for three years, Jim took an increasingly high profile role in ASPA, initially as the NSWSPC representative on the ASPA Executive and then as an ASPA Vice President/Deputy President and the NSW representative on the Principal Matters editorial board. At a state level he played a major role in policy development concerning occupational health and safety, healthy canteens and the Minister’s red tape reduction task force. He also led the Council’s submission to the NSW Legislative Council inquiry into the training and recruitment of teachers.

  • As President of the NSWSPC from June 2006 onwards, Jim set about consolidating and extending the influence of the NSWSPC at both a state and national level in support of the Council’s Sustaining Quality Schools initiative. Although extensively involved in a large number of activities and issues over the last four years, it is appropriate to identify three particular areas where Jim’s leadership has been outstanding:
  • As President of the NSWSPC, Jim was instrumental in the planning, development and success of the NSW Digital Education Revolution Laptop Program. His contribution in this resulted in an exemplary educational innovation for students in NSW schools not seen anywhere else in the world.
    As a Deputy President of ASPA, Jim played a significant role in influencing the thinking and direction of ASPA over the last six years in the formulation of national educational policy directions and initiatives.
  • As President of the NSWSPC, Jim led the NSWSPC through extremely difficult times in the recent past. He displayed considerable courage and moral leadership in representing the principal profession to bureaucrats, governments, unions and the media.

Jim McAlpine embodies the spirit of the Bill Kennedy Medal. He has clearly and consistently displayed integrity, vision, goodwill, compassion, energy, conviction, courage and enjoyed the conviviality of colleagues. His intelligence, experience, common sense, good humour and professionalism have seen the NSWSPC grow and sustain its role as a key player in the state and national education scene. Jim McAlpine is a worthy winner of this award in recognition of his outstanding service to the NSWSPC.

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