Welcome Justine Hamilton
At the beginning of 2022, we welcomed Justine Hamilton to Fintona as Head of Middle School. In this article, Justine shares her experience so far with Fintona's Principal, Rachael Falloon; her inspiration and the legacy she hopes to leave at Fintona.
Rachael: What have been your first impressions of Fintona?
Justine: There is a real buzz about the place and it is extraordinarily welcoming! I have felt right at home very quickly.
The staff work tirelessly and there is no shortage of opportunities offered for the students to thrive.
There is a genuine culture of participation. Whether that is to try new things, join a club or pitch in to help a sporting team, the students want to participate, no matter their skill level, and I love that. I have also noticed the girls are genuinely driven to achieve their personal best and work hard.
You’re teaching English, Design Technology and Extension Mathematics… What is it like to be in Mrs Hamilton’s class?
Challenging, but fun….I hope! The girls are actively involved in the learning process from the minute they step into the room. They know I will be asking what they think. They know I will be asking, ‘what makes you say that?’ They know I will be asking them to reflect, set goals and grow from each learning experience.
At Fintona we talk about ‘unearthing the extraordinary’ in each individual. What does this mean to you in your role?
I fundamentally believe, every girl has untapped potential, hidden grit and determination, and every girl can achieve her personal best when she is truly driven to do so. For me, that means I want to create an environment where we truly embrace each student for who they are. Where we celebrate their skills and talents and embrace their areas of growth. Where we do not shy away from trying new things because we understand that failure is a natural part of learning, and we know that we all have areas to work on. Where we provide opportunities for the girls so they can genuinely find their passions. I want to create an environment where the student’s voice is clear, where her needs are authentically met and where she has the opportunity to shine.
What are you most proud of in your career?
That I have always remained open minded and reflective. It has allowed me to continue to be a learner myself, which has supported my career progression.
Who inspires you?
First of all, the students are my greatest inspiration. My energy, motivation and drive come from wanting to make a difference to them and their learning.
As an educator, I am inspired by the work of Ron Ritchhart and Cultures of Thinking and Tina Seelig and her work with innovation and creativity. These two people inspire much of my own professional reading and guide my teaching practises.
As a leader, I am inspired by Brené Brown and her notion of leadership bravery.
How do you hope Fintona might grow as a result of your time here?
It is my hope that the Middle School will continue to evolve into a place of flexible, active learning. An environment where students uncover who they are as a learner, can consider their own thinking, know how they learn best, and understand their strengths and weaknesses, knowing how to harness these at any given time.
I hope that we can embed entrepreneurial learning and teaching as a flagship program. A program that develops a set of practises that allows students to think more entrepreneurially so they can act more entrepreneurially. A program that develops curiosity, empathy, creativity, experimentation and reflection. A program that relies on iteration and feedback to refine students’ thinking and learning.