Faith Lutheran College Plainland's new principal Doug Braiden.
Faith Lutheran College Plainland's new principal Doug Braiden.

Faith’s new leader brings plenty of experience and passion

FAITH'S new principal will take on a new child protection role, swapping his police badge for a chance to inspire Lockyer Valley kids.

As students return to Faith Lutheran College for the start of the first term of 2020, an unfamiliar face will be waiting to greet them, their new principal Doug Braiden.

Mr Braiden has a strong background in both education and the police force, which has offered him invaluable insight and experience into the needs of youth.

"I started as a teacher, then went into the police for the next ten years or so, and while I was there I went pretty quickly to detective. I spent a bit of time in CIB, and also in child protection," he said.

"The Queensland College of Teachers had a new investigative unit for teacher misconduct and teacher competence, so I went over there and worked there for a year. Being a teacher and a police officer really helped a little bit."

During the course of many years, Mr Braiden has held teaching and leadership roles at Grace Lutheran College at Redcliffe, John Paul College at Brisbane, West Moreton Anglican College in Ipswich, Trinity Lutheran College in Ashmore, and Good News Lutheran School, Brisbane.

Having only been in his new role at Faith for a few weeks, he said it was difficult to compare it to his previous roles.

"It's pretty hard right now, I'd say the school that's probably most similar in community is WestMAC. It's hard to say until I sit down with the students," he said.

"WestMAC had a majority of Ipswich, but also rural kids, and I imagine the kids here are more rural kids."

As well as being new to the college, Mr Braiden is also new to the Lockyer Valley area, and is eager to learn more about the community here.

"I'm from Karana Downs, but haven't really been into this particular area before now," he said.

"I think it's beautiful countryside, I love that sort of stuff. I'm an outdoors person. It's just such a picturesque area."

He said he has a particular approach in mind for his role as principal.

"When other schools talk about how successful they are, it can be very compliance-based, whether or not kids are wearing their uniforms right, or if they're behaving correctly, or whether they're achieving," he said.

"I think most parents, in my experience, want their kids to be happy, they want their kids to flourish, and it's a very, very different thing."

Acknowledging the individual needs or students will be a key focus of Faith in 2020.

"I believe that every single kid is completely unique, and because of that you need to create education programs that take that into account," Mr Braiden said.

"I'm very much against this idea of just getting kids ready for Year 12 to go to uni, you need to create pathways individually for each kid."

He said the school's role was to nurture students through their development into young adults, which goes beyond just teaching them.

"It's about getting kids to find out who they are, where their place is in the world, because it takes kids time to understand who they are," he said.

"Student voice is very important. Kids have to play an active role in designing their own curriculum, That's my core beliefs in education, creating a school where kids can have a student voice, that's heard, and is acted on."

A core aspect of Faith Lutheran College's curriculum has been multiculturalism, with overseas tours and cultural events being a yearly occurrence, a trend which is set to continue during Mr Braiden's time as principal.

"I think it's very important for kids to widen their experiences. In Australia it's easy for us to just be by ourselves, and not see that global perspective," he said.

"Different cultures, we learn a lot from each other. I don't necessarily like the word tolerance, because that can be negative. I think acceptance is a far better word."

With students set to return in only a few days, a busy week lies ahead for Mr Braiden.

"I think it's really important for me to get to know the community," he said.

"That's my biggest goal first of all, to get to know the kids and the families."