Dr Julie Wilson Reynolds. Photo: Supplied
Dr Julie Wilson Reynolds. Photo: Supplied

Elite school in ‘turmoil’: Shock exit for two teachers

A PRESTIGIOUS Gold Coast school's principal abruptly quit on Monday, weeks after its junior principal departed leaving a parent describing the situation as a state of "turmoil".

Dr Julie Wilson Reynolds officially resigned as principal of St Hilda's School in Southport two-and-a-half years after she started in early 2017.

A letter sent by Anglican Church Southern Queensland to school parents on Monday confirmed Dr Wilson Reynolds' sudden departure, saying she had "advised the School Council she intends to resign".

Dr Julie Wilson Reynolds.
Dr Julie Wilson Reynolds.

"Julie and the School Council have subsequently agreed that this will be effective immediately," the letter continued.

It comes weeks after the St Hilda's junior school's former head Tracey Maynard departed at the end of most recent term.

A parent with a long St Hilda's association told the Bulletin both the principals left suddenly.

"(Ms Maynard) left unexpectedly too. For me the school is quite in turmoil," she said.

"All of a sudden we have a lot of upheaval. But the way I see it, if there is a problem then let's fix it - because it just wasn't like that when I was there. I'm really proud they are doing that now."

Former head of junior school, Tracey Maynard. Picture: Glenn Hampson
Former head of junior school, Tracey Maynard. Picture: Glenn Hampson

Another shocked female parent said all they had heard about Dr Reynolds' departure, aside from the letter, was protests at the school yesterday "about allegedly some father saying their girls were being pulled away from them".

A man was photographed outside the school on Monday with a placard reading: "Attention parents: Is your child being alienated from you? Then take your child out of St Hilda's."

It is unknown what exactly the man was referring to.

The female parent said: "My daughter has been going there for years and never done better at school and loves the principal. We are devastated.

Dr Julie Wilson Reynolds when she was at the school. Picture: Supplied
Dr Julie Wilson Reynolds when she was at the school. Picture: Supplied


"I love the place myself. I said to my husband 'What has gone on, this is out of the blue'."

A father with a daughter at the school said he had heard of no problems and as far as he could tell there was no issue with the school education wise: "Our daughter is running around the house tonight quoting astrology and planet sizes so there is nothing going wrong from an educational perspective that I can detect."

In recent OP score results, St Hilda's was a top performer well above the state average.

A former alumni posted to Facebook that Dr Wilson Reynolds was "doing a good job and setting (a) great example for the girls. Such a shock she left so soon".

Dr Julie Wilson Reynolds was at St Hilda's for more than two years. Picture: Supplied.
Dr Julie Wilson Reynolds was at St Hilda's for more than two years. Picture: Supplied.

A video to the St Hilda's YouTube channel in 2017 shows Dr Reynolds delivering her commencement speech.

"I'm grateful to join your community where such respect and love has flourished," she said, addressing "visiting dignitaries, parents, staff and students".

"That is a credit to you and a precious sign of a generous, gracious community, and thank you for extending that to me."

In another video, titled "Principal's Message", she addressed the camera directly.

"On arriving at St Hilda's I asked the girls what the school community looked like when it was at its very best," she said.

"The senior girls said lively, the middle school girls said home, the junior school girls said happy. St Hilda's is a happy place."

Dr Wilson Reynolds began her appointment in February 2017 as the 10th principal and had been impressed the students had interviewed her and then accepted her as their principal.

One of the greatest achievements Dr Wilson Reynolds enjoyed was the school winning the Head of the River Regatta in rowing for the first time in its history in 2017.

Deputy principal Wendy Lauman will lead the school until a new principal is appointed. Melissa Wilkins is Acting Head of Junior School.