The Riverina Anglican College’s new principal has always been fond of Wagga and looks forward to building a life with his family in the growing regional hub.
Craig Mansour has moved from Dubbo where he was the head of the Macquarie Anglican Grammar School (MAGS) and is already putting down roots, buying a house in one of Wagga’s new estates.
“I’ve always loved the Riverina and about 30-plus years ago, I worked as a sales rep out here and I honestly always thought I would one day live in Wagga,” he said.
“It felt like the time was right and, from a family perspective, we’re looking forward to embracing the wider community and really engaging with sport and church.”
Originally from Western Sydney and with a proud Lebanese background, Mr Mansour is also excited to have found a great local source of Middle Eastern cuisine at the iconic Nabiha’s Kitchen.
“Nabiha’s food was amazing!” he laughed.
“When we don’t feel like cooking, I think we know where to go.”
TRAC has seen enormous change in the past few years, embracing the International Baccalaureate (IB) program for Years 11 and 12, expanding to include a junior school and a preschool, completing a major construction project and changing principals several times along the way.
With a background as a primary school teacher and extensive experience with K to 12 Anglican schools, Mr Mansour is excited by the new challenge.
“When Paul Humble was the principal here a few years ago, I came and spent a day with him and I really liked the school,” he said.
“At that stage TRAC was only Years Seven to 12, which didn’t really make use of my skill set, but now that it’s become a pre-K to 12 school, that suits my niche as an educator and as a leader.
“There are a lot of similarities between Macquarie Anglican and TRAC but I think there are also some exciting opportunities with the development of the IB and the PYP (Primary Years Program) and the way we as a school meet the diverse needs of all of our kids.”
The IB Diploma Program is an internationally recognised alternative to the NSW Higher School Certificate.
“I think sometimes people see the IB and the HSC as competitors but they can really complement each other and we want to be a school for all kids who want all sorts of outcomes.,” he said.
Agriculture in education is an area of interest for Mr Mansour and he explained that he is also passionate about Indigenous education and inclusion.
“As an educator, I think one of the keys to closing the educational gap is helping our First Nations kids to connect with their identity,” he said.
“I think there’s a really significant part that Anglican schools can play in working with local elders to help young people gain that identity early in their childhood education.”
But first on the agenda as he settles into the new role is to do a lot of listening.
“I think in the next six months it will be about having those conversations and chatting with families from Wagga and from the satellite villages to find out what they love about our school and what are the areas we can improve,” Mr Mansour said.
“I’ll do the same sorts of things with staff and with students so that I can get a real sense of who the school is and what we can do in the future based on this knowledge.”