30 May 2023

Parents and staff fuming after being blindsided by Principal's sacking

| Jarryd Rowley
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photo montage of school, principal and email quote

The Wagga Wagga Christian College board chose to remove principal Phillip Wilson from his position over a differing view of the future of the school. Photo: Chris Roe.

The Wagga Wagga Christian College remains in damage control following the board’s decision last week to sack school principal Phillip Wilson.

The surprise midweek move to oust Mr Wilson after almost five and a half years has been met with a backlash on social media as parents, staff and past students continue to express their frustration at being kept in the dark.

Parent Phoebe Christison was one of those who called out the board on Facebook, demanding that it “be held accountable and questioned over this decision” and has launched a petition on Change.org.

“The Board should be behaving in line with the college statement of faith,” Mrs Christison said on her social media.

“Having worked closely with Phillip Wilson for the last four years I have had my ups and downs with him but he has always shown grace and dignity and positive leadership of our school.

“I would like to call for a review of the board’s decision and I ask that all families that are as heartbroken as I am to stand with me on getting this decision reversed.”

Mr Wilson began his time at the Wagga Wagga Christian College in 2017 as the vice-principal before assuming the principal’s position in 2019 following the retirement of former head Hugh McCallum.

In that time, parents praised Mr Wilson’s work with the college and his efforts to improve its academic achievements.

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The drama began on Thursday last week when a notice appeared on the school’s Facebook page informing parents of the board’s decision.

“Out of respect for Mr Wilson’s privacy and confidentiality the Board will not disclose the reasons for its decision but emphasises that Mr Wilson has not engaged in any unlawful or reportable conduct,” it read.

As word began to spread, the post was followed up with an email that hinted at an ongoing disagreement over the “future directions for the College”.

“After careful consideration, the Board of Wagga Wagga Christian College has collectively decided that Mr Phillip Wilson will leave his position as Principal,” the statement reads.

college email to parents

The email sent to parents and carers following the board’s decision on Thursday. Screenshot: Supplied.

Days after the initial announcement, acting principal Rachael McClure, of Canberra, has been installed, with the school website being updated to include a quote declaring: “My passion is to be part of Christian education that works with parents to grow students with an understanding of who God is and who they are, while equipping them with excellent academic skills that will enable them to accomplish whatever God has planned for them.”

Parents were invited to meet with Ms McClure and board members on Monday morning, but many expressed frustration that their questions remained unanswered.

In the meantime, Mrs Christison’s petition has already received hundreds of signatures.

“The abrupt and secretive manner in which this decision was executed has left us bewildered, frustrated, and disillusioned with the leadership of the College board,” the petition reads.

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“The sudden termination of Principal Phillip Wilson without providing any substantial or transparent reasons has created an atmosphere of confusion and unrest among the Wagga Wagga Christian College community.

“The manner in which this termination was handed down has been underhanded and lacking in commitment to fairness and due course.

“We ask for the immediate reinstatement of Phillip Wilson as the Principal of Wagga Wagga Christian College, regardless of the Board’s recent attempt at communication in this matter, as it has failed to provide reason to trust the Board nor their decision process.”

Region contacted the college and board members, who declined to comment at this stage.

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