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School principal heads back to childhood school

Dallas Schmidt was one of the lucky ones who knew exactly what she wanted to be when she grew up.

“I knew right from primary school here at Ashwell State School that one day I wanted to be principal,” Mrs Schmidt said.

Mrs Schmidt attended Ashwell State School as a student in her childhood.

It is a picturesque country school just outside of Rosewood surrounded by the mountains of the Scenic Rim.

Mrs Schmidt also happens to live in her childhood home just down the road from the school and her family have been part of the local community for about 20 years.

“I live a few hundred metres down the road and my long term goal was to be principal here but I didn’t think it would happen now,” she said.

Mrs Schmidt was also married in the school grounds in 2014 under a giant fig tree she can now see from her office window.

“My husband Chris is from Marburg and I’m from here so we asked the principal at the time if we could get married under the fig tree, then we all walked across the road to our reception at Ross Krebs house,” she said.

“It was very special.”

Mrs Schmidt has her own fond memories of attending school at Ashwell State School and the dedication shown to her education by the then principal.

“My dog had been bitten by a snake so mum called in to say I was staying home to nurse the dog,” she said.

“The principal drove down to my house and picked the up the dog and laid him in the back of the car.

“He told me I could still come to school and look after the dog.

“He put the dog in his office so that I could come to feed and water him throughout the day.

“It showed a real commitment to my learning, also the dog made a full recovery and lived until I was 19.”

Mrs Schmidt has worked in several other schools around Ipswich and has even been a principal before in North Queensland, but coming home has always been the goal.

“I really enjoy working in small schools,” she said.

Mrs Schmidt said that she enjoyed the opportunity to connect more personally with her colleagues, staff, students and the community.

Working in a small school allows her to support people to the best of her ability.

“There is beautiful staff here and the students are really committed to their learning,” she said.

“The community have been open to the students learning in a number of different ways.

“We have chickens, we have planted rosellas and we are looking into starting more sustainability initiatives.”

Ashwell State School has 64 students across three classes.

“Having mixed grades allows the students to interact differently across year levels to how they interact with students their own age,” Mrs Schmidt said.

“They learn to engage social skills with a range of peers and understanding context and how to adjust their conversations to suit the audience.”

Mrs Schmidt has two children Ayla, 3 and Hazel, 1.

In fact the only person disappointed with Mrs Schmidt’s appointment this year was her daughter Ayla.

“She was upset when she found out I was coming to Ashwell because she told me, ‘that is going to be my school’,” she said.

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