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Mrs Anna Owen is set to lead the girls and young women of Canberra Girls Grammar School into an exciting new era.
In January, Canberra Girls Grammar School (CGGS) welcomed Anna Owen as Principal, bringing energy and contemporary vision to the nearly-century-old school.
In her role at CGGS, Anna wants to equip her students with everything they need to shape their worlds, whether they want to be a political leader, run their own business or anything else they can dream up.
“The most exciting thing about being Principal of Canberra Girls at this moment in time is that the world is catching up and starting to understand gender equity,” Anna says.
“The advancement of women is happening around us, you only have to look at the professionalisation of sport and the heightened awareness in board rooms and politics. But while there is a clear trajectory of change and improvement in women’s rights, there is still much work to be done, both domestically and globally.”
Anna was previously Deputy Principal at Brisbane Girls Grammar School and has extensive experience in leading teaching and learning, pastoral care and the International Baccalaureate, as well as working in schools with boarding houses. She also holds a Masters of Science degree, has completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors course and is part way through an MBA.
Her decision to pursue a career in education was influenced by a formative childhood experience. After attending a regional primary school, Anna went to boarding school. But when she returned home to visit her friends, she noticed the stark differences in how gender and education had influenced their lives.
“I found that many of my childhood friends already had a baby. The boys tended to still be in school, and the girls were busy raising families. Although I was happy for my friends, I also remember that time as a profound moment in my life.
“I have a family of my own now which is very important to me and my career gives me such a great opportunity to contribute to the experience young people have as they learn to find their way to their best selves.”
When Anna’s not at work, you might find her grabbing a coffee at Urban Pantry in Manuka or training for a triathalon. She’s loving exploring all Canberra has to offer.
“I feel like Canberra has carefully selected all of the best of the other Australian cities and melded them into the landscape we live in here. I have heard that it gets cold here in winter though, which is a concern as I’ve already been traumatised by the need to wear a jumper in March!”
Since starting at CGGS, Anna has been particularly impressed by the Junior School’s innovative Signature Programs, bespoke educational programs designed to give girls everything they need as they move from Year Three to Year Six. Through initiatives like including students in the Board Strategic Planning Day, panel discussions and school Instagram account takeovers, Anna aims to give the girls the space to define their own futures.
While leading CGGS into the future, Anna intends to maintain the strong traditions and values that have built the school into the educational powerhouse it is today.
“As the oldest independent school in the ACT, our intent has always been to develop young women that are able to articulate what it is to be well-educated, who understand the great responsibility of receiving a great education and who insist on living ethically and purposely.”
Anna is constantly inspired by her students and driven to maximise the impact that education can have on the world. She cites a recent business breakfast with ACT Australian of the Year Virginia Hausseger as an encapsulation of her vision.
“To watch Virginia, in a role that has influence and impact, carefully craft conversations with our students in order to empower them to be strong, understand their strengths and proceed purposefully and with good intent, was breathtaking.
“The best bit of the job is, of course, the girls. I really enjoy seeing the change Canberra Girls can make. It may be only one organisation, working at the grassroots level, but to see these moments in history is an absolute privilege.”
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