Student and staff wellbeing is at the forefront of experienced teacher Karen Farrow’s inspirational school-based programs. Teaching for 41 years at regional and metropolitan schools, including London in the UK, Karen has made outstanding contributions to her current school community at Emmanuel College Carrara through fostering leadership skills and promoting academic achievement.
Whilst teaching is her passion, she is also a celebrated sportswoman, having won several gold medals at the Pan Pacific Masters Games and competing for the last 20 years in netball.
Currently, as Head of Senior School, Karen’s school-based initiatives have supported holistic growth of her students and created positive environments. Previously as a Deputy Principal with the Department of Education, her programs like Polka-Dot Rhinos, High Resolves and Merrimac Mental Mates both lifted staff morale and provided students with tools to develop resilience and empathy.
Recently completing a Certificate in Gifted Education at the University of New South Wales, Karen introduced another initiative to celebrate academic achievement. The Ignite program acknowledges high-achieving academically gifted students, whom she empowers to reach their full potential and strive for excellence. Karen has also participated as leader of the first NRL sanctioned Australian Schoolgirls International Rugby League tours to England, Melbourne, and New Zealand, highlighting her commitment to fostering global connections.
Karen’s expertise has been sought after for conferences and workshops. She participates annually with colleagues at the National Conference for the Australian Association of Teachers of English (AATE) and has presented at Auckland in 2011 for the International Federation for Teachers of English (IFTE) conference and at the 2008 Australian Summer School for English Teachers. She has also been seconded to both the State Library of Queensland (SLQ) and the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA), equipping her with comprehensive knowledge of the educational landscape.
The daughter of a school principal, Karen grew up seeing the difference education made for students in remote and regional Queensland. She wanted to help make a difference, particularly for indigenous students and students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Karen says she thrives on networking and collaborating with like-minded educators, pooling their collective resources and ideas to implement systemic change.
In her nomination, Karen’s colleagues wrote:
“Through her exceptional leadership, she creates an environment where everyone feels valued and motivated to do their best.”