News / Education / 3rd March 2021
Coona's leading ladies
In what has traditionally been a male-dominated profession, Coonabarabran should be proud to boast three fabulous female school principals.
International Women’s Day on Monday, 8 March is a day when Mary Doolan, Juanita Meier, and Natasha Milford can collectively hold their heads high.
All three influential women spoke about how grateful they were to be in a position where they could serve as role models for young women and girls across the Warrumbungle Shire.
Coonabarabran Public School principal, Juanita Meier said the town and the students benefited from women occupying leadership roles.
“We understand each other and that means we can network together very easily,” Ms Meier said.
Ms Meier’s message to the younger generation of girls was to believe in themselves.
"Be confident in your own ability and be resilient,” she said.
“Sometimes things don’t come easy and you have to work hard for it.”
At St Lawrence’s Primary School, principal, Natasha Milford said it was a unique situation to have a town where the principals were all women.
Mrs Milford grew up in Binnaway and attended school at St Lawrence’s from year eight, later returning as a teacher and now principal.
“It’s a nice feeling to be a role model to other younger girls, even our own daughters,” Mrs Milford said.
“Being a woman and a mother and fulfilling these leadership roles, it gives us an understanding of the pressures involved in what it can take to get kids to school sometimes.
“We can relate to most mums out there.”
For Mary Doolan, her journey into education, and later as principal at Coonabarabran High School, happened in a roundabout way.
“If someone had said to me at 18 that I was going to be a teacher and a principal I would have said, ‘I don’t think so’,” Ms Doolan said.
“But I have found my niche - what I do is fulfilling and I love it."
Ms Doolan grew up in Coonabarabran, undertook a law degree and had aspirations of becoming a political journalist.
After a 13 year stint as a solicitor she found her way into education.
“I was inspired by my farmer husband who went back into education - and I followed him,” she said.
Ms Doolan had some words of encouragement for her female students and other young teenage girls with aspirations of similar leadership roles.
“What women sometimes do is they don’t put themselves forward for leadership roles because we can get this kind of imposter syndrome happening,” she explained.
"My advice is just to back yourself and find a good mentor.
"But importantly, whemn you find yourself in that leadership position, give back by becoming a mentor for others.”