The inside story of the Tamborine Mountain State school defamation trial.
The inside story of the Tamborine Mountain State school defamation trial.

Principal from hell, or hell of a principal?

LIKE most people in positions of authority, Tamborine State High principal Tracey Brose had fans and haters alike.

For all the detractors who claimed she was a control freak and over-the-top disciplinarian, with a propensity to expel problem kids, there were plenty who loved her and declared she was a top educator who set high standards to try to get the very best out of her students.

 

 

"To all the critics and the knockers! How do you explain away the fact this school is one of the highest achieving schools in this state if not the country. Seems there are some sooks out there that object to discipline,'' Elizabeth Hele wrote on Facebook.

Tamborine Mountain State High Principal Tracey Brose leaves Southport Court after the first day of her defamation case. Picture: Adam Head
Tamborine Mountain State High Principal Tracey Brose leaves Southport Court after the first day of her defamation case. Picture: Adam Head

Margaret Thorburn had similar sentiments: "Bully to some. To others she is following the school rules that have been set out. Follow the rules or go elsewhere. Simple."

When the award-winning career teacher arrived at Tamborine Mountain as a rookie principal in 2001, she was nothing short of a prodigy.

Before moving to the mountain with fellow Tamborine High teacher and husband Peter (the couple have now been married 32 years, have 12-year-old twins and a 15-year-old), Mrs Brose worked at several state high schools around Queensland.

Mrs Brose climbed the ranks quickly.

At 23, she was already a department head at Emerald State High and in 1996, at just 28, she was appointed deputy principal of MacGregor High in Brisbane, with 2000 students, after performing the same role at Toowoomba State High the previous year.

"Age is relative," she said after her MacGregor High appointment.

"The process now is if you have the qualifications and show the skills to get the job then you go through a selection process. I think the reality is kids think anyone who is not a student must be old."

In 1994, while teaching at Emerald High, Mrs Brose and her students won a national Landcare education award presented to them at Parliament House in Canberra by then-prime minister Paul Keating.

"Everyone's so excited," she told The Courier-Mail at the time.

In 1994, while teaching at Emerald High, Tracey Brose and her students won a national Landcare education award
In 1994, while teaching at Emerald High, Tracey Brose and her students won a national Landcare education award

"We've all been to the hairdresser and had our hair done. We have a photo call at 4.20 with the Prime Minister with all our hair done up but we are still in school uniforms so we look a bit silly. The kids are really pumped up."

In 2002, a year after being appointed Tamborine State High principal, Mrs Brose was presented with the Beaudesert Shire Australia Day National Achievement Award in recognition of her "huge impact on the lives of local teenagers".

Under Mrs Brose's leadership, Tamborine State High has consistently been a top performer, beating even elite private schools in OP results.

 

In 2018 more than a third of its OP-eligible students achieved OP scores in the top 1-5 band.

Posting on the "Support Tracey Brose" Facebook page, after Mrs Brose was stood down, former student Sam Lyon-Jones wrote, "Mrs Brose is tough but guess what, she is just getting you ready for the real world. Her and her teachers spent a lot of time and effort to get me to where I wanted to be. Now I'm a team leader working for a billion dollar company building prototype aircraft and that would not have happened if she didn't give me the push I needed to get started … 100% support Tracey Brose".

NEXT UP: THE FATEFUL EIGHT

OTHER CHAPTERS IN THE SERIES:

- LIVES DESTROYED BY JUST 43 WORDS

- MY ENTIRE FUTURE EXPLODED

- TELL YOUR CLIENT TO STICK HER OFFER UP HER ARSE

- TEMPERS FLARE, TEARS FLOW

- THREE SECRETS LETTERS

- CAN I BORROW $15, SON?



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