Having chosen to pursue education as a second career, Jacinda Euler demonstrates the power of experience, self-awareness and empathetic leadership in what is an increasingly complex school system.
Her understated, countercultural leadership is grounded in principles of empathy, understanding and a sharp, crystal-clear focus on what matters above all else: the students and their learning.
In recognition of this work, Euler was recently awarded one of Queensland’s highest honours in education – the Australian Council for Educational Leaders (ACELQ) Miller-Grassie Award for Outstanding Educational Leadership in 2023.
The Laurie Miller and McCrae Grassie Award recognises extraordinary educational leaders in Queensland, honouring their achievements, policy influence, and innovative contributions, while perpetuating the legacies of its namesakes.
As principal of Girls Grammar for 10 years, Euler has guided the School’s culture to be genuinely student-centred and deeply respectful of the fundamental expertise and inspiration of its teachers–to provide learning that is founded on the greatest traditions and finest aspirations in education.
During her tenure, Euler has overseen significant advancements including the introduction of Year 7 and major projects such as the development of the School’s dedicated sport and recreation facility (2013) and the opening of the Dorothy Hill Observatory (2017), Elizabeth Jameson Research Learning Centre (2015) and Science Learning Centre (2020).
Euler said her initial reaction to receiving the Award was one of deep reflection, entwined with a strong sense of responsibility.
“When advised of this Award I felt deeply honoured and then, a great sense of responsibility as the enormity of it dawned—how to use this opportunity to say something worthwhile? How to honour the purpose and important work of ACEL to advance education leadership?” Euler told The Educator.
“Above all else, I felt grateful to my colleagues — the intelligent and inspiring teachers and expert, professional staff — who have made this possible.”
Under Euler’s stewardship, Girls Grammar has been a consistently top-performing Queensland school in NAPLAN testing and senior assessment (OP and ATAR).
When asked what strategies she is leading to ensure the school maintains this success in 2024 and beyond, Euler said the most important strategies to maintain high standards relate to staff, systems, and culture.
“This includes appointing the right people and then providing them with the resources, professional development, and inspiration they need will ensure creativity and innovation continue to flourish,” she said.
“Walking that tightrope between accountability and trust is also essential. It is important to set and maintain high expectations and then step aside, delivering independence to the people who best know what good learning looks like.”
Euler said a school’s learning culture needs constant attention.
“This means balancing the ‘hard’ systems and data driven decision-making with gentle attention to the nuanced daily experiences so essential in the very ‘human’ identity of a School. All of this is essential to maintain success — in all its forms.”
Earlier this week, Queensland’s Education Minister Grace Grace announced that the rollout of Version 9.0 of the Australian Curriculum would be delayed for a further 12 months to give schools more time to understand and implement the necessary changes and ensure they’re successful.
Euler said this breathing space will provide school leaders with more opportunity to ensure “the implementation is rigorous and effective, the long-term impact more carefully considered, and the confidence of teachers is sustained.”
“Our educators are masters of flexibility, having introduced a new senior system of assessment, delivered education remotely, and managed very complex changes in our society over the past decade. This will provide even greater opportunity to make a meaningful impact.”