From the Ground Up
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How a Community with a Vision and a Principal with a Purpose Created a Thriving State School
Taking Albert Park College from forced closure to Australia’s School of the Year
In 2006, Albert Park College, a public secondary school in inner-city Melbourne, was closed after a dramatic loss in confidence caused enrolments to plummet. Devastated yet determined parents rallied and convinced the education department to give the school a second chance. The old buildings were bulldozed and a new school began to take shape.
At the same time, experienced public school educator Steven Cook was in search of a fresh start. He took on the job as principal of the new college, moved into the local area, became part of the community and got to work.
In 2021, Albert Park College was voted Australian School of the Year.
In From the Ground Up, Steven Cook reveals how a thriving new college was created where the previous one had failed, and what it takes to create a successful public school. He reflects on his career as an educator, and demonstrates how to rebuild and renew our public schools to give our young people and our nation a great future. This is an inspiring story of how learning from our mistakes can result in our greatest achievements.
Steven Cook is one of Australia’s most experienced secondary school leaders, with four decades of service as a public school teacher and principal. He has led the successful redevelopment of two highly regarded secondary schools in Melbourne – the Bayview Street Campus of Williamstown High School and Albert Park College. In 2017, Steven was awarded the Victorian Education Excellence Award for Outstanding Secondary Principal and the Lindsay Thompson Award for Excellence in Education. He has three daughters and lives in Albert Park with his partner and fellow secondary school principal, Hilary. His latest book is From the Ground Up: How a Community with a Vision and a Principal with a Purpose Created a Thriving State School.