From the Headmaster

Michael Parker began as Headmaster of Newington in January 2019.

A message from Michael Parker

January 2019.

A few days ago, as part of giving myself a guided tour of the College, I went to see the uniform shop. There I met several new Year 7s trying on the Newington black and white for the first time. There they were, already wholly formed characters, with their stories of primary school, their unique web of friends and family, as well as their favourite books, their favourite sports and their favourite movie over the holidays (usually Aquaman). At the same time, they were alive with the possibilities for their future as Newingtonians-to-be. Over the next six years, I wondered, were they going to be fencers or cellists, rowers or debaters, mathematicians or artists –  or a wonderful combination of these and more. There was excitement for the journey ahead, as well as some trepidation.  Either way, it is all there in front of them.

As a new starter myself, I sympathised with them. Although I don’t need to buy a new uniform (my suits still fit, even after Christmas), I have a similar sense of the excitement and potential the years ahead could hold. Even though I taught here for five years in the early 2000s, I am looking forward very much to learning and hearing so much in the months to come about the Newington of 2019.

As the previous Head, Dr David Mulford, so often said, Newington is a place where each person can discover what is possible. I think this really encapsulates the school’s vision. These corridors, classrooms, playing fields, chapel and stages act as springboards to discover the very best in each child.

I know already that, at Newington, we want each child to be curious and energised by the rippling wonder of our world and optimistic about their own place within it. We want each child to really stretch themselves by being the very best at something that matters. We want each child to see society as a collective to which they give back, not a resource from which they simply take. We want them all to be generous and open-hearted young men who respect the men and women around them, as well as themselves. We want it for the handful of boys I met at the clothing pool and for the many thousands of others who have and will walk through the gates too.

We are, and have all been, committed to making a College that is a caring community and a vibrant powerhouse at the same time. I hope our website gives you an impression of all that could be possible for your son at Newington.

About the Headmaster

Michael holds a combined Arts/Law degree and a Masters of Education from the University of Sydney. Whilst at university, he worked in one of Australia’s leading law firms before pursuing his passion for education.  He taught English and served as a Housemaster at Cranbrook before travelling overseas to take up an exchange position at Eton College. 

In 2002 he joined Newington, where he was a highly successful Head of English and the subject of the SBS documentary ‘Inspiring Teachers’. He has a healthy level of Black and White running through his veins as a result of his time here.

 After five years in that role, he was appointed Deputy Headmaster at Cranbrook, where he served for seven years before progressing to become Headmaster at Oxley College, Bowral, in 2014.  Under his leadership, Oxley’s academic performance and survey results across students, teachers and staff rose markedly.

Michael is the author of 10 books, most recently Talk With Your Kids:  Conversations about Big Ideas and Talk With Your Kids:  Conversations about Ethics. His YA novel Doppelganger (Penguin) was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Award in 2007 and his children’s book You Are A Star (Walker Books) has been published in the US, UK, Brazil, China and Korea. 

He is widely travelled, particularly in the Himalayas, with four major treks under his belt, including past Camp One at 20,000 feet on Mt Everest in Tibet. He is married to Fiona, an English literature academic at UNSW, and has two teenage daughters, Julia and Elena.

Michael is committed to open engagement with students and the school community at large.  He is a strong believer in creating a teaching environment that engenders critical thinking among the boys. His aim is to foster a culture that combines improved academic performance with enduring pastoral care programs to ensure our boys are prepared for an unpredictable and constantly changing workplace.