Murray Bridge High School principal Ruth Mussger named the best in SA

The secondary school leader has been recognised at the 2021 SA Public Education Awards.

Murray Bridge High School’s principal has been named the best in the state at the 2021 South Australian Public Education Awards.

Ruth Mussger was recognised at the Adelaide Convention Centre on Friday night for making sure every one of her 1050 students had access to the tools and support they needed to succeed.

Under her watch, the school has undergone a major redevelopment and a re-branding, has increased its focus on entrepreneurialism, and its students' NAPLAN scores have improved.

She has also focused on community: on building pride and belonging among students, and encouraging them to find new ways of realising their aspirations in the Murraylands.

Ms Mussger described the award not as a celebration of her achievements, but those of the school community.

“I’ve got a big team of people that have got me to where I am tonight, and teachers and support staff who set the bar and challenge themselves and our learners every single day,” she said on Friday night.

“They step outside of their comfort zone to try new ways of doing things to improve.”

She offered particular thanks to deputy principal Paula Hahesy; the governing council and its chair Cathy Smith; education director Stan Hagias and his team; and the other principals around the Murraylands.

She also thanked her close-knit family, including her sister, retiring Mypolonga Primary School principal Rita O’Brien: “the rock, the role model and the mentor over the years that I couldn’t have done without”.

Her parents had overcome barriers of language and culture when they arrived in Australia in the 1950s, she said, and had given their six kids the gifts of resilience and education.

Industry and Skills Minister David Pisoni, MP Adrian Pederick and chief entrepreneur Adrian Nunn visit Ruth Mussger at Murray Bridge High School’s entrepreneurial hub on Thursday. Photo: Jacob Jennings Photography.

Education Minister John Gardner congratulated her and the night’s 12 other winners for their contributions.

“COVID has thrown some challenges at our educators and they have gone above and beyond to make sure education in South Australia keeps moving forward,” he said.

“We want every child and young person in our state, no matter what town or suburb they live in, or which classroom or kindy they attend, to be supported to fulfil their potential.

“Everyone in our state’s public education system is working together as a connected team towards one goal: to deliver world class education for all children and young people in South Australia.”

As an award winner, Ms Mussger will get $10,000 to be used for professional development.

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