Wesley College Melbourne Australia
Wesley College Melbourne

Thank you, Helen Drennen, and farewell

Posted 13 December 2018 Helen Drennen farewell

After 15 years leading ‘the best school of all’, Dr Helen Drennen AM concludes her tenure as Principal of Wesley College at the end of 2018.

President of College Council, Marianne Stillwell, described Dr Drennen’s legacy as ‘immense’. ‘Helen’s vision and extraordinary capability as an educator and leader have had a transformational impact on the College,’ Ms Stillwell said.

‘Helen has steered Wesley with foresight and a steady hand during her 15 years of leadership as Wesley’s first female Principal. She has consolidated and advanced Wesley’s reputation as a leading coeducational school that provides our students with a true education to realise the full potential of every girl and boy.’

Among Dr Drennen’s many notable achievements, Ms Stillwell counted her implementation of the International Baccalaureate program across early childhood to Year 12, establishing the Wesley College Institute for Innovation in Education, engaging partners in learning through the Yiramalay/Wesley Studio School and the Year 9 program at Clunes, and reintroducing boarding to Wesley in Melbourne through the Learning in Residence program.

Helen Drennen farewell

Ms Stillwell commended Dr Drennen for her application, vision and energy. ‘Helen’s foresight has been informed by the notion of Wesley as a tightly knit community of students, teachers, parents and alumni. Her educational planning, and its implementation, have been flawless and visionary,’ she said.

Long-term strategic planning frameworks led by Dr Drennen have not only anchored the College’s development but will also guide it through to 2030.

Isaac Quist, Director of Curriculum and International Strategy at Wesley, described Dr Drennen as a true learner. ‘Helen made learning central to her leadership,’ Mr Quist said. ‘In Helen, Wesley found the spirit, intellect, imagination, courage, fidelity and integrity that would shape its famed restlessness for the good of its students, and ultimately, Australia.’

Mr Quist noted that Dr Drennen’s achievements as Wesley’s first female principal have been driven by her conviction about the transformational power of education and learning. 

Helen Drennen farewell

‘Helen has championed Wesley’s adoption of an overarching vision for learning,’ he said. ‘She established the Wesley College Institute for Innovation in Education as a laboratory, observatory and conservatory of – and for – learning; instigated the Wesley leading language school initiative; and consolidated, expanded and aligned Wesley’s experiential learning programs.’ 

Paraphrasing philosopher and author AC Grayling, Mr Quist said, ‘We honour and celebrate Helen today for what she has endeavoured to do and be, and what she has achieved as Wesley’s first female principal.’

To honour Dr Drennen’s legacy, Ms Stillwell has announced that the Glen Waverley Campus redevelopment, opening late in 2019, will be named The Drennen Centre. This exciting development includes new contemporary facilities for Years 7, 8 and 9 as well as a campus chapel, library and language centre.

Dr Drennen's successor Mr Nicholas Evans commences in Term 3, 2019, as the 17th principal of Wesley College. Deputy Principal Mr Richard Brenker will be Acting Principal during the transition in addition to his ongoing role as Head of Campus at Glen Waverley.

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