Celebrating Steiner Streams in Victorian state schools and their wonderful principals

Melbourne Rudolf Steiner Seminar

Maria Shearn, Helen Cock and Bev Dadds

On Friday, Dec 8th 2023 we said good-bye to two long standing principals of state schools with Steiner Streams and celebrated their achievements.

Maria Shearn has been the principal of East Bentleigh Primary School for well over 20 years and is soon entering her well-deserved retirement. Over all these years, Maria has succeeded to hold everything together with utmost energy and integrity.

Beverly Dadds has been principal of Mornington Park Primary School for 14 years and is also retiring. Bev managed her school like a sturdy and solid rock as she dared to carry and support a mixed stream school. Absolutely amazing!

Over 30 years ago, East Bentleigh Primary School was the first primary school in Victoria to open a Steiner stream, followed by Collingwood and quite a few more. An informal but very active association was soon established: VASS, the Victorian Association of Steiner Streams. From the beginning, staff from the Melbourne Rudolf Steiner Seminar have been supporting these schools, their families, their teachers, and particularly their principals.

Being a school principal is never easy, but it is the most formidable task to serve the two masters, i.e. the authority of the Department of Education with their regulations and expectations and the high ideals and expectations of the community within the Steiner stream. Very early, Melbourne Rudolf Steiner Seminar along with VASS established a Principal support group. Since decades now, this group meets usually once a term, each school hosting in turns. This often warrants long journeys, with Mornington Park Primary School and Castlemaine Secondary College being the furthest away. However, it is so important to visit and appreciate each other’s setting. We share challenges and successes, discuss, and clarify aspects of Steiner pedagogy and help these principals to uphold Steiner pedagogy within the framework of a government school. In addition to our meetings, Seminar staff regularly acts as trainers, mentors and mediators at these schools.

Maria Shearn and Bev Dadds were always present at our meetings and as they became the ‘old hands’ amongst VASS principals, they often offered precious advice to other principals who had just started their position.

Helen Cock and Wolfgang Maschek want to express their most sincere thanks and appreciation for everything these two wonderful women have done for the course of Steiner education. Although retiring, they have even offered to attend our future gatherings to help their younger colleagues.

We wish them all the best in their new phase of life!

Melbourne Rudolf Steiner Seminar
13 December 2023

For any questions, please contact us at [email protected], or (03) 9876-5199.