Carolyn looks for new challenge after half century in schools across Australia

Headshot of Ailish Delaney
Ailish DelaneySouth Western Times
Email Ailish Delaney
Carolyn Nankervis is raising a glass to her 50 years of work in education, but now she's off to follow a different path.
Camera IconCarolyn Nankervis is raising a glass to her 50 years of work in education, but now she's off to follow a different path. Credit: Ailish Delaney/South Western Times

'It’s not a retirement, it’s a refirement. I’m firing up again.”

That is how Carolyn Nankervis described stepping down as principal at Glen Huon Primary School after 50 years in the education industry.

She has no plans of slowing down, she’s only getting started.

Carolyn has spent her career shaping the minds of students and educators with her passion for helping others and drive to deliver equal opportunity.

It’s a life that has taken her across the country — from working in Mundulla, South Australia, where at just 17 years old she ran the show and had to drive the school bus, to working at a school in Cook on the Nullarbor, and training early educators in the Northern Territory.

“The years I spent in Darwin were among my favourite,” she said. “Everyone was so sociable and there was a special sense of community.”

A calling to help others and a love for teaching is what kept Carolyn in the industry.

“My career has been so varied and always full of excitement, I’ve never been bored,” she said.

I very rarely let an opportunity go by. You should never let a door slam in your face, you don’t want to forever wonder, ‘What if?’

Education has taken Carolyn throughout the region.

No matter where her future takes her, Carolyn’s legacy will live on in the foundations she has built at Glen Huon and the lives that will be bettered because of it.

“It was a dream of mine to open a school from scratch, so when I saw a position in Eaton I was very excited,” she said.

Carolyn helped Glen Huon grow from the ground up and saw what was once a team of 12 teachers and 150 students flourish into a community of 81 staff members and 510 children.

While fostering a school community is a unique opportunity, it is the school’s Early Intervention Centre that Carolyn is most proud of.

A “one-stop-shop” for students with special needs, the centre provides a place for them to receive therapy at the school site without having to travel to Bunbury and beyond.

Dardanup Shire president Mick Bennet, Glen Huon Primary School Principal Carolyn Nankervis and Collie Preston MLA Mick Murray at the opening of the $1.5 million Early Intervention Centre at Glen Huon Primary School.
Camera IconDardanup Shire president Mick Bennet, Glen Huon Primary School Principal Carolyn Nankervis and Collie Preston MLA Mick Murray at the opening of the $1.5 million Early Intervention Centre at Glen Huon Primary School. Credit: Nicole Salmeri

“It was a vision of mine to establish this centre,” Carolyn said.

Hearing how it has helped the lives of families at the school has been really special.

Outside of teaching, Carolyn said some of her greatest achievements were bringing two beautiful daughters into the world and becoming one of the first solo female glider pilots at a regional aero club.

“The men kept trying to discourage me and get me to give up, but I stuck at it,” Carolyn said.

“I think it was one of the things that helped me realise women can do anything.”

The powerhouse Ruth Bader Ginsburg serves as an idol for Carolyn, inspiring her to help others and strive for greatness.

“We need to lift each other up and that’s what I hope to continue to do,” she said.

“I want to make a difference, even if it’s only small.”

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails